Calvinism and Evolution

Both society and the institutional church help people justify their irresponsible, sinful behavior.

The Bible says we’ve all been given life by our Creator and are accountable to listen to Him. The only ones who can truly listen are those who have been born again and receive divine assistance by coming to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Obedience is the point of salvation. God saved you to obey Him. Ephesians 2:8-10 most succinctly says this. We aren’t saved by obeying; we obey because we are saved, it’s what salvation creates us to do.

Perhaps the leading justification society gives you is based on evolutionary thinking. An unguided, random process brought us all here. We are products of this process and are driven by evolutionarily received genes. We have no choice really, but to obey our genes and drive evolution forward.

“Sin,” for the evolutionist, is anything that thwarts the greater good of evolving the species. “If it’s not hurting anyone, go for it” is the basic morality. But even if it does, quite frankly, it’s all part of the process taking out weaker elements.

I have heard evolutionists say that all the stuff that people do must be there for a reason. Evolution wired it into us and there must be a wise evolutionary reason it’s there. Somehow, and this is all a big mystery, this random process requires the rape of women to further its cause. So sin is really not that big of a deal. Ultimately, we praise evolution because everything that happens advances its process.

Most of the justifications the church gives for our irresponsibility comes out of Calvinism. Calvinism says that God has ordained whatever comes to pass from eternity past. If we sin, it must be because God wired it into us, there must be some reason why its there. Somehow, and this is all a big mystery, God requires the rape of women to further His cause. So sin isn’t really that big of a deal. Ultimately, we praise God because everything that happens advances His glory.

It’s rather startling how similar the takes on reality are in these two systems. Both end up denying free will. Both end up denying accountability and responsibility. Both end up chalking up bad stuff to mystery, not quite sure why it’s there, but suck it up, it must be for our good.

The common defense of the Calvinist is that not all Calvinists act like this. Famous Calvinists will be propped up and defended “They never acted like sin was no big deal.”

True. I find both Calvinists and evolutionists to be inconsistent in fully living out what they say they believe.

Calvinism leads people to believe that sin isn’t that big of a deal. Easy-Believism is not a non-Calvinist invention! I’m not saying that all Calvinists adhere to Easy-Believism, but all consistent ones do!

Calvinism, in many people’s opinion, comes from Greek Philosophy. Calvin based his stuff on Augustine, who based his stuff on the Greek philosophy he grew up in. Calvinism is rooted in philosophy.

Evolution is a philosophical construct as well. Sure, it sneaks in under the guise of science, but its the underlying philosophy that leads people to see evolution in the supposed evidence.

Human philosophy generally downplays sin, personal responsibility, and accountability. No one wants to be held accountable for what they do. But guess what? God is not a human! God’s wisdom is not rooted in human philosophy and guess what God thinks about responsibility and accountability?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
–2 Corinthians 5:10-11

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How The Church Keeps You Irresponsible

The Gospel is God’s way of bringing sinful people who don’t want to be held accountable by their Creator into being people who desire to do, and can do, what their Creator says.

Society does not like the Gospel. The Gospel is a massive downer to our selfish, narcissistic tendencies. You would expect society to be hostile to the Gospel. No one should be shocked that the world does not like the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What’s more amazing is how the church has become hostile to the Gospel. The Church is supposed to be the one place upholding the word of truth, yet we realize that no one is interested in the truth.

People in the church are just as selfish, narcissistic, and sinful as anyone else. These tendencies don’t magically disappear because you walk into a church building.

Churches want buildings and money and followers and everything else the world has. But in order to get such things, you have to keep unbelievers happy. Therefore, you can’t proclaim the Gospel, which the world thinks is foolish.

The Church, rather than upholding the Gospel and being a place where people can be built up in Christ, has become just another human institution on this earth doing its own selfish, narcissistic thing. The Church is not doing its responsibility. The church may be the most irresponsible institution on the face of the planet at this point.

Instead of proclaiming the Gospel that can rebirth you in Christ Jesus so you can do what God desires, the church has become one more institution telling you why its OK to be irresponsible. The church has come up with the following justifications for irresponsible behavior:

–God is love. He has no problem with anything you do. He just loves you and wants you to be happy.

–The Gospel actually turns Jesus into a magic pocketbook. If you listen to Him, He will give you all the fleshly desires you could imagine.

–Grace covers it all. It doesn’t matter what you do, God forgives you and nothing matters. Desiring to do good, in fact, might be a sign you’ve fallen from grace.

–God is in sovereign control. Every molecule of creation is doing exactly what God wants it to do. Nothing you do is of your own free will, and, somehow, God is glorified by it all.

Perhaps few come out and say it so bluntly, but this is the basic takeaway people get from these doctrinal distortions.

The church needs fleshly stuff, therefore it must keep fleshly people happy. The Gospel will never keep fleshly people happy.

So we’ve invented false gospels. We’ve constructed elaborate doctrinal structures to explain away personal responsibility. We now biblically explain to people why it’s biblical to not listen to the Bible. It’s a truly bizarre situation.

The church is not supposed to be part of the problem. We’re supposed to be upholding the solution: the Gospel of Jesus Christ that rebirths people into new life in Christ Jesus.

Instead we’ve fallen into the world’s trappings. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches has choked the life out of the church.

So, even church-goers believe their irresponsibility is OK. That God doesn’t really care what we do. That Judgment Day will be a judgment based on happy thoughts, rather than on deeds done in the body.

And we like it this way. But this will not work out well in The End.

How Society Keeps You Irresponsible

People do not like to take responsibility for what they do. Everyone has a desire to do their own thing, and it would be nice if others paid for it.

Irresponsibility would be cool except we have a conscience. We feel bad when we do irresponsible things and others have to pay for it.

So, what to do? Everything within us wants to be irresponsible, and yet something in us tells us irresponsibility isn’t right.

We must find a way to justify our irresponsibility. Society came up with the following justifications for irresponsible behavior:

–Societal constructs and the patriarchal hierarchy force you to do things. You’re a victim of the thinking of others in power.

–Genetics has wired you for behavior, there’s nothing you can do against your genes. You’re a victim of genetics.

–Evolution makes us selfish and this somehow advances our development. You’re a victim of evolutionary forces for the greater good.

–Politics lets us group up with others who are irresponsible like we are. It’s the other party’s irresponsibility that is truly bad. Ours is trying to save the world, man.

You would think that anyone with a biblical mindset would reject these ideas. The Bible tells the truth. Here’s the truth:

We were created in God’s image to do God’s will. God gave us responsibility and we were supposed to be responsible. We decided against it; this was called “sin.” As a result of sin, creation became harder to work with; responsibility got harder, but we were still held accountable for taking responsibility. We don’t like this. Instead of becoming more responsible, we became more sinful and continue to make life harder than it should be.

Our Creator, who still wants us to do His will, came as a human being. The Messiah was responsible and did everything His Father told Him to do, even unto death on the cross. His Father then raised Him from the dead.

We are told that by placing our faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, we too will be crucified with Christ and raised up to newness of life. The old irresponsible, sinful, flesh will be crucified with its affections and lusts. Old things will pass away and all things are new. We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has always wanted us to do.

Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be made responsible. We can be equipped to do God’s will, just like Adam and Eve could before the Fall. It will be hard, as we still have the pull of the irresponsible flesh in us, but as we fight the fight of faith, we should see victory over sin in our lives as we grow into the perfect man Christ Jesus.

That’s the answer to our desire to be irresponsible: Christ can equip us to be responsible again by putting to death the irresponsible old nature and giving us a fully equipped new nature.

But here’s the problem with that: No one really wants to be saved to be responsible!

The pull of sin is so strong in us, who in their right mind would want to be saved if responsibility is the result? Our flesh is fighting for independence so it can continue to do its own thing.

The Gospel is foolishness. The cross is an offense. We’d rather have lies, deception, and stupidity console us than deal with life-transforming truth. So we reject the Gospel and continue to do our own thing, which is largely irresponsible. We still have a conscience, but we’re silencing it, covering it up with the handiest justifications, gathering a group around us to console each other that we’ll be OK.

But Judgment Day is coming and your works are what will be judged. You would think the Church would be interested in reminding people of a coming Judgment of our works, but it isn’t. Because the majority of the institutional church is irresponsible too.

We’re in a fine mess. We’re killing truth and grasping lies. This will not work out well in The End.

10 Points to Summarize Justification by Faith

I’ve been talking about Justification for about a month now I guess. Perhaps I’ve overstayed my welcome. So I shall conclude with some points to summarize my take on justification.

1. Justification is by faith. We believe what Christ has done in the Gospel was done for us. That His Gospel is the only solution to our struggle with and enslavement to sin. I cannot release myself from sin by works or by myself.

2. Justification is not by faith alone. Even the demons believe. Martin Luther added “alone” to Romans 5. James says we are not justified “by faith only.” If the Bible says we’re not justified by faith only, then we should stop saying and believing we are justified by faith only.

3. Faith comes by hearing and hearing means obeying. The Greek word for “obey” means to “hear under.” To place yourself under the authority of what another is saying and obeying it. Faith is doing what God says. Our first response is to call out to God for salvation upon hearing His Gospel. New life is given to us where we continue to hear His Word and conform to it through the power of His Spirit at work in us.

4. No obedience means no faith. If a life of obedience is not growing in you after years, then you should conclude your salvation moment was not truly based on faith. Faith, every time it’s tried, regenerates a person and raises them up to new life in Christ to do good works. No good works; then there’s no new life.

5. One time acts are not obedience. Paul uses circumcision to make this point. Being a circumcised Jew, although proving you did one thing God asked, is not obedience and should not be confused with saving faith. The same holds true today for baptism or saying the prayer. One time acts only prove that one time you did a thing. It’s no proof of faith.

6. Justification by faith alone often turns into Easy Believism. Our flesh likes to believe it is saved by doing one thing one time. Your flesh does not want to stop sinning. But believing what your flesh wants you to believe will not bring you salvation, freedom, nor release from guilt. It will, in fact, make you even more guilt-ridden and defeated over time. If nothing else, you’ll be deluded right into hell.

7. Being Justified means you have been made righteous. Justification means being made righteous. Not just pronounced righteous, not a thing said despite evidence to the contrary. Justification means you have been made righteous and are now equipped to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world. Be not deceived, he who doeth righteousness is righteous. If you are not growing in righteousness, you have not been justified.

8. There are no verses in the Bible that say sin is OK. Despite people’s attempts to make the Bible say sin is OK, it doesn’t say that. Sin is bad. We’re not supposed to do it. Through the Gospel you can be released from sin’s bondage and can get victory over sin.

9. Denying personal responsibility drives much false teaching. The main force behind exaggerating grace and justification by faith alone is an attempt to excuse sin. We like to sin. Sin creates more of our doctrine than the Holy Spirit. Anytime someone concludes sin isn’t that bad, or human responsibility is minimized, rest assured you are hearing false teaching.

10. The Gospel is sufficient. Our hope is in Christ and in His Gospel. We believe what He has done to the extent that we see ourselves identified with Him in it. We were crucified, we were buried, and we were raised to newness of life with Him. This new life in Christ is given to us so we would do good works. If there is no new life evident, if good works don’t begin to appear, then whatever it was you did when you responded to the Gospel was not driven by true faith. It may have been an emotional response, a peer-pressure response, or who knows. The heart is deceitful. I do not know what is going on in your heart. God does. He’s the Judge. Get this right.

Justification and “It Is Finished”

Jesus Christ said from the cross, “It is finished.”

I’ve heard this phrase used many times in the argument about justification by faith alone.

I maintain that the faith that justifies is not alone. I think justifying faith works by love. Justifying faith does what God says. We know everyone in Hebrews 11 had faith because they did what God told them to do.

James says explicitly that we are not justified by faith only. Faith alone puts you on par with demons and people who wanted to stone Jesus (John 8).

But when a guy ventures into this water, he receives opposition. Apparently I am bringing people back under the law, teaching works righteousness, being legalistic, and denying Christ’s words that “He finished it all, there’s nothing else to add.”

Context is key to deciphering the meaning of any biblical phrase. “It is finished” has a context and the context is not about being justified by faith alone.

The immediate context of “it is finished” is John 19:30

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

What did Jesus think was finished when He said this? What did He just get done doing? The context shows that He just got done drinking vinegar. Perhaps there is something in the larger context bringing drinking vinegar and something being finished together. Let’s expand the view by going back to verse 28 and 29:

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

The word “accomplished” in verse 28 is the same Greek word translated “finished” in verse 30. “Fulfilled” borrows the same Greek root word as the Greek word translated “finished.” Therefore, accomplished, fulfilled, and finished are all related.

When Jesus said “It is finished” after drinking vinegar, it’s because that was the last bit of prophecy to be fulfilled in His earthly life before His death. “It is finished” has to do with fulfilling the scriptural prophecies of Christ’s earthly life. It has nothing to do with justification.

For a theological explanation of the same point, observe Romans 4:25:

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Justification is based on His resurrection, which obviously was not finished when Jesus said “It is finished,” because He wasn’t even dead when He said it.

Saying “it is finished” as some sort of mantra that means there’s nothing for a believer to do after “getting saved,” is a wild  misapplication of this phrase.

Ignoring biblical context is the foundation of Justification By Faith Alone. The Bible says we’re not justified by faith only. Luther added “alone” to Romans 5, because it didn’t say what he wanted.

You cannot hold to Justification By Faith Alone if you are seriously considering Scriptural context.

We teach for doctrines the commandments of men, just like another group of people that thought they were justified by one-time acts.

Whatsoever things were written before time were written for our learning. Weird how we don’t pay any attention to what was written before time, but gladly adhere to an easy message by any guy who comes along. Odd, no?

Justification by Faith Alone and John 8

John 8 is one of the more fascinating chapters concerning justification by faith.

John 8:30 says “many believed on Him,” the “Him” being Jesus Christ. If you believe that we are justified by faith alone, you would conclude that these people are saved.

Jesus Christ, who does not believe people are justified by faith alone, says, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).

Jesus Christ, the judge of peoples’ hearts, knows the true test is not whether you momentarily believed something, but whether you continue to hear everything He says.

Jesus Christ continues to talk to this same group who said they believed on Him. Although they liked the first three minutes of what He said, they argue everything He says for the rest of the chapter. He eventually tells them their father is the Devil because God’s word is not in them and they do the works of their father.

Jesus Christ, the judge, does not base His judgment of their faith on what they say, but on what they do. He accuses them of wanting to kill Him. If God were your Father, you would not want to kill Christ.

They deny all along that they want to kill Him. But guess what they do at the end of the chapter in verse 59? “Then took they up stones to cast at Him

Jesus Christ was right in His judgment all along! Surprise, surprise.

Again, this is the same group of people who said they believed on Him. The audience did not shift at all.

If you believe people are justified by faith alone, you would conclude that these people who want to stone the Christ are saved. You would be wrong.

This is not losing salvation. Genuine, saving faith continues in God’s Word. It keeps hearing and obeying and doing what God says. It would not decide to stone Jesus Christ!

Every judgment in the Bible is based on works. God does not judge you based on a momentary word of faith out of your mouth, but on a pattern of belief. Was there any change after your professed belief?

What about the thief on the cross?

After his confession, he told the other guy to knock off ridiculing Jesus Christ. he confessed his sin and his need of a Savior. Christ knows our hearts. He knows that if the thief on the cross had a longer life, he would live it serving Christ.

God is the judge. He tells us what His judgment is based on: not a momentary faith-like deed, not happy thoughts and words, but rather on the character of the life lived.

The Gospel brings new life. If there is no new life then you don’t believe the Gospel. Many profess to know God, but in deeds they deny Him.

Jesus bases salvation on whether you continue in His word, not whether you said you wanted to start one time.

This is a devastating message to modern Christian doctrine if you will hear it. Judgment Day is coming. Now is the time to get ready.

Who Does Christ Save?

There are many out there who claim to be saved. Who claim that Christ intercedes for them. That Christ has saved their soul.

It’s easy to claim things, what’s typically more difficult is to line yourself up with what the Bible says about stuff.

It would be good for us to know who the Bible says Christ saves. Ready?! Are you sure? You’ll be accountable after you read it. Proceed with caution.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
–Hebrews 5:8-9

The Lord Jesus Christ saves those who obey Him. I didn’t say that. God did in the Bible.

Now, I know we don’t like that teaching, but let’s be honest, people don’t like most stuff in the Bible. It would only make sense that we wouldn’t like how the Bible explains salvation.

I understand that what Hebrews says is different from what your Sunday School teacher said and from what Martin Luther said and from what that confident sounding guy on Twitter says. But who is our judge?

Our judge is the one who breathed out the words of the Book of Hebrews. The eternal words that will never pass away.

How does that make sense though? If no one is saved by works, how can salvation only be granted to those who obey Jesus Christ?

It’s a major question and one worthy of concentrated thought.

The typical response would be to ignore it. Explain it away with some pithy doctrinal sounding blather. Maybe explain how Hebrews is only for Jews. Or that we don’t know who wrote Hebrews, so be careful taking it seriously. Or other all Scripture is inspired and profitable denying angles.

The way the tension is resolved (and the tension is not a biblical tension; it’s a tension between what the Bible says and what the Church teaches) is to understand what the Bible means by “faith” and “believe.”

As we’ve covered before, when a sinner sees the salvation offered in the Gospel, they can call out for salvation and be saved. True faith that truly wants that salvation, is desperately looking for a way to become obedient to God, to escape bondage to sin. That’s what drove them to salvation to begin with.

When that true, faithful heart cries out to God, they are re-birthed and become partakers of the divine nature. They are now equipped to do what is right and fight off the temptations of sin. Obedience is always the fruit of faith. Faith will always look like obedience. Obedience is how you know you are saved. The only ones who can obey God are ones who are saved.

He’s not looking for a changed life first and then salvation. He’s looking for a sincere heart desire for a changed life. A person who desires a changed life will be given one through the Gospel.

The Gospel frees us from bondage to sin and sets us free from its unreasonable mastery. We then become servants of righteousness with fruit unto holiness. Obedience is the fruit every single time.

If your life is not changing, if obedience is not becoming the hallmark of your life, then salvation did not take place.

We are saved by grace through faith. And that saving faith will look like obedience.

You’ve got to get this right. The easy-believism, hyper-grace gospel out there that says salvation doesn’t change you, all it does is make sinning OK, is wrong. There are many who are deceived in the church today. The road to destruction is broad and there are many on it. Don’t be one of them.

What sort of insanity makes a person think listening to the one who died for them is a burden to be avoided? Anyone who understands salvation, its cost and its provision, would have no problem agreeing to obey the one who made it all possible.