Thursday, 26 January 2017

HYPER-GRACE TAKES TOP THREE SPOT

The top three trending posts in this blog, PORRIDGE FOR THE SOUL, have one thing in common—they all focus on hyper-grace.

Ever since this blog, PORRIDGE FOR THE SOUL, started in April 2012, I have noticed from the blog statistics that its visitors include those from USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, France, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, China, S. Korea, Taiwan, Russia, India, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland; and even countries I least expect such as Belarus, Columbia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, UAE, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Romania, Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria. Thank you for the encouragement.


                                                              
The past four years have been one of the most fulfilling periods in my life. I wish to thank the Holy Spirit for the inspiration to blog. Furthermore, a diverse worldwide audience like you motivates me to carry on.

Some people ask me, “Why porridge? Shouldn’t we be consuming meat?” Good question. The original purpose of this blog is to make biblical truths simple and relevant for the benefit of a wider audience, including young believers. It is meant to be easily digestible, just like porridge.

Yes, I agree with you. We should also aim for maturity. As we develop teeth, we should be feeding on solid meat, which I have incorporated into the blog as can be seen in the various discussions to warn people against false teaching (heresy).


                                                                            
While it’s important to be established in the basic foundational truths of the Bible, we also need to move on. That’s where meat comes in. “But solid food (meat) is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

                                                                        
Christians have been warned that heresies (false teachings) will be increasingly prevalent during these end times. Jesus cautioned: Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15).

How many times did Jesus warn believers in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) not to be deceived? Four.
  • Take heed that no one deceives you (vs. 4).
  • For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many (vs. 5).
  • Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many (vs.11).
  • For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (vs. 24).

The major apostles Paul, Peter and John all took a strong stand against destructive heresies.

The apostle Paul cautioned: “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

The eternal security of believers may be undermined if they are seduced and deluded by enticing words of man’s wisdom that twist or misrepresent the major truths of the Bible.
One of the hallmarks of a disciple is diligence in studying God’s word so that we are approved by Him—not put to shame on account of our lack of in-depth knowledge of scriptures.

                                                                           
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) NKJV.

“Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) Webster.

When we are ill-equipped with the Word, we might fall prey to deception, being swept by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Once we are well prepared, we will be able to judge and discern what has been taught against scripture (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

                                                                     
We must emulate the Berean disciples who had a spirit of independent inquiry (Acts17:11).

We must not be intimidated by any teacher, no matter how well-known, illustrious or respectable he or she may be. We cannot say to ourselves or others, “Coming from this great man of God, it must be right.” That is highly dangerous. That is tantamount to prematurely forming our opinion before we have listened to and investigated the validity of the message. No one is free from error, no matter how great he or she is.


                                                                    
Test all things; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Do not reject something without first considering whether it is true or false.


                                                                          
The top three trending posts in this blog, PORRIDGE FOR THE SOUL, focus on heresy and deception, and are listed below:

HYPER-GRACE: JESUS’ PRE-CALVARY TEACHINGS IRRELEVANT


                                                             
Are Christ’s teachings before He went to the cross irrelevant for believers?



HYPER-GRACE: HOLY SPIRIT DOES NOT CONVICT BELIEVERS OF SIN


                                                                      
A prominent megachurch pastor made a bold statement in his book: “The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit never convicts you of your sins. He NEVER comes to point out your faults. I challenge you to find a scripture in the Bible that tells you that the Holy Spirit has come to convict you of your sins. You won’t find any.”


EIGHT KEY TENETS OF HYPER-GRACE DOCTRINE REFUTED



When red flags go up at popular beaches, it means there are dangerous undercurrents that endanger lives. Stay out of harm’s way. Similarly, in the spiritual realm, we need to raise red flags whenever there are dangerous false teachings so that impressionable believers will not be entrapped.



EXTERNAL LINKS

A CONCERNED VOICE FROM SINGAPORE WHERE HYPER-GRACE ORIGINATES
Any serious, diligent student of the Bible will be able to discern the dangerous errors of hyper-grace that undermine the eternal security of believers. However, we are thankful that a Singaporean theologian's clear exposition of hyper-grace recently has reinforced the view that it (hyper-grace) is indeed a heresy.

HAVE YOU FALLEN FOR THE FALSE GRACE MESSAGE?

CONFRONTING THE ERROR OF HYPER-GRACE

THE DANGEROUS ERROR OF HYPER-GRACE
"Hyper-Grace teaches, 'Once Born Again, Christians need never again repent for sins because they are automatically forgiven by the Blood of Jesus the moment they are committed.' This is the most Bible-illiterate, dangerous message we could accept in this crucial hour. Christians must strongly reject it.
"God's Word is clear. His Grace is offered only through continual human repentance. Therefore, without continuing repentance there is no continuing Grace. When human repentance ceases, God's Grace becomes unavailable.
http://www.johnhamelministries.org/Hyper_Grace_Dangerous_Error.htm

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

IS SALVATION AN EVENT OR PROCESS?

Is salvation merely an event that happens when we make a decision to invite Christ into our life or utter the sinner’s prayer?

There has been much confusion and false teaching going around as to what constitutes salvation.

Liberal theology asserts that we just need to believe (intellectual assent) and we will be saved—nothing more. It suggests that salvation is an event whereby we believe in Christ and from that point onwards, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us and we are eternally safe and secure. It means we have bought “insurance coverage” for ourselves and, if we should pass away, we will surely obtain eternal life.

Surely, it is true to say that we are saved by faith and not by good works. So with regards to faith as the means of gaining salvation, I am in agreement with the above theology.
  • “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • “And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36).
  • “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,  even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

But faith is a word with broad ramifications. If a person claims he believes in Jesus but fails to make Him Lord in his life—and continues to willfully live in sin—his belief is fake, spurious and questionable. Without repentance and obedience, belief alone is empty. Genuine faith has to be evidenced by good works. Faith, by itself, without works, is dead (James 2:17, James 2:26).

True repentance involves not only believing that Jesus paid the price for our sins but turning away from sin and turning towards God in obedience. Repentance must involve a change in thought and behaviour—and goals, aspirations and lifestyle as well.

So beyond having faith, God requires us to repent and be obedient to His commandments.

The gospel, which offers salvation by grace through faith in Christ’s atoning work at the cross, has all these elements: 

Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 16:31, John 1:12)

Confession with our lips and belief in our heart (Romans 10:9)

Repentance (Acts 2:38, Acts 20:21)

Obedience (John 8:11b, John 15:6)

                                                                            
So if we want to know whether we are saved, we have to ask ourselves is there any evidence to show that our faith is genuine? We need to subject ourselves to self-examination to see whether our faith is genuine. 

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

The following questions should be able to offer some help.
  • Do we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27)?

  • Do we make every effort to build ourselves in the faith, thus confirming our election and calling (2 Peter 1:5-10)?

  • Do we prepare ourselves spiritually in anticipation of Christ’s return like the five wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)?

  • Do we show love for our fellow brethren (1John 3:14)?

  • Do we abide in Christ and bear fruit befitting of a transformed life (John 15:5,8)?

  • Do we continue to study God’s word and seek to obey Him (John 8:31-32, John 14:21)?

  • Do we utilise our time, talents and resources for God’s glory (Matthew 25:14-30)?

  • Do we keep ourselves in the love of God and not merely presume on His kindness (Romans 11:22, Jude 21)?

  • Are we able to overcome increasing end time lawlessness, deception and persecution (Matthew 24:9-13)?

  • Do we demonstrate characteristics similar to that of goats or sheep according to Jesus’ end time teaching (Matthew 25:31-46)?

  • Have we the kind of faith that perseveres no matter what happens (Hebrews 10:36-39)?

The danger of liberal theology is that it presents salvation as a one-off event whereby we gain eternal life at the point of entry. That breeds complacency. In fact, salvation is a process whereby we have to be faithful and persevere until the end in order to inherit eternal life.

                                                                         
Thus, salvation is not merely an event that happens at a point in time when we make a decision to invite Christ into our life or utter the sinner’s prayer.

Salvation is a process that begins when we believe in Christ and then we go on to show our faith is genuine by ongoing repentance, seeking God's will and obeying Him, bearing fruit in every good work and utilising our time, talents and resources for the kingdom of God.

Our initial faith-motivated decision to follow Christ must be followed up by action in order to prove that out faith is genuine.

Faith gets our foot in the door to heaven—just as being granted an interview gives us the chance of joining the workforce of a company. However, if we merely go for the interview—but do not demonstrate qualities that the company finds valuable and desirable—we will not be able to enjoy the benefits like other workers in that company.

Similarly, if we profess to have faith but do not live it out, we will not inherit the “benefit” of salvation—eternal life. Many believers will be shocked on judgment day if their perception of salvation is based on liberal theology, which downplays personal responsibility.

At this juncture, you may say, if that is so, salvation is not so easy after all if we have to work out our salvation and prove the genuineness of our faith.

Yes, you are right. Jesus did warn that it is not going to be easy to get to heaven: Those who profess to have faith in Christ but do not live it out may hear the most shocking words on judgment day: “I do not know you!” (Matthew 7:23, Matthew 25:12).  http://bit.ly/1BUqF3G

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).  

In fact, there will be many surprises on judgment day and only God knows who will finally reach the pearly gates of heaven. On our part, however, if we examine our lives and work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and keep ourselves in the love and favour of God, there is no reason why heaven’s door will be shut on our faces.

That’s why Paul has this conviction that all will end well and he will gain eternal life when he confidently declared: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

Just like Paul, those who have been walking close to God would know that God keeps them safe for eternity (Philippians 1: 6, Jude 24). The Holy Spirit bears witness to them that they have been saved—provided they continue to be watchful concerning their life and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16).
  • “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1: 6).

  • “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault” (Jude 24)

  • “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).
                                                                                                                                                 
SINNER’S PRAYER AND SALVATION


Say the sinner’s prayer and we’re all set for heavenly bliss?

If believers’ fate in eternity is sealed (safe and secure in heaven) and decided merely at the point of entry (conversion):

Why did Jesus warn believers to endure to the end in order that we might be saved (Matthew 24:13)?

Why did Paul stress that we will be presented holy and blameless before God IF we continue to be steadfast in the faith (Colossians 1:22-23)?

Why did Paul compare the Christian life to a race where we have to exercise discipline and self-control so that we won’t be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27)?

Why did Peter remind us to make every effort to confirm our election so that we will not stumble (2 Peter 1:10)?

Why did the writer of Hebrews exhort us to endure and not shrink back in our faith so that we will receive the promise (Hebrews 10: 36-39)?

Why did John tell us to repent and overcome sin so that our names will not be blotted out from the book of life (Revelation 3:3-5)?


EXTERNAL LINKS

SUMMARY OF WHAT SCRIPTURE TEACHES ABOUT SALVATION
After putting true faith in Christ as Lord, which is consummated by faith in your heart and the confession of your lips (Romans 10:10), and which is evidenced by your turning from sin in your mind and action (Acts 26:20), and being born again (a new nature) John 3:3-8, symbolized in baptism (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21),  we are “saved” to the point of now having a future inheritance of salvation (Colossians 3:24, 1 Peter 1:3-9), but not in actual possession of it yet. 
In our new “saved” position, we are no longer declared to be an enemy of God and we have been reconciled to him through the death of Christ Jesus (Colossians 1:22). We have been marked with his seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), much like a King would authenticate his letters with his signet ring pressed into a wax seal, and salvation is now reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4), but we don’t actually attain it, until we have stood firm in our faith to the very end (Matthew 24:13, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 3:11). As it relates to salvation and eternal life, what we really have is a future inheritance, not an actual possession of salvation yet (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 9:28).
The above, What Scripture Teaches About Salvation, is extracted from http://relentlessheart.com/blog/2015/12/1/once-saved-always-saved

                                                                


PROCESS OF SALVATION
One of a number of errors found in antinomianism is a failure to keep the various aspects of salvation in proper alignment. The long-standing and quite biblical threefold division of salvation is always important to appeal to here. Let me lay it out very simply and diagrammatically:
Justification                   Sanctification                      Glorification
Past                                  Present                                  Future
We have been saved       We are being saved              We will be saved
From the penalty of sin    From the power of sin            From the presence of sin
One-off experience          Lifelong experience                Eternal experience
Positional                         Continual                                Final
God’s work for us            God’s work in us                     God’s work to us
Perfect in this life             Not perfect in this life              Perfect in the next life

The problem with the antinomians and the hyper-grace folks is they fail to see this properly. They so emphasise the first bit of salvation – justification – which is indeed solely by grace through faith, that they ignore or minimise the second and very vital truth of ongoing sanctification. Indeed, they effectively replace sanctification with justification.

So the hundreds of New Testament commands to live holy lives, to obey, to grow in Christ, to put off the old man, to crucify the flesh, to grow in grace, to be transformed, to resist sin, and so on simply get overlooked or watered down. After all, if it is all of grace, there is nothing left for us to do. So sanctification tends to disappear altogether.
The above, Process of Salvation, is extracted from https://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/02/16/antinomianism-and-the-hyper-grace-error/


RELATED POSTS

JUST BELIEVE?
Believers are saved when we trust in Christ. Does it mean that repentance and obedience are optional?

DOES FAITH NEED TO BE PROVEN BY WORKS?
Is faith is merely intellectual assent?

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
The foolish virgins were shut out from heaven. Who do they represent?

A WALK IN THE PARK
Some compare the Christian life to a walk in the park. They say everything is by faith. You just have to believe in what Jesus has done for you at the cross. Anything more than that smacks of self-effort, pride and legalism.
http://bit.ly/1i4ec6W