One of the most divisive doctrines that is debated here on Sermon Audio, and in other argumentative circles is that of eternal security, or, the concept of ‘once saved always saved’.

Everyone who debates this doctrine seems to believe that it is incredibly important, and even foundational to the Christian faith. However it seems that most of the debaters from both sides miss the point. My position on this issue will not be revealed on this post, or maybe on any because is does not need to be. This debate only confuses the real issue at hand, and draws people away from dealing with it.

The issue is sin. Do believers sin? How much sin is tolerable before one may lose his or her salvation? If a believer cannot lose their salvation is it a license to sin? Can someone stop sinning?

The OSAS position is often a defeatist position. Most (not all) OSAS believer’s belief rests heavily on notion that man will always continue in sin and that God does not save a man from sin in the present but instead leaves a man in sin so that man will always be in need of grace. This salvation then becomes only salvation with regards to eternity, but has little value in the present. The view is that man is perpetually a sinner and ultimately man’s sinfulness is uncorrectable. What a pathetic God those who hold this view serve. Think about it, they have a Christ who did not conquer sin, but only paid the price for it. Their Christ had no need of resurrection; He did His job on the tree and could have left it there. This perpetual sinner view intentionally denies a multitude of scriptures or explains them away using other texts out of their context.

Some OSAS people recognize this issue, and take the position that God’s salvation is a continual thing and that in all true believers He will continue a work of sanctification throughout their life and finish it after their death. With this position, they would say if there is no evidence of continual sanctification, then there is no evidence of salvation. This position believes that God is working sanctification (present tense salvation from sin) in all His children, and He will hold them to this. In other words God will complete the good work which He started. This non-defeatist position assumes that man receives more and more power over sin from the Lord and that man will continue to walk in more and more victory over sin, and that ultimately man after salvation is not a sinner by nature, but instead naturally pursues more and more righteousness by the grace of God.

The non-OSAS position brings a whole different set of issues to the table. The non-OSAS position is usually (not always) an arrogant position. Why is it arrogant? Because you must do something to remain saved, and it is an arrogant denial of grace to believe that people can keep themselves saved, by their own righteousness. The non-OSAS position typically boils down to a salvation dependent on the righteousness of the individual as opposed to Christ. Somehow adherents to the arrogant non-OSAS position feel inclined to believe that by maintaining some standard they can remain in God’s grace, but the unbiased onlooker can quickly point out that God’s grace ceases to be grace if there is a standard that must be maintained. Can you see why the position is arrogant? Is there enough good in any of us to maintain our salvation?

Some non-OSAS people understand this issue. They take the position similar to the OSAS people who view salvation as continual, they recognize that it is only grace that will keep them from sin, and in salvation. Their position differs from that of OSAS in the belief that they while accepting that grace initially, still maintain the ability to reject that grace at a later time. Nonetheless it is entirely of grace that they credit their salvation and rightly so. Some OSAS people, especially the defeatist type will look at the thought of being able to deny God’s grace as a rejection of the very existence of grace. That is extreme, in there goal to have a ‘high view’ of God they go so far as denying human accountability, which is to deny much of scripture. There ‘high view’ really is nothing more than the only way they can get all the bible to fit into some ‘systematic theology’ that they can understand.

So who is right? Who is wrong?

The OSAS defeatist position is dead wrong, and that is the position of a good chunk, if not a majority of the OSAS people who are debating in the various forums I have seen.

The non-OSAS arrogant position is dead wrong, to think that by their own merits they may stay in God’s grace is foolish. This is the position of a good chunk, if not a majority of the non-OSAS people who are debating in the various forums I have seen.

The OSAS and non-OSAS people who have a handle on the sinfulness of man, and also the power of God to deliver man from sin in the present tense disagree on one thing, and that is whether or not a man can reject grace. These two groups spend a lot less time debating OSAS with each other, and have very little trouble fellowshipping with each other. Spurgeon, Reidhead, Ravenhill, Ducan Campbell, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, and so on fell on various sides of this issue but each of these men fellowshipped with those opposed to their theology on this point of OSAS.

Well that was a long dry post, and I do not know if it accomplished anything, in fact I am hesitant to even publish it because it has no bite. Hopefully it helps someone, and ultimately pleases the Lord.


Room on the Cross

Matthew 10:38-39 “And he who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

It is popular for the evangelist to say “There is room at the cross for you” and what they mean is that grace is available to all. What they mean when they this is true, certainly grace is available to all; however there is NOT room AT the cross for you. As Leonard Ravenhill said, “There IS room ON the cross for you.” There is not room at the cross for you, there is room on the cross for you! Now certainly there is no room on the cross for you to pay for your sins, the Lord has done that, but you are welcomed, even required to climb up on that cross as a living sacrifice holy, and acceptable to God.

In this day of “Best Life Now” Christianity, this notion of self-sacrifice is nearly gone. The thought of laying our own lives and temporal desires down for Christ is viewed as mere fanaticism by most of the Church so called today. Of course we are afraid to push sacrifice on our congregations, for a few reasons. The first being that maybe we ourselves are not walking this world as a living sacrifice. How can we exhort a people to live as a sacrifice, counting their lives as nothing, when we ourselves are not living in that realm? The next reason is numbers, we want to see the body of Christ grow, and that is a good and noble thing to desire. In fact we should not be opposed to, and should be fast to embrace ‘Church (capital C) growth’ but we should loathe simple strategies that are designed only for congregation growth or ‘church’ (small c) growth. There is a big difference.

This life of faith that we believers in Christ are called to live is not one of glamour, but of humility. It is not a life a grandeur, but a life of lowliness. This life is not one of self help, but self abasement. This is not a life of becoming all you can be, but becoming nothing that He may be all in all. This life is not yours, you have been bought at a price. That cross is not something that happened long ago, but it is yours to climb on today. When you are on that cross you are as good as dead, and your life is nothing to you.

Is this a morbid message of death, and some downer of a life? No! Death is the ultimate freedom, and you are free to enjoy its benefits while you yet breathe. Do you care what you look like on the cross? No you are free from that, you are dead! Does the car you drive matter on the cross? No you are free from that. Does your retirement plan matter, your house, your insurance, so on and so forth, no! You are free from slavery to everything in this world the moment you cast yourself on the cross. The moment you count your life lost is the moment you enter into the blessed freedom of Christianity. Listen; before anyone casts a stone, insurance, cars, homes, and retirement are not sinful things. They are good things, useful things, but if we indeed living sacrifices, and dead to the world, then these items have no control over us, and must not be a source of worry, or discontentment to us. They are mere benefits, but they matter very little when you are on that cross.

You do not have a nice home; do you not have a mansion in paradise? You do not have retirement; do you not have an eternal reward to go home to? You do not have the perfect family; are you not going to be forever with the father and your older brother Jesus? You car is junk; will that matter when walking on streets of gold? You are not beautiful; will that matter when staring into His perfect beauty? You are tired and worn out; do you not know that eternal rest is coming?

Do you believe the promises of God concerning the life to come? Do you? Because the things of this earth become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace, and death to self and to this world should be a natural thing in our lives considering who He is, and what He has prepared for us.

Come, there is plenty of room…

ON the cross for you.


Behold I stand at the door... of your church

Behold I stand at the door and knock-

This is a passage used so often for evangelism, but it is not used by the revelator in that way at all. In fact while this verse seems to be such a happy verse, such an offer of pardon, and such a display of mercy, instead it must be seen as one of the saddest passages in all of the scriptures.

Revelation 3:14-22 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot: ‘So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say; “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.”
‘Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock...

This has to be one of the saddest passages in all of scripture. Back when the Lord led Israel out of Egypt with a great deliverance of power, it was only one short generation later that Israel fell flat on their face and forsook the Lord. We read that account and it breaks our hearts. However that is not near the travesty we see with the Laodicean Church. It was only one short generation after the death and resurrection of our Lord and His deliverance from sin a death that we see this Church falling into a lukewarm state. It is unthinkable that a generation after that amazing outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost the Church would be lukewarm without any zeal. It really is unthinkable, but nonetheless that is the case. We see in Revelation 3:14-19 an explanation of what is happening at Laodicea and an exhortation to buy refined gold. This whole passage up to verse 20 is a total rebuke of the Church in Laodicea, a very brash railing against it. Then we come to the famous words of verse 20: “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Why in the world would the Lord have to make this offer to a church? Remember this message is to the CHURCH in Laodicea. This is not an evangelistic verse, this is written to the Church, not to the pagan. This is written to you and to I if we are lukewarm, to our church if it indeed is lukewarm. Behold I stand at the door and knock.

To paraphrase this whole passage: Church, you have your own thing, but I am not in it! Look! I am standing at the door and knocking, if someone lets Me in, I will come in indeed, and I will dine with you and you with Me.

This verse is a rebuke, not an evangelistic outreach verse! He is not standing at the door of a person’s heart lightly knocking and just begging them and patiently waiting for them to let Him in. He is standing at the door of the Church, and pounding, waiting for someone to take Him in, and take Him seriously.

What then is our response? Too often I hear so many people complaining about the lukewarm temperature of the church, and it is possibly a valid complaint, but they do not recognize the call of Revelation 3:20. If the Church is lukewarm then you and I are to blame, not everyone else. IF ANYONE HEARS MY VOICE AND LETS ME IN, THEN I WILL COME IN. The issue may very well be that the whole ‘Church’ around you is lukewarm and surely if that is the case then the Lord is standing at the door of your church and knocking, will you be the one to let Him in? See this verse is not about everyone else, it is about you.

Now for the pragmatic, how do you let Him in? Is your life a life of purity that is a rebuke to the unpure? Are your habits and actions leading toward holiness, and causing discomfort to the unholy. Are you so bathed in prayer and the word that each day you leave your home and enter the world with the power of God upon you? He is Lord, if you want to let Him in, you have to be willing that He take over. Maybe the issue at your church is that you have not opened the door. Maybe the reason the fire of God has not fallen on my church is because I have not opened the door. Behold He stands at the door and knocks, and He is not knocking at an unbeliever’s heart, but He is knocking at your Church door, and waiting for YOU to let Him in.

Those who are living in Christ spend far less time complaining about everyone else, and instead spend their time exhorting, reproving, and rebuking in love. They are honestly active in the conversion of souls, and seeking the lost. They make honest efforts to encourage believers, and spurn them on to higher living, and they gratefully receive reproof and rebuke as well. That is how it is done, not by pointing that big fat ugly finger at everyone and telling them they are lukewarm. You and I are the ones who need to open the door and let in the knocking Jesus.


Romans 10:9

Every evangelist’s favorite verse seems to always be Romans 10:9:
“If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”

The other big verse used is the one in revelation at the end of the message to the church at Laodicea “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man…” you know the rest.

Now I am not against using these verses in evangelism, in fact I think that both of these verses have some very powerful truth contain in them, and both have tremendous messages of grace, and of pardon. The problem we run into is that we do not look at the historical context of either of these verses, especially Romans 10:9. I will be focusing on that passage in this post, and hopefully the Revelation passage in the next. Historical context is an odd thing, and people only seem to use it when it is convenient to the points they are trying to make, and they will quickly ignore it when it proves to be a thorn in the side of their argument or theology. The evangelical fundamentalist will often ignore the historical context of Romans 10:9 to make a new convert. This verse taken at face value makes salvation a terribly easy thing. If I say to someone “Jesus is Lord” and I believe it, well everything is AOK for me, right? Wrong. Understand that this letter of Paul to the Romans was written to a persecuted people. People who were risking their very lives any time they confessed the Lordship of Jesus Christ. To confess “Jesus is Lord” was no small thing in that day. You counted your life nothing and risked it all to make that precious confession. Today we are more worried about how we can do evangelism without losing any friends. Can you imagine in that day if your best friend got converted, and you were not, and you were out in the marked place with them and a guard walked by and said “Caesar is Lord!” and as everyone repeated it your friend stood silent. We would think, “Just say it man, your gonna get yourself killed, plus you are embarrassing me, why can you not just go along with it?” Then the guard comes up to your friend and says it again, at that point you would get real nervous, just hoping he wouldn’t say those pathetic (in the unconverted eyes) three words, but out of his mouth with trembling lips comes: “Jesus is Lord!.” That is it, the guard gives one more opportunity to say Caesar is Lord, and your friend says no! Jesus is Lord and it is all over, off to prison or executed on the spot.

Now what about us? We are afraid to be a little embarrassed, so we avoid confessing the name, that is unless we are in a place where that is normal like Church. Our entire lives should be a confession that Jesus is Lord, whether it causes us ridicule or not. If our confession that Jesus is Lord has never made us vulnerable or uncomfortable, then maybe our confession is not worthy of the confession explained in Romans 10:9.

((Just a thought, I really have to get going. Sorry about any typos))

Release from Captivity

Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

We can glance over these verses and sure they sound nice, and we think that it is great that Jesus has released us from captivity but lets get on to the next thing. We would rather get on to some healing, exorcisms, raising the dead, and parables. Yes, we are thankful for the release, but let’s find out what else Jesus will say?

A preacher once said, “You do not usually rejoice at the sound of keys jingling, that is unless you are in a dungeon where you have been locked.” See it is about perspective. Often times hellfire preachers get such a bad wrap because they seem to heap condemnation upon condemnation upon the heads of their hearers and some of them should receive a bad wrap. You are not to condemn men and get pleasure and a rush of power and some sort of ego trip from it. However on the flip side nobody will ever hear the beauty of the jingling keys until they realize they are living in the dungeon. There is a place for that sort of hellfire preaching, and there is a place for that sort of writing. Sometimes as a preacher, or a writer you need to turn on a light so that people can see they are in a dungeon, and when they see what is around them it is terrible thing. We spend time preaching freedom to those who have no reality of the fact that they are in bondage. We present freedom, and they do not see freedom as a necessity, but as something they can add to their lives. In our quest for the biggest church with the most prolific ministries we forgo showing the people the dungeon in which they live. Instead we try to make the dungeon more bearable. There is a reason the Church in America is subpar, it is because the preaching is subpar. We do not preach release to the captives, and if we do they do not understand it, because they know not that they are in captivity.

What is this captivity? Sin. Do we not realize that Jesus died to set us free from sin? We better not preach sinless perfection, right? Well I agree, and I think sinfulness is in the very fabric of who we are, but everyone agrees to that. What people have a hard time agreeing with is when you tell them that you are free from sin. However that is just what Jesus came to do, free us from sin. If you are not free from sin, then you are not free at all, in fact you are lost. You are in captivity, bondage, and you have chosen to serve a hard master, one who is never satisfied. Freedom from sin is not perfection, but it is a hatred for sin and a longing for righteousness that occurs not only in your mind, but plays itself out in your life. Can a Christian fall into habitual sin? Yes, but he or she cannot and will not stay there, and while they are there they will be miserable. Why the misery, because they have tasted freedom, and have found themselves again in bondage. You see you cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other, when we serve sin we are in bondage to it, and with our actions we hate God. Sin is so much more sinful than we often realize, and its bondage is so much more real than we give credit. We just want to say a little prayer ask Jesus to come in and get on with our life. Do you really want a comfortable captivity, instead of a pure freedom.

I will it at that, I hope this all made sense, sometimes I run in circles.

((I hope to post soon on confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart, it has a lot to do with this))


He did not come to call the righteous

Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Look at these words of Jesus from Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” What a scandal! Do you realize that the Pharisees and the scribes had already set themselves apart for service to God? That these men had memorized the scriptures carried out the commandments, they had performed, or at least attempted to perform the temple worship as prescribed in the law. Then our Lord comes eats with sinners and tax collectors, and has the audacity to tell these scribes and Pharisees I have called these sinners to repentance, I have not come to call you!.” No wonder they wanted to kill Him. To give your whole life to serving God (at least as they understood it) and to have this fanatic come along and undo everything you ever did. Can you sense the tension the Pharisees must have felt as more and more people began to follow Jesus? It is one thing when some flash in the pan cult leader pops up and few people leave the fold to follow him, but this man, this Jesus comes on the scene and the masses are flocking to Him. The Pharisees tend to be the subject of ridicule to the Church today, and they were the subject of ridicule to Jesus as well, but I do not think the Church looks at the reality of what the Pharisees were. They were the self proclaimed bearers of truth, there whole lives were built on this premise, there occupation, reputation and purpose were built on performing the ordinances of God. Then one man undoes it all. He destroyed with His teachings everything they were, and because of Him they went from powerful to obsolete, can you sense why they may cry “Crucify Him.” Many people today are ready to crucify political leaders because of a few ideas they have, like a Hillary Clinton or a George Bush, but neither of them have pulled out the very foundations our lives are built upon. Jesus with His teachings effectively slaughtered the Pharisees and rendered them worse than dead.

But look at what the teaching that crushed them was:
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

The clear gospel call is that sinners would come to repentance. The call is that the reprobate would be redeemed, the unclean would be cleansed, the depraved be made holy, and the lost be found. This gospel is not merely a story of forgiveness and the love of God, no it is far more than that. It is the very power of God unto salvation. It has been said before on this blog, the gospel is not a tool! It is the very power of God! It has been said that it takes far more power for God to redeem a man and make Him holy than it took for Him to create the universe, because the universe was a blank canvas for God, yet men are already laden with sin and defilement. The nothingness before the universe came into existence was pure, yet our recreation was from something already stained.

The call is to sinners! The reprobate and depraved, the unclean and the vile, to you and to me, these are the souls whom Jesus has called. This, though it was a great insult to the Pharisees, should be a reason for great rejoicing by us. The issue we fall into is that the Lord in His great mercy and love will begin the work of regeneration in us and we in some case become born again and become the very workmanship of God (see Ephesians 2). Then for whatever reason, be it pride, self reliance, the remnants of unbelief, or something else, we begin to think that we are the righteous. We in our own indolence forgo seeking hard after God, because we have forgotten who we are outside of Him. We see ourselves as righteous and because of that we lose the very calling of God. “I have not called the righteous…” We lose the call and then unbelief creeps in, we question all that we ever did, we doubt every work that God has ever done in us and we render everything meaningless. However if He has begun a good work He will complete it, and if we are ever in that spot of doubt and despair, cling to this: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinner to repentance.” It is so important for every believer when they begin to doubt to examine themselves. Why do you doubt? It is because at some point you found yourself to be righteous, and not long after that you fell. Why did you fall, because you were “righteous” in your own eyes because of some working that you had done. You fell because you no longer had the call of God, because Christ “did not come ot call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

(I am not sure if any of that made sense, I hope it does.)