God More Skeptical of Humans Than Ever Before

I read the headline on Drudge with amusement: Americans More Skeptical of God than Ever Before. I had to laugh. And laugh. And chortle. And maybe even snicker. All these surveys measuring human belief in God, and not a single one measuring God’s belief in humans.

According to the article in vocativ.com, in previous studies it was assumed that people were losing trust in organized religion, but were still pretty spiritual (whatever that means) in private. Now the researchers are thinking that people’s faith in God is declining, public or private.

I don’t have any trouble believing that people are fading. Selfishness is at an all time high, judging from observation. We buy Bibles at record rates, but our actions indicate we must be using them to prop up a broken couch leg or to hold our porn collection more securely on the bookshelf. We aren’t reading it, and we certainly aren’t doing what it says either.

Which begs the question: what does God think about us? We know He’s a God of love, or at least we hope He is, even to the extent that we hope He will always love us no matter what we do. So we keep doing it. But I don’t think that He loves unrighteousness at all. And for those who practice it He has a very dark, hot place all prepared.

Is this the falling away or rebellion that is spoken of by the Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3)? The whole world knows about God, but doesn’t know God? Without a doubt, in my opinion, yes.

I think we have turned God into a cosmic sugar daddy, and if He doesn’t deliver the goodies we turn away. Many of us only worship Him because of what they think they can get (health, wealth, etc.) and when they don’t get it they throw a temper fit. They wonder why God allows evil to continue, never questioning their own part in refusing to obey His Laws and causing the evil in the first place.

God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but at the same time He knows many will insist. He is losing His patience, I think, and for the sake of those who really believe in Him, evidenced by actions consistent with His Word and Law, He will be cutting things short very soon. Just because people lose faith in Him doesn’t mean He will leave those few who don’t out in the cold. But He’s very skeptical about those who are falling away.

Do unbelievers matter to God? I’ve got to say, I don’t think they matter very much to God at all.

Shalom
Bruce

Crucifying Another Christian

Well, they’ve got another Christian up on the cross.

The Duggar family is the latest to donate a sacrificial lamb for the slaughter, and the morally bankrupt media are gleefully driving in the hypocritical nails. The corrupt and flaming leftist Lena Dunham writes a book detailing the sexual abuse of a younger sister and the Pontius Pilates of this age just yawn.

But a man who has proven himself to be an exemplary adult, who paid for his sins while still a minor, and whose record should’ve been sealed, has those same neo-Roman officials washing their hands.

You and I both know what is really going on. The people who don’t shrink back from following God are being torn down, just like that guy who walked here 2,000 years ago. This world cannot stand anything or anyone associated with God, especially those high profile people who make People magazine. The goody two-shoes are despised and always will be. Even reformed, repentant goody two-shoes are targets, not because what they have done is so wrong or so different from the normal behavior of the godless but because the depth of godless hate runs so deep. Those oh-so-tolerant Canaanites simply will not tolerate someone who reminds them they are on a path to hell.

If the Duggars are smart they’ll be preparing lawsuits as I write. Hopefully they won’t chicken out and hide behind a few frequently misinterpreted Scriptures about loving everyone and letting God be the judge. There is more at stake here than just hurt feelings or resignation from a job. The fight is not physical, it’s spiritual. Christians are being wrongly maligned left and right (mostly left) and there are solid biblical reasons for using our God given judgment to push the darkness back even if only a little. Our weapons might be spiritual, but there’s nothing wrong with smacking the lions on the nose with a sword every once in a while. Or the Pilates.

Shalom
Bruce

A Whole Bible Look At: Romans 5 through 8

Did you know there are seven different laws listed in Romans? Did you know the English word law is used 78 times from chapter 2 to chapter 8? Did you also know that love is mentioned 15 times, not counting “beloved?” The most important are the 13 in 5:5, 8; 8:28, 35, 37, 39; 12:9, 10; 13:8, 9, 10; 14:15; and 15:30. Did you know Paul’s main subject is living the Law with love and the Spirit rather than in a self-seeking attempt to earn our own salvation righteousness?

That information with much else is covered in our Romans video series. Got the second video up now. It took a while to start posting these mostly because I was learning how to do multi-camera editing. Plus I have to do about 40 slides, place them in the video, edit the sound, add titles and make sure everything is ready to go.


This series is mostly to help the whole Bible believer explain Paul’s writings in context with the rest of Scripture (including the Law). Many (many, many) people calling themselves believers use this book along with Galatians and selected other sections of Paul’s writings to remove the Law from a believer’s life. Not only does this not do justice to Paul’s writings, but removing the Law is like removing the most nutritious parts of food, then wondering why we still seem to be starving to death.

And the church IS starving. We started starving when we began sitting in judgment on His living oracles, approving behavior that is specifically listed for us as harmful. Paul specifically says that the law is good, righteous, holy and spiritual. He “delights in the Law of God” but “I see in my members another law waging war.” This law is the law of sin, not the Law of God. The law of sin is the one where we try to earn salvation righteousness from God by following some rules (without the heart or the Spirit). View the video to see how this is explained by Paul.

Shalom
Bruce

The Testing of Jesus

At the stoning of the woman caught in adultery, did Jesus teach that the Law was gone, or did He criticize because the Law was not followed? Did Jesus eliminate the Law as popular church teaching suggests, or did He disapprove of the mishandling of God’s living oracles? I think in each question it is the latter. When Jesus was tested, He stayed with the Law while His opponents stuck with their own interpretations and traditions. His opponents were wrong in nearly every case.

Jesus never tells us that “we all sin” so none of us can judge. What He tells us is that to judge properly we need to stay within the whole of His Law. The people testing Jesus wanted permission to sin. They wanted certification for their self-appointed authority. But they didn’t want God’s Law. See the video for more details.

Shalom
Bruce

I Don’t Know

It’s okay to say “I don’t know,” especially when talking about the Bible or answering someone’s objections.

 

I don’t know for sure who the people before the flood (antediluvians) married. I assume brothers married sisters for at least a while, but I don’t know. Later, it appears this was not something to continue because God tells us to stop.

 

I don’t know who the “sons of God” were that took daughters from the “sons of men” in Genesis 6:1-4. I know that it wasn’t good. It seems to be connected to the wickedness of man being great on the earth (Genesis 6:5). But I don’t know for sure.

 

I don’t know for sure, but I’ve got a good idea that people in the Land before Israel moved in needed to be wiped out. They were asking for it. Every abomination conceivable at the time was in practice in Canaan. Children were routinely sacrificed. Sexual perversion was out of control. Leaders were defiant towards God and God’s ways. Their own actions caused the wiping. There were no innocents. The only option was to be removed from breathing for a while.

 

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18:24–30, ESV)

 

I know. It sounds like today, doesn’t it? I certainly want to spew when I see actions from people like Miley Cyrus or other so-called entertainers. I don’t know why people are repeating the same abominations that caused the destruction of the antediluvians or the Canaanites, or that will cause the destruction of what we see very soon. But I know it’s going to happen. We’re asking for it.

 

Maybe my understanding needs a little help. Maybe the text is not translated correctly. Maybe I just need to keep reading and keep pondering. Or maybe there are more things from His Word I need to be doing in my life, and as I add those my understanding will increase and I’ll figure it out. I don’t know.

 

That’s okay though. It doesn’t affect anything, because I know that God is good and merciful and whatever He had to do was needed and the only option. Whatever He does with the current Canaanites and pagans will be in the same vein. He created; He can do what He wants with His creation. In the meantime my understanding is good enough to know what He requires of me. Do what He says. All the other stuff will become clear. What he wants from me is very clear. I may not know about some of the things in the Word, but I know this: He is love and will always act in accordance with love. Even His judgment is from love.

 

If I don’t know something, it doesn’t detract from who He is, or what He wants. When we get in the middle of talking with people it’s no shame to say, “I don’t know.” I don’t know about a specific thing that happened 6,000 years ago, but I know what He wants from me. And I know what He wants from you. Do what He says. Avoid abominations. Abide in His Word. Repent. Turn from our own ways to His.

 

That part I know is very clear.

Shalom

It’s Our House

So if “it’s our house we can do what we want to,” why is it that we choose sexual immorality and perversion over what is right and good and clean?

If we have “free will” or “freedom in Christ,” why do we choose disobedience to God over obedience? Why do we choose to abide in our own knowledge instead of abiding in every word from God’s mouth?

I know what it was like to live in downtown Sodom. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what pop culture (and we use the term “culture” here very loosely) looked like in the middle of Canaan 3,000 years ago. It’s obvious what was happening just before the flood that caused God to say “every thought was only evil continually.” We don’t even have to use our imaginations. We get it in living color and high definition beamed into every corner of our communication receivers every minute of every day. We’ve got freedom, but look what we’ve done with it.

We cut ourselves loose from God, and this is the best we can come up with? Spiraling down and down to ever slimier, more perverted, unrestrained destructive and sterile wickedness? We refuse a drink from the wellspring of the living God, but don’t mind at all drinking from the toilet of modern culture? No wonder pagans were considered dogs. Running around focused on genitals and sensory satisfaction to the exclusion of all else, modern dogs show us what it means to live with no anchor, no boundaries and no life. Dressed up with sparkling lights, neon colors, gyrating dance moves and electric sounds there is the appearance of life, but for those who can see it still looks like horrifying death. Thank God we don’t have smell-vision yet. Audiences worship at the altar of American idols to self-will, making sacrifices and offerings of souls, refusing to repent of their pride, choosing instead lifeless manikins of plastic and makeup.

Even when they try to be good the idols fall short, because their good is merely a harsh echo of God’s and no more than a hand wave on the departing Titanic. Like whitewash on a tomb are the bright spotlights and gaudy clothes of the stage and screen. Feelings are no substitute for the energy and dynamic life of the holy Spirit, which only flows from a heart of flesh tuned to God’s Word.

Speaking Evil

What does it mean to speak evil of someone? Jesus spoke some heavy things about the religious leaders in Matthew 23. He said they were “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs” full of dead men’s bones, “son(s) of hell,” “blind guides,” that they loved places of honor, blocked the way into the kingdom refusing to enter themselves, and added to men’s burdens not lifting a finger to help among other things. So was this speaking evil? I don’t think so. What the leaders were doing was evil, and Jesus just called them out for it.

The modern meaning of speaking evil is somewhat different. Mostly it means saying something someone doesn’t like. As long as we speak in generalities, it’s acceptable to the people of the world. If we name names however, make it personal, then they don’t like it and we are probably going to be accused of speaking evil. Not that we are, just that we are accused. For instance I can say that some leaders block entrance into the kingdom. But if I say that, oh, Joel Osteen blocks entrance into the kingdom yet refuses to enter himself, then people get upset.

I get people mad at me because I’m somewhere in between. What I will say is if a person doesn’t follow the Word then he’s a wolf or whitewashed tomb or some of those other things that the Messiah said. I don’t make it personal by calling names. But I do make it personal by saying something like, “If people observe Easter and/or don’t observe Passover, then they are false teachers (hypocrites, tombs, blind guides, etc.). They are not Scriptural.” That way I’m not naming names, but I am holding up the leader’s work to the light of Scripture.

It’s amazing the number of people that get upset when you merely point out that they are not following Scripture. A lot of times the rebuttal is that following the whole of the Word (including Passover for instance) is “just a matter of opinion.” I’ll be told I “can’t throw stones” because I’m not without sin. This is not true (the stones part, not the sin part). The “can’t throw stones if sinful” doctrine is a false one so it’s not a surprise that evil people use it as a defense. The “opinions” defense is also wrong because the Word is clear. Speaking God’s Word is not evil. Intentional or not, it is the insistence on steering people away from God’s living oracles that is evil.

Speaking the Word, or pointing out how people are not following it, is not evil. People doing wrong (against the Word) are evil. People who tell me I’m not supposed to follow God’s Word are evil. Like a lot of words in modern times meanings have been reversed. Good has become evil, and evil has become good in the thinking of evil people.

Fear of God part 2

If you’re going to worship a god, make sure He’s the God who can destroy all other gods. Don’t choose those wimpy gods who cannot see or hear and don’t even have the power to blow their own noses. If more people feared God, we might see more gentle treatment of each other. We might also see a greater interest in what He says.

 

“The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.” (Deuteronomy 19:20 NASB95)

 

My son tells me that there were a number of things he didn’t do when he was younger. He avoided them because he was genuinely afraid of what I’d do to him if he misbehaved. “My dad would kill me” was not such a bad motivation for avoiding certain behavior. Especially when there is a lack of understanding in the child, and the big issue is just to avoid harmful behavior. Of course I wasn’t ever going to actually kill (or even injure) him (shhhh!) but it didn’t hurt to be afraid of me at least a little. Enough for him to avoid straying into destructive actions.

 

I love my kids and do not want them to learn the hard way. I want them to avoid natural consequences. So I develop other, perhaps more immediate and painful, artificial consequences to help them learn how to make good choices. A swat on the butt as a reminder to obey Dad is much better than getting run over by a car. The getting run over thing tends to be a one-time only learning experience. God does the same for us.

 

7I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7 KJV)

 

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? (Lamentations 3:37–39, ESV)

 

God creates evil in the sense that there are bad things that happen if we don’t listen to Him. He does it because He loves us, and wants us to see the cost of moving away from Him before it’s too late. If a little bit of true terror will help me choose correctly, it is much better than learning too late that my choice was wrong. He wants us to fear Him above any person, teaching, or situation that might tempt us to abandon trust and obedience. It is not a blind fear that He wants, but it is still a fear that is tinged partly with terror as well as respect and reverence.

 

14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14 KJV)

 

12“You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. 13“It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. (Isaiah 8:12-13 NASB95)

 

Fear of Him should override fear of anything else. If we are His kids, we do not fear destruction or rejection. But it’s good to be afraid of what He can and will do if we are not on His good side. If you are not His kid, you have every right to be terrified when He comes for you in judgment. One way or the other, sooner or later, fear of Him will impress itself on everyone. Better to feel it now and move closer to Him than to feel it when it’s too late.

 

From Whole Bible Christianity chapter 2 Fear

Demons Confess Christ

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NASB95)

Building on yesterday’s post about Jesus telling demons to shut up about His being the Christ, what else can be learned?

Demons can say the right thing, and still be demons. Their nature and behavior doesn’t change just because they know the truth. In fact, they are intimately acquainted with the truth. They know it backwards and forwards. They just don’t adjust themselves to it. Even though the demons “confessed Jesus” with their mouths, their hearts were not in it. Confession goes all the way to the heart. It doesn’t stop at the lips.

The “doctrines of demons” Paul mentions to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:1-5) are doctrines that seem right, but they are not God’s truth. The truth is God’s Word. Those who know the truth and adjust themselves to it (change of heart) will know the difference between the truth and a doctrine from hell. We know the truth if we do everything God says. The demon doctrine might use some of the words of the truth, but will be a lie. A lie is any teaching that departs in the slightest from the Word.

One is coming who will pass off a lie as the truth in such a convincing manner that most will be buy into the lie. Only those who know the truth and follow it, whose heart is completely His, will be able to tell the difference. The lie will be close to the truth, perhaps even using some of the same words that God uses, but the end is death. And the spirit of antichrist is already here.

They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the LORD. Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:3–6, ESV)

The End of the Matter

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:11–14, ESV)