Are you Vaccinated?

Advancements in medical technology have greatly improved the everyday lives of humans. We live longer, healthier and suffer less from disease than we once did. One astounding discovery was the medical care of vaccination. The idea of placing a virus in your body to prevent further disease seems absurd. Yet, this practice as we now know, prepares your body for the oncoming attack. Your white blood cells multiply while your antibodies gather data and information on this newly introduced threat, so as to better defeat and defend against this threat if it should ever return. Now, there is a certain disease that has spread and corrupted every human who as walked this Earth and has yet to walk this Earth. Even with all of the medical advances and new discoveries about the human body, there is no medicine, white blood cell, or antibody that can defeat and prevent this disease from spreading and corrupting the body and Spirit. The awful disease that brings death to every household and immense amounts of pain is known as sin.

With no human cure for such an awful disease, one must ask, “Is there anything I can do to rid myself of this pain? This death?” There is a way, but by no human hands. This disease is like no other, it does not show external signs of illness or even cause your internal organs to fail. What it does do, which is far worse than any other illness, is corrupt and plague your soul. The body is not it’s target, it remains hidden from your bodily defenses, so how is it defeated? How can one defend themselves? Defense of the soul through spiritual warfare is the answer. Does this mean fighting off demons? Not exactly, it’s rather defense against your worldly spirit. This spirit seeks to fill itself with the things of this world, forever hungry it feeds off of this disease, this sin, growing stronger day by day. It will never cease until the day it ruins you, kills you. If this spirit seeks to be filled, then what will fill it? There is another spirit, one that brings life and eternal satisfaction. Never again shall your spirit thirst, never again shall it hunger. Fully completed, fully whole, you are one. This spirit is the cure, once it enters your soul it will wage war against your worldly spirit and utterly destroy it. Never again shall it control you, a new desire fills your soul, fulfillment has been achieved, but now you know, you no longer seek the cure. With it found, your new spirit will guide you and grant you knowledge needed to cure and save others from their sin.

Guidance by this new spirit, the Holy spirit, will instruct you on your journey through the remainder of this life. However, the worldly spirit is still there, it lingers nearby, whispering past pleasures, seeking to be fed it continues to tempt you to take a bite so it may not hunger for a short time. The Holy spirit will warn you and stir within you when temptation is present. Yet, you do not want to allow such attacks to invade the Holy spirit guarding your soul. For if forever on the defense, your spirit will weaken, never defeated, but weakened. How can growth of the spirit and of your soul happen, if it is continually building what was destroyed. For this reason, you must fight back. Attacking what is hidden is indeed difficult. However, like the antibody, knowledge of what the disease looks like is known to us. With it known, how is it attacked and destroyed? Offensive measures against sin is found in the Bible, the Holy Word of God the Father. The Holy spirit is fully knowledgeable in both attack and defense tactics found in the Bible, it will guide you and show you what the scripture means and how to utilize it, you simply must read it.

A sure fire way to prevent any disease, is to stop it at it’s source. Before it even starts to spread and corrupt your spirit crush it relentlessly with the Holy Word as you sword.        1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (ESV) No battle is too hard to be won, the only way to be defeated and your growth with the spirit damaged is by letting your defenses down. To fight off any disease knowing its symptoms will warn you of it’s oncoming attack and gives you a chance to stop the invasion before it begins. Scripture found in the Book of James clues us into the symptoms of sin. Chapter one verse 14 reads But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lustThen when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (NASB) When looking at this passage we see four outcomes of sin stirring. Three of these are pre-sin effects and one is the effects post-sin brings.

  1. Prior to these verses James is addressing the fact that God is wholly pure and is incapable of temptation. Thus, it is not by God that you are tempted, rather it is your own fleshly desires, your worldly spirit. Carried away, The first symptom of sin is a desire, a desire to feed the flesh the things of this world. The things of this world being sexual immorality, greed, wickedness, envy, strife, deceit and a multitude of other acts of unrighteousness. A desire to do such things is just the beginning. This symptom is first noticed in your heart, your soul, then it progresses to the next phase.
  2. Enticement, to be enticed is being lured or drawn into something perceived as pleasant. A fisherman entices fish with his lure and bait, likewise our desire entices us by moving out of our soul into our minds. We begin to rationalize our desire to our own lust.  Think of pornography, a common rationalization is every guy does it and people comfort their evil desire with such thought. The outcome has severe consequences. For a bit more serious lust on worldly terms, think of an unfaithful man or women. The marriage isn’t going well, they aren’t as happy as they once were, so perhaps I’ll find my pleasure I believe myself to lack with someone else, so they think. “His own lust” stated in James, indicates that each desire is individual, such as this. Eve did not place lust in Adam’s heart, nor did the serpent place it in Eve’s. It’s an individual desire to sin, caused by your own rationalization, prompted by others or not. The mind plays tricks and unless it’s stopped it will take control and sin starts the third phase.
  3. Lust is conceived, this phase is hard to battle back, once this phase takes place, one has already desired evil and rationalized such evil. The conceiving of lust is the design of how to carry out the sin. By your will you are now designing/planning/conniving on when and how to complete this desire and feed your flesh. This is clearly not of God’s will nor His design, for nothing evil dwells within Him. Thus, by this it is even more evident that God is not to blame for the heartaches brought on by sin.
  4. Lastly, after completion of design, you build on it. “when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” The greek word for accomplished literally means brought to completion. After completing this evil the whole process is brought together and as a whole you think back with the steps. Many think, “If only I didn’t dwell on it, if only I didn’t stay home alone, if only I came to my senses!” Even if regret is there, the sin has been brought to completion, it has given birth to death. This last act is in direct disobedience to God the father and allows your walk with the Holy spirit to be damaged. Which resurges the question, how is death to be defeated?

  There is hope yet, for all. There is one and only one cure for sin, a man named Jesus. Jesus is the key for defeating this disease, he can’t prevent sin from corrupting us to begin with, but he can cover our sins with the father’s grace and the blood that he shed for us on calvary. Death of our physical bodies is the punishment God has given to those who believe in His son and have accepted the Holy spirit to dwell within them and to guide their way. The punishment is lessened with the mercy and saving grace that Jesus has granted us. The punishment for all, has been covered, yet some think this covering of blood is unnecessary and so they reject the covering (Jesus), refuse to listen to guidance (Holy Spirit) and scoff at their Heavenly Father claiming that their pain and suffering comes from Him. They fail to realize the death they spew with each act of evil, and continue to say, if I just feed this spirit of flesh, I’ll be satisfied.

 

Works cited

  1. The Bible, James 1:14-15 and 1 Corinthians 10:13
  2. Lessons from Pastor David Fell, a man who is wise enough to surround himself with the teachings of other wise men. Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

“The problem is not the temper without, but the traitor within” – Pastor David Fell

 

The Quest to Understand the Unknown

The question that has been on the mind of every human since the beginning of time is, “Is there life after death?” Many theories and ideologies have developed around this central question. For those who do believe in life after death they belong to a community founded on a religion. Even though there is a community founded upon the teachings of the religion there are still disagreements stemming from interpretation.  All religious groups have sects within their religion, to each his own interpretation as it were. When looking at the Christian faith we see two powerful sects that divide the Christian community on two fronts; who are truly Christian and how does one come to Christ?  These ideologies differ due to interpretation of the scripture, both however, have the same conclusion, but a different view as to who receives this life after death and how one obtains it. Calvinism and Arminianism, they are both branches of the Christian Faith, although they both agree on their deity they differ on who their God chooses who He allows into Heaven and who He does not. Comparing the points where they differ and where they agree, will help formulate a solid idea as to which one is correct, or even if either of them are correct.

Calvinism, Calvinist have five basic tenets, total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Of these five tenets, unconditional election is what causes the main divide between the Arminian and Calvinist beliefs. Unconditional election is the belief that God chooses who enters into Heaven even before the world formed. God knows all who enter and has made them his “elect” Calvinist believe that the Book of Life contains the names of these elect and no name will ever be added or taken away, they are under the “perseverance of the Saints.” Under the perseverance of the Saints, salvation cannot be lost; the elect will always be under God’s saving grace, no matter what. The Calvinist explains this grace as the “irresistible grace”. Irresistible grace is the heart-wrenching calling by God; the elect so strongly compelled by God that worshiping him is not so much as a choice, but rather a compelled action. This complement is necessary due to “total depravity”, by this, people are unable to submit themselves to God, and it is only through this grace that God allows them to come to Him. The grace the elect receive is given to them through “limited atonement”; through this, the elect are the only ones Christ died for, supported by the verse Matthew 1:21 – “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Calvinist believe “His people” are the elect, Revelation 21:27 – But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Calvinist have many supportive Bible verses, however, it is through interpretation that the Calvinist and the Arminian disagree. For instance, *Romans 3:10-18 – As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Calvinist use these verses to support their major tenets especially those claiming total depravity and unconditional election. Verse ten reads “None is righteous, no not one…” From this Calvinist say, that no one is found righteous in the sight of the Lord, so unless he elects you, you will never become righteous. The Arminian point of view however, says that all start out in this manner; yet we can find grace in the sight of the Lord without being a part of the “elect”. Once you accept the Holy Spirit into your heart, grace and mercy are stored upon you. Romans 3:10-18 is how we are without Christ in our lives, without Christ you are without hope of redemption from what is describe in these verses. God wishes for all to be saved; Arminian back this with    1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” All are welcome to the truth and grace found in God, we are His children, and he our Father. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Arminian argue that if God gave up his Son, Jesus Christ for the world, then why would there be elect.

When Christ died on the Cross, the land darkened and an earthquake struck the Earth. The veil in the temple was torn and God no longer needed to be approached by means of a priest. His grace and redeeming love was accessible to all who believed in His name, and His Son’s name. His presence is now dwelling within the hearts of believers and our bodies are the new temple of God, rebuilt in three days just as prophesied. Love is sacrifice, God so loved the world that he gave or sacrificed His Son. This love is given to all who hear and believe in the sacrifice of God. It is for all, yet one must accept this love in order to be given new life within His kingdom. It is not so much as God refusing grace to His children, but rather His children refusing His grace. The grace in God’s eyes is immense; it is not His Will that any shall perish. We are given a choice, to love all that God has done for us, or reject his love and have the way of peace unknown to us. Every day we are given choices, it is up to us how we chose. God may know the outcome of every choice we make in life. However, God does not control our choices, when we sin, it’s because we turned from God, that was our choice. When we live righteously in the sight of the Lord, that was our choice, the outcome of our choices are unknown to us; God knows all, God sees all, but the outcome of the Book of the Lamb is up to us. Deuteronomy chapter thirty, the chapter speaks of God’s grace and favor returning to those who reject it, if they return to God and follow his commandments God will forgive. The Word of God is forever in our hearts, we make the choice on whether or not we listen to the Word. To accept the fact that Christ died for the World, a World of sinners, evildoers, unholy, un-loving people, it’s a hard concept for some to grasp. Why would Christ sacrifice His life for a life such as mine? Questioning hearts have a hard time with accepting love they feel they do not deserve. What we deserve is damnation to Hell, yet God gives us love. This fact brings hope and joy to those who believe and a chance for redemption to those who do not. The Bible is not just a book of stories teaching us good morals and how to live a healthy lifestyle. The Bible is the Word; John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The Word is stored within us as the Holy Spirit, when we do wrong our hearts are troubled because of this, when we do what is right and what is just, our hearts rejoice, for this brings joy to the Lord. When we love, we are to do so with all our heart. God has shown his love through His Son Jesus Christ, no other can compare to His love, His sacrifice.

Arminian believe in a saving grace for all, that many will chose to accept, yet many will chose to reject. Calvinist believe that they are elect, granted God’s grace through His will. Both agree that only God’s loving grace can save them from damnation, the matter of how you are saved is where the divide is made. The divide can be seen in how each view evangelism. Where a Calvinist would say that God brought them to preach the gospel to another through his will. An Arminian would say that God has blessed him with an opportunity to preach the gospel, due to their choices made prior to the engagement. For instance, if a Christian is doing what is right, making the correct choices and choosing the path of righteous, then non-believers see this and it opens the door for a Christian to share their faith. However, if a Christian is falling into the temptation of the world then this is also seen. This choice may turn away a non-believer and make just cause for them to claim us to be hypocrites. An Arminian would say that their poor choice caused the lost chance to share the gospel, but not all hope is lost, God may help that person yet. A Calvinist would say that it was God’s will and if they were not used for the glory of God’s kingdom then someone else will bring them into the kingdom if they are of the elect. In the end, Arminian and Calvinist are all brothers and sisters in Christ. No matter our own personal beliefs, we can all agree that furthering the kingdom of God is the ultimate goal. For those who listen, love is right around the corner, you just have to allow it into your heart.

 

Works CitedW_Bookoflife

Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, pp. 415-549. (Calvinist)

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, pp. 907-928. (Moderate Calvinist)

Forster, Roger T. and Marston, V. Paul. God’s Strategy in Human History. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1973. (Moderate Arminian)

Murray, John. Redemption Applied and Accomplished. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1989. (Calvinist)

Packer, J. I. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1961. (Calvinist)

Pinnock, Clark, ed. Grace Unlimited. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1975. (Moderate Arminian)

Shank, Robert. Elect in the Son. Springfield, Mo.: Westcott Publishers, 1970. (Arminian)

Thiessen, Henry C. Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1983. (Moderate Arminian)

http://www.xenos.org/classes/principles/cpu1w6.htm

The Bible