Author Archives: TruthN

About TruthN

Husband. Father of one. Writer of fiction. Massage Therapist. Video Game, Comic Book, Fiction, and Non-Fiction enjoy'r. Reader of Theology. You may find him reading the Bible.

Infant Baptism

In the introduction of To A Thousand Generations, Douglas Wilson is blunt about what he’s trying to do. “I must confess on the outset that this short book seeks to persuade others.” Throughout the introduction as well, Wilson discusses what kinds of arguments he will not use, and the kinds of arguments he will use, and who his intended audience is. This is always important to note because it will generally have influence upon the type of arguments he is defending against.

One such argument is that of nominalism. I have not heard it used, but most certainly understand it being used since the common experience of many evangelicals is that the people they know who baptize their infants are Roman Catholics. And the vast majority of Roman Catholics they know are nominal Catholics. At least that I know.

So Wilson seeks to address those who are serious about their faith, who believe in believers baptism, and who want to guard against nominalism. I would like to do all three, though I don’t think baptizing infants is something that leads to nominalism. However, this still makes it a book aimed towards me, albeit it not generally who Wilson may have in mind.

Wilson is also careful to distinguish himself from those who baptize their infants for reasons other than the ones he does. In Roman Catholicism the belief is that baptism regenerates the infant. However, many do not baptize their infants within Roman Catholicism because of that reason since they don’t know that doctrine at all. But Wilson wants to distinguish himself from any form of what he’d call unbiblical infant baptism.

Then Wilson makes a strong statement on page nine: “in arguing for biblical infant baptism, it is not sufficient for us to say that infant baptism is merely consistent with the Scriptures, or that a biblical case can be made for it. In order for us to be satisfied that we are being biblical Christians, we must be content with nothing less than a clear biblical case requiring infant baptism. In a doctrinal matter of this importance, the standards of evidence are high.”

I would agree and echo this statement. And the reason I would echo this is because generally what we practice is usually an outworking of our theology. Which is why this debate is debated, because it generally involves much more than just applying water to someone.

Right after this statement the debate begins and Doug is already trying to persuade you. Here is what I’m talking about.

“Historically, the debate between baptists and covenantal paedobaptists has revolved around the two initiatory rites of circumcision and baptism, and has concerned how much continuity or discontinuity there is between the Levitical administration of the law and the New Covenant.”

This is at the very heart of the debate, however, I’d like to demonstrate how he is already arguing based off of certain assumptions. This is a short work and that means skipping over clarity in many parts, but when he says “two initiatory rites of circumcision and baptism” I would like to know what he means by initiatory rites. Circumcision didn’t bring you into the Mosaic covenant, the covenant God made with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. Circumcision was a sign, and if you weren’t circumcised you’d be cut off from the people, but also if you didn’t do a host of other things you’d be cut off from the people. Like working on the Sabbath or dishonoring your parents. So I’d have to understand how he defines initiatory and rites. If he means that generally they were among the first acts of obedience among those to whom these were given, then I would generally agree.

Wilson also rightly points out that both sides agree there is discontinuity among the Old Covenant (Mosaic) and the New Covenant. However, he then concludes that the debate is reduced to how much discontinuity there is and continues on because there is no explicit example of the baptism of an infant in the New Testament.

I agree with him in part. I don’t think it’s simply the amount of discontinuity between the testaments or covenants. I believe it comes down the nature of the covenants. The discontinuity is the fruit of the nature of the two covenants. But the fact he conceded that there is no explicit example of a baptism of an infant in the New Testament makes his case much more difficult to surmount. To concede here means that he is going to have to argue in a different fashion, which generally means taking Old Testament types and shadows and positing them into the New Testament. And as I’ve already pointed out, it seems there are assumptions being made that I believe where the debate truly lays, and I believe Wilson also agrees where the debate lays. It lays with the nature of the covenants.

Wilson also points out that we need to start the debate with the understanding that Gods commands to parents are the same, and his promises to parents are the same from the Old Testament to the New. I haven’t studied this subject enough but I have to generally agree. I have read his book, Standing on the Promises and found much of it helpful and useful. It may be good for me to go over that book again, but for now I’d endorse the book and agree with much of what he said. However, I don’t think that since the commands and promises may remain the same in general to parents under both Covenants, this means therefore baptize your infants. I don’t believe Wilson believes this either, since he points out that regardless whether you baptize your infants or not, we must understand what God wants us to do as parents. Which I say amen. It is far better to know what God requires us as parents to do for our children rather than spend most of our time studying if one of those things is or isn’t baptism.

Wilson also rightly points out that our doctrine of baptism should come from our doctrine of the covenants. Many Christians do simple just read the New Testament, find any reference to baptism, and then make conclusions from there. Though I believe that these Christians would come to the conclusions that the New Testament would want one to come to about if baptism is for believers or for both believers and infants of believers, the richness of the Old Testament and all it has to offer the Christian is important and should not be ignored because it too is the word of God.

Many Christians today don’t even think that God works in history through covenants he makes with people or peoples. They have a shallow view of how God works, and that it is somewhat arbitrary and God just picks a time and works that way until he chooses to work differently. However, when we read the Bible, we see God moves in history by making covenants with people that lead to the birth of the messiah.

God makes a covenant with Adam. That covenant gets broken, and then he lays curses upon Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Among these curses is the promise of a Messiah. One who will crush the head of the Serpent. Then God makes a covenant with Noah and the earth, that he will never flood the earth again. This he does because Noah was righteous, but also because the head of the serpent still hadn’t been crushed, the messiah still hadn’t come.

Then God makes a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then Moses, and then David. All this leads to the New Covenant. Each covenant building up to and pointing to the messiah.

All this to say, most Christians see the Old Testament as dimly as many of the people within the Old Testament saw. Yet Christians know the messiah. So why is this? I believe it’s because we haven’t, as Wilson points out, studied the host of other issues: Covenant, circumcision, Jews, Gentiles, generations, promises, parents, and a host of other issues (11).

Wilson also in this chapter points out that there is also something that prevents many evangelical Christians from even wanting to listen to fellow Christians who do baptize their infants. The reason is it smells too much like Roman Catholicism. And since Roman Catholicism is a false gospel, they believe anyone else practicing what Roman Catholics practice must be wrong as well.

But even that line of thinking is faulty because Roman Catholics practice hospitality, kindness, gratitude, and generosity. So just because a Roman Catholic may practice it doesn’t mean it’s wrong on bad. So we must allow others to speak for themselves and not assume just because X reminds you of Y that therefore X is Y. You thinking its the same doesn’t make it the same.

In summary, I find the introduction good and demonstrating who Wilson is talking to. I will not be satisfied if he or any other paedobaptist can make a biblical case for infant baptism. I will be satisfied with no less than it being a requirement from God. We must as parents obey God in all things, and therefore ought to obey all God’s command for us as parents. We can’t let prejudice keep us from studying these issues. We must not fear hearing arguments from another perspective, but be mature in our thinking. And this issue is much bigger than baptism, since baptism has to do with Gods New Covenant, and we need to know what covenants are and what this means for us.

In the next blog on Infant Baptism, I’ll be diving into chapter one.


The most important job

There is something about our day and age that permeates our culture. There is an aroma of our society that wafts itself everywhere in the US. This aroma has also infected much of the church of Jesus Christ. This aroma has seeped into our clothes, our homes, our hair, our minds, our hearts, and into our bedrooms.

This aroma I’m talking about is the fact that children are seen more as a curse, a burden, a difficult task that prevents us from doing what we really want to do. Children are not viewed highly at all, even among most Christians.

This post will be short because not much needs to be said, but Christians need to realize that child rearing is probably one of the most important tasks we can do. Theologically, we believe children have eternal souls. This means that every child has a soul and will be in heaven or hell. Talk about high stakes. Talk about a weighty calling. Talk about a task that has more impact that many other tasks you do. Some people think housewives are the supportive role, when truly men are supporting wives in caring for children at an early age, protecting them, until the men then step in and take on the rest of the training and sharpening of these arrows.

God gives us a task that has eternal significance.

Not only that, but according to 1 Timothy 3, a man ought not to be a pastor or elder in a church if his household is in order. His wife and children, the way his home is run, is the very degree certificate of whether he ought to join in this task or not. It’s his resume. He who is faithful in a little will be faithful in much. And so we see, that if a man is faithful in raising children and ordering his home well, which is not a small task at all, then he can be a candidate for a task that is similar to raising a household but on a bigger scale.

Raising children and being a good husband is not something to look down upon. Nor is it something to make silly comments about. I will not sniff at a woman who is raising children. I will not sniff at men and women who actually care for the raising of their children, and are diligent to follow God’s ways.

This tremendous task is fraught with difficulty because of our own sin and the sin of those around us. It’s difficult because our society hates child rearing, as evidenced by the slaughter of thousands of children everyday in the womb.

Everyone may be in different circumstances, and so some women may not be able to have children, but I will not downplay how great the task of having children and raising them is to make some women feel better about their circumstances. We all must raise ourselves up to God as living sacrifices, being grateful for our circumstances, and not be envious of those who have what we believe we cannot have.

Raise those eternal souls. Know you won’t do it perfectly, yet God has given the task to us. Raise yourselves up to God in so doing this task. Offer it up to God, and seek to do his will.


Aroma of the Home

As I’ve been thinking about the issues of paedobaptism and children, I have been thinking about households and raising children. It’s a difficult task but also a joyful one. It’s one that stretches you, grows you, and causes you to do things you otherwise may never do. Being a parent is challenging and fun.

Today, many people around my age typically don’t see child rearing as a good thing. In fact, most people I talk to seem to gripe and moan about it more than anything. With no outside pressure, they make fun of their children, degrade them, or talk about how awful the whole thing was.

Granted, most of it probably was, but I believe that it comes down to what your household aroma is.

The aroma of the home is the atmosphere that permeates the home. Is it one of joy, life, fellowship, adventure, exploring, learning, and feasting? Or is it one of silence, anger, bitterness, independence, dis-fellowship, malice, strife, frustration, and gloom?

As a Christian, my goal is to make my household one of joyful fellowship, with God and man. This is my aim in being the head of the household. For my wife and my son to be loved, protected, and in right relation with God and man. I want flourishing in my home. A home of joy. A home of gladness. A home of inquiry and play. A home of talk and mirth. A home where bees come to soak in nectar, only to take it with themselves back to their own homes.

We are a long ways off. But, by God’s grace, we will get there.


Cerebral blindness

Something that has become obvious to me, though it be silly that it has become obvious now, is that when we study doctrine we aren’t studying something, Truly we are studying someone’s thoughts. We are studying the thoughts of God.

I think I always readily write that I want to obey God and know the truth, and that I want to be Biblical and follow God’s word. However, these phrases have been hiding a truth in plain sight. Or maybe to put it another way is that these phrases haven’t hit me in certain ways they ought to be taken.

That truth that is hiding is that as we study the Bible, we are studying God’s thoughts. We are studying His work and character. Which means also, when we pray to know the truth and live it out, we aren’t just asking for something, but we are asking for God to teach us His thoughts, for these truly are His thoughts. We want to see and understand them accurately.

Perhaps what I have written here is still hiding this glorious truth in plain sight to others, but I’m astounded and humbled that I can know what God desires. I’m breathless as the thought that God would actually share His thoughts with me. I’m humbled by the fact that God actually has opinions on every matter.

I know by writing God having “opinions” may throw people off because what God says must be obeyed and His thoughts are truth, fact, and solid. This is true and I agree, and I’m not trying to take away any of that. However, sometimes using words don’t light up certain angles that we may be missing. Whenever I talk about truth, sometimes I’m talking about God as though He is something to be studied and not loved. In the same way, sometimes when I talk about God’s word needing to be obeyed, I am talking about God as though he didn’t send his son on this earth and create everything. When I say opinion I am merely using a human word to get my human mind and heart to realize and wake-up to the fact that God is more than something in my thoughts, or principles, or beliefs or faith. God is a being who has opinions. His happen to be always true and always right and always wise and always good. He has an opinion on your daily activities, routine, money spending, etc.

And either you’ll obey His opinions or you won’t.

 


Review of To a Thousand Generations by Douglas Wilson part 1

In his book, To a Thousand Generations, Douglas Wilson starts off in the preface talking about how within his church they receive into membership those who baptize their infants and those who believe one must wait until a profession of faith. He mentions how this book doesn’t represent his church as a whole but that its a book that the elders of their church has allowed for publication as they wrestled with the issues.

Central to their churches understand of this, they allow both kinds of families into membership because they consider membership by family and not by individuals within that family.

This is a quote from the preface:

“As a part of this cooperationa greement, we have stated the following in our Constitution: “Because of our commitment to the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), and because of our shared commitment to the practice of household membership as outlined in our Constitution, these differences have been procedurally resolved between us. We have agreed to work together in this way until such a time as the Lord brings us to one mind on the subject of baptism.” Our assumption is that we are to strive for likemindedness. The cooperation is not based upon an uneasy silence, but rather on a frank and charitable discussion.” -Douglas Wilson, Preface of To a Thousand Generations

I want to comment on this in the spirit of being frank. Frankly, I like and agree wholeheartedly with this. We should be striving within the church to be of one mind. We should be fully convinced in our own minds while also being able to discuss and dialogue about all kinds of issues, always keeping the centrals of the faith central. If we run or hide from discussing these matters then we are merely being lazy or waiting for worse things to happen.

It is a sign of courage when someone can listen to another argument without getting defensive or emotional. To reason back and listen and understand the issues is one of great work but worthwhile work. We need more of this. We need more listening and dialogue. We need to strive to be of one mind on all sorts of issues, and we must be willing to be wrong, as well as being willing stand up if we are right.

We stand on God’s word. So we aren’t striving to just follow someone with better arguments. We are striving to know and understand God’s word better. We are striving to follow it and listen to it. So if someone demonstrates something Biblical to us, we must be willing to submit ourselves to God’s voice through his word.

Part of striving to be of one mind means we can’t just hold onto something because we like it or don’t like the other side. We must prove it Biblically. We must reason with Scripture. Our lives must be conducted in this light.

So my task won’t be to tear down arguments, but also build up my case as well. For that is striving to be fully convinced in our own minds as well as striving with one another to be of likemindedness.

May God grant us grace in this endeavor.

Note: As I continue to read, I also am seeing that this task of trying to write daily, while studying the issues more in depth, and then commenting and wrestling, will be difficult. I may not have much to say at times, and may not talk about the issue for a while. This is because I want to prayerfully work through this and not rush through it. So, as a way of preparing anyone who may read this, and as a way of not giving myself too much of a burden, I may work through this much slower, and perhaps take a few months or a year. But I pray it will be a blessing, mostly for myself and my family, but to anyone else who may read.


Baptizing the Infant

As I mentioned before, my wife and I have moved. We moved far away from where we once were and are attending a church far different than the one we previously were. This is always bound to happen since all people are different. However, when I say different I mean doctrinal. One of the differences is in regards to infant baptism.

In the spirit of this difference, and in wanting to better understand why they baptize their infants, I want to go through a book I was given called To a Thousand Generations: infant baptism – covenant mercy for the people of God by Douglas Wilson. Douglas Wilson is a man I have great respect for. I have learned much from his writings on all sorts of issues, and have come to be a more joyful Christians because of it. There have been three men whom I’ve never met who’ve done far more for me than I can express gratitude to God for. Paul Washer preached the gospel to me. John Piper gave me the big doctrinal direction of my life. And Douglas Wilson has taught me how to live life.

All that to say I respect these men whom I’ve never met, and owe a great debt to them. And as I address Wilson’s book on infant baptism, it is with great respect I do. I do not believe that this book I was given is all there is to say, nor does it represent the church I attend as a whole. But it’s a small book, easy for my to manage as I continue to settle in up here, and it’s a great place to start since it is by a man I have learned much and owe much.

I also must say on the outset that I’ve not wrestled with this issue as much as perhaps I should have. Maybe the arguments will be persuasive enough, being derived from God’s word, to convince me that I ought to baptize my son. I feel pretty convinced in my own mind but I’m always willing to submit myself to the word of God if it can be shown that I am in error on any doctrine of mine.

This will be both a journey and a wrestle and arguing. May God bless my time as I work through the book and the arguments within it.


Spiritual Worship and Fearing Man

As I’ve been writing about, being a living sacrifice, I want to add one thing.

As a sacrifice, I must not fear man. Not only should I have no fear of man, but that my fear of God should be far greater than fearing anything or anyone.

If I am to be destroyed for God, if I am to be offered up as a sacrifice, then I must not fear what others think. I am God’s. I am for His pleasure. In fact, we are to be symbols that ought to cause fear in others. We are heirs of God’s kingdom, and that king will put all his enemies his feet.

We must not pretend, as we offer up our spiritual worship, that we must somehow make God appealing to unbelievers. Our job is to make unbelievers appealing to God. We will be fools, but the opinions of men who don’t serve a holy God are futile. Instead of fearing what others may do or think we must keep Gods thoughts more on the forefront of our minds. Remember, God hates the wicked. These men who hate God can’t do anything to us. But when God hates a man there is nothing that won’t stop Him from pouring out his wrath.

Let us not kid ourselves. As living sacrifices we will be detestable to the world. We are alive and yet symbols of death, for we died with Christ and are killing our flesh and losing our lives for Him. We are the aroma of death to those who are perishing, as Corinthians says. Living sacrifices offer up everything they are, have, and do to the one whom they are a sacrifice for. Living sacrifices seek to please and serve the one for whom they are a sacrifice. In offering up our bodies we are offering up all our actions and deed. We are seeking holiness in thought, word, and deed. And this is worship.

This means worship is our entire lives. It’s not once a week. It’s every second of every day.

So we must not fear man because it is man who ought to fear God. If we fear man we know neither the love of God nor do we believe the truth that God will put all his enemies under his feet. We must keep the truth on our tongue and in our mind. God will rule this world entirely, and any fear of man is wasted time and wasted energy. Man is fleeting and passing, and will be judged by his maker.

Are you obeying your love, Lord, and Master? Are you a living symbol of death, a pleasing aroma to your God? Is everything you do aligned with the character of God as demonstrated in His word?

As characters in His story, we need to know who we are. And if we are what we should not be, then we must repent, trust in Jesus to make us what we are not, and seek to be what we are not.


Spiritual Worship 3

So let me summarize and then embellish and muse a little more from the past two days.

To summarize, I’ve been writing about worship. I’ve written about how worship can be made to anything that we present our bodies as sacrifices to. I also wrote about Romans 12 and how it defines worship. It defines worship that is spiritual as the action of presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.

Now to muse more on this.

This is how we are to worship God: With our bodies on an altar. A sacrifice always involves a body. Its a body being prepared to be cut and bled and burned. Most of the time the body has to be prefect before it’s going to be dismembered and burned. God wants perfect bodies to be destroyed essentially. To be offered up to him. Men and women were to burn the fattest and best calve or goat or sheep. They were to offer only the best. God would only accept the destruction of the best, not of the worst.

There is no offering up the worst. That may be more practical to us, since the best would be of more use to us, but God doesn’t work that way. He wants you to destroy the best. He wants you to offer up the best.

Our spiritual worship is us offering up ourselves, our bodies, to be destroyed for God. And our bodies are only perfect because of the mercies of God that gave us Jesus Christ who washed us clean and removed spot, wrinkle, and blemish from us. So, our spiritual worship is resting upon the mercies of God, trusting His mercy is sufficient to make us clean and make us acceptable to himself, and offering back up that which God has declared righteous to Him so that it would be destroyed.

We are not deserving of God’s mercy. We’re the lame and blind goats. We’re the men with crushed testicles who cannot go into worship God. We’re the lepers. And yet God declares us to be something else. And by faith, though we don’t see it, we trust that Christ has done it, and so we offer our bodies to be destroyed.

A living sacrifice is a sacrifice that isn’t your typical sacrifice. However, it’s still a sacrifice. This means we will not be killed but we still must be destroyed. We still must be a sign to others of something other than what we are. We must be symbols of God’s holiness. We must be symbols of God’s righteousness. We must be symbols of God’s wrath.

This means that all of our lives, every area and aspect of our lives, is worship unto God. All of our time. All of our breaths. All of our eating, and drinking, and playing, and resting, and working.

This is what I mean when I said that we cannot divide up the spiritual and the physical yesterday. Both exist and both are different and distinct, but both are Gods, belong to God, and are good. We are living bodies, which is our physical state. However, a sacrifice typically dies, yet we are to be living sacrifices. Therefore, sacrifice is a spiritual thing now, not a physical one. And, this spiritual sacrifice is your daily physical life being lived out before God. Which is why Paul says, this presenting your body as a living sacrifice is spiritual worship. Paul is noting the distinction. Your worship is not killing animals, it’s you dying. However, its not dying physically but in a spiritual sense. Killing the old man, and offering up yourself to God every moment you live as though you are doing holy work unto the Lord.

Therefore, worship isn’t singing songs to God. That is apart of worship. But just as much apart of worship as is sleeping. Just as much apart of worship as is painting toenails, and working out biceps. Paul is tapping into all of life. All of our life is to be one big burnt offering of ourselves to God. And that burnt offering is to be holy and blameless. But that burnt offering is only acceptable, holy, blameless, because of the mercies of God by the blood of Jesus Christ.

This means your work is just as much as worship as your praise. Your hair color, clothing, and attitude are just as much worship as your prayers. Your eating, drinking, and fellowship are just as much worship as Bible reading.

But this also means that your bible reading, prayers, and praise can be a false sense of security of salvation. These things can be substitutes for true worship. God spoke and said, “these people praise me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” He also said that, “you search the scriptures thinking in them you have life, but it is they that point to me.” He also said, “when you pray, do not pray as the pharisees, who love being seen by men.”

These actions done by us may also be done because we idolize the praise of man, or believe that by doing these things we will somehow get something from God.

This is why the Reformation was so important. The Reformation set things right again. Men began to realize that we cannot earn God’s favor, God’s favor is bestowed upon a person freely by His choice. When God’s people realize this, when they realize they aren’t trying to earn anything from God but have been already given, their motivations to work, act, and move and worship are much greater and further reaching.

Our spiritual worship is presenting our bodies as living sacrifices for the reason of demonstrating our love of God because of the mercy He has freely given us. We don’t work diligently according to God’s command because we want God to accept us as children. We do it because God is our Father, and we desire to demonstrate our love, and it pleases us to please the Father.

If you have ever thought that worship is just a Sunday thing, then you’ve thought wrong. The coloring of your toenails may be worship. Working out may be worship. The key difference between it being worship or not worship is this: did you paint your toenails for God honoring reasons? Did you work out for God honoring reasons?

In order to know this, you need to know the one who has loved you far greater than you deserve as a sinner. You need to be saturated in His word.

Start small. Figure out how to honor God in Bible reading. Figure out how to honor God when you gather together. Start obeying where you know you need to start obeying God. And from them work out. You may have tons of areas of disobedience. You may have tons of areas of life you’ve never considered that should be apart of offering yourself up to God. Start with the most important ones first, and then work further out to least important ones.

But it must be iterated that the least important ones are still apart of your spiritual worship.


Spiritual Worship 2

Yesterday I wrote about worship. I want to continue to muse on worship, probably say some things terribly, but I want to try and think more clearly and thoroughly about this. For as we read in Romans 12:1, spiritual worship is us presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. If we want to worship God, the we must be presenting our bodies to God, and we must make sure our bodies are holy and acceptable. If our bodies are not holy and acceptable, then we must not fret for that is why Paul appeals by the mercies of God, because we too appeal to God by the mercy He gave us by the death of Jesus Christ, our savior and second person of the trinity.

Worship ought to be central to our lives. It must be what we seek to do and Romans 12 is telling us what worship is. Yesterday I wrote about what other things we may be presenting our bodies to instead of God. Both good and bad things. Now we need to define things better, because I didn’t do a good job at that.

So we need to notice some things. In Romans 12:1 it says “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” First, is that Paul is appealing to the people he is writing to, and he is calling them brothers. These people are not unbelievers or nonbelievers. He is writing to those who are followers of Jesus Christ.

This is important because in our age today I have spoken with people and Christians who think that everyone is really one of Gods children. This is false. A child does what the father does, which is why Jesus called the pharisees children of Satan. So no unbeliever or idolater can ever worship the triune God.

The second thing we need to notice is that the word therefore means that Paul is basing what he is about to say on everything else he said. Paul is chapter 1-11 basically laid out a clear and in depth theology of the gospel. So Paul is basing what he’s about to say upon the gospel and truths that he just wrote.

The third thing we need to notice is Paul is appealing to them by Gods mercy, and he’s appealing they do these things by Gods mercy. The Christian cannot do anything apart from the mercy of God, and Paul is both saying he’s appealing to them by Gods mercy and that they need to do these things by Gods mercy.

The fourth thing we need to notice is that their spiritual worship is these things Paul is appealing for them to do. Spiritual worship is to do this thing he is talking about.

The fifth thing is what I’ll be focusing upon is the section about presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.

The first thing I want us to notice about this part is that we are presenting our bodies. We are presenting all that we are. Our bodies is apart of our worship. Worship isn’t just ethereal thought and feeling stuff. Worship has to do with hands and toenails and eyelashes. Worship has to do with hand grips, facial hair and muscles. All of our body is apart of worship. There is not one aspect of us that isn’t apart of worship.

The second thing we need to notice is that what we are presenting our bodies as is a living sacrifice.

Talk about an image. God gives us an image. The image of a sacrifice. An image of an animal being placed upon an altar, sliced, killed, bled out, and burned. But this body isn’t going to just be dismembered, but it’s going to remain alive. That is a living sacrifice. That is the image. A body that is cut up, and burned, and yet remaining alive.

The third thing we need to notice is that we are presenting living bodies as a sacrifice, which are to remain alive, and which are to be holy and blameless. These bodies of ours ought to be holy and blameless. They ought to have no spot or wrinkle or blemish. No defect. No imperfection. Perfectly holy, perfectly blameless.

There is a blending of spiritual and physical. They cannot be separated. And that is central to this. Worship isn’t to be divided up. But more on that tomorrow.

 

 


Spiritual Worship

Your life doesn’t belong to you. You don’t belong to you. You belong to someone else. You belong to God. And if you don’t believe and trust and obey the one you belong to, then you are enslaved and belong to someone else. You are a child of Sin.

It’s important to know who you belong to because that will dictate what you worship. If you belong to God then you will desire to worship God. If you are enslaved to sin and a child of Satan, then you will worship anything that is fleeting and decaying.

But what is worship?

Romans 12:1

[1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (ESV)

Here is an answer. Worship is presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. That is spiritual worship. What you are presenting your body as a living sacrifice to. Maybe it’s money, your lusts, a friend or your family. Maybe you present your body as a living sacrifice to your job, career, hobby, or marriage. What is it you are presenting your body as a living sacrifice to? Notice a living sacrifice is something your doing every moment. Your doing it with every breath, every thought. You are living, and your life is being sacrificed for something. Is it for God or is it for something else?

If it’s to something else then you are an idolater. It can be good things you use your life for. It can be for evil things you use your life for. Whatever it is, if it’s not God you are a living sacrifice for then you are an idolater.

Often, it’s the good things that Christians are giving their lives for. The danger is our worship being masked as for God but truly it is for something entirely else. Our hearts are deceitful and wicked.

I’ve seen a church that is a living sacrifice for evangelism. It works and moves and breaths in every way it can to evangelize. This sounds like a good thing, the only problem is our aim in life isn’t evangelism. Our aim in life is to love God with everything. Apart of loving God may be evangelism, but it’s not the central thing.

What happens when evangelism to the world becomes the spiritual worship of a church, the thing it sacrifices itself for, is that the truth about God begins to fade, and what God accomplished becomes diminished, and soon people entering the doors is far more important than those people loving God.

It’s the problem the pharisees had. They ended up loving their regulations more than God, and soon they ignored parts of scripture  because they wanted to worship God the way they wanted to.

God wants us to love Him with all that we are. He requires all of us. This means we must take the first steps in orienting our lives in accordance with His word. But this cannot be done apart from the mercies of God. This cannot be done apart from His grace and forgiveness for our sins.

This is why Paul in Romans appeals to us by the mercies of God. It is only by the mercy of God that we can even begin to love Him. And God demonstrated His mercy to us by Jesus Christ, who took on our sin. We have committed grievous sins against a holy God, and we deserve wrath. But Jesus bore that wrath and took the place of His people. Trust in His work and join the fellow saints in being under the mercies of God.

 


The Movement You don’t care about

Nearly 500 years ago there was a movement that was taking place all over the world. This movement was so important that 500 years later people would still be talking about it, though not as many people as should be talking about it. This movement had such a dramatic effect on the world that if it were not for that movement our world would not be what it is. We breath the expired C02 of this movement. It permeates everything we are. Yet little appreciation and study is given to this movement.

As I said earlier, there are people still talking about the movement, but they are few. No doubt the amount of people talking about it are as few as the number of fingers on a two fingered giant.

The movement I am talking about is known as the Reformation. It was a time when men and women were not allowed to read the Bible in their native tongue. It was a time when priests read and preached in Latin, a language known to none but the priests. It was a time when men and women were starving for the pure milk of God’s word, and instead being fed the dry dust of a coffin.

The Catholic Church was feeding itself and making itself fat with the coins of the people, while the people believed in the empty and devouring words of the Catholic Church. For hundreds of years the pope wielded the power of the state.

The Catholic Church had power and wealth and was building itself up while the children of God were hungering for solid food and in need of pastors that loved them. The corruption in the church was widespread and recognizable.

It was 500 years ago that many men and women began to stand up against the corruptions of the Catholic Church. When the Bible was finally set free to be read by the common people (not allowed before the reformation), this is how the Catholic Church lost its grip. Soon God’s Word shined the hypocrisy and lies and false beliefs of the Catholic Church.

Christians and nonchristians alike have benefited from the Reformation. If it were not for the Reformation, perhaps the world may still be under the tyrannical rule of a false gospel and been under the rule of the Pope.

So this October, especially October 31st, remember this is 500 years after the Reformation. Remember that you owe it to the Reformation that you have the Bible in your hand.


Don’t Forget the Author

A character in any book can pretend they will do what they want to do, but as any author knows, those characters ultimately are under the control of the author.

Sometime this past month I said I could write everyday. I thought I could write everyday for the next month or year even. I’ve gotten close to it before, so why not?

Well, I want to say first that most of everything I said is still true. We must aim high. We must set goals and shoot for it. The loser isn’t the person who hasn’t reached the goal, the loser is the one who hasn’t made one and even tried to reach it.

But, I have to add that one must never forget God. There was some pride there in what I wrote and said. I knew I could. I definitely could. But, I’m not the author of my story. My life isn’t being written by me, contrary to what the world wants you to think. Your story is being written by God. You may be a good or a bad guy. Look at the Bible. All the characters are God’s characters. Which character are you?

Are you the faithful Abraham? Maybe not, he did tried to save his own neck by giving his wife away as though she were just a sister. Are you the giant? No one wants to be beat by a snotty little kid.

The gospel can be summarized as this: Are you the people saved by Jesus Christ or the people who hate or disbelieve Jesus?

Anyways, this blog post isn’t suppose to be one of those blogs. I was talking about how I went days without writing. Long story short is: God happened.

He gave me an eye that started to hurt and lose vision. It was the next day after my blog that my eye got so bad that everyone started noticing me with this red eye. People wanted to know if I was dying or if I was going blind. Constantly asked if I was okay.

Half the time, I could only think about how it hurt, and how I’m funny for thinking that I can do anything I want to. Thankfully I know what character I am in God’s book, but even those characters who receive eternal blessing get disciplined, and I’m not sure if my eye problem (called iritis) was discipline but it certainly made it hard to write.

I was going to write everyday, but God wouldn’t have it. I would have failed anyways, but I was reminded that my life is not in my hands but His.

So my eye has gotten better (after a few weeks). Vision is still blurry but it’s getting better.

Maybe I will actually be able to write daily. Let’s see what God wills and if I will be disciplined enough.