The Golden Chain

Well, I have been accused of being “negative” and pessimistic.
so, I thought I would post one of the most amazing things I have read in awhile.
this is from Steve Camp’s Blog called The Golden Chain, but wanted to post it on here, because this is such great stuff and i want to really spread this around…

in an age of pluralism,postmodernism, and self-esteemism it is good to read something that actually drips with truth.
the truth that we have done or will do anything that deserves God’s salvation….

Amazing love how can it be
that thou my God shoulds’t die for me…

enjoy..

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” -Romans 8:29-30.

This is one of the most profound and assuring promises in all of Scripture. It is commonly referred to as, “The Golden Chain of Salvation.” It is a chain of five eternal links: God foreknew; God predestined; God called; God justified; and God glorified. Every aspect of our salvation is all and only of Him. No room for man’s self-glory here; no room for a hint of human praise; no room for boasting in ourselves. This is the great work of the Lord alone in our salvation. Past, present and future hope secured for us in Christ Jesus. So therefore, we joyfully say with the apostle Paul, “if God be for us, who can be against us? For it is God who justifies…” (Rom. 8:31f).

1.) God foreknew: foreknowledge does not mean here to know about future events in advance. God is omniscient – knowing all things in all times concerning all His creatures and creation. Nothing is hidden from His sight and He, contrary to the heresy of The Open Theists, is not “presently learning” nor stunted in His knowing (Psalm 139). Foreknowledge is never used in terms of knowing about future events, times or actions (omniscience). “Foreknowledge is a predetermined relationship in the knowledge of God. God brought the salvation relationship into existence by decreeing it into existence ahead of time” (MacArthur Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:2). God foreknew us by setting His electing love in pre-establishing an intimate relationship with those that He has sovereignly chosen in Christ before the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:4-6; 1 Peter 1:1-2). It is, I believe, only used in regards to God’s electing love of His people and not, as some suggest, a “knowing ahead of time of events and actions.” God knew us, had established relationship with us in times past eternal. He foreknew us. The antithesis of this is what the Lord said in Matthew 7:23, “depart from, I’ve never known you.” Those are the most frightening words in Scritpure, aren’t they? Foreknowledge was also used in this manner with Christ. Peter says, “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:20). Christ was foreknown in the eternal Trinitarian relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There was intimacy of relationship within the Trinity before anything that was made was made. The promise for us is that He foreknew us before the world was made… What God established in eternity, He brought about in time in our salvation through Christ our Lord.

John Murray says: “Even if it were granted that `foreknew’ means the foresight of faith, the biblical doctrine of sovereign election is not thereby eliminated or disproven. For it is certainly true that God foresees faith; he foresees all that comes to pass. The question would then simply be: whence proceeds this faith, which God foresees? And the only biblical answer is that the faith which God foresees is the faith he himself creates (cf. John 3:3-8; 6:44, 45, 65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Peter 1:2). Hence his eternal foresight of faith is preconditioned by his decree to generate this faith in those whom he foresees as believing.”

The late Dr. James M. Boice summarizes that: “foreknowledge means that salvation has its origin in the mind or eternal counsels of God, not in man. It focuses our attention on the distinguishing love of God, according to which some persons are elected to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ, which is what Paul has already been saying.”

2.) God predestined: It means to determine a person’s destiny beforehand. To be “pre” – before; “destined” – appointed. God in His sovereign electing love has predestined us, marked out beforehand, our eternal destiny. Again, what comfort this brings to the discouraged believer in the Lord in our daily sanctification in Christ. It tells us that, God, having fixed his distinguishing love upon us (foreknew), he next appointed us “to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” And what is that destiny for the people of God? To be made like Jesus Christ–“conformed to the image of His Son.” That is why beloved, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

3.) God called: James Boice in his excellent commentary on Romans says, “The next step in this golden chain of five links is what theologians call effectual calling. It is important to use the adjective effectual at this point, because there are two different kinds of calling referred to in the Bible, and it is easy to get confused about them.

One kind of calling is external, general, and universal. It is an open invitation to all persons to repent of sin, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. It is what Jesus was speaking of when he said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Or again, when he said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). The problem with this type of call is that, left to themselves, no men or women ever respond positively. They hear the call, but they turn away, preferring their own ways to God. That is why Jesus also said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. ..” (John 6:44).

The other kind of call is internal, specific, and effectual. That is, it not only issues the invitation, it also provides the ability or willingness to respond positively. It is God’s drawing to himself or bringing to spiritual life the one who without that call would remain spiritually dead and far from him.

There is no greater illustration of this than Jesus’ calling of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, who had died four days before. Lazarus in his grave is a picture of every human being in his or her natural state: dead in body and soul, bound with graveclothes, lying in a tomb, sealed with some great stone. Let’s call to him, “Lazarus, Lazarus. Come forth, Lazarus. We want you back. We miss you. If you will just get up out of that tomb and return to us, you’ll find that we are all anxious to have you back. No one here is going to put any obstructions in your way.”

What? Won’t Lazarus come? Doesn’t he want to be with us?

The problem is that Lazarus does not have the ability to come back. The call is given, but he cannot come.

Ah, but let Jesus take his place before the tomb. Let Jesus call out, “Lazarus, come forth,” and the case is quite different. The words are the same, but now the call is no mere invitation. It is an effectual calling. For the same God who originally called the creation out of nothing is now calling life out of death, and his call is heard. Lazarus, though he has been dead four days, hears Jesus and obeys his Master’s voice.

That is how God calls those whom he has foreknown and predestined to salvation.”

4.) God justified: Here is the great Reformation truth of the gospel, justified by faith alone. It means that the Sovereign Judge of the universe declares us “not guilty” by grace through faith through our Lord Jesus Christ (Roms. 5:1). We are no longer under the wrath of God, no longer the enemy of God. We have become His children and are now the objects of His love and mercy and no longer estranged by His enmity. But being justified is not just a declaration; but also a reality for the Christian. We have been clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ. As Dr. MacArthur so wonderfully says, “Christ was treated on the cross as if He lived your life, so that we might treated as if we lived His life.” He was clothed with our sin, though sinless; and we are clothed with His perfect righteousness, though sinful. Our sin imputed to Him; His righteousness imputed to us (Roms. 5:21). This is the great doctrine of imputation in our justification.

“Those whom, God effectually calls he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God” – WCF Ch 11

“Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 513).

“The phrase in ipso (in him) I have preferred to retain, rather than render it per ipsum (by him,) because it has in my opinion more expressiveness and force. For we are enriched in Christ, inasmuch as we are members of his body, and are engrafted into him: nay more, being made one with him, he makes us share with him in every thing that he has received from the Father.” (John Calvin Commentary on 1 Cor 1:5

“This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him.” – Francis Turretin

5.) God glorified: Notice that Paul says this in the past tense. Our future glorification is already secured and perfected in Christ in eternity future. He knew us, determined our destiny to be like Christ, called us, justified us, and now the fifth link in the chain of our salvation… He glorified us. What hope, what promise of eternal life in and with Christ! Paul wrote in Philippians, “I always pray with joy … being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:4, 6). God began the “good work” by foreknowledge, predestination, calling, and justification. And we can know that He will carry it on until the day we will be like Jesus Christ, being glorified.

No wonder Jude proclaims with absolute confidence: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

What a fitting doxology for us today. Here it is beloved: have you gone through a time of trial and brokenness lately? Has your world been shaken–turned upside down by tragedy? Have you been through a divorce, death of a family member or suffered the loss of a child? Maybe you’ve lost a job or been fired for living honorable for the Lord? Who can bear the weight of such overwhelming pain on their own? But friend in Christ… here is our hope. The golden chain holds you fast. “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you;” “He will never leave nor forsake you;” and that “nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Rejoice in the Lord and find your hope, security, significance, rest, worth, and purpose only in Him. He is everything we need!

“priest on wheels”

MEXICO CITY — Capitalizing on momentum from recent papal events, the Catholic church yesterday acknowledged its “insane jealousy and rabid envy of Pentecostals” in Latin America, and launched an ambitious plan to re-assert itself in countries where it has lost ground.
Fleets of CC-Mobiles, new roving confession and Communion trucks, are plying neighborhoods in Mexico and the U.S.
“When I heard the tinkling music, I thought it was the ice cream man, so I sent the kids out with money,” says Maria Gonzalez. “Then I saw a priest at the wheel. He invited us into the truck to have brightly-colored Communion wafers and confess anything we needed to confess. I have to admit, it was convenient.”
The Church hopes to appeal to youth with Radical Rosary conferences. The PromiseKeepers-style events will promote church rituals under new names like “Man Your Stations” stations of the Cross and “Kickin’-It Confessionals” which Church literature describes as “hang-out sessions with priests where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind except subjects relating to child abuse.”
Priests are also distributing bumper stickers that say, “Sì, Catolico!” and “Catholic … And Cool.”
But long term success depends on the new pope, they say.
“We are excited about the potential of our 78-year-old German conservative pope to dazzle people with his proven ‘rock star quality,'” says a priest from Oaxaca. “He will help us take back ground we conquered five hundred years ago.”

this is so sad. and i know somewhat humorus.there are those reading this saying that this is sacreligous (as so you should), and others that think this is a new wave of reaching the unchurched (which is very sad).
but, what struck me when i read this was how many evangelicals are doing this exact thing.
we have “church” on friday evening so it doesnt “cramp your weekend”, music styles from rockin,rappin,southern gospel, secular, and everything in between, and now with the push of the emergent movement you dont even have to leave your house now that you can become a memeber of a “e-church”.
there is something to be said of liturgy, of order, of hymnody, of tradition.

i heard someone say the other night that they wished theology would die. i literally gasped at teh thought. the thought of not digging into the word, the thought of just resting on experience should make us nauseus.
in my marriage if i just rested on the times when i get Alaina flowers, or when i compliment her, and just rely on teh “experinces” (or when i feel loved) and never got to know her, we would not have much of a marriage. i need to talk to her, find out about her, not only her, but her history and her story.

i am working on a observation of music in today’s church, but to me instead of the humble nature we are REQUIRED to have in teh presence of God, we know have an “i” mentality. instead of focusing on the grace God has bestowed upon us, we now have how i feel about things. “i’m spinnin”, i feel like dancing”, and the list goes on and on…

we are know seeing the affects of a market driven church. Robert Schuller said “ask a person what they look for in church and give them that”. well the people spoke and they said “rock music, less preaching, less in, more convience, less about God and more about my needs”. well, now we have churches that do exactly this. music for 40 min, sermonette for 10 min, and out by 12. Dont use teh word sin cause that will turn people off (Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyers agree wholeheartedly with this idea). and instead of exspository preaching we have life application where verses are hardly read and everything is a big metaphor.

this reminds me of children. if we took teh same mentality to kids as we did church. shoudl parents jsut ask their kids what they want and give them that? “cookies, candies, coke, no veggies, and nothing good for me” would be what you would hear fromt eh typical child. but, as parents we should worry about what is good for them and not their felt needs.

Christian Politics

the thoughts of Christians and politics has been on my mind recently.
with roy “ten commandments” moore, james dobson, jerry fallwell, and the other Christians that think by changing the laws and culture this world will become somehow more “Chrstianized”.
we are depraved. period.we are a fallen people that live among other fallen people. we cannot expect teh unsaved to act like saints, mor than we can expect dog to act like a cat.
should we not be involved in politics?sure
shoudl we not protect our children from things that are not appropriate for them? yes of course

but, passing laws to prohibbit same sex marriage, or outlaw abortion, or take the gay teletubby and spong bob off the air (ok..i agree on this one, just cause they scare teh hell out of me!!)
will some how make sin go away you are living under the sea or in teletubby land.

there has been homosexuality,abortion,drunkedness, and every other sin that the guys mentioned above are wanting outlaw. always has and always will till Christ returns.

and as far as teh 10 commandments go…i dont need a piece of stone to tell me the law of God and of man.
from teh moment roy moore started this journey to me it always seemed political. he always made a fuss right around election time…and now if you will see he is rumored to be running for govenor of alabama.
we have alot of problems in Alabama and i want a govenor that will try and fix them not spend 4 years trying to get a piece of granite placed in the front yard.

i read this piece from John Macarthur and thought it related….

“I hear a lot of talk today about the church impacting culture… But frankly, folks, that’s not our goal. That is not our goal. It sounds like a noble goal and I’m sure there are people who can see certain noble aspects of it and there may be some. But our goal is not to impact our culture by changing their moral values. Our goal is not to impact our culture by creating traditional values, family values through legislation or judicial process. Our goal is not to make sure that the United States of America adheres to a national policy that equates to biblical morality. That is not our goal. We are not involved in altering social morality. We are not involved in upgrading cultural conduct. We are interested in people becoming saved. That is our only agenda. If we’re going to change our culture we’re going to change it from the inside out.

You see, the church has one mission, we are a nation of priests. And a priest had one simple function, to bring people to God, to usher them into His presence. It is the only thing we are in the world to do. Frankly, if people die in a communist government or a democracy, it really doesn’t matter if they end up in hell. If they die under a tyrant or a benevolent dictator, it doesn’t matter if they end up in hell. If they die believing that homosexuality is wrong or believing that homosexuality is right and end up in hell, it doesn’t matter. If they die as a policeman or a prostitute without Christ, they’re going to end up in the same place. Whether they die moral or immoral will make no difference in their eternity. Whether they stood on the side of the street with the pro?abortion rights group and screamed for legalizing and maintaining legal abortions, or on the other side of the street against abortion and screamed to stop the killing, if they didn’t know Christ they’re going to end up in the same place. Right? That isn’t the issue, the issue is salvation…the issue is salvation. And the sad reality is that when the church gets a moralizing, politicizing bent it usually has a negative impact on its evangelization mission because then it makes the people hostile to the current system and they become the enemies of the society rather than the compassionate friend.”

Gimme that name tag!!

from my teen years to just a few hours ago, i have been hearing this scapegoat cliche to get out of religious discussions. it comes in diff phrases but it means the same thing.

“religion has killed the church”
“we don’t need theology..we need jesus” (ironic eh?)
“i don’t like labels”
“i let God be the judge”

yadda yadda yadda
over and over again this is said so someone doesnt have to take a stand on an issue. Joel osteen did it with his Larry King interview

CALLER: Hello, Larry. You’re the best, and thank you, Joe — Joel — for your positive messages and your book. I’m wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry’s earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That’s not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that…

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn’t share it is wrong, isn’t he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don’t know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I’m just going to let god be the judge of that. I don’t know. I don’t know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

OSTEEN: No. But I…

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I’m going to let someone — I’m going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just — again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it’s a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I’m not going to go around telling everybody else if they don’t want to believe that that’s going to be their choice. God’s got to look at your own heart. God’s got to look at your heart, and only god knows that.

so for the sake of either not getting into a debate, offending someone, or just not knowing truth is compromised.

we spend years telling our kids war stories of how america became free. stories of soldiers who died so that we could have a better life. regular men and women who would not compromise truth even if it meant their life.
yet….
nearly everyone i have ever talked to knows anything about their church history. the foundation, the trials, the councils, and every other story that has been woven into teh fabric of our heritage. a legacy that will live on even if america should fall and be destroyed.

growing up in church i never heard stories of martin luther, johnathan edwards, and the like. never knew how important Luther nailing his 95 thesis would be in the course of what pastors can say today. that something so obvious as the elect being the only ones allowed to take communion would strip one of the most passionate pastors of his position in a church.

where are those stories?

and not even on that broad of a scale…how did your local church come about? what were the trials that shaped and molded your community?

i grew up baptist (oh no a label!!) my whole life. had a little time i guess of rebellion where i fought hard against “tradition” (signed gifts, music, bible versions,etc)….my self impossed title was “bapticostal”(yeap another label!). now older and hopefully a little wiser (although the more i read the more i am glad my will rest in God and not on me) i am reformed.

we should be as proud to say “i am a (insert denomination)!!” as we are to say “i am an american”

i thank God for the heroes of the faith…Abraham,Noah,David, the apostles, st. augustine, john calvin, martin luther, johnathan edwards, council of westminster, and every other person or group that made just one small contribution to our legacy.

so wear your label proudly! for without these figures who knows what state we would be in today…

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watch the live8 concert yesterday on mtv, and the more i watched it the sadder i got. when i first heard of the One campaign i was really excited about it, the end of poverty! who wouldnt be excited about it??!?!?! then i read how they were going to end pocerty. here are my concerns for this solution

1. debt relief will not stop poverty. this is like saying “a casino erasing a gamblers tab will make him stop gambling”. this makes no sense whatsoever.

2.there is no guarantee that any money sent over there will get to those that need it. i am no specialist in this area, but seems that gov spending wisely should me more of a concern that sending money over there (i.e fix the hole in the cup before you pour mmore water in it)

3. africa is not the only place with poverty. lets pretend this works and africa’s poverty is neded..there are a ton of other places that have poverty….this seems like a false hope to give youth that attending ac ocnert or wearing a white band will “end poverty”.poverty will always be here

now with that said. i am all for helping the poor. i believe as Christians we should. but, the One campaign is not teh way to go. Live aid is still having problem with the money they received back in the 80’s.

we should try and help the “fatherless and the widow”, but it seems the saying
“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” should be the way Live 8 should handle the situation

Frustration

I think i have about had my fill of Christian Bookstores!!!

i cannot find a decent theology section to save my life!
i am wanting to read D.A Carson’s book on the Emergent Church, but no one around here has it (or has even heard of it)!! if it isn’t Rick Warren or Joel Osteen then forget it!

Lane found a couple tonight that she liked by R.C Sproul. One dealing with election and the other with reformed theology.

Interesting…

Blog of jvmoore1: “ok just read this quote and thought some of you would find it interesting….

‘And the whole New Testament calls Him the first-born….The word ‘born’ began to ring in my spirit; it just began to roll around: born, born. I never had let Him go through that in my own thinking….And while I was laying there thinking about these things, the Spirit of God spoke to me. And He said, ‘Son, realize this: Now follow Me in this, don’t let your tradition trip you up.’ He said, ‘Think this way: A twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.’ And I threw my Bible down. I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘A born-again man defeated Satan. The first-born of many brethren defeated him.’ He said, ‘You are the very image and the very copy of that one.’ I said, ‘Goodness gracious, sakes alive!’ And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, ‘You don’t mean–you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man, too.”
-Kenneth Copeland, ‘What Happened from the Cross to the Throne’ tape # 02-0017
(this is his teaching that anyone could have paid the price for redemption physically)”