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Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines

We look for the Saviour

If you survey the internet you’ll find almost an infinity of ideas and warnings of the End-times — the period around the return of Jesus Christ. People speak of the “blood moons” — lunar eclipses — the last of which just occurred in April 2015. I believe the excitement here is related to the biblical symbolism of the phrase “moon turned to blood” found in Joel 2:31, and repeated in Acts 2:20:

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

blood-moon-tetrad-2014-2015

The “great and terrible day of the Lord” is the day of Christ’s return to rule as King. However, blood moons are astronomical phenomena, which occur like clockwork and can easily be predicted well in advance, because God has so ordered the heavens, like clockwork.  The “sun turned into darkness” symbolises a solar eclipse, which also can be predicted like clockwork. However God does use natural occurrences as signs and symbols. He used a rainbow to symbolise a covenant with Noah that He would never flood the whole earth again. The rainbow was not new to Noah, but God gave it a new meaning (Genesis 9:13-16). And in Acts 2:19 we read,

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The Resurrection of the Just

bride

Luke 14:14 And you shall be blessed … for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (KJVER)

THIS IS THE BELIEVER’S GLORIOUS PROSPECT, GOD’S SURE PROMISE, because Jesus rose from the dead. When He appears, the dead in Christ shall rise first. They shall rise incorruptible, powerful, spiritual, and glorious, in full conformity to His glorious body. His voice will rouse them, His power will raise them, and His glory will surround and adorn them. They shall be like Him, for they shall see Him as He is. What a glorious dawning will the resurrection morning be! How deeply we are interested in it, and yet, how little it exercises our thoughts, or excites our anticipations. It may be the very next morning we shall see, for we may die in our sleep; or for aught we can tell, Jesus may come tomorrow. Are we ready? Are we justified before God through faith in Jesus? Are we just with men, rendering to all their due? The resurrection of the just will be most glorious; they shall come forth perfect in holiness and beauty. We ought often to think of that day, to prepare for it daily, to live and act as if it was just at hand, to do as Paul did, who laboured, suffered and prayed, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection.—Daily Remembrancer April 6 Evening

DR April 6 E

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The Final Resurrection

Today is Good Friday which is still recognized in the post-Christian West as a memorial and celebration of the Easter Friday that Jesus Christ willingly gave His life on the Cross, as the Passover Lamb, to vicariously pay our penalty, owed to God the Father, for our sins. He gave His life so that those who accept His once-only-forever-never-to-be-repeated sacrifice, by trusting in Him, as Lord and Saviour, might be redeemed to the Father, whose justice is served, who then cannot even see our sin. We are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. This covenant was sealed and perfected in Christ’s resurrection, which is celebrated on Sunday.

The following is a summary of what John Calvin wrote on the matter.

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

calvin3-686x3502. None of the ancient philosophers, except Plato, acknowledge the chief good of man to consist in his union with God. But of the nature of this union, Plato had not the smallest idea. We know what is the only and perfect happiness even in this earthly pilgrimage; but it daily inflames our hearts with increasing desires after it, till we shall be with its full fruition—the resurrection.

3. Let the importance of the object sharpen our pursuit. Paul argues, that if there be no resurrection of the dead, the whole Gospel is vain and fallacious; for we should be “of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). To this subject, the most important of all, let us give attention never to be wearied by the length of time.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

Answering critics of predestination

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

A Refutation of the Calumnies Generally, But Unjustly, Urged Against This Doctrine

1. When the human mind hears these things, as stated in the previous chapter, its petulance breaks all restraint. Many would admit election in such a way as to deny that anyone is reprobated [given over to sin]. We say, whom God passes by, therefore, He reprobates, and from no other cause than His determination to exclude them from the inheritance which He predestines for His children. Unlike the persons I have mentioned, Paul never strives to excuse God. He only declares that it is unlawful for a thing formed to quarrel with his Maker.

Nay but, O man, who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? (Romans 9:20, KJVER).

Christ declares it this way, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13).

2. Another objection put forward by our adversaries is, by what right the Lord is angry with His creatures, who had not provoked Him by any previous offence. For that to devote to destruction whom He pleases, is more like the caprice of a tyrant than the lawful sentence of a judge. We reply: How presumptuous it is for them to inquire into the causes of the Divine will; which is, in fact, the cause of everything that exists. For the will of God is the highest rule of justice. When it is inquired, why the Lord did so, the answer must be, Because He would. But if you go further, and ask why He so determined, you are in search of something greater than the will of God, which can never be found. Now, we represent not God as lawless. Plato says, laws are necessary to men, who are the subjects of evil desires. But the will of God is, not only pure from every fault, but the highest standard of perfection, even the law of all laws.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

Predestination: Did God choose to save some?

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

Eternal Election, Or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation, and of Others to Destruction

1. The Gospel not being equally preached to all, and among those to whom it is preached not always finding the same reception, this leads us to inquire into the doctrine of God’s eternal election. In the opinion of many, this is a perplexing subject; for they consider nothing more unreasonable, than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestinated to salvation and others to destruction. On our part, we shall never understand fully our salvation as flowing from the fountain of God’s free mercy, until we know His eternal election. The knowledge of God’s eternal election is productive of the most delightful benefit; but ignorance of this principle detracts from the Divine glory, and diminishes real humility. According to Paul, what is so necessary to be known, can never be known, unless God, without regard to works, chooses those whom He has decreed. “At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5, 6).

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines Christianity

On Christian Liberty

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. Christian Liberty is an appendix to justification. But there are some who, under pretext of this liberty, cast off all obedience to God, and precipitate themselves into the most unbridled licentiousness [state of indulging in excessive freedom]. Others despise this liberty, supposing it to be subversive of all moderation and morality. In spite of such difficulties arising from this doctrine, we must exert to understand it, in order to obtain internal peace of mind.

2. Christian liberty consists of three parts. The first part is, when seeking justification before God, we should be delivered from the righteousness of the law. Dismissing all thought of our own works to attain justification, let us turn our eyes solely on Christ.

While we are delivered from the claims of the law, before the tribunal of God through justification in Christ; the law, however, remains useful to believers. It continues to instruct, exhort and stimulate us to duty and holiness.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

What is the meaning of Repent?

John the Baptist and Jesus Christ opened their ministries on Earth calling for repentance (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15). Jesus, in His Revelation to John, called the church of Ephesus to repent.

Revelations 2:5 Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place, except you repent. (KJVER)

The Revelation might be shrouded in symbolism but Jesus was clear in His admonition. They need to μετανοέω (metanoeo) the Greek word translated ‘repent’ in the New Testament. Do ‘the first works’? Believe, for those who have not yet believed, and for many, get back to God!

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines the Bible

The Deity of Christ in the New Testament Scriptures

The deity of Christ is explicitly stated in the Scriptures. But some verses are subject to the revisionists who exclude certain readings, depending on which Greek NT manuscript they were translated from.  Whether the Traditional Text in the Textus Receptus (the Received Text, published by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam in 1516 A.D.) is used or the Critical Text (CT), derived from the revised Greek NT of Westcott and Hort. Thus the CT is based largely on the 4th century Vaticanus B codex (book) with some readings from the Sinaiticus ℵ (Aleph) codex and a handful of others manuscripts.1 Refer here for more details on some of their corruptions.

The Textus Receptus (TR) has been classified into what some call the Majority Text (MT) because the majority (99%) of extant Greek manuscripts (mss) agree with its readings. However most modern Bible translations rely on the CT where the claim is made that the older mss are more accurate, i.e. closer to the original autographs, which, by the way, are all lost.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The just shall live!

For about 40 years I have heard believers state, “the just shall live by faith.” For that whole time I have taken that to mean, that by their faith, or following their faith, they will live on this earth. That is, we follow the blueprint that God laid down in the Bible for us to live by, not by law but by faith. The focus being on the living by faith, trusting in the living God. That view seems to be supported by these New Testament Scriptures:

Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

I understand when Paul wrote in Romans 1:17 “it is written” he was quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

By faith alone, resting on the mercy of God

Justification by Faith. The Name and Thing Defined

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. Justification by faith has been discussed before this, but slightly, because it was necessary first to understand that the faith, by which alone we attain justification, is not unattended by good works. The subject of justification must now be fully discussed, with the recollection that it is the principal hinge by which religion is supported.

2. First let us explain the meaning of these expressions: To be justified in the sight of God, to be justified by faith or by works. To be justified in the sight of God means that a person is accepted, on account of his righteousness, before the Divine judgment; for iniquity is abominable to God, and no sinner can find favour in His sight. Thus he must be said to be justified by works, whose life shows such purity and holiness, as to deserve the character of righteousness before God. On the other hand, he will be justified by faith, who, being excluded from the righteousness of works, receives by faith the righteousness of Christ. Invested in Christ, he now appears in the sight of God, not as a sinner but as a righteous man. Thus we simply explain, that justification is God receiving us in His favour, esteeming us as righteous persons. This consists of the remission of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.