God’s Sovereignty

Posted April 19, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: calvinism, grace

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My most precious fiance lent me a great book, “Trusting God”, by Jerry Bridges:

http://www.amazon.com/Trusting-God-Even-When-Hurts/dp/0891096175

And this book impressed me so much that I have to share some thoughts.

 

There were things that we thought about, but (as far as I’ve seen) no-one formulated it so well: God is sovereign on EVERYTHING. Not just on salvation, when it comes to our lives as Christians, but also on every other aspect of our life, on all nations, on wicked men, on nature.

Particularly important I found the chapter “God’s sovereignty and our responsibility”, also dealing with “Our failures and God’s sovereignty”.

 

After reading this book I came to believe that we have the Old Testament mainly to reveal the way God carries out His divine plan and how everything is being subjected to this purpose. We don’t have the theology of the Christianity in the Old Testament (in the way we have it in, for instance, Romans or Ephesians), but we can see clearly how God unfolds His plan according to His good pleasure.

 

God’s sovereignty is crucial. 

We can call it the arminianism vs calvinism controversy, but take His sovereignty out of the Bible and we are left off with some custom-made god we created according to our imagination.

Everything is affected by the fact that God is sovereign (or not).

Sovereign in our salvation, in the way it is initiated, in the way we are kept in His will. But also everything happens to us in our daily walk with Him.

 

A quote from the book which I liked a lot:

“God in His love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty He has the power to power to bring it about”

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Another personalized post

Posted April 19, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: blessings, grace

Tags: ,

 

1 Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

No, this is not about heaven, but about our life on earth. There is no reference to heaven, neither here nor in the passage Paul quotes (from Isaiah 64:4)

 

I feel so overwhelmed by what God did in my life lately.

I could not possibly believe that His goodness can be so big!

Every time I would disobey God I felt so unworthy (like I was, actually).

But when we obey God, we have inside us Holy Spirit’s peace that reassures us, in total contrast with the previous case (even when it hurts).

 

Malachi 3:10

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

 

This is apparently one of the two places in the Bible where we are told to prove God.

 

The latest gift I received from Him is simply far beyond my most daring expectations.

One would think that for a mere mortal it is dangerous to have so much happiness, that there’s only a certain amount of it that could fit in.

I know that God is in control of that, too, like He is sovereign on everything under the sun.

 

Proverbs 31:10

An excellent wife, who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels

 

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

 

Yes, I got engaged. 

God’s salvation is a perfect gift for me.

And after that comes Mihaela, whom God, in His immeasurable goodness and Sovereignty, brought in my way. And me in hers.

I so often feel like Peter, who, after being confronted with who Jesus was, said “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”

A personal note about a not so personal blog

Posted April 19, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Carnal, flesh, mortification, self-denial, Uncategorized, Worldly

Tags: , , , , , ,

Right now (and in the last two months) I am simply overwhelmed by the way God chose to bless me.

But before I get to that, there is something I got to say something about what happened before God’s blessings came upon me.

Even though the blog was called “nothing between”, there was still something I wanted to keep – in a way – for myself. I was thinking that was a reasonable compromise, but it was not reasonable at all.

I think that the people who compromise are the most unhappy of all. They are too bad when compared to the church, and in a sense, too good when compared to the world (we are actually not “good” ourselves, though, we have it from Him).

My close friends, you know all about it and I want to thank you so much you for your prayers!

We think so often (like I did) that we can manage sin. We cannot. God knows EVERYTHING about us. He knows that it is infinitely better for us to just obey Him, even when we think we “know better”. 

On the other hand, I’m so glad God is not frustrated by our failures. And He never tells us “I told you not to do that. Now deal with the mess you are in”.

It is my responsibility all that happened and if the Christians will be judged, I’ll be judged for that too. 

Was is God’s will that I sin? No, absolutely not!

Was that God’s plan? Again, no.

But God in His sovereignty can turn our life around at any point (no matter how low). All it takes is our availability to surrender it all.

Now, that this is over, I realize that it is simply too “expensive” not to obey God completely. It was for me, in the sense that it was painful, because I knew it was not right. Someone said that “one always feels miserable when he disobeys God, and on the same time one feels so good (in the sense of “doing what’s right”) when one obeys God.

This is definitely true. Now, that I think back, I don’t want another step outside God’s will, no matter how small the step.

And a big disclaimer: throughout this blog, I didn’t mean to seem what I was not (namely godlier). It was not the purpose of the blog. If I did it, it was unconscious, but I’m sorry and prayed that God forgives me too. And for the most special person in my life, please forgive me too.

For Him, by Paul Washer

Posted March 4, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Paul Washer

Tags: , , , , ,

Transcript of one of his messages (one of the most powerful I’ve heard)
In case you’d rather listen, turn the computer sound down first 😉
The video is here.

You don’t need self-esteem. You need the knowledge of God. It’s all about Him!
Your heart beats for Him!
You were given breath for Him!
You were given strength for Him!
You were given a mind for Him!
You were given everything you were given for Him, and it is only by living for Him that you’ll ever going to have find purpose or meaning.
And even in that you will not find purpose and meaning, if your goal is to find purpose and meaning.
You should believe in Jesus Christ, you should repent and you should serve Him even if He sends you to hell because He is worthy of repentance, He is worthy of faith, and He is worthy of service, though you get nothing from it.
Do you understand that kind of Christianity?
Well, it’s all about Him!
And not about men.
For what reason does our heart beat? For what reason does our chest draw in breath?
There is only one reason, and this is for Him.
Men were not made for men.
This world was not made for men
Men were made for God.
And the christian says “I was born in sin and in sin my mother conceived me”.
I have broken every law of God and I deserve the full extent of His just wrath against me.
I am trusting in the virtue and the merit of another.
Jesus Christ my Lord.
All to Him.
“Nothing in my hands I bring
Simply to the cross I cling”
I need no other argument, I need no other plea
It is enough that Jesus died
That He died for me.
A young man came tome one day and he said “You’re right, brother Paul, Jesus is all we need”.
I said “young man, Jesus is all we have, He’s not just all we need”.
Outside of Him, there is nothing.
You need to understand that that great book of Colossians does not only teach us that the world was created by Christ and for Him but it was created in Christ.
Everything outside of Jesus Christ is not reality!
Everything outside of Jesus Christ is absolutely absurd!!
Everything outside of Jesus Christ is death!
There is nothing. There’s no reality, there’s no logic, there’s no sense, there’s no reason, there’s nothing that works, everything was made to be in Christ
Your greatest problem is lashing yourself down to this truth, Total surrender to the person and will of Jesus Christ for the glory of Jesus Christ

That men might see what they are and in seeing what they truly are,having their hearts exposed, they will see their need of a Saviour.
But while you play with them, and cuddle them and protect their so-called self-esteem, you at the same time damn their soul to hell. Seems like every time I get up to preach in a meeting some person would get up and sing a song that asks the question “Oh, God, what did you see in me, that you saved me!?” and I feel like a kid in school with his hand raised in the back: “Oh, pick me up, I’ll tell you.” What did God see in you!? He saw an object of wrath. He saw someone who broke every law he ever made and lived a dislocated perverted life.That’s what He saw. Why did He save you? Two reasons:
1) God is love
2) To demonstrate His glory, His mercy, His attributes.
Not only the world, but even beyond.
You were given everything you were given for Him!
And it is only by living for Him that you’ll ever going to find purpose or meaning.

The Duty of Self-Denial, by Thomas Watson

Posted February 16, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: calvinism, flesh, mortification, Puritans, self-denial, Thomas Watson

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Excerpts from: The Duty of Self-Denial

Luke 9:23
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple

Matthew 10:38
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me

John 12:25
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

Romans 8:13
if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Practical issues: what does it mean?

1. A Christian must deny his reason

Reason must be denied in credendis and in agendis.
In credendis (doctrines to be believed): the doctrines of Trinity, Incarnation, Resurrection
In agendis (in duties anjoined to be practiced

2. A Christian must deny his will.

Here we must deny our will and bring it to God’s will. If a crooked stick is laid upon the ground that is level, we do not try to bring the ground even with the stick, but to make the stick even to the ground. So God’s will is not to be brought to ours, but our will being crooked must be brought to God’s will. We pray, “Thy will be done.” The way to have our will is to deny it.

3. A Christian must deny his own righteousness, his civilities, duties, and good works

Philippians 3:9
…and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith

4. A Christian must deny all self-confidence

Matthew 26:33-34
But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.”
Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”

Matthew 26:72
And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

Romans 11:20
Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

1. Corinthians 10:12
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

Revelation 3:17
You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

5. A Christian must deny self-conceit

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

I Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Ezekiel 28:2
Son of man, say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
       ” ‘In the pride of your heart
       you say, “I am a god;
       I sit on the throne of a god
       in the heart of the seas.”
       But you are a man and not a god,
       though you think you are as wise as a god.

Your dark side is broader than your light side. Your ignorance is more than your knowledge. Your knowledge is but the light of a torch, your ignorance as the Cimmerian darkness. You have no cause to be conceited of the knowledge you have, but rather to be humbled for what you lack.

6.A Christian must deny his appetite

Proverbs 30:15
There are three things that are never satisfied,
       four that never say, ‘Enough!’:

1 Corinthians 9:27
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Philippians 3:19
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

7. A Christian must deny his ease
Proverbs 19:24
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth.

Matthew 25:26
But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.

8.A Christian must deny carnal policy (the wisdom of the flesh)

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

9. A Christian must deny his inordinate passions

James 1:26
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.

James 3:6 
And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

10. A Christian must deny his sinful fashions

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Corinthians 11:14
Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,

1 Timothy 2:9
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments

11. A Christian must deny his own aims, must not aim at self-applause

John 1:15
John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.'”

1 Peter 4:11
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ

12. A Christian must deny all ungodliness

Titus 2:11-12 
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
instructing us to deny ungodliness and   worldly desires and   to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

13. A Christian must deny his relations

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

14. A Christian must deny his estate for Christ

Matthew 19:22
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have   treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

15. A Christian must deny his life for Christ

Again, Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

Mark 8:38
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation,   the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He   comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Quotes draft

Posted February 14, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Uncategorized

We think many times that those who follow false teachers are the victims. It’s also possible that God allowed that they finally got this teaching because they rejected God. Because

The whole life is a mirrors hall, where we just want to find the right mirrors, so that we appear “from the favourable angle” to the others.

God never changes His mind, never has second thoughts

You win by losing, you live by dying.

From the “much” you’ve done, how much of it is eternal?

The difference between the dead old man and the flesh

Posted January 30, 2009 by Cristian
Categories: Carnal, Christopher Love, flesh, Puritans, regenerate, Sanctification, Worldly

Tags: , , , , , ,

Summary from “The works of Christopher Love” volume 1.
From “Who were the puritans” by Matthew McMahon, lesson 8:

Some Bible verses first:
Romans 6:6
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Eph. 4:22
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Colossians 3:9
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

Romans 7:5-6
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Now, the syllogism with 17 points

1. What is the old man? 
It’s not the sinful nature. The old man is the man, or state of being  in the unregenerate state. The state of the stony heart, the state of being under the dominion of sin.
There’s remnants of the sinful nature, but the old man is gone, he’s dead.

2. What nature is the old man (with the stony heart) dominated by?
It was dominated by the sin nature, or the flesh

3. What does God fully remove from us when we are saved? (what does He take out)
The old stony heart has been removed.

4. What does God replace the stony heart with?
He replaces it with a new heart:
Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Heart = will, emotion, inner man, affections toward God

5. Regeneration or receiving a new heart, instills in us what?
According to what Jesus says to Nicodemus and to the disciples in many of His discourses:
New principles of life have been instilled in us, that is the new man, the regenerate man, we have a new man now that’s living.

6. Do we have our old heart, or has God given us a new heart?
We have a new heart, and the old heart is taken away, it no longer exists

7. Can the old man live without his heart?
(the old man whose heartbeat was of the stony heart and that heart is ripped out and a new heart is put in, that is not akin to the old man, can the old man live without his heart?)
No, he cannot live without his stony heart

8. Is the old man dead?
Yes. He is dead. Dead as a doornail. Very important.

9. Though God instilled in us a new principle of life, killing the old man who is now dead, did He also remove the sinful nature from us? (the flesh)
No

10. Why?
To be discussed in a next lesson by Matthew McMahon

11. What is the flesh?
The corruption nature of man by original sin (corruption understood by habit or as an act)

12. Are Christians dominated by sin?
The old man was dominated by sin.
No, the Christians are dominated by the Holy Spirit

13. Also the answer to the “why” not dominated by sin.

14. What is the old man?
We were a certain kind of man, but now this man is crucified, he’s dead.

15. Distinction between the old crucified man and the flesh.
(basic distinction that Paul, the reformers, and the puritans make)
The flesh is the sinful nature, the remnants of it is still left in us.

16. Do Christians do currently war against the flesh?
Yes, by all means.

Romans 13:14
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
2. Corinthians 12:7
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Whether physical or spiritual, it doesn’t matter. “Lest I be exalted”.
Gal 5:24
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
In that context, does “crucified” mean “dead”?
In Paul’s context dealing with Jesus dying on the cross, we know He’s talking about deadness, but is it the same here? Is the sinful nature dead? 
The old man is dead. Is the sinful nature dead? 
No, it’s not dead, it’s not completely crucified.
“Crucified” doesn’t always mean “dead”. It always means that it will ultimately die, (when the Christians get to heaven), but not necessarily right here on the spot.
Crucifixion is a long, arduous death.
When you’re the roman soldier constantly watching the flesh as it dies on the cross, but desires to have its resurrection, you must not allow it.
Ephesians 2:3
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

The flesh still wants to revive those former lusts and you want to kill it. That’s the idea of mortification.
17. The flesh is looking to the old man to revive.
The old man is dead, but the flesh is still around and it’s looking for the old man.
The flesh doesn’t know that the old man is dead and it’s looking to resurrect, to revive the old man.
It is looking to conquer the old man, as it has done before, but guess what it runs into.
It runs into the Spirit.  The Father, the Son and the Spirit who dwell in the Christian.

Think of yourself like of those lion hunters on a safari trip, and of the flesh like  of a big lion. You’ve wounded the lion severely, you’ve shot it, it’s bleeding, in a manner  in which it is going to die, but you’re still on your guard, because the lion doesn’t know it’s gonna die so even in the end of its life, even as you’re mortifying it is trying to sink its teeth into you, it is still trying to destroy you.
A beast who has been severely wounded by a hunter tries in every possible way to stay alive.
It is still dangerous, maybe more dangerous in the last hours than any time in its life.

So this is the sinful nature, the dangerous lion that desires to devour us.
And it is bleeding.
And it will be bleeding for the rest of our life, until either we die, or Christ returns.
The old man is dead, and sometimes we act stupidly, trying to revive the old man, to put him back on, and we’re not supposed to be doing that. We’re supposed to live for Christ. 

Romans 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.