Paul's Passing Thoughts

In Response to Questions About “Feelings”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on April 24, 2016
   Right feelings follow right action. What we feel in the midst of any action is irrelevant to the big picture. I get a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction in meeting the needs of those I serve in the health industry, but that doesn’t mean I experience joy in doing the individual acts that are part of my job description. When I am helping a client meet a need via a process that robs them of all of their dignity, that act does not give me joy; the joy comes later in knowing that I helped the client fulfill a need. In eternity, many of the tasks we presently perform will not even be necessary.
   In regard to the Protestant notion that motives are validated by the feelings felt during the act; like all orthodoxy, it defies scriptural common sense, and in this case, the paramount loving act of the ages. Christ despised the shame of the cross, but obeyed for the joy ahead.
   In regard to matters of liberty that your conscience is presently uncomfortable with, don’t do it. Never violate your conscience. Come up with alternatives that your conscience is presently comfortable with. Violating conscience undermines assurance although you have assurance. We want our feelings, or more accurately, wellbeing, to match what we have.
paul
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The Potter’s House: Romans 14:13-23; Having Unity with Liberty Minus Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by pptmoderator on April 3, 2015

Originally published December 28, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

Last week, we once again reminded ourselves of the importance of interpreting the book of Romans via the “mystery of the gospel.” This is the full revelation concerning God’s plan to make the Gentiles part of the commonwealth of Israel. This unification of diverse cultures with the Jews puts the power of God on display, so we should pursue unity vigorously. Certainly, a diverse group of people working in unity for a common cause, the gospel, is a powerful message in our day. If diversity will come together for that cause, it is assumed that the cause is of paramount importance.

If putting unity on display is of paramount importance, we concluded that using home fellowships to evangelize is a really bad idea. Unity can be difficult enough among believers without adding unbelievers into the mix. Believers should be equipped to evangelize outside the fellowship of believers.

We also looked at the Jewish tendency to judge because the Jews were the keepers of the law, and the idea that Christ came to end the law was a difficult transition for them. There is NO law in justification—the law cannot justify—it can only condemn—that’s why Christ came to end the law…for justification.

But the role of the law in regard to the born again believer is another matter.  Love, obedience, and faith are now fused together. We will soon see this in the text this morning. In the Christian life, the law is not only the Spirit’s sword, it is HIS law. He is the Spirit of life, and He uses the law to sanctify, and that law is TRUTH (John 17:17). In the Bible, as we will see, love, obedience, and faith are synonymous.

Last week, we also learned the importance of clarifying the gospel of first importance as a basis for fellowship. Past that, opinions about the law can cause fellow believers to “stumble.” This is where we will pick up in verse 13:

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (ESV).

Actually, I prefer the KJV interpretation of this:

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Remember from last week, we all serve under one master, and he will judge what we have done in the body individually. This is a judgment for reward, not condemnation. Presently, there are only two types of judgment in the church: self-judgment (1Cor 11:31,32), and the Lord’s discipline (Heb 12:5ff, Prov 3:11). There is no such thing as the church judging a believer. Christians enjoy protection from the world while in a fellowship of believers, but if fellowship is broken because of sin, God may use the world to correct the believer. We must remember that in the only actual example we have of so-called “church discipline” in the Bible, the apostle Paul assumed the individual to be saved (1Cor 5:4).

In situations that turn out bad according to Matthew 18:15ff, we are to “treat” such an individual “like” an unbeliever, actually, “Gentile and a tax collector.”  The Jews did not associate with Gentiles, and had a steroidal disdain for tax collectors who were usually Jews in league with the Roman government. But keep in mind, there were saved Gentiles and tax collectors. This is a matter of fellowship, NOT “declaring someone an unbeliever.” My three favorite questions in regard to Matthew 18 are, “Where does it say “discipline?” and “Where does it say “unbeliever?” and “Where does it talk about elders declaring someone as unbelieving?” It is remarkable to me how all of these are assumed.

So, Paul writes in verse 13 that all judgment is to cease except a judgment concerning what might make a fellow Christian “stumble.” Paul begins to develop that in verse 14:

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

Christians come into fellowship with all kinds of baggage, especially in our day because Christians are doctrinally dumbed down regardless of the information age. Rome kept the Bible away from people; Protestantism has merely mandated interpretation via orthodoxy which has become synonymous with truth.

Heterodoxy means you disagree with some counsel where “Divines” dictate interpretation making heterodoxy synonymous with heresy. In the same way, Jewish Christians were dragging orthodoxy into the home fellowships, and judging the Gentiles which resulted in the Gentiles despising the Jews.

But aside from orthodoxy, good old fashioned family tradition can play into this as well. Also, for example, a converted Adventist may be newly convinced of the true gospel, but is in the habit of abstaining from pork and caffeine. We are creatures of habit, and such a person may not be ready to just jump into their new found freedom where, as Paul stated, “nothing is unclean in itself”

Let me just cut to the chase here: there needs to be agreement on the gospel of first order, but past that we need to do three things: 1. Emphasize teaching and rightly dividing the word 2. Let each be what? Remember from last week? Right, let each be CONVINCED in their own minds 3. DON’T JUDGE.

Why is it extremely important that one be convinced in their own mind, and not hit over the head with the fact that Christ ended the law, and therefore everything is clean? Because many different things in life inform the conscience of an individual and though it would be mighty convenient if all Christians had a biblically informed conscience—that’s not reality. We are to teach, not judge, and let each person be convinced in their own minds.

The primary crux follows: if that person thinks it is sin, even if it isn’t, “it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” Why? Because the person thinks in their own mind that he/she is sinning. The fact that it is not technically a sin is neither here nor there; the person thinks it is a sin. So, this also means that the person will also violate their conscience when in fact it is against the law—in their own minds they think they are disobeying. This speaks to motive.

In contrast, if they obey their conscience, their motive is to please the Lord. This was Paul’s exact point from last week:

The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God (verse 6).

The motive is to please God either way. Yet, if we insist that the one who is unconvinced get with the law program, this is where we cause stumbling. Paul taught the importance of keeping a clear conscience throughout the New Testament while also warning about a pattern of violating conscience. This results in searing the conscience and making it indifferent to sin.

On the other hand, guilt can be a very destructive emotion. O. Hobart Mower, president of the American Psychological Association in 1954, attributed most mental illness to the violation of conscience, and started therapy groups that inspired AA. Hobart’s therapy has probably helped more people than any other discipline, as witness by the success of those who follow his principles of therapy such as Dr. Laura Slezinger and Dr. Phil McGraw. If this approach is effective among unbelievers, it is more so among believers.

I can offer an example here from real life. After being consulted by a Christian lady regarding a situation in her marriage, I advised her that she was free to divorce according to Scripture.  She informed me that her convictions would prevent her from doing so. In other words, it would have been a violation of her conscience.  To that I replied that she indeed should obey her conscience. As Christians, we never cause another Christian to violate their conscience.

Also, we should be willing to prefer the unconvinced by abstaining from what offends others while fellowshipping together:

For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died (verse 15).

There is no law in justification, and as Andy Young said in last year’s conference, the law is really for sanctification as far as the Christian is concerned. However, the express purpose of the law in sanctification is love. If a Christian flaunts their liberty before Christians who are not yet convinced in their own mind, that Christian, while understanding the law of liberty, is violating the primary purpose of the law which is love. Paul states that this kind of flaunting of liberty can actually “destroy” the one that Christ died for. That’s a pretty strong emphasis. And more than likely, Christ had young believers in mind when He said this:

Luke 17:2 – It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

As the apostle John said, there is no fear in love because perfect (mature) love casts out fear. Though we as Christians have no fear of eternal condemnation, there is plenty to fear for those Christians who walk like fools and not according to love—let us take heed.

16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

1Timothy 4:1-5 is a striking, thought provoking text:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Note verse 16 in context of 1Timothy 1-5. Flaunting of liberty can actually cause the good things created by God to be spoken of as evil. And in fact, if you make the good things of God controversial, you are paving the way for that to happen. Hence, in the company of the unconvinced,

22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.

Yes, liberty can become reason for self-condemnation—this should be avoided at all cost. Also, the primary work of the kingdom is much more than a matter of what we eat and drink. Of course, there are many other issues that can be added to this issue. I recently heard about a church split over the recognition of Halloween, and whether or not the church would display what some refer to as a “Baal tree” during Christmas. Remember verse 5 from last week and contentions over…

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Again, as stated in verse 18, both parties serve God, and therefore, verse 19, both should seek what edifies and builds up. Controversy over opinions does not build up. There needs to be room given for everyone to be convinced in their own mind and reinforced with a clear conscience.

 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Verses 20-22 make a nice summary that we have no need to expound on further, but a point needs to be made on verse 23. Those who succumb to peer-pressure and eat when they have doubt as to whether it is sin or not have in fact sinned. Actions that don’t come from a convinced mind free from doubt do not proceed from faith. I think this is the double minded person that James wrote about.

This is an interesting definition of faith; apparently, faith is what we are convinced of. When in doubt, it is probably best to error on the side of safety and wait until we are convinced with a clear conscience. We see the connection now between faith, love, and obedience.

And, the importance of sound teaching. Faith is founded on the things we become sure of in Scripture, and obedience/love flow from that.

Next week, on to verse one of chapter 15.

A Lesson in Thinking for Church People Using Super Bowl 49

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 3, 2015

I am old enough to know that standing by your personal convictions will never yield more friends. This is a solid and reliable principle that will serve you well if you live by it. This principle has even worked very well for me in the realm of Christianity which offers the most formidable test for such a notion. This is because no other people group is comprised of a larger percentage of lazy thinkers who believe reason is some sort of works salvation.

And after Super Bowl 49 ended Sunday night, things were looking a lot like church. At the end of the game, the Seattle Seahawks, who have the best running back in the NFL (Marshawn Lynch), had the ball on the Patriots’ one-yard line with 26 seconds left on the clock and one timeout. As most know by now, Pete Carroll called a short pass play that was intercepted by undrafted rookie  Malcolm Butler.

I Googled and Googled and Googled and could not find one advocate for the Carroll play call. While some stopped short of aping the consensus; i.e., “the worst play call in NFL history,” the assertion that it was actually a good call is nowhere to be found.

This always makes a thinker suspicious unless they are in church. Whatever is the consensus in church is usually wrong if not damning, so it’s really confirmation more than suspicion, but when a situation is immediately obvious to everyone in the secular realm, individual integrity should still be maintained. Often, everybody but the thinkers are doing it.

What are some basic principles of independent thinking? We have already mentioned one: stand by your convictions and let the chips fall where they may. In other words, don’t be ashamed of what you believe to be true. Majority rarely sides with truth. Secondly, evaluate the opinion/position by thinking about the words that make up what is being said. Before you agree/disagree with what’s being said, do you really understand what’s being said? Thirdly, does history support the position? This is just good old fashioned, grammatical historical interpretation that works in church or out of church.

Hence, let us consider: “One yard, and you don’t give the ball to the best running back in the league?!!” “There is doubt that the guy known as ‘beast mode’ wouldn’t gain a yard?!!” “Instead of beast mode, Carroll went least mode.”

Shockingly, this was virtually asserted by many former hall of fame players and the top sports commentators. Why is that shocking? Because when the ball is on the one-yard line, that’s the line of scrimmage and NOT the length of ground Lynch would have had to cover to make it into the end zone. As you can see from the picture below of the actual beginning of the play, Lynch needed to cover about six yards in the midst of a brawl of 300-plus-pound linemen.

SB 49 0ne

But regardless, note the following placard and think…”But, it was NOT just one yard!”

Rob Lowe

And it’s far from being a sure thing anyway. In Super Bowl 16, the 49ers stopped the Bengals who had the ball on the one-yard line. They stuffed running back Pete Johnson, a human bowling ball, on the line of scrimmage. Johnson had a reputation for running directly at defenders and mowing them down. In addition, the Bengals also had the greatest offensive guard to ever play the game, Anthony Munoz. Johnson and Munoz from the one—a sure thing, right? Wrong, because when the line of scrimmage is the one, what you have is a six-yard war zone where anything can happen.

Granted, Lynch had averaged more than four yards per carry during the game (which is really about ten yards of ground covered), but that is not the same as red zone goal line running. In open field play, the offence is far less predictable because of the length of field in front of them. So, what is Lynch’s goal line running history? It’s abysmal. The following statistics are from sports writer Eric Goldschein:

On the other hand, there are also statistics for Lynch’s success from that distance all season, and they’re not pretty: He went a mere one of five from the one this year, succeeding only against the Giants (in three attempts). Whether teams know they’ll have to stop the run when Lynch gets in that close, or the offensive line simply isn’t as good up front when the box is stacked, Lynch is generally unsuccessful in the red zone unless there’s some ambiguity about the play call (he was 6 of 15 from the five).

Undoubtedly, these statistics weighed in on Carroll’s decision. If Lynch got stopped on the first try, Seattle is still on the one-yard line or farther with about 10-15 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts. That’s a bad situation. That leaves one do-or-die play.

Instead, according to Carroll, if the pass play didn’t work, they could have run at least two more plays including a running play because they still would have had a timeout left. Not only that, as you can see from the picture below, the play should have been an easy touchdown.

SB 49 two

The fact is, the right call was made, but Butler executed a stellar defensive play on the ball. Butler had done his homework, recognized the formation, and did what is known as “jumping the route.”

I will close with a fourth principle: the thinker’s curse. Knowing that the call was actually the right call, you will have to endure constant rhetoric about “the dumbest call in NFL history,” and worse yet, from people who should know better. Regardless, never back down from being a thinker.

Is Pete Carroll a thinker? I am not sure, but he has a thinker’s attribute, viz,  leadership. Ironically, in the national TV broadcast of the game, former Bengals wide receiver Chris Collinsworth who played in the aforementioned Super Bowl 16 also fustigated the call. Collinsworth (who apparently has some memory issues) argued that if Lynch could be stopped from the…here we go again, one yard-line, then so be it. In other words, Carroll could have insulated himself from criticism by calling a more conservative play. If they lost, no one would blame him.

But that’s not what a leader does. A leader makes the best call because it’s the best call. He/she does not make decisions based on Facebook friends list repercussions.

A thinker thinks and stands by their convictions formed by the thinking, and they define themselves by those convictions and let the chips fall where they may. And the results will ALWAYS be the same….

Their friends list will be grounded in quality, not quantity.

paul

The Potter’s House: Romans 14:13-23; Having Unity with Liberty Minus Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 28, 2014

Last week, we once again reminded ourselves of the importance of interpreting the book of Romans via the “mystery of the gospel.” This is the full revelation concerning God’s plan to make the Gentiles part of the commonwealth of Israel. This unification of diverse cultures with the Jews puts the power of God on display, so we should pursue unity vigorously. Certainly, a diverse group of people working in unity for a common cause, the gospel, is a powerful message in our day. If diversity will come together for that cause, it is assumed that the cause is of paramount importance.

If putting unity on display is of paramount importance, we concluded that using home fellowships to evangelize is a really bad idea. Unity can be difficult enough among believers without adding unbelievers into the mix. Believers should be equipped to evangelize outside the fellowship of believers.

We also looked at the Jewish tendency to judge because the Jews were the keepers of the law, and the idea that Christ came to end the law was a difficult transition for them. There is NO law in justification—the law cannot justify—it can only condemn—that’s why Christ came to end the law…for justification.

But the role of the law in regard to the born again believer is another matter.  Love, obedience, and faith are now fused together. We will soon see this in the text this morning. In the Christian life, the law is not only the Spirit’s sword, it is HIS law. He is the Spirit of life, and He uses the law to sanctify, and that law is TRUTH (John 17:17). In the Bible, as we will see, love, obedience, and faith are synonymous.

Last week, we also learned the importance of clarifying the gospel of first importance as a basis for fellowship. Past that, opinions about the law can cause fellow believers to “stumble.” This is where we will pick up in verse 13:

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (ESV).

Actually, I prefer the KJV interpretation of this:

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Remember from last week, we all serve under one master, and he will judge what we have done in the body individually. This is a judgment for reward, not condemnation. Presently, there are only two types of judgment in the church: self-judgment (1Cor 11:31,32), and the Lord’s discipline (Heb 12:5ff, Prov 3:11). There is no such thing as the church judging a believer. Christians enjoy protection from the world while in a fellowship of believers, but if fellowship is broken because of sin, God may use the world to correct the believer. We must remember that in the only actual example we have of so-called “church discipline” in the Bible, the apostle Paul assumed the individual to be saved (1Cor 5:4).

In situations that turn out bad according to Matthew 18:15ff, we are to “treat” such an individual “like” an unbeliever, actually, “Gentile and a tax collector.”  The Jews did not associate with Gentiles, and had a steroidal disdain for tax collectors who were usually Jews in league with the Roman government. But keep in mind, there were saved Gentiles and tax collectors. This is a matter of fellowship, NOT “declaring someone an unbeliever.” My three favorite questions in regard to Matthew 18 are, “Where does it say “discipline?” and “Where does it say “unbeliever?” and “Where does it talk about elders declaring someone as unbelieving?” It is remarkable to me how all of these are assumed.

So, Paul writes in verse 13 that all judgment is to cease except a judgment concerning what might make a fellow Christian “stumble.” Paul begins to develop that in verse 14:

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

Christians come into fellowship with all kinds of baggage, especially in our day because Christians are doctrinally dumbed down regardless of the information age. Rome kept the Bible away from people; Protestantism has merely mandated interpretation via orthodoxy which has become synonymous with truth.

Heterodoxy means you disagree with some counsel where “Divines” dictate interpretation making heterodoxy synonymous with heresy. In the same way, Jewish Christians were dragging orthodoxy into the home fellowships, and judging the Gentiles which resulted in the Gentiles despising the Jews.

But aside from orthodoxy, good old fashioned family tradition can play into this as well. Also, for example, a converted Adventist may be newly convinced of the true gospel, but is in the habit of abstaining from pork and caffeine. We are creatures of habit, and such a person may not be ready to just jump into their new found freedom where, as Paul stated, “nothing is unclean in itself”

Let me just cut to the chase here: there needs to be agreement on the gospel of first order, but past that we need to do three things: 1. Emphasize teaching and rightly dividing the word 2. Let each be what? Remember from last week? Right, let each be CONVINCED in their own minds 3. DON’T JUDGE.

Why is it extremely important that one be convinced in their own mind, and not hit over the head with the fact that Christ ended the law, and therefore everything is clean? Because many different things in life inform the conscience of an individual and though it would be mighty convenient if all Christians had a biblically informed conscience—that’s not reality. We are to teach, not judge, and let each person be convinced in their own minds.

The primary crux follows: if that person thinks it is sin, even if it isn’t, “it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.” Why? Because the person thinks in their own mind that he/she is sinning. The fact that it is not technically a sin is neither here nor there; the person thinks it is a sin. So, this also means that the person will also violate their conscience when in fact it is against the law—in their own minds they think they are disobeying. This speaks to motive.

In contrast, if they obey their conscience, their motive is to please the Lord. This was Paul’s exact point from last week:

The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God (verse 6).

The motive is to please God either way. Yet, if we insist that the one who is unconvinced get with the law program, this is where we cause stumbling. Paul taught the importance of keeping a clear conscience throughout the New Testament while also warning about a pattern of violating conscience. This results in searing the conscience and making it indifferent to sin.

On the other hand, guilt can be a very destructive emotion. O. Hobart Mower, president of the American Psychological Association in 1954, attributed most mental illness to the violation of conscience, and started therapy groups that inspired AA. Hobart’s therapy has probably helped more people than any other discipline, as witness by the success of those who follow his principles of therapy such as Dr. Laura Slezinger and Dr. Phil McGraw. If this approach is effective among unbelievers, it is more so among believers.

I can offer an example here from real life. After being consulted by a Christian lady regarding a situation in her marriage, I advised her that she was free to divorce according to Scripture.  She informed me that her convictions would prevent her from doing so. In other words, it would have been a violation of her conscience.  To that I replied that she indeed should obey her conscience. As Christians, we never cause another Christian to violate their conscience.

Also, we should be willing to prefer the unconvinced by abstaining from what offends others while fellowshipping together:

For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died (verse 15).

There is no law in justification, and as Andy Young said in last year’s conference, the law is really for sanctification as far as the Christian is concerned. However, the express purpose of the law in sanctification is love. If a Christian flaunts their liberty before Christians who are not yet convinced in their own mind, that Christian, while understanding the law of liberty, is violating the primary purpose of the law which is love. Paul states that this kind of flaunting of liberty can actually “destroy” the one that Christ died for. That’s a pretty strong emphasis. And more than likely, Christ had young believers in mind when He said this:

Luke 17:2 – It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

As the apostle John said, there is no fear in love because perfect (mature) love casts out fear. Though we as Christians have no fear of eternal condemnation, there is plenty to fear for those Christians who walk like fools and not according to love—let us take heed.

16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

1Timothy 4:1-5 is a striking, thought provoking text:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Note verse 16 in context of 1Timothy 1-5. Flaunting of liberty can actually cause the good things created by God to be spoken of as evil. And in fact, if you make the good things of God controversial, you are paving the way for that to happen. Hence, in the company of the unconvinced,

22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.

Yes, liberty can become reason for self-condemnation—this should be avoided at all cost. Also, the primary work of the kingdom is much more than a matter of what we eat and drink. Of course, there are many other issues that can be added to this issue. I recently heard about a church split over the recognition of Halloween, and whether or not the church would display what some refer to as a “Baal tree” during Christmas. Remember verse 5 from last week and contentions over…

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Again, as stated in verse 18, both parties serve God, and therefore, verse 19, both should seek what edifies and builds up. Controversy over opinions does not build up. There needs to be room given for everyone to be convinced in their own mind and reinforced with a clear conscience.

 20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Verses 20-22 make a nice summary that we have no need to expound on further, but a point needs to be made on verse 23. Those who succumb to peer-pressure and eat when they have doubt as to whether it is sin or not have in fact sinned. Actions that don’t come from a convinced mind free from doubt do not proceed from faith. I think this is the double minded person that James wrote about.

This is an interesting definition of faith; apparently, faith is what we are convinced of. When in doubt, it is probably best to error on the side of safety and wait until we are convinced with a clear conscience. We see the connection now between faith, love, and obedience.

And, the importance of sound teaching. Faith is founded on the things we become sure of in Scripture, and obedience/love flow from that.

Next week, on to verse one of chapter 15.

14 Basic Fundamentals of the True Gospel

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on September 8, 2014

HF Potters House (2)

1. Justification

Used synonymously with “righteousness.” It is the declaration and imputation of righteousness to the believer. This is the very righteousness of God. This is also the salvation of the soul. God NEVER declares anyone righteous unless He makes them righteous. This is not a position only, the person is actually made righteous.

2. The New Birth

Normally, sanctification would be discussed next, but it is important to understand how we are truly righteous—yet we still fall short of God’s standards in this life. The new birth takes place in time when we believe, and is a spiritual reality which lacks the experiential evidence we would expect, yet the Bible is explicit about what takes place. Our old spiritual self dies a literal death “with Christ,” and we are born again with an incorruptible seed. This is pictured in water baptism. We are new creatures. We do NOT have two natures, we only have one nature.

3. Flesh

It is the human body. It is not inherently evil, what God created that was good originally became weak in the fall, like creation, but is not inherently evil. This is why we are actually righteous, but fall short of God’s glory: “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

4.  Sin

Sin was found in Lucifer, an angel created by God. It is described in the Bible as a master. Sin masters those who are not saved, but is hindered by the conscience God created in every being. God also wrote His character traits on the hearts of all people because we are born in His image. Unbelievers are not completely mastered by sin because they are born in God’s image. Unfortunately, unbelievers often confuse the image of God with their own righteousness.

When a believer sins, it is a violation of the Bible, but is considered to be sin against God and His family, directly or indirectly, by bringing shame on God’s name. For the unbeliever, violation of the law leads to eternal condemnation while sin for the believer can lead to chastisement and loss of reward.

5. Sanctification

It means to be set apart for God’s purposes. The gospel is really a call to kingdom living. Escape from eternal judgment is a positive by-product. See Andy Young’s TANC 2014 sessions on sanctification.

 6. Kingdom

The earth is presently ruled by Satan. It is the kingdom of darkness. God’s kingdom is NOT on earth nor is the earth being gradually transformed from one kingdom realm to another via the collective Christocentric psyche of the church. We are ambassadors of God’s heavenly kingdom. Christ will return, destroy Satan’s kingdom, and set up His own. Christians are to make as many disciples as possible until that day. The church has no task in bringing forth God’s kingdom on earth. We display the will of the kingdom, and call people to it, but have NO task in bringing it to earth.

7. Hell

Hell was not created for man, but for Satan and the demons who were never offered salvation. A loving God sends no one to hell, people merely choose what kingdom they want to belong to. The gospel is a call to escape the earthly kingdom and its slavery to sin, and be transformed into God’s kingdom of light.

8. The Bible

“Law,” “scripture,” “holy writ,” “the law and the prophets,” “the word,” “the law,” etc., are all interchangeable terms for the closed canon of  scripture. The Bible is God’s law and wisdom for life and godliness. It is also a full-orbed metaphysical treatise. It defines reality.

9. The Law of Sin and Death

It’s the Bible’s relationship to unbelievers. It describes how the unbeliever will be judged in the last day for every violation of conscience.

10. The Law of the Spirit of Life

It describes the believer’s relationship to the Bible. The transformed heart of the believer now desires to obey God, is no longer enslaved to sin, and cannot be condemned by the law. The Bible is a manual for our kingdom citizenship.

11. Judgment

There are two: one of condemnation for those who chose the kingdom of darkness, known as the Great White Throne Judgment, and a separate one for eternal rewards known as the Bema Judgment.

12. Redemption

This is the other salvation. It is the redemption of the body at resurrection. This salvation is often confused with justification, or the salvation of the soul.

 13. Justice

Justice is of paramount importance to God and He is angered when it is not practiced by people whether lost or saved. Fairness matters to God.

14. Rest

The Christian life is NOT a rest. John Calvin believed sanctification is the New Testament version of the Old Testament Sabbath rest. Because Protestantism only sees ONE application of the law, to judge/condemn, Christians must supposedly rest while Jesus fulfills the law for us.

Unwittingly, this defines Christians as “under law.” Who keeps the law is irrelevant, it can’t give life, and it can’t justify. Protestants must wrongly assert this because they reject the two applications of the law and make it strictly for condemnation only. In contrast, Christians can use the law lawfully because it can no longer condemn them. In Protestantism, the condemnation of the law is not removed for the Christian.

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