Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Prayer Derived Off The Text Of Ephesians 6:10-18

  • Dear Lord, please help me to hold unto the reigns of your unfathomable might. Guide me with the armor of your strength so that I may not relinquish to the abominable enticements of the devil, which exist in every corner of this world. Indwell the fullness of your majestic presence into my spiritually bankrupt soul, for your genuine grace constantly instructs my soul to say no to every form of evil. Equip me with your armor of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of your salvation, and with the sword of the Holy Ghost, which is the absolute purity of the Gospel message. May all of my prayers and supplications to you always be in perfect harmony with your Spirit. Amen.

Salvation And Atonement

  • Introduction:
           -Different theories on the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ have been developed throughout the history of Christianity. Examples of theories on the atoning work of Jesus Christ are the "Ransom Theory", "Moral Influence View", "Governmental Theory", and the "Example Theory". Let is be admitted that every theory on the atoning work of Jesus Christ either has its own set of heretical or peculiar sounding ideas.
           -But there is no need for me to get into any sort of specifics regarding the meaning of these differing views on atonement, since that is not the purpose of this article. Although these are all interrelated topics, the content taught within the different views of atonement is different than the specific context of vicarious atonement and is therefore beyond the scope of this article.
          -The primary intentions behind writing this paper are to define what atonement is, explain why the work of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for the redemption of mankind, establish the "Theory of Vicarious Atonement" as being the biblical model, and to explain the distinction between justification and sanctification.
  • The Definition Of Vicarious Atonement: 
  •      -Vicarious Atonement, which is also known as substitutionary atonement, means that Jesus Christ died in our place for sins. In other words, God imputed the guilt of our sins to His Son Jesus Christ when He suffered on the cross for our sins. He made our salvation possible by bearing the punishment that we deserve. The one sacrifice of Christ was a perfect, eternal sacrifice which satisfied God's wrath and righteousness. As a result, we must choose the free gift of salvation that God has offered to us by trusting in Him and accepting what he has done for us (Romans 3:27-28).
  • The Origin Of The Vicarious Atonement Theory: 
             -The Penel-Substitutionary Theory was a further development of Anselm of Canterbury's Satisfaction Theory (also known as the "Commercial Theory of The Atonement") by the Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century.
  • Background Information On The Commercial Theory Of Atonement: 
            -The Atonement Theory of Satisfaction teaches that because sin robs God of His honor, it was necessary for Him restore His honor by either punishing sinners or through atonement work. Since He chose to make atonement for sin by offering His Son Jesus Christ on a cross, He was able to fully recover His lost honor. Any surplus honor remaining from Jesus' sacrifice was given to God in our place, only if they do good works. 
  • Similarities And Differences Between Vicarious Atonement And Commercial Atonement:
            -The Theory of Vicarious Atonement places emphasis on both divine offense and justice, whereas the other theory focuses solely on divine offense. In summary, Anselm believed that Christ obeyed in our place; the Reformers taught that Jesus suffered in our place.
  • Theological Truths And Errors In Anselm's Theory Of Commercial Atonement:       
           -Although Anselm's theory on atonement was correct in recognizing the satisfaction aspect of Jesus Christ's sacrificial work on the cross and its absolute necessity for the redemption of mankind, its fundamental flaws are 1.) It depicts God as being motivated to make a perfect atonement sacrifice out of holiness, rather than for the sake of love and mercy (John 3:16), 2.) The benefits of Christ's atoning work are applied by our own works, rather than by faith in His work (Romans 4:2-8), 3.) The theory fails to consider the legal characteristics of Jesus Christ's atoning work, and 4.) The idea that God was motivated to make a perfect atonement sacrifice for sin for the sake of holiness is completely unbiblical.
  • The Biblical Basis For The Theory Of Vicarious Atonement:
           -Both Testaments emphatically reveal that Jesus Christ was offered on the cross and bore our iniquity for us (i.e. Isaiah 53; Romans 3:24-28; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Ephesians 5:1-2; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24). 
           -Consider, for example, how Abraham ended up offering a ram as a sacrifice to God instead of his son Isaac (Genesis 22:13). In other words, an animal was offered in the place of Abraham's son. This typology clearly reveals the relationship between the application of the work of Christ and the sinner. 
           -Jesus Christ made the propitiatory sacrifice to sooth God's wrath which occurred as a result of mankind breaking God's Law. His sacrifice was a legal act.
  • On Atonement For Sin:
          -To atone simply means to make up for the consequences of a wrong doing. In a religious context, atonement would mean reparation for sin. But in the somewhat more narrow definition of atonement as defined by Christian theology, it would mean us being reconciled to God through the sacrificial work of His Son Jesus Christ. The entire theme of the Holy Bible is the story of how God covered the gap of sin, which separated mankind from His presence, by sealing it with the bridge of the redemptive work of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. 
          -In the Old Testament, bloody animal sacrifices were needed to atone for willful sins such as idolatry or errors made out of mere ignorance (Numbers 15:22-29; 16:47). The high priest offered sacrifices on behalf of himself and God's chosen nation, Israel. Consider, for example, the Day of Atonement, which is known in the Hebrew language as "Yom Hakippurim" (Leviticus 16). All of these bloody animal sacrifices pointed to the once-for-all perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1). Everybody, including the high priest, needed a true and perfect sacrifice that only a High Priest with those same characteristics could provide (Hebrews 8:3-6; 9:6-15).
          -In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is presented as being God's ultimate provisional sacrifice for the salvation of mankind. He is described as being our reconciliation to God (2 Corinthians 5:18). His work is described as being propitiatory in nature (1 John 2:1-2), which means that it atones for the sins of mankind. His life was given as a ransom of the people (Matthew 20:28). His blood was poured out for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). John 1:29 emphatically states, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"   
          -Quite simply, we all are in need of a Savior because our minds have been darkened by the Fall in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12). Because of this, nobody is able to fulfill the expectations of God's Law, which demands spotless adherence to every jot presented within (Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 2:13; Galatians 3:10-11). In light of this, everybody would be going to hell after death. Atonement for sin requires a perfect substitute (Hebrews 7:25; 10:14-18). Hence, this is why we need the sacrificial work of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Spiritual Doctor who remedies the spiritual disease of sin.
  • What Is Justification?:
           -God declares a sinner righteous by his or her faith (Romans 4:1-11; 5:1).  It is apart from meritorious works and is a free gift (Acts 13:38-39; Galatians 2:16-21).
  • When Is One Justified?:
           -A person is justified when he or she first believes. In other words, Christians are born-again when they accept that Jesus is the Savior and come to Him by placing their complete trust in His work. Thus, justification is not a process, but a one time event (i.e. Luke 18:14; 23:39-43; Romans 5:1; Acts 13:38-39; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:10-18; 1 John 5:11-13).
  • What Is Sanctification?:
          -This is the process of being set apart for God's work and being confirmed to the image of Christ; we contribute to sanctification through human efforts (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 9:13-14).
          -This process occurs after justification (only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life) and ends at the moment of death.
          -To sanctify means to be set apart for holy use (1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:9-11). We are called for the purpose of sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and are therefore expected to act in a holy manner (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26).
          -Even if we do not live a perfect life, we are still justified (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
  • What Is Glorification?:
          -This is the end of the sanctification process and takes place when we get to heaven (1 John 3:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 3:20-21). We are then in an eternal state and have been perfected in our nature.
  • Confusing Justification With Sanctification:
          -Certain professing Christian groups such as the Roman Catholic Church and the International Churches of Christ teach that a person is not justified until the final Day of Judgment when he or she is rewarded after his or her works are evaluated. Only then has he or she been found worthy of his or her place with God in heaven. In short, the cults blur the meanings of justification and sanctification by equating them to mean the same thing. This kind of theology results in a works-based salvation.
  • Labeling Justification As Being A Process Is Highly Illogical:
          -How could justification be a process? How would it work? It would make no sense to claim that a person could be a little justified now, or a little more, or less, justified tomorrow. If we are found guilty in God's eyes, then we have incurred His divine wrath and thus eternal condemnation in the literal flames of hell. We cannot be both justified (and thus going to heaven) and unjustified (and thus going to hell) at the same time. In other words, we are either justified or not justified at all. The false notion that justification is a "process" amounts to a works-based salvation because at the moment of physical death, God would be adding up our works to determine whether we performed enough good deeds to earn our entrance into the pearly gates of heaven. But this does not even constitute a valid theological definition of justification. Such a description only provides us with a process (with an unknown name) leading up to justification. 
          -If we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that alone, then, by definition, we who posses that kind of faith in Him are justified at this very moment. If we are saved at all by works, then how many should we do to merit eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God?

Luke 1:1-4 Sola Scriptura

  • Luke 1:1-4 As A Sola Scriptura Proof-Text:
            -"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught" (Luke 1:1-4).
  • Contextual Data:
  1. Uninspired gospels from various backgrounds are mentioned.
  2. This text refers to apostolic oral traditions.
  3. What Luke is writing (Scripture) is the only thing that we are told brings us certainty. Since when are we told in Scripture that any other rule of faith besides itself is able to bring us certainty of the genuine apostolic teachings? 
  4. If Scripture is what leads us to having certainty of the correct teachings of the Christian faith, and nothing else has been appointed to do that job or has the same special ability to lead us to spiritual clarity, then how is it not the final court of authority in all matters pertaining to faith and morals?

What Consistent Atheists Must Accept

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