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eden02I received the following question:

Hi Nathan, Just wanted to comment about Adam’s sin vs faith. It seems to me Adam showed faith in what God said-they both would die. You seemed to think Adam had a lack of faith in that God wouldn’t love Eve enough to help her/save her. Did God say this? Am I missing something? I see Adam as sinning and Eve as being deceived as you stated but not any lack of faith on Adam’s part.

Thanks for the great question! I think what you are missing here is that faith is not just internally agreeing that a thing is true, but rather it is taking God at His word and responding accordingly. Also, it is always believing the totality of what God has said, not just some part of it. It did Adam no good to believe that the fruit would kill him if he ate it if he didn’t also believe the command, “you shall not eat.” Adam did not believe this. He thought that the results would be better if he ate than if he believed God and did not eat. Yes, he believed that eating the fruit would kill him, but what good did believing that part do him when he did not believe the other part, about not eating? Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following comments:

In the theology class I am taking we have been examining the nature of faith as it relates to our salvation. I also happen to have been reading through a number of the Seed and Bread issues online. I still believe that faith which produces salvation is entirely by grace, i.e. Eph. 2 and Roman 3. However, I had been brought up with the understanding that the saving faith (SF) which Paul preached was dispensationally different than that of Jesus and James. The argument went that SF pre-Act 28 or mid-Acts was faith still faith alone (i.e., entirely grace) but a faith which would naturally produce fruit, submission, repentance, and works in general. However, when Paul ushered in the new dispensation he provided a SF which is faith which does not necessarily result in any fruit or works or any kind of change in the individual, sort of a even fuller grace than existed before.

It is much easier to adhere to either the Acts 28 or mid-Acts position than it is to figure out what exactly changed when the new dispensation was ushered in.  Just finding the dispensational line is one thing, but determining what crossed that line and what did not is a difficult and complicated study.  The issue you mention is only one upon which there is much disagreement. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following request:

If you have or know of any writing that not only explains salvation, but equally gives the reasons why a person can and should put all their faith in This Saviour, I have need of it.

In order to believe in Jesus Christ, several assumptions must be made. First of all, that there is a God. I do not think that this is that big an assumption. We are here, and so it follows that Someone put us here, though some try to argue that we made ourselves. Then, one must assume that God is good. This might seem a tall order to some considering all the bad things in the world, but considering the good things that are there, I think this becomes clear. These would not be there if God were not good.

Then, one must assume that God is interested in His creatures, and wishes to communicate with them. I do not think this is too much of a stretch, either, as a God Who is good, and Who has taken the time to create, we would expect that such a One would care about the beings He created, and would take an interest in their welfare. And it follows that, if God wishes to communicate, then He DID communicate. God cannot be foiled in anything He attempts to do. The final assumption is that that communication is the Bible, God’s Word. There are many good reasons for believing this, such as Its consistency despite being written over several thousand years by many different authors, and Its historical accuracy, which has never been disproven. Read the rest of this entry »

Those who have read my messages on “Election” and on “Predestination, Omniscience, and the Foundation of the World” know that I believe that we all have the choice whether or not to believe in Christ for salvation. It has probably also become clear through my writings that I believe in what is also often called “eternal security” for the believer of today, and that once one is saved, that one cannot lose that salvation. I believe and teach that it is grace alone which saves us through faith, and that is apart from works. I firmly believe and have never doubted in the power of Christ to transform our lives.

Yet there are certain passages in the Bible that many use to suggest that those who display no fruit for God in their lives cannot truly be saved. Thus the question arises: were these people never saved in the first place? Is it possible for one to be saved, and then live a life of sin and godlessness, never showing forth the fruit that one would expect in the life of a believer? Or is there a rule that a true believer MUST show forth fruit in his life? If one seems to be a genuine believer with a changed life at one time, but then later seems to fall away from that and go back to a worldly lifestyle, does that mean that his salvation was never real? Or could it have been real, and he simply fell away? Read the rest of this entry »

prostrateWhen we think of the word worship in connection with our relationship with our Lord and Savior, what do we think of? What does this mean? How do we worship the Lord? Let us turn our minds to this thought.

What does it really take to worship? Is it by doing something outwardly, by performing some ritual or maintaining some right? Is it by an uplift of emotions, a soaring of the soul, when we can truly say we have worshiped? How is it that we must truly worship God today? What does He want us to do? Read the rest of this entry »

aloneThis you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” II Timothy 1:15.

Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” II Timothy 4:9-11a.

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.” II Timothy 4:16.

It is always sad to see some of your friends doing things that make you think they are turning away from the Lord. I know that’s hard when it’s people you’ve kind of looked up to and respected. I’ve had to go through that kind of thing a little bit myself. I mentioned Paul in a previous message, and how all his friends abandoned him. Think about it. He was a prisoner in Rome there in II Timothy, in the city where the believers were that he’d written Romans to. A whole group of believers there, and not one of them would even so much as come to speak for Paul to save him from death! How that must have hurt him! Read the rest of this entry »

doorA story that I think is really instructive about how we as believers can be like when it comes to seeking God’s will is a tale I once heard told by the Christian entertainer Mark Lowry. He was single at the time, and said that he had had three different women write to him and tell him that God had told them to marry him! His comment was that God must have quite a sense of humor to tell three different women that He wanted them to marry him.

Although Mr. Lowry’s way of presenting the story was amusing, I couldn’t help but find it rather sad as well, for I know that there are believers around me who act in the same way. Oh, they might not act quite as extremely as writing to some popular figure they’ve never even met and telling him that God told them to marry him. But the fact is that believers often do go to what, when we get right down to examining it, are ridiculous extremes and highly unreliable methods for trying to determine the will of God. Read the rest of this entry »

I think love is a greater sign of Christian maturity than is knowledge. Don’t be too impressed by these weighty things I talk about in my letters. If you saw me showing love and kindness toward those around me, you could take that as a much bigger sign of the depth of my dedication than if you read an exposition by me explaining Daniel’s seventy weeks, or something. Besides, a person’s true walk with God is something that is only the responsibility of two people…as Christians, we often try to make others into “better Christians,” but the fact is we are just trying to do something which is impossible. We might make others into better people, but only God can help someone in his relationship with Himself. Read the rest of this entry »

tightropeIt is easy to say, “I trust God.” It is harder to do it. We talk a lot about having faith, but I think it would be better if we also talked about having trust. Too often we mix the two. Faith is taking God’s Word to us and believing it. There is no faith without a direct word from God. To quit my successful job and go to Haiti as a missionary is not to have faith. Why? Because God has not spoken directly to me and told me to do so. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) Yet I have neither heard, nor read my decision within the pages of the Bible. No, it is not faith I show here, but trust. Trust that God will bring me through the decision I’ve made. Trust that He will lead me. Trust that He will protect me. Trust that even if I’ve made the wrong decision God will never abandon me. Read the rest of this entry »

Shipwreck“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

These are Paul’s words recorded in Romans 10:17.  By this we learn that, when it comes to faith, the word of God is all-important.  Yet God speaks in I Timothy 1:19 of the dangers that faith in His Word can face:

“having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.”

Yes, the faith of some can be shipwrecked.  Indeed, we see many influences around us today seeking to shipwreck those who are weak in faith.  Many are the critics of God’s Word who would seek to extinguish our faith in the word of God. Read the rest of this entry »