Archive for the ‘Personal Choice’ Category

No Legitimate Reason


There are those who insist on no other course but to despise those who are not in agreement with their own narrow and corrupted views.

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Draw The Line


The Two Sides of the Question

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Body Building


Preparation for Work!

Our good friend Ray. S. has yet another thought from the ‘Ephesus Protocol’.

[Edited by: Phil. D.]

Passage:  Ephesians 4:1-16

Focus:  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”  Ephesians 4:12

No—I won’t presume to settle here the debate over the practical relationship between grace, faith, and works that has been active within the Christian community for centuries.

But I do want to offer a few thoughts and observations that flow out of this passage that I believe speak to the extreme position of what I’m inclined to call extreme grace’.

There are those who choose to believe there is basically nothing they can do in or of themselves to receive and/or maintain their salvation.  For them it is totally accomplished by the grace of God.  license

I have beheld far too many cases where I think this spin becomes a form of ‘theological license’ for one to live the way he wants to live and still get in on all the benefits of salvation.  This view holds that once the gift of God’s grace is received there is nothing that can be done to revoke it.

In support of this persuasion, Ephesians 2:8-9 is often quoted.  Let me quote it here for our review.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by WORKS, so that no one can boast.”  They would say, “See…there it is.  Works have nothing to do with our salvation.”

Well, I think it is important to point out the technicality that the main idea of that statement has to do with the origin of the gift—pointing to the fact that works could never pay for it, win it, or deserve it.

Rules & regulations2It is not earned or realized by following a bunch of rules, memorizing a bunch of scriptures, or performing a bunch of good deeds.  While it is true that the gift of salvation is made available by God’s love and grace to which we respond in faith, this saving faith is much more than so much mental activity.

In fact, this faith is declared by James (James 2:14-26) to be dead and worthless without works—without practical responses and actions of obedience to the core purposes of the gift.

Furthermore, I think it’s helpful to give heed to the next verse following Ephesians 2:8-9—that is, verse 10.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  That seems to put things into a balanced perspective.

Our salvation is a gift of God’s grace that is specifically designed by God to equip and program the receiver to do good works.  So there may be some good works without salvation, but I can’t see valid support for a salvation without good works.

 Today’s reading carries some of the same emphasis.

  • Why has God instituted the ministry gifts within the Church? To prepare God’s people for WORKS OF SERVICE.”
  • And the purpose of it all?  So that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Even the last word of the last verse of today’s reading is the word WORKFrom him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its WORK.”

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“The word EASY’ only appears once in the New Testament,

and then in connection with the YOKE’.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

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Ball of Responsibility


“Everybody talkin’ ’bout prayer ain’t doing it…”

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Check-up Time?


“… judging yourself in comparison with other compromising phony-baloney Christians…?”

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Measuring Stick


…another one of those high-impact statements that would be worth painting on our walls, hanging on our refrigerators, and etching across our bathroom mirrors.

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Pleasing Whom?


Authentic or phoney?

Are my convictions for real or counterfeit?

Written by: Ray S. Edited by Phil D.

Passage: Galatians 1

Focus: If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10.

WHO AM I LIVING TO PLEASE?  That has to be near the top on a list of most important questions for anyone to ask.  And a clear Biblical understanding of what it really means to be a CHRISTIAN is of major value in answering that question appropriately.  To “receive Christ” is to personally accept His atoning sacrifice for my sinful condition and designates Him as my personal SAVIOR.  But that’s not all there is to it.  More is required.  From that point on I am required to follow Him, obey Him, and SERVE Him—making Him my personal LORD.

Two headed coinMy grandfather was a machinist and old-world craftsman.  I judged that he could make anything.  I remember him playing with his skill by slicing two copper pennies in half, then bonding the two head halves together to form a double-headed penny.  That made for an amusing conversation piece—or a little deceitful trick that would win a coin toss every time if it was a “heads, I win—tails, you loose” arrangement.  However, to be technical, both pennies have now lost their value as negotiable pieces of currency.  Two sides are required in order for it to be an authentic penny.

In like manner, the two sides of Christ must be embraced in order to identify and confirm an authentic CHRISTIAN.  Christ must be both SAVIOR and LORD—or He is virtually NOTHING—and the so-called CHRISTIAN who misrepresents the authentic Christ is not an authentic CHRISTIAN.

This can only mean that if I allow my views, attitudes, and behavior to be shaped and driven by the world around me—my culture, peer pressure, or popular opinion—Christ is no longer my LORD in the truest sense—and my representation of Christ is skewed.  It is, therefore, essential that I continually monitor and evaluate my thinking and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)—so as to maintain Christ as both SAVIOR and LORD—and me as His SERVANT.  Please agree.

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“If the world doesn’t hate you, you are not like Jesus.”