Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth? – Part 2

Dearest hijas and hijo,

As a reminder, the Word of God claims for itself:

  1. Infallibility
  2. Inerrancy
  3. Authoritativeness
  4. Sufficiency
  5. Completeness
  6. Effectiveness
  7. Divine origin

We’re investigating the question of whether Scripture has claims on truth. Is it some truth, all truth? What are the categories of truth? We touched on infallibility and inerrancy, as well as God’s Word being determinative last time. so lets look at authoritativeness. Why is it that Scripture claims to be authoritative and what implications does that have for us as individuals and on the nature of truth? Remember, it is obedience to the Word of God that is the validation you are a Christian. Let me say that again, “the validation or proof that you are in the family of faith is your obedience or non-obedience to the Scriptures.” Jesus says in Matt. 7:24-27 that is not those who just hear His words, but the one who ‘acts’ upon them—who implements His words into the warp and woof of their daily life and is obedient to them who will be the wise builder on the foundation of bedrock instead of sand. Those who only ‘hear’ but don’t ‘do’ are destroyed, and great is their fall (hell and lake of fire) (v.27). Standing in front of Christ on that day saying, “but, but, Lord Lord, didn’t we… (empty words and empty hearts), and He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness” (not all who think they’re in, are in) (Matt. 7:21-23).

Luke 6: 46-49

So what is authority? In its basic definition it means ‘the power or right to do something’. Does God’s Word have this power and right? I mean, that’s the question, right? How am I convinced that God’s Word has authority over me? How am I certain that God’s words conveyed to me in this book are truly His words and therefore has rightful claim to speak truth to me that I need to listen to and obey? And remember, we’re not talking about a written text in the abstract, as if it just stands all alone by itself, but we’re addressing the question of the person (God) behind that text. Psalms 62:11 says, “One thing God has spoken; Twice I have heard this; That power belongs to God.” 2 Chron. 20:6 states, “…Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee.”

This matter of authority rests in God Himself and His attributes as the Scriptures themselves state: omnipresence (Ps. 139: 7-12), omniscience (Ps. 139: 1-6), omnipotence (Ps. 135:6, Jer. 32:17), unsearchable wisdom (Rom. 11: 33-36), sovereignty over His created universe (Ps. 89:11, 90:2), righteousness (Ps. 92:15). How does God’s authority then come through to you and I?—through God’s words to us as recorded in His God-breathed book (2 Tim. 3:16). The words in Scripture have authority because of the authority of the God who spoke them, God-breathed them, and stands behind them. When God speaks everybody better listen.

2 Kings 22:11 The Word of God has authority even over kings (all politicians).
  • The outworking of God’s authority in Scripture can be summarized by a series of negative (what it is not) and positive (what it is) statements, as follows:
  • It is not derived authority bestowed by humans; rather, it is the original authority of God.
  • It does not change with the times, the culture, the nation, or the ethnic background; rather, it is the unalterable authority of God.
  • It is not one authority among many possible spiritual authorities; rather, it is the exclusive spiritual authority of God.
  • It is not an authority that can be successfully challenged or rightfully overthrown; rather, it is the permanent authority of God.
  • It is not a relativistic or subordinate authority; rather, it is the ultimate authority of God.
  • It is not merely a suggestive authority; rather, it is the obligatory authority of God.
  • It is not a benign authority in its outcome; rather, it is the consequential authority of God.

(the above from Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth; Gen.Eds. John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue; Crossway; Wheaton, IL; 2017; p. 107)

Men and women in their sin and depravity will always fundamentally rebel against the Word of God as the truth expressing God’s right to exercise absolute power and authority over them. You, mis hijas y hijo, coming from darkness into the light, can trust it, have confidence in it, use it and speak to it, memorize it and teach it to your mind, share it with others, and be certain of its claims to have the right to exercise authority over your life because of the One who stands behind it. May you seek the LORD and His strength; May you seek His face continually. May you remember His wonders which He has done, and His marvels, and the judgments uttered by His mouth (Ps. 105:4-5).

LISTEN, O HEAVENS, AND HEAR, O EARTH; FOR THE LORD SPEAKS… (Is. 1:2)

I AM THE LORD, THAT IS MY NAME; I WILL NOT GIVE MY GLORY TO ANOTHER, NOR MY PRAISE TO GRAVEN IMAGES (Is. 42:8)

EVEN FROM ETERNITY I AM HE; AND THERE IS NONE WHO CAN DELIVER OUT OF MY HAND; I ACT AND WHO CAN REVERSE IT? (Is. 43:13).

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Is God’s Word the Basis for all Truth?

Dearest hijas and hijo,

We looked last time at three of the battle armor pieces—one of which is the sword of the Spirit in Eph. 6:17. Paul says that this sword is the Word of God. Satan knows that this Word of God is powerfully effective so he tries to stop it. He tries to silence anyone bold enough to proclaim it, use it, point to it, or bring it to bear in any discussion or conversation on matters of life: economics, law, politics, morality, history, science, origins, and especially on any conversation about eternal destiny and the judgment to come (Luke 21:25-27, 34-36). We talked about the fact that you have to so saturate your mind with the Word of God that it dominates your thinking in every area (2 Cor. 10:5).

(Eph. 6:17 She takes up, “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”)

As part of the full armor of God that we are to take up, the Word of God as a sword is an essential piece. But to take it up you have to have confidence in it—you have to be able to trust it. So the question, “Is God’s Word the basis for all truth?” should be clarified and defined, right? Can you answer ‘yes’ to that question and have full confidence in all of God’s Word, or do you want to add additional modifiers? We’re looking at the word all in our question, and then also at the word truth, and whether there are different categories of truth, i.e., absolute moral truth, historical truth, etc. We’re also looking at the question of what Scripture claims for itself. I wish to address this last question first—“What does Scripture claim for itself?”

(1 Pet. 5:8 “Your enemy, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour.”)

Let me list what the Word of God claims for itself and then we’ll try to unpack each one. It claims for itself:

  1. Infallibility
  2. Inerrancy
  3. Authoritativeness
  4. Sufficiency
  5. Completeness
  6. Effectiveness
  7. Divine origin

There is no other book in existence that can make these claims and substantiate them. A book that is infallible, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, complete, effective, and of divine origin ought to be cherished. Isn’t that so? The Church since its inception has always claimed the Bible’s self-attesting nature for these claims and every generation since has had to defend them against attacks. This generation is no exception and I’m sad to say that I think those of your generation seem to have lost the handle on this. Many have walked away. They couldn’t get a grip on what Scripture claims for itself, or if understanding them just simply refused to believe them.

There is one other aspect that Scripture claims for itself, in that the Word of God is determinative. In other words, what you do with your Bible reveals your relationship to God. How you treat the Scriptures reveals something about yourself and your character, and is determinative of how you treat God Himself. Show me someone who loves the Word of God, who eats and relishes it like a savory, frosted, nut-encrusted Cinnabon cinnamon roll in her mouth, and I will show you someone who truly knows and loves her God. Show me someone who is cavalier about the Word of God, doesn’t study it, doesn’t really have an interest in reading and knowing it, and I will show you someone who is either bordering on apostasy, heretical in her views, or not even in the family of faith.

(“Her delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law she meditates day and night” Ps.1:2)

So let’s talk about infallibility. Simply put, infallibility means that Scripture is unable to mislead or fail in accomplishing God’s intended purpose. God’s self-revelation to us His created creatures, in it’s entirety, affirms true truth, and this truth will accomplish what God has set out for it to do without fail.

Inerrancy mean’s ‘without error’. When applied to our Bibles it means that Scripture, in the original manuscripts, does not contain any error—it affirms nothing that is untrue or contrary to fact.

Infallibility and inerrancy are inseparably linked, and the Church has always seen them as such and always defended them as such against attacks. Together, infallibility and inerrancy claim that Scripture is true in all that it affirms and true in every single thing it says. To see the self-attesting nature of Scripture in this its veracity, start with Prov. 30:5-6 and follow the reasoning in Ps. 119:43; Ps. 119:160; John 17:17; 2 Cor.6:7; Col. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:15; and James 1:18.

What is at stake, my beloved, is the integrity and character of the divine author: God. Scripture is the product of God’s own work and is attributed to Him. To say that the Scriptures are in error on what they affirm and not true in what they say, is to say that God HImself is in error and not truthful. A dangerous proposition, indeed. Scripture calls this blasphemy, in that you are calling God a liar (see Num. 23:19, Titus 1:2).

We will not have it that God, in his Holy Book, makes mistakes about matters of history, or of science, any more than he does upon the great truths of salvation. If the Lord be God, he must be infallible; and if he can be described as in error in the little respects of human history and science, he cannot be trusted in the greater matters.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Resistance in war: Shields, Swords, and Skullcaps

Dearest hijas and hijo,

“in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the HELMET OF SALVATION and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph.6:16-17).

You’ve put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the boots of the readiness of the gospel of peace—three fixed pieces you are wearing in readiness for the ongoing battle. Now you must take up three other things for which you will be prepared to move out on the battlefield. You’re prepared to fight demonic forces arrayed against you in heavenly places, and now, on top of everything else, you take up the shield, the skullcap, and the sword.

(Wounded but not defeated she takes up the shield of faith and the Word of God.)

The shield of faith. Flaming arrows from the evil one (Satan) are in the air and on their way. How do you protect yourself? Evil is not some abstract, impersonal force, as if it’s just all the negativity in the universe floating around out there. It’s a personal devil. 1 John 5:19 says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” The flaming arrows are symbols of everything that seduces and tempts you: pride, anger, covetousness, greed, vanity, vengefulness, jealousy, materialism, impatience, impurity, envy, resentment, bitterness—all these things come at us all the time and invade our minds. We’re told by these Satanic untruths never to be content with anything but to always want more—a seductive lie of dissatisfaction with our lives and with what God gives us. It’s a constant battle, and these Satanic darts wound us—some of them slip through—but we are not defeated. Charles Spurgeon says of Satan and his flaming arrows:

He is always watching to see where you are not looking; he is always on the alert when you are slumbering.”

Protection from dissatisfaction requires a shield of faith. And what is that faith? It’s believing that God really does have the best for us. We’re either going to say, “You know, Satan, you’re right, God doesn’t have my best interests in mind, and I’m going to go after what ‘I’ want—I’m going to yield to your temptations” or we say, “Yes, Lord, I’m going to trust You. I’m going to trust that Your commandments are true and that obeying them produces the greatest fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction imaginable because You do have my best interests in mind.” That’s the shield of faith. Will you use it?

The helmet of salvation. Wearing a skullcap to protect a crushing blow to the head while fighting the enemy is in view here. Why is it ‘of salvation?’ You’re already saved, right? You’re already ‘in Christ’, so that’s not what Paul has in mind. The word ‘salvation’ in Scripture can be looked at in three phases. 1) Salvation in justification. 2) Salvation in sanctification. 3) Salvation in glorification. Past, present, and future. You were justified when you believed and were freed from the penalty of sin. You are now being sanctified as you live this life in holiness to Christ to whatever end He has numbered your days, and you are freed from the power of sin. You will be glorified when you leave this earthly temple and are present with the Lord, and are freed from the presence of sin.

(It is Christ who is victorious—now by reason of the Cross, and ultimately and finally by His return in glory—over the dragon, that serpent of old (Rev. 20:1-3, 10). We stand strong and resist his schemes while in our earthly temple with the full armor of God (1 Cor.6:19-20).

It is this third aspect of salvation in glorification that Paul has in mind—freedom from the presence of sin. And O, what a tremendous hope that will be. NO sin present in me. Wow! It changes the way you go into and fight the battle, doesn’t it? You are promised triumph, confident in the end result, confident in the victory, confident that Christ’s securing power will never forsake you, and confident that He will hold you in His divine, omnipotent hands firm to the end. There is nothing that Satan can throw at you that you can’t conquer and you have the utmost confidence against him when you put on this helmet of salvation in glorification. Philippians 1:6 says that the God who has begun a good work in you will finish it, and that is what Paul reaffirms “as a helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thess.5:8).

(The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God).

The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Mis hijas y hijo, this piece of battle armor is very, very, self-explanatory. The Holy Spirit’s sword in you is God’s Word. Let me say it again—the power that you have to fight off Satanic attack is the totality of Scripture—the Word of God— that the Holy Spirit in you uses like a sword to cut the flaming arrows of Satan to pieces. That Word of God is “living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb.4:12).

But to use it you have to know it. You have to meditate on it. You have to memorize it. You have to be able to bring specific passages and verses as countermeasures to your mind when under attack. That’s exactly what Jesus did when He was under attack by Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). And what does it say at the end of that passage in verse 11 after He had used Scripture three times to thwart Satan’s attacks? “Then the devil left Him.”

O what a powerful weapon this is! Why, O why, don’t we use it more often? Is it because we really don’t spend time in it? We’re not committed to memorizing it? We don’t, as the Psalmist says, “treasure His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Thee” (Ps.119:11)? We don’t, as David says, “delight in the law of the LORD and in His law meditate day and night” (Ps.1:2)?

Pray for me, my beloved. Pray that I will love and delight in God’s Word. Pray that I will memorize it. Pray that I will speak it boldly. Pray that I will be committed daily to the presence of God contained in the words of His book and that through this revelation of Him and His history bring glory to Him who lives forevermore. Yes, Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all,

Love, Dad

An Indictment Not to be Proud of

Dearest hijas and hijo,

I am interrupting regularly scheduled programming to bring you this urgent report:

American Worldview Inventory 2020–At a Glance

I came across this report (click above), and it saddens me to no end. I am deeply grieved at the findings. I realize that you, my children. are in that 2% and I am thankful to God that you maintain a Biblical worldview among the majority of your generation that don’t. My generation at 9% is not much better, and it is a devastating indictment on the state of those supposedly called “Evangelical Christians”, today.

Take the time when you can to read through the full report. Look at the categories of questions asked and see if you can’t use those categories and headings to understand your own generation and formulate Biblical responses.

It is my generation at 9% that failed in their duty to you for the findings of your generation at 2%. May God forgive us.

I love you all dearly,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

Resistance in war: Puttin’ on the boots

Dearest hijas and hijo,

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11).

having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE” (Eph. 6:15).

We’ve been talking about being at war, haven’t we? A spiritual war. It’s a war that rages in our minds and thoughts, in our emotions and feelings, and comes out in what we say and do on a daily, minute by minute basis. The demonic forces marshaled against us with Satan as commander are doing everything they can to hinder us from realizing and accomplishing the purposes of God in our own lives and how we are used by God in the lives of others.

If you haven’t realized you’re in a battle, you need to start now. The only way to do that is by putting on the battle armor. Mentally. You’re painting a mental picture in your mind of each piece as you put it on and get geared up for the fight. The times are in the wind and are coming—even now here— where this will be the only way you can withstand the onslaught of wickedness building to a crescendo around you, seeking to burn you up and tear you down.

So let’s talk about boots. And I’m talking about big, thick, sin-stompin’ boots—nimble enough to move quickly when the fight requires it and to crush the sin which so easily entangles us (Heb. 12:1). I mentioned last time that no soldier puts his helmet on and walks out the door in bare feet. Feet are vulnerable. Every soldier knows this and seeks the protection that boots provide. It’s the same in the spiritual battle.

And what is that foot protection? The boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace. Let’s break it down.

PREPARATION = Readiness, made ready, equipped

GOSPEL = Good News. Of what? Jesus Christ paid the fine so we don’t have to. He satisfied God’s wrath in dying for us and our sin, and satisfied God’s justice by taking that punishment upon Himself instead of us.

PEACE = Reconciliation, rest, absence of conflict with God

TRANSLATION: Put on the boots of the readiness of the good news about Jesus Christ concerning the rest and absence of conflict with God made possible through Jesus and His death on the Cross for sin.

I know you know that, mis hijas y hijo, but stay with me, because your friends, loved ones, and co-workers don’t. There’s a couple ways to look at this in terms of application. I think both ways can be used in your fight against Satan and fleshly-induced sin, and against the forces of wickedness seeking to destroy you. One defensive, the other offensive. Remember, that is where the battle is raging, in your heart and in your gut—your mind and your emotions.

Application #1Standing and anchored. Holy and blameless. Beyond reproach. You are at peace with God because you have bent the knee in repentance and acknowledged your sin before God. You have cried out, “Be merciful to me, O God, the sinner.” in complete humbleness and contriteness. You have believed and trusted in Christ as LORD and in His resurrection from the dead, and this trust has made peace with God possible. You stand your ground, firmly anchored in this. You don’t slip, you don’t slide, you stand up and stand firm when under attack. You’re standing and resisting with strong defense.

For it was the Father’s good pleasure…through Him (Jesus) to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…and although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach“— (Col. 1:19-22).

Gen. 3:15 “He shall crush you on the head, You shall bruise Him on the heel”

Application #2Bring the glad tidings of the good news to others. You are never more in touch with God and resistant to sin than when you speak one on one about the Gospel to another person. This is pure and untainted love for others. Why? Because you are horrified for them—horrified enough to be utterly and deeply concerned about their eternal destiny. The stone-cold thought of it just mortifies you. You’re goodnewsing them in love about Christ. You’re goodnewsing them in love about their lost condition in sin and their need to be reconciled to God. You’re goodnewsing them in love about God’s continual warnings that failure to make peace with Him through Christ will otherwise send them on their way to hell when they die in this life, and on their way to the lake of fire when Christ returns for the next. It energizes you, it empowers you, it sharpens your focus, it strengthens your convictions, it thwarts sin and Satan’s demonic forces in your mind, and it brings you closer in emotional well-being than any worldly pleasure could. This strategic offensive plan moving out on the attack obliterates the enemy. He cries like a little baby and soils himself at the thought that you would even dare mention the name ‘Jesus’ to someone else. May the LORD rebuke him.

Pray for me, won’t you, mis hijas y hijo. Pray that I will be horrified enough to put my boots on every morning, and be ready. Ready to bring glad tidings of good news in Christ to others. I can then rejoice with Isaiah the prophet:

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace, and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ (Is. 52:7).

Love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

resistance in war: are you fit for battle?

Dearest hijas and hijo,

13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOU LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit…(Eph. 6:13-18).

This is a familiar passage in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, isn’t it? You’ve probably read it hundreds of times. But have you ever looked at the Old Testament passages from which Paul draws these colorful metaphors? Passages such as Isaiah 11:5, 52:7, 59:17, or 49:2? Probably not, right? Or have you ever broken out the pieces of this armor and looked intently at each one in depth? Probably, but lend me your ear for just a minute, and listen to the wisdom of your father for just a brief moment. I would encourage you to look up the OT passages mentioned above the next time you read this passage in Ephesians, as they are very instructive to the whole of this battle armor that Paul is talking about.

The image of putting on armor is not necessarily a familiar one to you, mis hijas—a nation that sends its women to war soon finds itself bereft of anyone left in which to call itself a nation. It is not a matter of ‘can’ a woman go to war, but within the Judeo-Christian system of thought and morality, ‘should’ she. It is familiar to you, mi hijo, as I’m sure you geared up many times in your service to this country. Thank you for that self-sacrifice, and may you always have the honor due that sacrifice. Always.

What I wish to draw your attention to, my beloved ones, are the individual pieces of this armor, and to see within the context of Christian thought how each one is used in the battle. We can’t just use one piece, but must take up all of it (Eph. 6:11). A soldier doesn’t just put his helmet on, and walk out the door without his boots. He doesn’t just put his flak jacket on and advance the enemy line without his rifle. The full armor is necessary. Daily. As an interesting aside, which battle armor pieces are offensive and which are defensive? Or, can they be, both?

The belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, praying at all times in the Spirit.

Paul takes it as axiomatic that we are in a war. Every minute, every day. Whether we get up to go to work, take care of the kids, watch TV, text friends on the phone, or interact with people outside the office and home—we are battling Satan and his army arrayed against us to do us in. It’s a spiritual battle (Eph. 6:12). One that rages in our thoughts, our emotions, our words and our deeds, against spiritual forces of darkness and wickedness in heavenly places. We’re fighting demonic forces bent on our complete destruction as a chosen one of God. They are on a seek and destroy mission for the corruption of our life and soul. Satan opposes everything that God does as he attempts to elicit sin out of our mind and feelings. Do you see that? Do you believe it? That is why Paul tells us concerning the armor to “take it up” and “put it on.” it’s an imperative command. So how do we do that?

Having girded your loins with truth. What is truth? Isn’t that what Pilate asked Jesus when Jesus had told him that for this reason He had come into the world; to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37-38)? Pilate didn’t know what the truth was even when it was standing right in front of him, and neither do most people alive today. But that is the central question of all—what is truth, how can we find it, and how can we know it? And it’s not a matter of what, but of who. Jesus stood right in front of Pilate and told him the who. (Clue: It is Me, Jesus.) Pilate couldn’t see it, and neither does the world today, but you do, mis hijas y hijo. Put Him on. Put on the conviction that He is “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Stand firm with the knowledge of that truth and that One. He is all truth, all the time.

Having put on the breastplate of righteousness. Define righteousness for me, if you will. What is righteousness? Does it have anything to do with goodness? We come full circle right back to what it means to be a ‘good’ person, don’t we? Is anyone ‘good?’ Scripture says that no one is good, not even one. But, and it’s a big but, we can be made ‘good’, credited ‘good’ in Christ, can’t we? When you put on the breastplate of righteousness, you are standing convicted that nothing you have done, or ever will do, can make you ‘good’ in God’s sight. Nothing. Not even Mother Teresa, standing on all the good works she performed over her lifetime was ‘righteous’ on her own merits, Unless she pleaded ‘guilty’ of her sins before the bar of God, and embraced Christ’s sacrifice to make her ‘good’, she will end up in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). (To my Roman Catholic friends reading this, I mean no disrespect, but you have to remember that this was the key component and raison d’etre of the Protestant Reformation.) It is the consistent testimony of the totality of Scripture that we are ‘not’ justified by works, but by faith alone. Both Old Testament and New Testament attest to this.

“For if Abraham (or Mother Teresa) was justified by works, he (she) has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Rom. 4:2-3)

Do you see the fundamental difference? The key is belief; it’s faith; it’s trust. It’s that simple, but is utterly profound. Believing faith is the channel through which God works His grace and mercy to ‘credit’ us ‘righteous’ and ‘good.’ To put on the breastplate of righteousness then is to acknowledge that you’re putting on Christ’s ‘goodness’, His ‘righteousness,’ and not your own. You stand firm, convicted that you are wearing Christ’s righteousness and are only made ‘good’ because of Him. Then you can confidently say with Paul:

BUT TO THE ONE WHO DOES NOT WORK (trusting in her own merits), BUT BELIEVES IN HIM WHO JUSTIFIES THE UNGODLY, HER FAITH IS RECKONED (credited to her account) AS RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Rom. 4:5).

Picture these battle pieces mentally, mis hijas y hijo, as you put them on in your mind and subconsciously think about what each piece means. Draw on them, remember them, in the daily fight against sin, and against the forces of evil seeking to destroy you and corrupt you.

So, what are the boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace? Stay tuned.

Love you all dearly,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

the seduction of scientism: a warning

Dearest hijas and hijo,

The etymology of the word ‘science’ is from the Latin scientia, and means ‘knowledge (of something) acquired by study,’ ‘what is known,’ ‘learning.’ It is a very good word, and the scientific method and its use of both inductive and deductive reasoning are God-given, and if used properly, God-honoring. Science and its pursuit of knowledge about God’s created universe are good when used properly within its own limits.

Scientism, however, has a different meaning. It is the erroneous belief that science is the only real knowledge there is—that anything that cannot be understood through science doesn’t count as knowledge. The goal of scientism is the attempt to monopolize and control knowledge. It is a dangerous idea. Watch the short video below to see the difference:

The Limits of Science: A Critique of Scientism

You can also follow the below link to the article: ‘Big Errors Common in Big Science‘ for other good information on this topic: https://crev.info/2020/09/big-errors-common-in-big-science/

The belief that science or scientific conclusions are the only valid form of knowledge, or truth, is pervasive in our culture today. It is used as the most common reason to deny the reality of God—science has disproven it. This is nothing more than creating an idol in the mind and bowing down in worship to it. Scientism, then, is nothing more than the worship of science and scientific conclusions as the end all and be all of knowledge.

Scientism nothing more than idol worship

Am I saying that science is bad and its pursuit not God-honoring? This is the charge leveled against Christians today, isn’t it? “You are anti-science,” they say. Listen carefully. I am not saying that science and its pursuit of knowledge about the natural world are wrong or bad (see above—science and its pursuit are good and God-honoring when used properly), and there are numerous Christians, past and present, who were God-honoring scientists who did their science with God’s handbook, the Bible, open and consulted by their side. One only has to peruse the history of science to see the names: Steno, Kepler, Newton, Faraday, Mendel, Boyle, Maxwell, Damadian, etc. This ‘anti-science’ screed is a pejorative thrown at Christians by non-Christians, and even at some Christians by other Christians. It is nothing more than a smokescreen.

What I am saying, is that one must be discerning in what scientific conclusions are accepted as true, justified belief. We, like the younger man Timothy warned by the older man Paul, are to “avoid… what is falsely called ‘knowledge’” (1 Tim. 6:20), “and we are destroying speculations and every lofted thing raised up against the knowledge of God and are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). In other words, examine and test every “knowledge” claim to see how it comports with the Word of God, and with what God has already said about the matter. Understand that God’s Word is the foundation for our thinking in every area. Reject those “knowledge” claims that don’t comport.

Do you see the difference? What is it that constitutes true, justified belief? And how do you know that you know? Can you see instances of where science or scientific conclusions go completely counter to what God (the owner) has said in His revelation (the Scriptures) to man (His created entity) about His universe? Things like: who He is, what He has done, and what is man’s condition and how to rectify it? I’m sure you can.

Our God-created earth as seen from LRO orbiting our God-created moon. Gen. 1:1-31

It is God that owns His universe. He created it—He owns it. His ownership of the universe means He decides the rules, not you or me. His ownership means He decides its beginning and end, which kingdoms rise and which kingdoms fall, what happens on earth here and what happens out in the cosmos there. His ownership of the universe means He should be honored for it. Do you think most people realize this and honor Him? I tell you, no, most people do not honor God for His ownership of the universe, including His ownership of they themselves.

This then is the seduction of our age, and is its prevailing philosophy. Be aware of the hidden presupposition of scientism in speaking to your friends and loved ones, mis hijas y hijo. Most people will have this unstated assumption in their opinions and speech, and must be challenged on it. Why?

“because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

(P.S. If you understand that one truth, mis hijas y hijo, that there is no one who stands before you that does not know God, it will empower you like nothing else will. There is no one; not friend, not parent, not sister, not brother, not the lost tribes in the deepest jungle, that does not already know God, and that He exists and is There, then you will never be hesitant or afraid in your speech or words in speaking about that knowledge. It will give you a confidence like nothing you’ve ever imagined.)

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

lessons on wrath, mercy, and faith from the book of numbers

Dearest hijas and hijo,

5And the people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” 6And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” 8Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.” 9And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived (Numbers 21:5-9).

Numbers 21:4-9

First, a little history. The book of Numbers, part of the first five books of the Bible, might also be called “In the Wilderness“, as that is more descriptive of the total contents of the book than its lists and numerical statements. It recounts Israel’s history through their wanderings for almost 39 years after leaving Egypt (c. 1445 B.C.), and before entering the land that God had promised to them (Gen. 15:18, cf. Gen. 50:24, Ex. 12:25, Deut. 27:2-3)). Numbers thus forms a continuum begun in the book of Exodus, (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, and ending with the death of Moses in Deuteronomy 34, just before Joshua leads them to that land of promise. This account of the bronze serpent while Israel was still in the wilderness, was most likely at the end of their wilderness wanderings, in the 40th year after the Exodus (c. 1405/1406 B.C.).

Most people go through life caring not a wit about God or His wrath. Thinking that God loves them unconditionally, like a cute, cuddly teddy bear, they believe that God’s love is not judgmental, not disciplinary, not wrathful, not damnatory, with no elements of dire warning about the consequences of sin. While this misconception is very soothing to the ears; a lie nonetheless. Thinking that God will accept them just as they are, they don’t realize that God hates sin and will judge the unrepentant sinner. “God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He (God) will sharpen His sword; He (God) has bent His bow and made it ready” (Psalms 7:11-12). That indignation ‘every day’ is against sinners and their sin.

God’s wrath is always wedded with His mercy, however, and this is clearly seen in this passage about the bronze serpent. It was God, who in disciplinary wrath, sent the fiery serpents to bite the people, with the result that many of them died (v.6). It was God as well, who in loving mercy, provided a way of life after being bitten (v.8-9). Notice the elements of the account: bitter complaining and ungratefulness against God and Moses (v.5); wrath of God in fiery serpents (v.6); repentance and a seeking of forgiveness by the people (v.7); mercy and acceptance of that repentance by God and providing a way of escape (v. 8); ‘looking’ to that provision in faith and trust, and living (v.9).

John 3:14-15

How could such a simple act as ‘looking’ at a snake made out of bronze, bring you from a state of dying from poisonous snake bites, back to full healthy life?

Jesus’ words to Nicodemus about this very event are instructive: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Do you see the parallel? Just as Moses ‘lifted up’ the bronze snake in the wilderness so that those who ‘looked’ on it in faith and trust were physically saved from dying of the snake bites, so Jesus Himself must be ‘lifted up’; elevated above all others and in faith and trust made Lord, for one to be saved in the spiritual sense and saved from eternal death of body and soul in hell. That ‘looking’ is a matter of faith and trust in the object of what is looked at. God’s mercy refused results in the judgment of death; His mercy accepted results in the judgment of life and the salvation of your soul.

Use the account of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, mis hijas y hijo, in driving home the importance of what to put one’s faith and trust in for eternal consequences. Is it my merits, my goodness, my efforts, that will get me to heaven, or is it Christ’s merits, His Goodness, and His worthiness on my behalf that gets me there?

“THEN YOU WILL SAY ON THAT DAY, I WILL GIVE THANKS TO THEE, O LORD; FOR ALTHOUGH THOU WAST ANGRY WITH ME (because of my sin and rebellion), THINE ANGER IS TURNED AWAY (because of what Christ did for me on the Cross), AND THOU DOST COMFORT ME. BEHOLD, GOD IS MY SALVATION, I WILL TRUST AND NOT BE AFRAID, FOR THE LORD GOD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION” (Isaiah 12:1-2).

All my love,

Dad

Vaya con Dios!

afraid of offending the world with the truth

Dearest hijas and hijo,

I commend to you the below short blog post and video from Pastor John MacArthur and Grace to You (gty.org) on speaking the Word of Truth with courage and confidence. Pastor MacArthur has been the pastor at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, faithfully and loyally preaching and expositing the Scriptures, verse by verse, for over 50 years.

He “opens up” the Scriptures like few others in our current generation, and like many of the great preachers of God’s Word from past generations (e.g., Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon) he presciently and accurately sounds the trumpet of prophetic warning to this generation of Christians.

“When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you do not warn her or speak out to warn the wicked from her wicked way that she may live, that wicked woman shall die in her iniquity, but her blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked, and she does not turn from her wickedness or from her wicked way, she shall die in her iniquity, but you have delivered yourself” (Ezekiel 3:18-19).

Daniel 3:1-30 “We will not bow down”

We cannot be afraid of offending the world with the truth, my beloved ones. That truth is offensive. It jars people to the core of their being. It cuts to the heart of their sinful rebellion. It slices and dices their perceived goodness and merits; thinking it is those that will get them past the gate at heaven. But we have to tell them of the ‘bad’ news, before they can understand and receive the ‘good’ news. It is always in that order. This is a biblical mandate, and shirking it leaves our friends and loved ones to face the eternal consequences of hell, where Jesus said, ” there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28, cf. Luke 12:5) .

“These eyes would become sightless balls of darkness, if they were permitted for an instant to look into that ghastly shrine of torment. Hell is horrible, for we may say of it, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the horrors which God hath prepared for them that hate him.” —Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Hear the following blessing, mis hijas y hijo. As Dad, I am pronouncing this blessing upon you, saying:

You would do no wrong; in fact, you would do well, my beloved ones, to read any of Pastor MacArthur’s books or listen to any of his sermons. See and hear and read what this man of God says “comes out” of the Scriptures, and make it your endeavor to put it into practice.

You can find the short blog post and video here:

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B190222

All my love,

Dad

(P.S. The Keys to Spiritual Growth, The Vanishing Conscience and The Second Coming are just a few of Pastor MacArthur’s books you might find highly edifying.)

the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son: what is the lesson?

Dearest hijas and hijo,

Jesus used many everyday illustrations to compare what happens in life on earth; what was common in everyday culture, with what the spiritual life in which He calls all people to repentance is like. One such illustration is the parable of the lost coin, and it comes in the middle of two other parables about one lost sheep and one lost, wastefully extravagant, selfish, and shameful son in the 15th chapter of Luke. It is important to remember that every one of Jesus’ parables had an important lesson to convey and why one central lesson is always the most important feature.

“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10).

So what is the central lesson here? What would you say? Is it primary of the woman who is seeking? She searches diligently until she finds the one lost coin. The same is true of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to seek out the one lost sheep; he searches diligently until he finds it (Luke 15:4-5). Perhaps the central lesson is that they throw a party and invite their friends and neighbors in some sort of psychological, sociological, feel-good moment for themselves? “Hey everybody, I found it!” The friends and neighbors saying, “Fantastic!, I’m so happy for you.”

Or, is it that God and His angels rejoice over one lost sinner?

One must look at all three of these parables together in conveying the one same point. What is true of the lost sheep that was found, is true of the lost coin that was found, is also true of the lost son that was found. And what point is that? It is this: God has a compelling interest in the recovery of lost sinners for His own joy, and this joy erupts in the effusiveness of grace. This like all other of Jesus’ parables is about salvation.

The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the selfish and shameful lost son are all representative of the sinner: hopelessly lost, poor, hungry, and in need of finding. Beyond any apparent help, they are just gone. What is specifically seen in the parable of the prodigal son is his rebellion against his father (Luke 15:11-32). He demands his inheritance from the father before the father is even dead. “I want it now,” he says, in essence, wishing him as if he’d already died. A shameful, disgraceful, and dishonorable act of the son in any culture, let alone Jewish culture.

What can we say about this father? Who is this father representative of? It is God in Christ coming down from heaven to seek and save lost sinners (Luke 19:10). And what is the sinner’s rebellion against this Father? It is a rebellion against the goodness of the Father. It is disdain for the person of the Father; disdain for the Father’s rule; disdain for the Father’s authority; disdain for the Father’s will, and even disdain for the Father’s blessings. It is to dishonor God, to run as far away as one can go from God, and even to wish God dead.

Jesus is no longer here on earth in His physical body, is He? That mission of seeking, finding, and saving lost things is not applicable to Him any longer on this physical earth. So who is it applicable to?

To us, my beloved ones, to us. It applies to us. Jesus now charges you and I with this most important task. All other tasks pale in comparison. Do you want to love God and love others as yourself? Then tell them they need to repent and embrace Christ. Is this judging others? If it is, it’s what Jesus commands us to do, and it is not optional. When He comes again—and He is coming— it will be in judgment; to separate the sheep from the goats (Matt. 25:31-46). He’s not coming the 2nd time to save lost sinners but to judge them.

Time, is thus, of the essence. May you seek out the lost ones in your life, point them to Christ and how they can be made ‘good’ with God, and tell them of the rejoicing in heaven that happens when one sinner such as they are, turn back to Christ in repentance.

“SAY TO THEM, ‘AS I LIVE!’ DECLARES THE LORD GOD, ‘I TAKE NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE WICKED, BUT RATHER THAT THE WICKED TURN FROM HER WAY AND LIVE. TURN BACK, TURN BACK FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS! WHY THEN WILL YOU DIE…?'” (Ezekiel 33:11).

All my love, Dad

Vaya con Dios!