Dear Partners and Friends,
As we continue our series on doctrine I would like to remind us of why we are going through this teaching on our statement of faith. I know our newsletter might have a lot more buzz and excitement if a prophetic word came through which affected every reader, or we expounded on a new slant on the latest revelation in the Body of Christ. But I sincerely believe the Lord wants to remind us of our foundations.
I Timothy 4:16: Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
Over the last year in the western world we have faced the following challenges regarding truth and doctrine: The re-emergence of universalism and the centuries old question of how can a Good God allow someone to go to an eternal hell.
In the context of two Mormon presidential candidates in the US election process, we have had the public declaration by popular pastors that Mormonism and its teaching is equal to traditional Christianity.
The teaching of a popular TV charismatic leader says that the book of James is not written to Christians, but only Jews, so that we don't have to confess our sins to one another any more. The same teacher states that the first chapter of I John isn't written to Christians, but unbelievers, again referencing his doctrine that confession and walking in the light isn't necessary for Christians but only for unbelievers when they first repent.
The "Good without God" movement defends, documents and advocates moral acts by atheists which benefit the poor, oppressed, and society in general. They point out that they can do the same good works as Christians with the simple motivation of helping their fellow man in the name of humanism and compassion. One of the leaders of this is the atheistic chaplain at Harvard who infers there are a billion people on the earth who reject any form of religion but are still "good without God". His book by the same title has been a bestseller and their billboards and extensive advertising have been prominent in many major cities in the western world.
It is with this background of "What is truth?" (John 18:38) that we are encouraging you to refresh yourself and the church with the reminders of our statement of faith. We are not addressing these issues for the mere sake of debate on our worldview vs. someone else's worldview, but soberly realizing we are dealing with the issues of the nature of God, man and the destiny of souls.
This month we want to review the 5th point in our statement of faith:
WE BELIEVE THAT ALL MANKIND IS LOST IN SIN AND NEEDS TO TURN FROM IT AND TRUST PERSONALLY IN THE SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST; ALL NEED TO BE BORN ANEW BY THE HOLY SPIRIT'S POWER INTO GOD'S FAMILY. (Eph. 2:1-10; John 3:5-7)
Sometimes the bad news has to come before the good news. Scripture has always taught the tension between the dignity of man as a being created in God's image (Gen. 1 and Psalm 8), and the depravity of man as a son that has left his Father to go his own way (Luke 15) and a bent to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18)
Paul wrote the book of Romans from Corinth which was the Las Vegas or Sin City of their day. As he, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, observed the nature of man he wrote the following about our condition without Christ:
1: 21 They knew God but did not glorify Him as God
They became useless in their thinking
Their foolish hearts were darkened
22 They became fools
24 They dishonor their bodies among themselves
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
Paul then writes two lists (definitely not pretty) of sins and evidences of rebellion before the Lord.
Rom. 1:27- 32
Rom. 3: 10-18
God describes us in Romans as:
3:19 a whole world that is guilty before God
5:6 without strength and ungodly
Scripture teaches us that:
Man is lost, but Jesus is a Shepherd
Man is an orphan, but God is Father who adopts
Man is confused and ignorant, but Jesus is a Teacher
Man is in darkness, but Jesus is the Light of the World
Man is starving, but Jesus is the Bread of Life
Man is guilty, but God is a justifier (one who declares innocent)
Man wastes his life, but God is the Author of Purpose
Man is foolish, but God is Wisdom
Man is a slave to sin, but God is a Redeemer
Man is disharmonious noise, but God is an Orderly Composer
Man is under the influence of a spirit of disobedience, but God is a Baptizer in the Holy Spirit
Well, that's the bad news. It vastly contrasts to our present day humanist prevailing worldview which believes man is basically good and a little more education, economic opportunities, scientific advances or the UN, can solve everything.
The good news is God has an answer for our true condition in Jesus and the Cross.
I love the song which starts out, "Everybody needs compassion, the Kindness of a Savior."
But without the knowledge of our condition we won't see the need to call out for the Savior.
Let's praise Him that He has reached us with His love and salvation in our lost condition!!