Proto-Catholicism!

In April, 1521, Martin Luther appeared before his ecclesiastical accusers at the diet of Worms. They had given him the ultimatum to repudiate his unwavering faith in the sufficiency and perspicuity of the scriptures. Luther is said to have responded, “Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and counsels, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the word of God…God help me! Here I stand.” Like Martin Luther, may we rise above the doubts within and confront the threats without when God’s word is assailed. God help us to be loyal contenders of the faith. Let us stand with God and the scriptures alone.

When Martin Luther decided to confront the errors in the traditional religion of Roman Catholicism, he knew he was in for the battle of his life; that it may indeed cost him his life! Yet, he did not waver; but rather went straight to work systematically refuting error with scripture. Martin knew that God was a God of love, and that He did not reserve His counsel for only those in high position. Martin knew that God the Father desired above all to have a loving relationship with man – His creation; and that relationship was possible for anyone who opened there heart and called upon his name. Not just popes and counsels! In short, Martin Luther did much to advance the common man’s relationship with God through the scriptures. I think it is important to note at this point for the sake of this writing, that although Martin did much to advance the unfathomable loving grace of God, he did not fully conceptualize the absolute finality of the finished work of Christ as many do today. This assumption of course, is by no means designed to diminish the awesome fortitude and tenacity of his tremendous work. It only stands to highlight the revelationary flow of God’s grace as He continues to lavish it upon us in ever increasing measure throughout the centuries! For instance, Martin did not understand just as many Christians do not understand today the issue of God’s forgiveness. Martin was under the impression just as so many Christians are today that the forgiveness of God is accomplished in increments; in other words, little by little. We sin, then we ask God to forgive us. We sin, then we ask God to forgive us – That we may be made righteous again; or rather placed back in right standing with God. Unfortunately, the scriptures do not substantiate this claim, but in fact, outright reject it! Ephesians 1:7 tells us that in Him we HAVE redemption through HIS blood, the forgiveness of sins. Notice that redemption and forgiveness are a packaged deal. I John 2:13 says your sins ARE forgiven you because of HIS name, NOT YOUR MANY CONFESSIONS. II Corinthians 5:21 says that if we are IN HIM, we HAVE BEEN MADE the righteousness of God.

Authors note:

My friends, I believe it is important to take into consideration two things when considering Martin Luther’s position and stance: 1. He was young, or rather early in the church age; which means that it’s understandable that he would miss things that should be obvious to us some 500 years after the bible was translated into English. 2. We should take note of how tenaciously he dealt with error when he knew that the truth of God’s word was being assailed. Whether purposefully or unknowingly! The fact is, that we according to scripture are eternally righteous and forgiven the moment we received the life of Christ into our hearts. So let us not be Protestant – Catholics postured up in I John 1:9, (Father forgive me for I have sinned), but rather let us be grateful that we are forgiven people!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Progressive sanctification vs. biblical sanctification for the believer!

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of sanctification; but it has been my experience that there are only two camps surrounding the subject. The first of course being a progressive sanctification whereby the believer is set apart incrementally by the things he or she does or does not do in regards to either pleasing or angering the Father. The second approach or belief is the past tense or finished view which I believe is the only valid conclusion in regards to our sanctification.

I think one of the biggest challenges one faces in this matter is the fact that the word sanctification has more than one definition in the bible. For instance, I Cor. 1:30, 31 states the following: ‘But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and, redemption – that, as it is written, he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’ Notice in this verse the words wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are all listed in the past tense; and are of Christ, whom the believer is in! In other words, the definition of sanctification in this passage denotes a finished work, not a progressive one.

There are other verses however, that speak of sanctification as being something other than set apart in Christ for salvation. For instance, I Cor. 7:14 states that an unbelieving spouse will be sanctified by the believing spouse; which simply means that the unbelieving person will at least superficially experience God’s presence in their believing spouse through hearing the word; thus being set apart by at least hearing truth. There are of course many more examples of the word sanctification being used in different ways; but for the believer it always designates one condition, which is salvation. The final finished work of being made alive in Christ eternally; and thus set apart to God.

Authors note:

The legalist sets himself apart in an attempt to be holy by what he does or does not do. The New Covenant believer rests in the One who has set him apart and made him holy! The former stands in his own righteousness, the latter in Christ! What does sanctification mean to you?

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

 

Shut your mouth!

Do you justify your life and your relationship with God and others based on your ability to measure up to your own interpretation of the law and your obedience to it? Or do you walk by faith in the One who fulfilled the law on man’s behalf? The way in which a person answers the preceding questions will determine whether or not he or she actually understands the purpose of the law. Sadly enough, for many christians because they do not understand the purpose of the law, the law stands as a tool to be observed in order to remain in right standing with God and others. In other words, the law is used in an attempt to produce righteousness which is something that it was never intended to do. The law was not given to make man more righteous; it was given to shut his mouth. That he may turn to God, and receive the only righteousness that is valid; which of course is the righteousness of God in Christ! The following verses are a short account of the laws intended purpose.

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation, by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sin that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No. But by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. ~ Romans 3:19-28

Upon close examination of the preceding verses, what we see is this:

  1. What the law says it says to those under law
  2. No one can be justified by attempting to keep the law
  3. The law brings knowledge of sin
  4. The righteousness of God is something apart from the law
  5. The righteousness of God is by faith in Christ, the only requirement is to believe
  6. Everybody sins
  7. We are justified freely by His grace, through Christ’s blood
  8. God demonstrated His righteousness, long-suffering, forbearance, and mercy at the cross
  9. That we would understand now that God is both just and the One who justifies those who have placed faith in Jesus
  10. What is left to boast about? We can’t keep the law, and our works can’t justify us!

In conclusion, and notice this is a restatement from verse 21, that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Authors note:

The frustrating part about this subject is that these verses from the book of Romans are taught in churches around the world on a daily basis. And yet a large percentage of the Christian community remains deadlocked under law; diabolically held captive through the co-mingling of two systems that were never intended to work together. Remember, the letter kills but the spirit gives life! The New Covenant is our hope my beloved, and Christ is our life….period!!!

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. For a closer look at how the covenants are being manipulated, go back and check out my post called Living in the substance of God’s forgiveness vs existing in the shadow of a sacrificial system written in Nov. 2015.

Living in the substance of God’s forgiveness vs. existing in the shadow of a sacrificial system!

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. ~ Hebrews 10:1-2

Quite simply, what these verses mean is that the old law system in particular, the days of atonement, could neither perfect man in the sight of God, nor cleanse his guilt ridden mind. In other words, the sin issue was left unfinished and man was tasked with the responsibility of keeping himself temporarily forgiven through partaking in the annual blood sacrifices. This system was not only temporary, but in the grand scheme of things, weak and unprofitable! For the law made nothing perfect; nor would it allow man to draw near to God. (Heb. 7:18-19) It was a system based on outward observance, ripe with symbolism, designed to point directly at the coming Messiah! Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) The One who would fulfill the law on man’s behalf, (Romans 8:4), and usher in a new and superior covenant based on better promises. (Heb. 8:6) In other words, the One who would provide the 100% eternal forgiveness of man; thus putting an end to the old system for good! (Heb. 10:10-14).

My friends, are you living in the substance of God’s forgiveness which is Christ Himself and His finished work? Or, are you merely existing in the shadow of a system? 1 John 1:9 was written to those that outright refused John’s testimony concerning Christ! In other words, the verse was written for and to non-believers! Brethren, if you are applying this verse to your life, you are placing yourself under the old system; and as a result, directly under law; essentially stepping back into the days of atonement and the temporary appeasement of God. We are New Testament, new covenant believers, and we are a forgiven people! And the highest honor we can give the Father is to offer up the praise of thanksgiving for the fact that we are eternally cleansed and forgiven! Amen!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. ~ Heb. 10:19-23

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. ~ Heb. 4:9-11

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

P.S. If you are having difficulty trying to understand these things, just ask the Father for guidance, and read Hebrews chapters 7 through 10. Please feel free to ask me or my wife any questions that you may have pertaining to this subject! And may we all learn that to rest is to grow in the perfect love of God our Father!

The music of Christ in us!

About 15 years ago, I began to tinker with the guitar. My friends told me that the quickest, most proficient way to learn was to actually study music theory. They instructed me to start with the basics, so that in the end, I would understand the fundamentals and be able to find my way around the fret board. In short, I did not listen to them because I found the study of music to be quite challenging. The result of this error of course is, that I still don’t know how to actually play guitar! Sure, I can fake it and play some songs; and to the untrained ear, my capabilities may look good and sound fine. However, to the trained musician, this will most certainly not be the case; because what he or she will see are the wanderings of the lost. In other words, what they will see is a person that doesn’t know what key he is in, or where the root notes in any given scale begin or end. Quite simply put, the trained musician will know that what they are observing is someone that does not understand the basic principles of music. Which brings us to point!

I have been a christian now for nearly 13 years, yet it has only been in the past three or four years that I have actually experienced the music of Christ in harmony in me! Prior to that, I did not understand because I was not taught that the basic principles of Christianity are all wrapped up in Christ Himself via the New Covenant. In essence, prior to this understanding, my attempts to live the Christian life weren’t much better than the way I had pursued playing the guitar! Of course this analogy falls short when one considers the fact that Christ enters us at salvation, and never leaves us nor forsakes us; nevertheless, the riches of having a New Covenant understanding surrounding God the Father, the word of God, and Christ Himself are without parallel in terms of our relationship with God!

The following statements are taken from a short study series by Bob George called: ‘A Closer look at the New Covenant”:

The New Covenant

 Forgiveness, reconciliation, sanctification, righteousness, justification, identity, life – These New Testament words make up the very essence of the gospel. For most people, however, these are just nebulous doctrines dangling out in space somewhere, as if they don’t belong or connect to each other.

Historically, some groups have been so focused on these “individual doctrines” that great division has resulted. New denominations and sects have been formed based on single doctrines. In the process, the true meaning of the doctrine has been totally obscured. As a result, the average Christian knows something about each piece that makes up the gospel message, but is unsure and confused about how they fit together.

God has given us a framework that holds the various elements of the gospel in place: this framework is called the New Covenant. It encompasses everything that Christ has accomplished for us through His death, burial and resurrection. That is why it is of utmost importance for every believer to understand the New Covenant. With a proper understanding of the New Covenant, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

Authors note:

I was unable to experience the harmonious music of Christ in me because I was under the bondage of the Old Covenant; and the fact of the matter is, that it is impossible to experience life in the new while remaining under the old! For the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

And we have such trust in Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. ~ II Cor. 3:4-6

Commentary by:

George L. Miller

Rhetorical nonsense – accusations against grace!

If you have been teaching the grace of God in its purity for any length of time, you will have faced this rhetorical question: So we can just go out and murder someone and still go to heaven? The following verses present a very heinous crime committed by a very well-known believer. The indictment conspiracy to commit murder! A crime that by today’s standards would be punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole! Should this crime have been committed in this era, it would possess enough motivational twists and diabolical cover-up to merit its own primetime crime drama!

It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”
Then David sent to Joab, saying, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. And David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah departed from the king’s house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. So when they told David, saying, “Uriah did not go down to his house,” David said to Uriah, “Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?”
And Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.”
Then David said to Uriah, “Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die.” So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also. ~ II Samuel 11:1-17

Author’s note:
I am by no means condoning abhorrent behavior; I am just trying to invoke a measure of critical thinking in regards to the rhetorical nonsense those of a legal mind pose when faced with the unconditional love of the Father towards those who are His! Need I remind everyone, that David was spoken of as a man after Gods own heart; and with that said, shouldn’t we as New Testament saints at least present the same grace given by God to the Old Testament patriarchs? I should think so! After all, we are reading from the same book aren’t we? Do you think David is in heaven?

Commentary by:
George L. Miller

P.S. If David were not king of Israel at the time of this crime, he would have had more rocks flying at him than a meteor shower! Just sayin!

God is not mad!

Good morning everybody! This is what my loving Father has asked me to put forth today: He wants everyone around the world to know that He is not mad at you! That in fact, He loves you beyond measure. That if you think He is mad at you, it is only because you do not know Him. The desire of the Father’s heart towards His creation can be summed up in the following words:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. ~ II Peter 3:9

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~ John 17:3

In this the love of God was manifest towards us that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~ I John 4:9, 10

My friends, God is not mad, and He wants you to know it to know Him. Please meditate on these things; and if you have any questions about getting to know Him, please ask! You will not be judged, you will only be loved.

Sincerely,
George L. Miller