Category Archives: Essays

Short essays by L.S. James @ ebible.com

20150702 091558

https://ebible.com/users/31849/profile

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What is the unpardonable sin / unforgivable sin?

Question: What is the unpardonable sin / unforgivable sin?

Minding the context of Matthew 12:22-32 alone, it reasons that the Lord had his apologia aimed at his audience per se viz. The Pharisees. Period. (Woe betide them!)

But of the 613 Laws of the Old Testament called the Mitzvot and 38 Commandments from the four Gospels or 1050 commands via repetition in the New Testament for believers to obey, pray tell which of these sins – venial, mortal and all – defines ‘the unpardonable sin‘? What more then of the ‘strange fire’ hailed by the Church since her infancy (Rev 1-3)? Is she any less blasphemous today?

Give the Lord His due then, the preservation of the saints rests on the laurels of Christ alone: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Rom 5:19). Christ alone has preserved the pilgrim to present him holy and blameless at the Judgment Seat for an accounting to God and rewards, not condemnation. It is a done deal. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior (Jude 24, 25).

But to begin with, the sinner that repents and believes in The Christ of God (Luke 9:20) is saved. Faith alone in Christ alone saves. Otherwise, unbelief shall pale in disbelief at the dawn of its fiery fate. Behold, the unpardonable sin.

L.S. James

4 Sep 2014

See Other Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/1012?ori=31849

Q: Should Christians boycott companies that support anti-Christian policies?

Q: Should Christians boycott companies that support anti-Christian policies?

What are anti-Christian policies? Is the biblical Law aka the Torah of Moses or the Mosaic Law anti-Christian? If Sabbath violations, slavery, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and the like are altogether anti-Christian policies, then pray tell, where do Christians begin to boycott? For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.. (1 Cor 5: 12, 13). For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Pet 4: 17, 18)

Should Christians likewise boycott ’Christian’ law firms that front Christian lawyers to tackle divorce and other lawsuits among bible-believing Christians? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? (1 Cor 6:5-7).

Should Christians boycott Christian gynecologists that perform abortions at their consecrated clinics? Should Christians boycott Christian companies that flout eco-friendly laws and manufacture products derived from animal testing? Should Christians boycott Hollywood as if the grand old dame is void of Judeo-Christian patronage? Should Christians boycott churches peddling a different gospel (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1) that may altogether run like a money-spinning entity?

Do we Christians speak from both ends of our mouths and contradict ourselves when we nail one vice if only to nurse another? Can we throw the baby out with the bathwater? Only the gullible will fall for that scheme hook, line and sinker. So, should Christians boycott companies that support anti-Christian policies? Irony of ironies, lest we shoot ourselves in the leg, it seems altogether absurd.

[For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith (Rom 3:22-27)].

The Jerusalem Council: Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they” (Acts 15:6-11).

The Jerusalem Decree: For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well (Acts 15:28, 29).

Thank God then for the present age of grace – while it lasts!

L.S. James

5 Nov 2014

See Other Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/396?ori=31849

Are Christians sinners, saints, or both?

Question: Are Christians sinners, saints, or both?

Saints, that refer to all believers (Acts 26:10; Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:2), are but guilty sinners pardoned by the grace of God.

That man’s redemption from the curse of sin rests solely on the Messiah – The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29) – the believer that is utterly corrupt in body, soul, and spirit has been justified and redeemed from the curse of sin and death by the atoning work of Yeshua. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).

Jesus, being the propitiation for the sins of man once for all, is sufficient for all but effectual for some. What does this mean? It means that His exhaustive work at Calvary albeit sufficient for all is effective only for those that have embraced Him as The Christ of God (Luke 9:20; John 1:11; 17:6-26). Only those who have believed The Christ of God can enjoy the divine exchange: that when God vented His wrath at Jesus on the cross at Calvary, our sins were imputed on Him and the righteousness of Christ imputed on us.

RC Sproul in teaching The Atonement of Jesus explains that the “double imputation” was made possible only because Jesus appeased God as the perfect sacrifice (Heb 9:1–10:18). It is therefore apparent that believers in Christ are saints only because God has justified us by faith in The Christ of God.

Are saints any better than sinners? Saints in being sanctified (or set apart as holy) are no better sinners if only better off eternally! For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith (Rom 3:22-27; 1 John 1:8).

What then is the saint to boast of himself when he still sins deliberately? For of the 613 Laws of the Old Testament called the Mitzvot and 38 Commandments from the four Gospels or 1050 commands via repetition in the New Testament for believers to obey, pray tell, which of these sins – venial, mortal and all – is not violated by the saint? To think that saints are sinless is delusional!

Give the Lord His due then, the preservation of the saints rests on the laurels of Christ alone! For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom 10:4). Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior (Jude 24, 25).

L.S. James

27 Oct 2014

See Other Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/1481?ori=31849

 

Question: Does God require Sabbath-keeping of Christians?

Question: Does God require Sabbath-keeping of Christians?

Of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17), the Sabbath is one that New Testament believers are generally unconcerned or uncompromising. Are Christians to observe the Sabbath?

Israel as the only theocratic nation was slapped with an exhaustive law that included Sabbath observance. Israel as God’s covenant people thus differs from others bereft of such demands then or now. Incidentally, neither were the antediluvians or the Patriarchs advised on Sabbath-keeping. What then of Christianity that, in being an offshoot of Judaism, defined the Messianic believer as a spiritual entity distinct from the nation of Israel, meaning to say that the Church never replaced the nation as its successor.

And as the Messianic faith drew an influx of Gentile converts, the Jerusalem Council that convened around 50 AD decreed a simpler way for Gentile Christians to live in lieu of the Law. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well (Acts 15:27-29).

Because Sabbath-keeping is one of the 613 Laws of the OT, for a believer to revert to the Law is to effect a fall from grace to legalism. Paul, once a religious bigot, was so grieved by this retrogression, or ‘backsliding’ if you will, that he declared those ‘foolish Galatians’ accursed (anathema) that is to be damned! Why was Paul so irate? Paul in guarding his flock discerned that a blend of law and grace brewed a different gospel that bent the salvation message of Christ Jesus which is God‘s gracious gift to whom He wills without any human merit.

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed…

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace… As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! (Gal 1:6-9; 5:1-5:12)

Make no mistake, even though Christ Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath – because He is God (Mk 2:23-28) that ‘No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” ‘(Dan 4:35) – the New Testament believer has the freedom in Christ that makes neither the Sabbath (Saturday) nor the Lord’s day (Sunday) binding or any more religious.

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it..(Rom 14:5-1). So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Col 2:16, 17).

So with 613 Laws of the Old Testament beckoning, are Christians to keep the Sabbath? For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all (Jam 2:10).

L.S. James

16 Sep 2014

See Other Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/857?ori=31849

Why is church attendance important?

Question: Why is church attendance important?

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor 3:16

The Church, because of the infinite Sprit of God at work, is the body of believers in Christ that transcends time and space. This explains why believers may be intrinsically edified by the historical contents of Scripture alone corporately and individually, that is, as the Redeemed of the Lord and yet personally as a beloved child of God purchased by Christ Himself. We are therefore just as edified by His indwelling be it in the privacy of our study at home, in small groups, in isolated prison cells as well as teeming mega churches.

There’s also the church online that may have more soul than a churchy institution. As a little-known prophet said some decades ago, “For the times, they are a-changin’ ” (Bob Dylan).

But where mere ‘churchianity’ feigns for biblical doctrines, there lies the marks of a different gospel, a different spirit and another gospel (Acts 20:27; Gal 1; 2 Cor 11:3-18). Church may then be better off with two or three gathered in His name to worship Him in spirit and in truth sans an adulterated Gospel. ‘Why is church attendance important?’ then if it be but the antithesis of the Gospel, that is, to draw the gullible to feed on the fallacies of the post-modern church viz. The Emergent Church, the New Age Church, the WOF Church, etc.

L.S. James

27 May 2014

See Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/3215?ori=31849

Why is faith without works dead?

Question: Why is faith without works dead?

Just as man’s redemption from sin hinged on the Messiah, a sinner is saved from infernal damnation solely by faith in Christ alone. It is not faith and baptism, faith and Eucharist, faith and works, faith and Church or any other concoctions. It is faith in Christ alone that saves: sola faith.

But can a sinner evoke Godly faith? Faith in faith is idolatry. Faith is intellectual yet experiential. If faith resides in God alone then faith need come from God. Faith to believe is therefore the unmitigated gift of God to whom He wills.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life…And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:63, 65)

Were works of righteousness ever a prerequisite for sinners to be saved?

Fact is, the sinners that Jesus had come to call and justified by faith led colorful lifestyles! But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7).

Eternal security is therefore God’s gift to those He has drawn by His irresistible grace. God even predestined the elect, that is, He chose us in Him before the foundations of the world (Eph 1:4-11; Rom 1-8). Our preservation to the end is guaranteed by the perfect seal of Christ at Calvary. This then is the grace of God: just as Abraham was justified by faith in believing El-Shaddai in lieu of paganism (Joshua 24:2, 3), likewise the sinner that repents and believes The Christ of God (Luke 9:20).

That faith and repentance are intrinsic components in salvation, faith alone guarantees eternal security. Jesus Himself made this explicit when He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50).

So what then saves man?

Stripped of sacraments, morals and hype, what defines the saint is faith – a believing, saving faith in The Christ of God (Luke 9:20). What more, this faith is vested in a covenant with God that includes its irrevocable perks. Give the Lord His due then, the preservation of the saints rests on the laurels of Christ alone: For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Rom 5:19).

Fallen man – utterly corrupt in thought, word and deed – need realize that his highest intrinsic good is still soiled in sin or simply dead works (Heb 9:14). Make no mistake then, Christ alone has preserved the pilgrim to present him holy and blameless at the Judgment Seat for an accounting to God and rewards, not condemnation. Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior (Jude 24, 25).

L.S. James

28 May 2014

See Answers: http://ebible.com/questions/1979?ori=31849