Tag: Family (page 1 of 2)

Abraham: Father of Us All?

Ruth D – Romans 4:16 states that Abraham is the father of us all. Please explain.

Dave – This relationship that all true believers have with Abraham is spiritual rather than physical. If purely physical, all Gentiles would be out of luck for eternal life. By his willingness to give up the most precious thing to him (son Isaac), Abraham had a similar heart to God’s heart since God was also willing to give His only begotten Son. It was Abraham’s strong faith in God that is mirrored in all his “children” throughout the centuries until Jesus ends this world as we know it. One might say that Abraham put faith first and any works second in regard to salvation. In Genesis 22:17, God tells Abraham that He will “multiply his seed (or descendants) as the stars of the heavens and the sand which is on the seashore.” I think this not only refers to Jewish people and their nation, but to Gentile salvation as well. By us (Gentile or Jew) totally surrendering our lives in faith to God’s Son, we are just like Abraham, and God is super pleased. In present-day vernacular, Jewish Christians are sometimes called “completed Jews” and we Gentiles are “grafted in Jews” or “Spiritual Jews.” God has made it clear that genetic lineage does not count toward salvation (see Romans 11:13-21). All this is not to say that there are absolutely no distinctions between Jew and Gentile as Romans Chapter 11 reveals. But as far as salvation and obtaining favor from God is concerned, there is “neither Jew nor Gentile.”

Feedback:

Gary R – Has it ever occurred to you that to be Jewish is so very special and indeed they are God’s chosen people, what a shame they do not know or believe that wonderful GIFT!

Dave – Yes indeed, Jews are special. They were “the originals.” Romans 9-11 speaks of this, but they all must come to eternal life via the cross like anyone else. Because they rejected their Messiah, Jesus said that the Kingdom would be taken away from the Jews: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). So the Age of the Gentiles began as the Jewish nation (not Jewish individuals) rejected the Messiah. So the Jewish nation is now in total darkness, in my opinion. Some Christians think that will not change, while others think God will convert mass numbers of Jews just prior to the Second Coming. In all this I know one thing for sure, God’s mercy goes deeper and farther than we think.

Mickey L – How Christians can say God is done with Israel is to totally disregard the Bible. It is called Replacement Theology and is rampant in the church. Denominations have taken their money out of Israel and have boycotted Jewish businesses. Why? Because they have replaced Israel of the Bible with the Christian Church. How you can disregard Romans 9, or Romans 11 is beyond me. Half the books in the Old Testement talk about the restoration of Israel. In Psalm 89:28-37, “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, and my convenant shall be confirmed to him. So I will establish his descendants forever and his throne as the days of heaven. If his sons forsake my law and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off my lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness I will not lie to David HIS DESCENDANTS SHALL ENDURE FOREVER AND HIS THRONE AS THE SUN BEFORE ME. IT SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOREVER LIKE THE MOON.” When we have leaders stand up and say God is done with Israel they are bring judgement on themselves, look at America today. God says I will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who don’t. Lastly, if God was not for Israel how could a nation, (the only one in history) be dispersed and then be reborn in one day, the wars they have fought without Gods help would never have been won and if God dosen’t keep is word to Israel why would He not forsake us as well. Look around it’s all about Israel they are the original olive tree we are the ones grafted in, not the other way around.

Dave to Mickey L – I ‘m not saying I embrace Replacement Theology to the point that we should forsake Israel, but how do you interpret Matthew 21:43?

Mickey L – We have been doing a Bible Study in Galatians and it’s all about the Law and how Christ came and that by grace we have been saved. Would this be where the rabinacle system has been rejected, where the age of the Gentiles comes in until as Scripture says the scales will be taken from their eyes? It seems if God wants to make a point in Scripture you will find the context somewhere else, all through Scripture the love for Israel is clearly shown, and to me this one sentence if taken in the context that God is done with Israel is refuted countless times in the Bible.

Dave to Mickey – I certainly hear what you are saying and I am not against the nation of Israel¬† and I do want that country to succeed. However, the Old Covenant promises to Israel were all¬†conditional and the nation broke that covenant several times throughout history. So God revealed to Daniel that this Old Covenant for “Daniel’s people” (Jews) would end in 490 years from the time permission would be given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah comes. That 490 year period historically ended with Christ’s crucifixion. Even Romans Chapter 11 says that only a remnant of Jews will be saved, not the whole nation. Therefore, later in verse 25, “…all Israel will be saved” must refer to New Covenant believers rather than physical descendants of Abraham because that is True Israel.

Believing vs Following

Ruth D – My husband believes in Jesus, and he believes God raised Jesus from the dead, so it seems like Romans 10: 6-10 is saying he is saved, but he’s not in love with Jesus. So is he saved?

Dave – We can’t take one passage build an entire doctrine upon it. We need to take all verses in the Bible into consideration before drawing conclusions on questions and issues. Regarding this one, Jesus told people to not only believe in Him but to also follow Him. Many Americans will tell us that they believe in Jesus, meaning that He is the Messiah and died for our sins and rose from the dead. But many of these are not following Him. Jesus said we are to take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. This means our “self” no longer rules and we live for Him (not that saved people do this perfectly all the time, but they DO do it). If a person shows no signs of repentance or salvation, then I would say they are not saved (but I am never with anyone 24-7 to know this for sure). James speaks about faith without works is dead and that a person would show their faith by their works. This means that if a person has real faith that saves, then there will be evidence flowing through their behavior that a change has taken place. In addition, Jesus told of a man who was “dressed in the wrong clothes” at “God’s Big Banquet in the sky.” Apparently he thought he was saved, but wasn’t.

Having said all that, I hasten to say that I cannot judge your husband by pronouncing him unsaved. It is just too deep for my spirit to do correctly. I would certainly encourage him to read the Word, attend church, and plug into other believers. If he refuses all of these options until his death, I doubt his salvation but I do not sit on God’s Throne. A good question to ask folks is not if they are a Christian, but rather are they following Jesus?

Feedback:

Pat T – I agree with everything Dave says and want to add something I recently read by Os Guinness who pointed out that some people have many obstacles in their life to overcome before becoming true believers, but as long as they are heading in the right direction we should never judge them but encourage them in their journey toward the faith. One’s mate can be such an encourager. Guinness also points out that some may never arrive to the faith but we can’t make that judgment, only God has the privilege to know another’s future.

Alona R – I think you answered Ruth well and your answer should be taken to heart by her husband and many others that we know. Thank you for that explanation – I think I’ll save this for future use!

Gary R – I think its a very slippery slope when people start questioning people’s salvation possibly because someone’s ideas about salvation do not conform to their beliefs or behaviors. Be careful.

The Will of God

Anonymous – How do we know when we are doing the will of God in our lives? My question pertains to all areas of our lives, i.e., job change, exercise, schooling relationship with our children and disconnecting from former relationships. How can we sharpen our awareness towards God’s voice?

Dave – Great question and thanks for sending it. Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

These two verses contain many powerful truths. First, it is the mercy of God toward us that reveals His will (or anything for that matter). This keeps us humble (James 4:6).

Second, we must be willing to surrender our wills and lives over to the Lord continually. This means we are open and willing to do whatever He wants us to do. We do not cling to selfish desires, motives, or agendas. A surrendered heart to the Holy Spirit is very precious to God because it reflects perfect love and He can accomplish much through that person.

Third, we must not be like this world with its perverted priorities. We need to be ever mindful that our citizenship is in heaven so we conduct ourselves accordingly, no matter what the cost.

Fourth, we must allow the Word of God (The Holy Scriptures) to wash our minds from the contaminants of this fallen world (Ephesians 5:26). This can only be achieved by reading the Bible often and meditating (Joshua 1:8) on what it means and how He wants us to apply it to our lives. If these four pieces are in place, then God will let us know what His will is for those things you’ve mentioned in your question.

God has also even given us “checks and balances” to help and protect us. For example, pastors and bishops hold important spiritual offices within the local church and can advise and confirm things to us if we pray for them and seek their input. The bottom line is that the more sanctified (set apart for His service) we are, the better we will hear His voice.

I realize that these spiritual disciplines seem difficult to achieve and practice in this life, but the fact is that the more we practice them (even if not perfect each day), the more we are aware of what God wants us to do. These things do not come naturally to us, therefore we must practice them to improve them. It’s kind of like training a baseball player to become a good shortstop. The only way to get him to stay low when fielding a hard hit ground ball, is to start with slowly hit balls and gradually increase their speed and have him repeat that experience multiple times so that the skill becomes natural. Spiritual assets also emerge with repeated practice. If we do these things, God will do the rest!

Now, in order that we never become a robotic formulator and “boss God around” when we’ve done all of the above, every once in a while He will have us just step out in faith and do something (as long as it is not against His Word). We just cannot whittle God down to human formulas. As C.S. Lewis put it, “He’s not a tame lion.” Still, if we have time to do the above “mandates,” we should do them.

Feedback:

Gary R – WOW, that was special. Many thanks for all the study, thought, and writing that went into this answer. GOD REVEALS Himself in so many ways and we take that for granted at times I think.

Nels F – Excellent advice!

Cindi L – You’re right. It is a struggle to keep excited about the fact that God’s Kingdom, and what He’s doing in the supernatural side by side and intertwined with the natural (that we SEE), is sailing along with power and might and purpose. Here are the thoughts that Penn Clark taught about KNOWING GOD’S VOICE. Scripture does say we can know God’s voice. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” He spoke about the three possibilities of the origin of our thoughts – demonic, God, or the Flesh. Most of the time we are battling with our Flesh. Our spirit always is seeking God, loves God, wants to hear and spend time with Him, serves Him,etc. It is our flesh that is weak-meaning it doesn’t serve God – we end up “serving ourselves”.

God’s voice will always be ENCOURAGING, COMFORTING, AND JOY & PEACE & HOPE- FILLED…the words I speak to are spirit and LIFE.

Response to Cindi’s last comments:

Anon – A very encouraging comment…thanks for sharing.

Nels F – so very true here.

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