Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Apprehending God"

3 Therefore I want you to understand that speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

This is a very interesting verse because it speaks to our very nature..We in our natural state of being, can not and will not believe in Christ nor say He is Lord..We are without this mere ability to even think it..

(AW Tozer says in the first page of of his book "The Pursuit of God" this..."Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which, briefly stated, means that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him. Imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow. We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit)

It is thru the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in us that enables us to even speak the words..This is further evidence of our sinfulness and our desire to please self and OUR TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON GOD. Without God's help, we are lost and condemned forever...it is only Thru God's mercy and grace that we are elected to receive the Holy Spirit and then we must respond to it when it comes upon us..So if anyone can even acknowledge Christ as Lord(whether they show it or not)you can conclude they have the Holy Spirit in them..because they don't have the ability otherwise..(this is profound to me)

At the very end of Romans 10 this is what is written
21 But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

This is an extremely prolific statement in that God's own people were rejecting Him, even though His mighty hands were open to them..just amazing

Now the actual message of Salvation..and how sweet these words are

10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

You must believe(have faith) in your heart first before God counts you justified...It must be an inner belief and not some intellectual agreement..and inward trust in Christ...then by professing with your mouth (not being ashamed) the inward reality..comes salvation..This is all dependent on the understanding of the complexities of Christ's death and the truths associated with it...Jesus bearing the sin of mankind and then a resurrection that gave evidence of God's acceptance(approval) of the payment (Christ's work) due God for our utter sin..

(Tozer writes "To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate, but he remains personally unknown to the individual. He must be they say, therefore we believe He is. Others do not even go so far as this;they know of Him only by hearsay. They have never bothered to think the matter out for themselves, but have heard about Him from others, and have put belief in HIM into the back of their minds along with various odds and ends that make up their total creed. To many others, another name for goodness or beauty or truth")

Incidentally Paul uses the actual word "Believe" a total of 6 times and the word "heart" 5 times in this passage of Salvation for All..verses 9-17..Paul is leaving no doubt as to his message here and works is not part of it..yet the people of Israel ignore him and base their belief from works..

12 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - This speaks again to those who call on Him..remember that we don't have the ability to call on Him unless the Holy Spirit resides in us..for it is not possible and not part of our very nature

As I am thinking this thru, the message of the unpardonable sin comes to my mind(no doubt prompted by the Holy Spirit) and remember it says that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit cant be forgiven..That means those who receive the Holy Spirit and rejects its calling can never enter Heaven..so it leads me to believe that God is generous with the Holy Spirit but obviously not all will heed its calling..and therefore not believe and therefore not be saved...because if you reject the Holy Spirit, you don't have the ability to speak the words "Jesus is Lord" nor the ability to even conceive it in your mind..and if you cant believe and confess, you cant be saved..This is like one big circle in my little ol mind..but this is exactly why this particular sin is unpardonable..because it totally restricts your ability to carry out the other necessary parts of salvation..so in its very definition..blaspheming the Holy Spirit is condemning yourself and leaving no ability to respond any differently than our nature

1) People will call on Jesus to save them only if they believe he can do so; (2) belief in Christ cannot exist without knowledge about him; (3) one hears about Christ only when someone proclaims the saving message; and (4) the message about Christ will not be proclaimed unless someone is sent by God to do so. That is why Paul was so urgent about spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth, for he believed that the only way to be saved was to hear and believe in the gospel..which is the reasoning for the great commission..our directive as believers..to take the message unto all peoples..not to convert them..but merely take the message

And let me conclude with this because this next statement will cause your mind to scramble for the rest of the day( at least it has thrown my mind into a tizzy)..

On the one hand, God predestines some to be saved. On the other hand, God still longs for all to be saved. Though it may seem impossible to understand how both of these statements are true, the Bible teaches both, and one should not use either truth to deny the other.

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