Christianity and theology

Of Anointed Water, Stickers, Handkerchiefs etc

There is one dangerous thing I have lately observed in the African Church, more especially, in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles and would like to raise an alarm. Some ‘men of God’ are giving or selling out anointed water, stickers, handkerchiefs and what have you so that people can use them to receive various miracles from God. The miracles include jobs, special favors, success, healing, deliverance from demons  etc.

The most dangerous thing I have noticed concerning this development is that these anointed objects are slowly and steadily taking the place of Christ in the lives of people hence ending up being idols. John Calvin once remarked that ‘the human heart is a factory of idols’ and indeed due to our fallen nature, we easily make idols of many shapes and sizes and worship them thereafter.

The anointed items are fast becoming idols for many. What is happening with this anointed stuff is that people are told to use them whenever they want to experience a miracle or blessing from God. Recently, I met a relation who is a Christian and he greatly boasted about a certain anointed sticker bearing a face of ‘man of God’ and said:

“You know, this sticker is very powerful. I always travel with it in my car and if the devil had plans for me to get involved in a road accident, it doesn’t work. I am also told that next time, I am invited for job interviews, I should just put it in my shirt’s pocket and before entering the interview, I should pull it out, gaze at it for a while and then say a prayer and I will be successful.”

It is evident that my relation’s life is revolving around this anointed sticker. To him this sticker is his life. Now, where is the place of Christ in his life?  Are not our lives supposed to revolve around Christ? I hope you get my point.  I will not mince words here: placing our faith in this anointed stuff is superstition and nothing else.  It is not different from relying on charms or ‘small pillows’ (zithumwa) from witchdoctors.

My fellow Africans will understand this better. For most Africans who are not Christians, they rely on witchdoctors.  For instance, when one wants to get a job, they might go to a witchdoctor who would give them some charms which they are to put in their trouser’s pocket when going for job-interviews. The charms, they are told, will guarantee success in the interviews.

I believe this is similar to how some Christians are treating these anointed objects.   Only that this time around we have sugar-coated them with the name of Christ. Please, fellow Christian, think twice about your involvement with these anointed objects.

But some will quote for me Acts 19:11, 12 which reads: “And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” They will then ask, isn’t this passage supporting the use of these anointed items?

No, it isn’t. A couple of things need to be pointed out here. First, Paul never asked for any amount of money  for the handkerchiefs and aprons. But the ‘’men of God’ today are asking for a certain amount of money for one to have these anointed stuffs.

Secondly, Paul never sat down and packed these aprons and handkerchiefs and sent them out to be used for miracles rather it was the people who came to Paul who took these  items and used them on the sick.  As a matter of fact, these aprons and handkerchiefs were used ones. New Testament historians tell us that the handkerchiefs were wore around Paul’s head to absorb the sweat as he worked as a tent-maker while the aprons were used to cover Paul’s clothes to protect them from dirt and dust(The Acts of Apostles: The Daily Study Bible ©1966, The Saint Andrew Press).

Thirdly, let me borrow the words of R.C. Sproul and point out that “This was not Paul’s doing; because of their pagan religious background, the Ephesians were used to employing superstitious means (v.19). God accommodated His gracious work to their ignorance” (Reformation Study Bible, Ligonier Ministries © 2005).

Fourthly, it is very important to note that what is recorded for us in Acts 19:11, 12 was never a trend. You don’t read this anywhere else apart from this passage which means that this was not a regular occurrence and I, strongly, believe that this was done in Ephesus only.

However, some ‘men of God’ today have made the giving or selling out of anointed items a trend, thereby leading our fallen nature to turn these objects into idols.  It’s very heartbreaking to see that some Christians can’t live without this anointed stuff. Oh Lord, may you deliver us from these idols.

 

 

 

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Christianity and theology

Is it right to Critique Prayer?

The Infant Samuel at Prayer - Sir Joshua Reynolds

Lord, teach us to pray

Recently, I have been reading “When Grace Comes Alive” by Terry L. Johnson. The book has been of great help and blessing to me so today I would like to share this excerpt from the book regarding how we should perceive prayer. I hope you will learn something from it and it will also be of great blessing to you.

“We need not to make the mistake of thinking that we need no instruction on prayer, except for perhaps a few hints on technique. Prayer is sometimes seen as being so intensely personal as to be beyond the evaluation of others. ‘Some Christians resent the analysis of prayer,’ notes Dereck Thomas. Prayer is what we do when we pour out our hearts to god. How could such a thing be critiqued? How could it be done wrongly? How could it be improved? They act as though, Thomas continues, ‘some sacred ground is violated when we begin to dissect prayer under a spiritual microscope.’ Yet, the disciples asked, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ They perceived their need of instruction. Jesus responded with teaching on the place, the form, and the content (or words) of prayer. Apparently we need to be taught all of these things.

Why? Why is it not enough for us merely to say whatever is on our hearts, whenever and wherever we feel like it? Because with respect to prayer and worship, when left to ourselves, we never get it right. We don’t know how to pray. We don’t know what to say or how to say it. Why? To answer that we have to go ‘back to the garden’ and reacquaint ourselves with the givens of human nature. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit we’ve been off the bushes with them, hiding from God. We are separated from God and alienated from Him (Col. 1:21). We are ‘enemies’ (Rom. 5:10). We are ‘without God in the world’ (Eph. 2:12).

Because this is so, we have no natural inclination to pray. God is light, but as Jesus said, by nature we are lovers of the darkness and haters of the light (John 3:19, 20). We have a natural aversion to God. We don’t like Him. We don’t want to have to deal with Him. We don’t seek Him (Rom. 3:10). We refuse to honor or serve Him (Rom. 1:18ff). Even as redeemed people the dregs of our old nature continue to weigh us down with this antipathy.  We have to haul our bodies out of bed and drag them into prayer closet because fallen human nature, the remnants of which still plague us, resists contact with God. It wants to flee from God, not draw near to Him in prayer…

It matters to Him what we think about Him. It matters to Him how we pray to Him. Again, one might have thought that the truly important thing is that we pray. Just so long as we are sincere, so long as we try, so long as we pray on occasion, that’s all that matters. Given how busy and distracted we are, God should be pleased with any concept of Himself which we might have. He’s not pleased with any prayers that we might offer. We might think that it ought not matter to God, but it does. He is not pleased to receive any scraps of religious interest that we might offer to Him. He requires that we think of Him rightly, and that we approach Him rightly. Consequently, we must be taught. We need instruction. If we are wise we will realize with the Apostle Paul that ‘we do not know how to pray as we should’ (Rom. 8:26). With the disciples we will ask, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ © Terry L. Johnson.

Amen and Amen!

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Christianity and theology

Jesus Christ: The True Greatest Prophet

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2). 

The issue of prophecy is no doubt a big thing, especially, in the African Church today where various people have come

Jesus

Jesus: The True Greatest Prophet

up declaring that God has called them as prophets. I remember a couple of months ago while attending and speaking at a missions conference, a young man came to me and asked, “Confex, what about the prophets?” I wasn’t so sure what he meant by the question and I asked him to elaborate. He then said, “What does Scripture say about prophets today?”

I believe that Hebrews 1:1, 2 helps us to put this matter of prophets in the right perspective. However, before dwelling on the passage, there is a need to go back to the Old Testament where the ministry of prophets began and see what it says about prophets.  Basing on various passages of Scripture, we see that prophets were people who had been called by God to speak on behalf of God. In others words, prophets took the word from God and presented it God’s people.

Now Scripture tells us that all the prophets pointed to one true greatest prophet Jesus Christ.  In other words, all the prophets were a foreshadow of one true great prophet, Jesus Christ. Moses who was the first prophet in the Old Testament prophesied about one true great prophet In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 when he said: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is him you shall listen. And the LORD said to me, ‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”

Luke 24:27 also tells us that all prophets pointed to Jesus and their work found its fulfillment in Christ. This is what we read in Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Again in this passage we see that All the prophets spoke about Jesus the true greatest prophet.

Indeed Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet, first,  because unlike the prophets of the past who had to get their revelation from God, Jesus is the source of revelation. That’s why if you read your Bible you will find that the prophets of the Old Testament would begin or end their prophecy by saying: “Thus says the Lord…..”  But when Jesus speaks, he begins by saying: “I say unto you… or Truly, Truly, I say to you….”

Secondly, Jesus Christ is our true greatest prophet because he reveals the full picture of God to us. The prophets of the old times began to reveal the picture of God to us but their work remained incomplete until when Christ came and revealed the full picture of God to us. It’s like the painter. Before a painter paints a picture, he begins to draw with a pencil and after that he takes the painting brush and paints the picture and eventually we see the full picture as it ought to look.

Like a painter, the other prophets drew the picture of God with a pencil and when Christ came he finished the picture with the painting brush. The Bible affirms this truth when read in Colossians 1:15 and 19 that “(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” John 1:1 and 14 also says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

In Jesus, the full picture of God is revealed to us. Therefore, if we want to know God, we should realize that we have the greatest prophet who reveals this God to us. He is Jesus Christ.  There is no need for you and me to run to this man and that woman in order to hear from God. We have Jesus the Word who reveals the full picture of God to us.

Jesus fully reveals God to us in Scripture. As somebody said, “All Scripture is all about Jesus and according Jesus.” Immerse yourself in it. Read it with joy and out of love and you will know God fully. You don’t need any prophet any more for you to know God because in these last days,  God has spoken to us through Jesus Christ.  By the way, the last days began with the coming of Christ on earth. From that time to now, we are living in the last days.

Thirdly, Jesus Christ is the true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole will of God to us. In the past God revealed his will through the prophets little by little at different times in history. At one particular time God would reveal his will at that time through one prophet. Then at another time God could also reveal his will at that time through another prophet. You can see this very clearly when you consider the prophets of the Old Testament. Each prophet came at a particular time to reveal God’s will at that particular time and to particular people.

For instance, Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the Babylonian captivity for the Southern Kingdom of Judah and also the fall of Babylon as well as the return of Israelites from Babylon. Prophet Jeremiah prophesied to the Southern Kingdom of Judah about the victory of King Nebuchadnezzar over this nation as means of God’s punishment to unrepentant Judah. Prophet Ezekiel prophesied while in Babylon the return of God’s people to the Promised Land.  Prophet Joel prophesied about the Day of the Lord in which God will come in judgment upon his covenant people for their disobedience and rebellion against God.  Prophet Hosea prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel and he mainly spoke against the mixing of worship of Yahweh with idols also known as syncretism.

So, the prophets kept building on each other as they revealed God’s will to his people. They kept revealing God’s will for his people in stages or phases; however, when Christ came he revealed the whole will of God to us. This is why Hebrews 1:1, 2 says that in the past God spoke to us in various ways through various prophets but now, He has spoken to us once and for all through Jesus Christ.

God wants us to listen to our true greatest prophet Jesus. This is why during the Transfiguration when Jesus took Apostles Peter, John and James to the top of a mountain. Moses and Elijah appeared to them and God the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him” (Luke 9:35).

Fourthly, Jesus is our true greatest prophet because He reveals the whole future to us. One of the things that the prophets of the old were known for was their ability to foretell the future. Although prophecy involves more than foretelling future events, still this is an element of prophecy.

Jesus is our true greatest prophet because he does not only know the future but he is also the future himself.  Jesus Christ being fully God he is our future. There is nothing that will come to pass in this world or in the life to come that Jesus does not know or control. While God could reveal some future events to the old prophets, in Jesus the whole future is in his hands. This is why Christ says to us: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17).

Bill and Linda Gaither put it well when they composed that hymn, “Because He Lives’ and declared:

 Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone!
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

In Jesus the true greatest prophet our future is secured because he does not only know the future but also holds the future and the whole world in his hands. Oh, how I love this true and greatest prophet.

So please, let this truth always linger in you mind: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:1, 2).

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Christianity and theology

This Deadly Temptation

This is a deadly temptation indeed. From the beginning of the New Testament Church, it has troubled the Body of Christ and it continues to do so. Of course, it comes in various forms but the essence is the same namely Christ is not enough.

In Scripture, we first encounter it in Acts 15. Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch in Syria where they were preaching that salvation is through Christ alone.  However some Jews who had been converted to Christianity and still felt that Christ alone is not enough for salvation came down and started teaching that “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved” (v. 1, 5). Paul and Barnabas debated and argued with them that salvation is through Christ alone but these people did not back down.

Therefore, Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem where the first recorded church council of apostles and elders gathered to discuss the matter. The council resolved that it is not necessary to be circumcised in order to be saved because salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.

Fast forward to the Epistle to Galatians. Paul is addressing the same problem of Acts 15.  Judaizers (Jews who had been converted to Christianity) continued to preach that Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation.  Instead, they were adding circumcision to it. So, salvation, according to them, was through faith in Christ plus circumcision. Unfortunately, some Galatians started buying into this error and Paul was angered by this deception and wrote Galatians:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are returning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:5-8, ESV).

Now, what type of gospel did Paul preach to the Galatians? Back to Book of Acts, Paul preached that salvation is through Christ alone. And what did those who troubled the Galatians preach? Salvation is through Christ plus circumcision. So, Paul, boldly, declares that if anyone, even if he is an angel, should preach that salvation is through Christ plus… should be accursed. This how serious and deadly this temptation of adding on Jesus is.

We are not yet done, so let’s skip some pages of the New Testament and come to the Letter to Colossians. This epistle was written to oppose what has commonly become to be known as “The Colossian Heresy.” The heresy involved a lot of things but to sum it up, it also taught that Christ alone is not sufficient for salvation. It taught that apart from Christ one was supposed to among other things deny themselves (2:21; 2:23); worship angels (2:18); and have special knowledge (Gnosticism) (2:18; 2:2-3). Apostle Paul then wrote the Church at Colossae to remind them that Christ alone is sufficient (1:15-20; 2:2-3, 9) for our salvation. There is nothing we can add to Christ for God to save us.

Again, let’s fast forward to almost 1, 500 years later.  This deadly temptation continued to rear its ugly head in the Church. During this time, there was only one church and there were serious errors being taught in this church. Then, God, through his Holy Spirit, raised a man by the name of Martin Luther who by God’s grace boldly stood up to oppose the errors, especially, the one that said salvation is through Christ plus good works. Of course, it should be noted that before this man, others also opposed the errors in this church including John Hus and John Wycliffe.

Martin Luther opposed various errors in the church basing on Scripture and his opposition reached the climax on October 31, 1517. The climaxing of his opposition led to what is now known as Reformation which also led to the birth of what are now called Protestant Churches.

Reformation emphasized on five main issues which sometimes are called Five Banners of Reformation or Five Solas of Reformation namely Christ Alone (Solus Christus), Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura), Faith Alone (Sola Fide), Grace Alone (Sola Gratia) and To God alone be the glory (Solus Deo Gloria). For the sake of this post we will just dwell on Solus Christus (Christ Alone).

Martin Luther opposed teachings like you need to believe in Christ and also punish your body through penance and fasting to be saved. He opposed the teaching that stated you need to give money to the church and believe in Christ to be saved.  All in all, Luther and the other Reformers like John Calvin opposed any teaching that added on Christ as means of salvation.  After, devotedly, studying Scripture, the Holy Spirit opened their eyes to see that salvation is through Christ Alone for only Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one can go to the Father unless he goes through Christ alone (John 14:6).

We now come to our time. Has this deadly temptation ceased to bother the Church? Not at all! It has just put on a new form. Today, some still preach that Christ is insufficient.  It is very disheartening to note that the preaching that focuses on Christ alone is becoming less and less popular. Instead those preaching Christ plus miracles or Christ plus success and riches or Christ plus prediction of minute details of life are becoming more popular and crowd pullers.  Whatever happened to the old but ever relevant and satisfying truth that Christ alone is all we need, I don’t know.

I pray that the Church today will sober up and realize that the Head of the Church, Jesus, is sufficient. We don’t need to add anything to him to make him sufficient or more appealing. Fellow preachers, please preach Christ Alone.  He is our all in all.

“For by (Christ) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross…and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority” (Colossians 1:16-20; 2:9, ESV).

“Dear Father,  give us this day the understanding of the sufficiency of Christ and deliver us from this deadly temptation of adding on Christ.” May all God’s people say…”Amen and Amen!”

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Christianity and theology

Do We Become 100% God When Saved?

Recently, my Facebook friend posted the following on his wall and asked me to comment: (I have done a bit of editing to the post for clarity’s sake):

Brethren, there is this issue I would like you to help me look at carefully.  I had a discourse with a fellow believer; we were just sharing about how GOD has been working in our lives. So we came to why salvation in the Bible is stated in some places as something that happens when one first believes in CHRIST, some places as a continuing process and other places as a future thing.

I explained it in terms of justification, sanctification and glorification. But the friend explained it in terms of man being spirit, soul & body.  The spirit gets saved at the time when a person believes in CHRIST then the soul is being saved and the body will be saved at last.

But what really raised hair at the back of my neck is when the person said that GOD in Genesis2:7 breathed into man the breath of life, so it means GOD took a part of HIMSELF and put in man making man 100% GOD, 1OO% MAN. This is why JESUS had to come to give life to the spirit and also to show how we were meant to be (100% GOD, 100% MAN). This scared me. Please help!

Following my friend’s post came this comment from another person (whom I believe was the one my Facebook friend was referring to in his post. I have also edited it for sake of clarity):

1 John 4:17 and not from Genesis. It’s from the resurrection.  God has given us His very life. Not just a measure of it. Paul says “It’s no longer me who lives but Christ Himself lives in me (2 Corinthians 3:20). It’s indeed 100% God in man. He who is joined with Christ has become one spirit with him (1Cor.6:17).  Thus what Christ is, I am. It’s a complete spiritual transaction but the mind needs a complete makeover (Romans 12).

For us to find the truth about this discussion we need to turn to Scripture and begin from Genesis on wards to hear what God has to say about this whole issue. But before we dwell much on the issue of man being “100% God and 100% man” let me say that I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture that man is made up of body and soul and not body, soul, and spirit. In Scripture, soul and spirit are used interchangeably. But anyway, this is a different matter for a different day.

So, I was saying that for us to know whether you and I can be 100% man and 100% God, we need to begin in Genesis. When God created the first man, how did he create him? The Bible tells us is that man was created male and female and in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26, 27).

Now, what does ‘likeness and image’ mean? Does this mean that man was created exactly like God? Absolutely not! Otherwise, man could not have sinned since God cannot sin. But there are some aspects of God that are also found in man. It is these aspects that qualify us to be ‘the likeness and image of God.”

There are so many aspects of our likeness to God but in this article I will just cite some.  We are moral beings and we have a sense of right and wrong unlike animals. Our likeness to God is shown when we behave in a holy way and our unlikeness to God is seen when we sin.  Man is also a spiritual being. It is because of this that man is able to relate with God unlike animals. I don’t know if any other animal can spend some minutes or hours praying to God. Man is also a relational being just as God is relational. Man’s relational aspect is seen in marriage and family, in church and fellowship with fellow believers. Although animals can also have  some sense of relationship with each other in their community, human relationships are unique and greater than those of animals.  These are just some of aspects in which man is in the likeness and image of God.

Another important question that should be addressed here is:  what happened to the “the likeness and image of God” after man sinned in Genesis 3. Basing on Scripture, the image of God in man was distorted but not completely lost when man sinned. In other words, even though man sinned he still bore some of “the likeness and image of God” in him.  This can be seen in the words of God to Noah after man had already sinned. God in Genesis 9:6 reiterates that even after the fall, man is still created in His image.

However, we know that this image is not as perfectly as it was in the beginning. For instance, at first man was sinless just as God is sinless but now you and I, even though we are believers, are no longer sinless. Our moral purity has been lost. Our minds think evil and plan evil. Our speech does not always glorify God. Falsehood and malice comes out of our mouths. This is not the way God created the first man.

For now, let’s highlight the important truths we have seen regarding the creation of man. First, man was created in the image and likeness of God. This does not mean that the first man was 100% God but rather he was like God in so many ways. Secondly, after the fall (sin) God’s likeness and image in man was distorted but not completely lost.

Now, we should move on to see what happened after Christ came to save man. When Christ came, he began the work of restoring the image and likeness of God in man to be the way God created him at first. As a matter of fact, better than Adam because when we will be glorified (go to be with Jesus in heaven ) we will be unlike the first man,  Adam , in the sense that Adam in Eden was capable of sinning while when we go to heaven, we will be incapable of sinning. Remember, there is no sin or evil in heaven (Revelation 21:27).  Any way, this also can be another topic for another day.

I digressed a bit. Let‘s get back to where we were. I was saying that after Christ lived a perfect and sinless life and died on behalf of those who believe in him and later rose from the dead, he brought salvation to these believers.  So, when we believe in Christ, God through the Holy Spirit begins the work of progressively restoring the His distorted image in us (Colossians 3:10). Wayne Grudem puts it better and allow me to borrow his words:

“Throughout this life, as we grow in Christian maturity, we grow in greater likeness to God. More particularly, we grow in likeness to Christ in our lives and in our character. In fact, the goal for which God has redeemed us is that we might be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29) and thus be exactly like Christ in our moral character” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Intervarsity Press © 1994, p. 445).

It is important here, in light of our discussion, to emphasize that no where Scripture tells us that when we believe in Christ, God deposits his deity in us. We do not become 100% God. Furthermore, let’s also know that according to Scripture when we believe in Christ, we have two natures in us. The sinful nature (also referred to as ‘the flesh’ in other versions of the Bible) and the spiritual nature (Galatians  5:16-18; Romans 7:18-25). The two natures are always at war and when we let the sinful nature rule, we sin and when the spiritual nature rules we live a life that pleases and glorifies God.  A true believer will confess of this struggle which is ongoing until Christ comes or when we go to be with the Lord but by praying against temptation and constantly seeking the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives we progressively put to death the sinful nature (Roman 8:13; Colossians 3:5).

Now, consider this: is it right, I mean biblical, to say that man is 100% God and 100% man yet he possesses a sinful nature in him? Can the sinful nature and the deity dwell in one body?  For Christ, it was different. Yes, Christ was 100% man and 100% God because he was sinless and there was no sinful nature in him. When you consider this biblical truth, the whole argument that the friend of my Facebook friend made crumbles. You and I do not reach a certain stage where we become 100% God and 100% man. This can’t be and we will never be.

Let me finish the discussion with what will happen when we go to heaven. When we will go to heaven, we will be glorified. The complete ‘likeness and image’ of God will finally be restored in us. We will be in every way like God but not God himself (1 Corinthians 15:49). We will never sin just as God is sinless. We will never hunger just as God never hungers. We will never fall sick just as God never falls sick. We will never grow old just like God never grows old. In short, Scripture says: We shall be like him (not him) (1 John 3:2). Therefore, man cannot be 100% God and he will never ever be. Not even after he has been saved. This is the teaching of Scripture.

Postscript:  1 John 4:7 says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (ESV). Does this verse teach that we are God? Absolutely not! “Born of God” in the verse does not refer to “becoming 100% God” rather it means that we have become God’s children (John 1:12, 13).

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Uncategorized

It’s by Grace Throughout

Is it only I or you have also noticed it? There is a temptation to believe that we only need God’s grace for us to be saved (justified) but after that we are tempted to think that we need to rely on our personal efforts to grow spiritually (sanctification). Others even go an extreme of believing that after Christ has saved us, he then leaves us on our own to make it to heaven.

This is not only a fallacy but also one of the great deceptions of the evil one. We all need God’s grace to become God’s children. We all also need God’s grace to remain God’s Children. There is no room for personal effort.

Apostle Paul rebuked the Galatians for falling into similar temptation in Galatians 3:2, 3: “Did you receive the Spirit by works (personal effort)? Or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit (grace) are you now being perfected by the flesh (personal effort)? (Words in parentheses added).

Scripture here reminds us that salvation is by grace throughout. John Newton realized this truth very well when he composed that famous hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’

Through many dangers, toils and snares

 I have already come

T’was grace that brought me safe thus far

And grace will lead me home.

So, by grace Christ has saved us and by the same grace he will welcome us in heaven. Oh, what a beautiful and amazing grace.

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