A Checklist for Christians!

   The  Christian’s  Checklist!

For Evaluating Your Personal Conduct (not others)

Check Mark

1. Is It Right?
    1st John 5:17

  • “All unrighteousness is sin…”

2. Will This Bring Me Near Some Temptation?
    Rom. 13:14

  • “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

3. Does This Give Place To The Devil?
    Eph. 4:27

  • “Neither give place to the devil.”

4. Is there anything in scripture contrary to it?
    Isa. 8:20

  • “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

5. Am I trusting God or depending in my own strength?
    Prov. 3:5-6

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

6. Is it doubtful?
    Rom. 14:23

  • “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

7. Will it cause someone to stumble?
    Rom. 14:21

  • “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.”

8. Does it appear evil to anyone?
    1st Thess. 5:22

  • “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

9. Would the Lord Jesus Christ do this?
    1st Pet. 2:21

  • “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

    Rom. 8:29

  • “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

10. Will it please God?
    John 8:29

  • “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”

11. Am I trying to impress others with my spirituality?
    Acts 5:1-11

  • “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price,”

12. Do I hope somebody notices me?
    Gal. 5:26

  • “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

13. Does it edify?
    1st Cor. 14:26

  • “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”

14. Am I being selfish?
    Phil. 2:3-4

  • “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

15. Am I denying the flesh?
    Luke 14:26

  • “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

    Luke 9:23

  • “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

16. Am I putting Christ first?
    Col. 1:18

  • “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

17. Is it expedient?
    1st Cor. 10:23

  • “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

18. Will it bring glory to God?
    1st Cor. 10:31

  • “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

19. Am I deceiving myself or being deceived?
    1st Cor. 3:18

  • “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”

20. Do I know better?
    1st Cor. 8:10

  • “For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols.”

21. Am I searching for an excuse to justify what I want to do?
    Luke 16:15

  • “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

22. Do I have to hide it from anyone? Sneak around?
    2nd Cor. 4:2

  • “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

23. Did I handle the word of God deceitfully?
    2nd Cor. 4:2

  • “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

24. Will this in anyway defile God’s body?
    1st Cor. 3:17

  • “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

25. Can I sincerely thank God for it?
    1st Thess. 5:18

  • “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

26. Can I do this in Jesus’ name?
    Col. 3:17

  • “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

27. Can I go all the way with it?
    Col. 3:23

  • “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Eccl. 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

28. Have I prayed about it?

  • Ps. 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Phil. 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

28. Am I breaking one commandment in order to keep another?
    Jer. 48:10

  • “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.”

29. Would I like to be doing this when Jesus Christ returns?
    1st John 2:28

  • “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

    1st John 3:1

  • “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

30. How will it appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ?
    Rom. 14:10-12

  • “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

    1st Cor. 3:11-15

  • “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Compiled by Chris Olson

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From Eternal Life MInistries

What Is a Biblical Christian?
by Albert N. Martin

There are many matters concerning which total ignorance and complete indifference are neither tragic nor fatal. I am sure that there are few of us who can explain all the processes by which a brown cow eats green grass and gives white milk—but we can still enjoy the milk! Many of us are totally ignorant of Einstein’s theory of relativity, and if we were pressed to explain it we would really be in difficulty. And not only are we ignorant of Einstein’s theory but most of us are quite indifferent; yet our ignorance and indifference are neither tragic nor fatal. There are some matters, however, concerning which ignorance and indifference are both tragic and fatal. One such matter is the answer to the question, “What is a biblical Christian?” In other words, according to the Scriptures, when does a man, woman, boy or girl have the right to the name “Christian”? [more]

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Biblical Encouragement from Grace Gems

Christ’s Comfort for Weary Pilgrims!
A treasury of our best devotional gems

“Christ is all!” Colossians 3:11

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another!” John 1:16

Carry all your concerns to Him — in the arms of faith!

(James Smith, “The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Casting all your care upon Him — because He cares for you!” 1 Peter 5:7

The Lord knows all His people — all their needs, and all their trials.

He thinks upon them — to bless, deliver and supply them.

He keeps His eye upon them — in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances.

He has them in His hand — and will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’ . . .
the objects of His eternal love,
the purchase of His Son’s blood,
the temples of His Holy Spirit.

They are precious in His sight!

He knows they are weak and fearful — and that they have many enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise — that He will care for them.

It is a Father’s care which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you — only trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day. Carry all your concerns to Him — in the arms of faith! Leave all with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power.

Cast all your cares upon Him — as fast as they come in.

Do not worry about anything.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” Psalm 55:22

My Shepherd!

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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled… John 14

Center for Biblical Theology and Eschatology

Troubled Hearts

by Dr. Brian Allison

One fundamental characteristic of human experience is that of a troubled heart. Is your heart troubled–a heart that is disturbed? Maybe this past week you were betrayed by a colleague or a friend. Maybe recently you had a fight with a loved one. Maybe your health is deteriorating and the prognosis is bleak. Recently, I spoke to a young married man who had undergone corrective surgery which turned out to be unsuccessful. He must have surgery again. He is unemployed and has various family difficulties. It was clear that he had a troubled heart. How is your heart right now? Well, Jesus has some comforting words specifically designed for troubled hearts. He encouraged His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; [you] believe in God, believe also in Me” (Jn. 14:1).

Separation produces troubled hearts

Jesus made this statement to His disciples as He was delivering His final discourse to them, prior to His crucifixion. Here we have words of instruction, as well as encouragement. Now, there are a number of possible reasons why the disciples had troubled hearts at this time. They may have had troubled hearts because Jesus had previously predicted His betrayal by one of them–“When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.’ The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking” (Jn. 13:21f.). Or, maybe the disciples were troubled because of Jesus’ announcement of His imminent departure from the world–“When therefore he [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, ‘…Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, “Where I am going, you cannot come”‘” (Jn. 13:31,33). Or, a third reason for the disciples’ troubled hearts may have been Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial of Him, which may have implicated all the disciples–“Simon Peter said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow later.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times'” (Jn. 13:36-38).

Now, it seems, especially in light of what follows the statement referring to troubled hearts, that the probable reason for the disciples troubled hearts is Jesus’ announcement of His departure from this world; and so Jesus further disclosed, in response to the reaction to His announcement, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2,3). Jesus states here the goal of His departure–He must go and prepare dwelling places for His disciples; as well as the purpose of His departure–He would come and take them to Himself and transport them to heaven in order that they would be with Him forever.

So, Jesus uttered comforting words to His troubled disciples, which, no doubt, the disciples needed to hear on such an occasion. To use contemporary language, the disciples experienced separation anxiety, having heard these stinging words of Jesus’ departure. That’s a painful experience–the pain of separation. In 1979, about 2 years after we were married, my wife and I decided that I should pursue further education in the States, and that (for practical reasons) I would have to go alone. So, I went to the States, and she went overseas to Scotland to be with her family. That was a difficult experience. We both experienced the anxiety of separation. One night I bolted up out of my sleep, having had a nightmare, and dashed down the hall to make a long distance call. Further, during our separation, my wife kept secret that she was desperately ill while overseas. Her doctor in Scotland insisted that she not return to Scotland without her husband–the anxiety of separation.

So, the disciples experienced separation anxiety. Jesus was their leader. They had accompanied Him for over 3 years. They had committed themselves to this man. They had sacrificed all in order to follow Him. As one commentator has stated, “They had burned their boats and had blown up their bridges to follow Him.” Jesus was now leaving them behind. How would you feel? When a beloved and well-respected leader leaves his people, there is the pain of separation.

Jesus experienced a troubled heart

So, feeling the weight of anticipated separation, the disciples were troubled; and Jesus, filled with compassion, and sensitive to their needs, spoke tender words to them–“Let not your heart be troubled.” This term ‘trouble’ simply means to be upset, to be disturbed; or, if I can put it this way, it means to be churned up inside. It is the absence of calm and steadiness. You can have a troubled heart and yet not be worried or fretful. A family member may be very ill. Because of your attachment to him or her, you may feel very upset and bothered, wanting him or her to recover. Love demands such an emotional response. Yet, believing in the sovereignty of God, and entrusting that loved one to Him, worry or fret need not be your experience. You, in faith, should know that God will accomplish His will and do what is best.

A troubled heart is that state of mind to which peace answers. For instance, John 14:27 reads that Jesus assured His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. [As a result] Let not your heart be troubled [the same term], nor let it be fearful.” Now, interestingly, in the Gospel of John, this term is found 6 times, with 3 of the references describing Jesus’ experience. For instance, we read, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled” (Jn. 11:33); again, Jesus said, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour” (Jn. 12:27); and again, “When Jesus had said this, he became troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me'” (Jn. 13:21). Underscoring the integrity of Jesus’ humanness, John recorded that Jesus Himself was troubled. He was churned up, inwardly disturbed. The Son of God, the Lord of glory, the King of kings had a troubled heart. If I could put it another way: Jesus lacked total inner calm and peace. You say: impossible! My friend, let your reason bow to the written infallible Word of God. Don’t let any theology mute and cancel out the recorded truth of the Bible: Jesus had a troubled heart. I find this truth peculiarly comforting and consoling.

Accordingly, a critical point is this: a troubled heart does not necessarily mean that you are sinning or that you have a sinful disposition. There are those who teach that if you experience anxiety or feel fear then you are sinning. Remember, Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was in anguish of soul. He was overcome with anxiety. Jesus has felt the depth of emotional pain. He can thus understand and sympathize with us in our pain, when we too have troubled hearts. That is comforting. And so, with compassion, Jesus exhorted his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

John 14:1a may better be translated ‘stop being troubled’ or ‘cease from being troubled’. Thus, what is presupposed is that the disciples were in a troubled state, that is, emotional disturbance had set in. Now, Jesus is not simply requesting that they cease from being troubled, but He lovingly exhorted them to cease from being troubled. He thus placed some measure of responsibility on them to address and correct their troubled state. Jesus encouraged them to harness and handle their emotions, and that is what He calls us to do also. Thus, Jesus implies that we can have some measure of control over our emotions, and not allow them to run amuck. I know that some of you may not believe that. You may say, “But it’s my emotions. I just can’t get a handle on them. I can’t help but act this way.” My friend, that is not completely true. You can decide your behaviour. It is a ‘cop out’ to complain, “Well, I blow my stack; I can’t help it. You know that’s just the way I am; it’s my temperament.” Granted, temperament is a factor in determining behaviour, but we need not be slaves to our temperaments and emotions. The grace of God can even overcome the weaknesses of our temperaments, though it may not be easy. It is possible to get a hold of ourselves, and not be out of control or frantic. Do you have a troubled heart? Are you churned up inside, lacking a sense of calm and steadiness? Did you have a confrontational meeting with the boss? Did you receive a bad medical report? Did someone betray you? Was your mate unfaithful to you? Jesus calls you to peace.

Belief in Christ quells a troubled heart

So, Jesus encouraged the disciples to harness their emotions, to get hold of themselves. He thus proceeded to give direction on how they might do that. He did not simply leave them with the exhortation, but He gave them some instruction on how they could conquer their troubled hearts. He implored, “You believe in God, believe also in Me” (14:1b). Jesus instructed that belief in God should provide the grounds or basis for believing also in Him. He said, in effect, “Because it is a fact that you believe in God, then because I am His Son, I want you also to believe in Me.” The disciples believed in God, but the pressing current matter was whether they really believed in Christ. One of the themes in the Gospel of John is the necessity of belief in Jesus; and here Jesus endeavoured to encourage and strengthen the faith of His disciples. With this exhortation, Jesus implied His oneness with the Father. We have here implied Christ’s divinity. To believe in Christ is to believe in God. Our belief in God necessitates belief in His Son.

So, Jesus calls His people to believe in Him. Throughout this Gospel, He endeavoured to provoke faith in Himself. For example, we read, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent'” (Jn. 6:29). Now, interestingly, prior to Jesus’ utterance of John 14:1, the disciples had already expressed faith in Him. In John 6:69 we read, “Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God’.” And yet Jesus later exhorted them to believe in Him because the exigency of the situation mandated an affirmation of faith. Here is an important principle: in distressful times and during perplexing situations, your faith may wane. I am not saying that your faith will inevitably wane. There are those who have prepared themselves for that dark hour that comes upon all of us. But for some, in that distressful or perplexing hour, your faith may wane; and you will need to hear the exhortation to believe in Christ as the source of hope and the means of deliverance. Is your faith waning? Does your faith need to be strengthened so that you can lay hold of the promises and know His peace?

Belief must acquiesce in the words of Christ

Belief is the answer to a troubled heart. There is no deep psychotherapy here. Quite often the troubled heart reveals an unbelieving heart. Your troubled heart may be the result of doubting the goodness and faithfulness of God in the hour of trial. Faith is the answer to our anxiety and fear. As one Bible commentator writes, “The call to put away fear, is the call to put faith in God.” And Jesus here invites faith in Himself because belief in His person is the basis for belief in His words. In so far as you believe in Jesus, you will believe in His words. To put faith in the person of Christ should lead you to rest in the words of Christ; and if you do not believe in Him, then you will not rest in His words; and His words are that which communicate comfort, peace, and joy in the hour of need.

Accordingly, notice the connection between Christ’s words and His peace. He assured, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). It will be Christ’s words that will give you peace and calm during your hour of darkness. Through His words you will learn to rest and trust in Him. And so, having invited His disciples to believe in Him, Christ shared comforting words. He assured, “In my Father’s house [i.e., in heaven] are many dwelling places [i.e., there is room enough for all who will come]; for I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:2). Christ further promised to return personally and take them to Himself and take them to heaven. Again, with the imminent departure of Christ, these are the words which the disciples needed to hear.

Now my Christian friend, these may not be the particular words of comfort which you need to hear right now in order to help your troubled heart, but if you are going to receive peace and comfort, then you too will need to hear some comforting words. Hence, you should meditate on His words with full faith. A troubled heart becomes a trusting heart through Christ’s comforting words, which results in a peaceful heart.

Recently, I had a troubled heart, as I came aside and examined my own heart in the light of God’s presence and Word; and I discovered that I was not where I want to be spiritually. God, in His goodness and mercy, was pleased to reveal more of the iniquity and evil that lurk within; and my heart was troubled. While I was meditating, the Lord directed me to 1 Samuel 10:9–“God changed his [Saul’s] heart.” If God can change one heart, then He can change another. With this verse, my troubled heart was comforted. He desires to comfort your troubled heart too. He is abundantly able to meet your need. Won’t you trust and rest in Him?

Reformed Pastor Brian Allison attended the University of Western Ontario, and matriculated with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy, a M.Div. from Toronto Baptist Seminary (as valedictorian), and with a M.A. (Theology) from Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. He finished off his formal education by securing a D.Min. (Counseling) from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA.

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Questions for Amillennials

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Roman Catholicism vs. The Bible. Which Do You Believe?

Research: Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) claims to be the one true Church as established by Jesus and His apostles. However, an examination of the doctrines upheld and taught by the RCC demonstrates that it stands in contrast with – and even in opposition to – biblical Christianity. Though not exhaustive, the following overview analyzes and compares some of the core tenets of the Roman Catholic tradition with Scripture.

The Council of Trent

Perhaps one of the most important events in the history of the Roman Catholic Church is the Council of Trent (1545–1563). This gathering sought to counter and respond to the Protestant Reformation. It was at this ecumenical meeting that Rome ultimately anathematized, or condemned, the biblical doctrine of justification:

Canon 9: If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.1

Canon 14: If anyone says that man is absolved from his sins and justified because he firmly believes that he is absolved and justified, or that no one is truly justified except him who believes himself justified, and that by this faith alone absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema.2

Canon 24: If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema.3

Canon 30: If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.4

Canon 33: If anyone says that the Catholic doctrine of justification as set forth by the holy council in the present decree, derogates in some respect from the glory of God or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and does not rather illustrate the truth of our faith and no less the glory of God and of Christ Jesus, let him be anathema.5

The Christian will recognize that these condemnations of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone stand in direct contradiction to Scripture and amount to an anathema upon the Gospel itself. Romans 3:20–28, 4:3, 5:1, Galatians 3:1–3, Ephesians 2:8–9 and Colossians 2:13–14 are just a few of the numerous passages that address the various condemnations which Rome set forth at the Council of Trent.

At a glance

Roman Catholicism Biblical Christianity
Salvation “The process of salvation for the Catholic means a Catholic must have faith in Christ and the Roman Catholic Church, participate in the sacraments, take the Eucharist, keep the commandments, perform penance, and do indulgences in order to attain, maintain, and regain salvation as well as reduce the punishment due to him for the sins of which he has already been forgiven.”6“The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. ‘Sacramental grace’ is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.”7 As the perfect sacrifice for the sins of men, Christ’s death and resurrection provided salvation for all who would believe. Salvation is the forgiveness of sins and the saving from the wrath and condemnation of God.Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9).

Salvation is a free gift from God to those who believe (trust) in Him (Rom. 1:16; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9).

Salvation cannot be earned (Rom. 11:6).

Eucharist Teaches transubstantiation: the idea that at the Mass the bread and the wine are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ (also known as ‘The Real Presence’):The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.”8

Because these elements are the presence of Christ Himself, they are worshiped: “In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. ‘The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.’”9

It is claimed that the Mass is a representation of Christ’s sacrifice. The Catholic Catechism calls this sacrament a “divine sacrifice”10, a “single sacrifice” with Christ’s that is “truly propitiatory”11 and capable of making restitution for sins.12

This sacrament is practiced for those who have already died: “The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,” so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ.”13

The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is celebrated in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in obedience to His words (Lk. 22:19–20; 1 Cor. 11:23–26).Jesus Christ was sacrificed only once for the forgiveness of sins of all those who will believe (Heb. 7:26–27, 9:28, 10:10–12). This single sacrifice was sufficient to save for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb. 10:14).

The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is what makes propitiation for the sins of His people (Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2).

If a man dies without Christ, there are no works that can be done, either for himself in Purgatory or by those still alive on Earth, that can gain him entry “into the light and peace of Christ” (Heb. 9:27).

Mary Mary was born free from original sin and preserved as such throughout her life: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”“The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as ‘free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.’ By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.”14

Teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary: “The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the ‘Ever-virgin’.”15

Teaches that, now in Heaven, Mary continues to act as a mediator for the Church: “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”16

Scripture clearly teaches that “in Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22) and that no man is righteous or without sin (Rom. 3:10–18), with the exception of Christ Himself. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:10).” Thus, Mary, like all mankind, was a sinner.Scripture indicates that the Lord Jesus had brothers and sisters (Matt. 1:24–25, 12:46–47, 13:55; Mark 6:2–3; John 2:12; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:4–5; Gal. 1:19).

The only One who acts as a mediator between man and God is Jesus Christ. He alone is the high priest (Heb. 5:5, 6) who offered His own blood as an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of those who would believe (Heb. 9:14–15, 10:14).

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Tim. 2:5–6)

Scripture Equates Scripture and man-made tradition: “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.” Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own ‘always, to the close of the age’.”17

“As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.’”18

“‘Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God’ (DV 10) in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches.”19

Includes the Apocryphal books as part of the inspired canon (considered as part of the Old Testament): “This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New: The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi.”20

The Bible supports tradition only when it affirms what God has already revealed in His Word and through the teaching of the Apostles (2 Thess. 2:15, 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2).

When man’s tradition contradicts Scripture (as many of the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church do), then it must be rejected (Mark 7:8–9, Col. 2:8).

“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men. (2 Tim. 3:15–17, Gal. 1:8–9, 2 Thess. 2:2) Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: (John 6:45, 1 Cor 2:9–12) and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed. (1 Cor. 11:13–14, 1 Cor. 14:26, 40) which are always to be observed (1 Cor. 11:13).”21

Purgatory Teaches that some men must undergo additional purification after death before being able to enter the kingdom of Heaven:

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. the tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire: As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.”22

The idea that men must atone for their own sins, whether in life or death, runs contrary to the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone, and denies the full efficacy of the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ. Christ’s sacrifice achieved the salvation of all who will believe, apart from any work or merit of their own doing.Purgatory is not a Scriptural concept. Scripture does speak quite clearly, however, about the two possible destinations after one’s death: Heaven or Hell (Matt. 25:31–34).
Indulgences “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.” 
”An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.”Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.”23

“Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.”24

The teaching of indulgences negates the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross. Christ alone has born the punishment for the sins of those who will believe (Rom. 5:1, 9; Eph. 2:8; Isa. 53:4–6).
Penance A sacrament of reconciliation for sins committed after baptism. Necessary to re-establish a right relationship with God: “Penance is a liturgical action. the elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest’s absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.”25 The deeds of men are as filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6), and thus the Christian can only be reconciled to God by grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:24, 5:1, 11:6; Eph. 2:8).
The Papacy Built upon a misinterpretation of Matt. 16:18, the RCC asserts that the pope is Christ’s representative on earth and the visible successor of Peter:

“Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Christ, the “living Stone”, thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.”26

When the pope speaks “ex cathedra,” he “defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.”27

The perfect life, death and resurrection of Christ was accomplished in full so that man would no longer require another mortal mediator between himself and God. Sinful man, through Jesus Christ alone, can now approach the throne of God (Heb. 10:19–22, 4:16).

Please see the list of ‘Further Reading’ below for additional discussion of the interpretation of Matt. 16:18.

Further Reading

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Pertinent and Overlooked Points on Dipensationalism

Why I Am A Dispensationalist

With the recent release of the utterly unnecessary reboot of the Left Behind movie franchise (There is a very fair and informative review here) the jokes have inevitably begun to fly. While the primary target is the poor quality of “Christian” films, running close behind as a favorite target is dispensationalism.niccagelftbhnd

Dispensationalism is defined by The Moody Handbook of Theology as “A system of theology recognizing different stewardships of Man under God. Dispensationalism is distinguished by (1) consistent literal interpretation (2) clear distinction between Israel and the Church (3) the glory of God as God’s ultimate purpose in the world.

To that I would add that dispensationalists typically look forward to a literal future earthly reign of Christ and would see (most of) the OT promises to Israel, especially as they relate to the Land, as still in force and to be fulfilled in the future and that if it was promised to Israel it was a promise for national Israel and can only be fulfilled in/through Israel. [Of course this is a very basic definition, if you want to dig deeper, this is a great place to start.]

While all believers should expect to be mocked by unbelievers, the sharpest mocking of dispensationalist believers comes from certain corners of the Christian community where there is zealousness for covenant theology. The Moody Handbook of Theology defines covenant theology (CT) as: A system of theology teaching that God entered into a covenant of works with Adam who failed whereupon entered into a covenant of grace, promising eternal life to those who believe. CT affirms there is one people of God called true Israel, the Church.

To that definition I would add that most adherents to CT reject the notion of a future earthly reign of Christ and any future role for national Israel in the plan of God. [Again this is a very basic definition; if you want to dig deeper this is a great place to start.]

I want to be exceptionally clear that the jokes and jibes don’t come from the solid mature believers within the CT community, and that I am not in any way leveling a blanket indictment against CT adherents, but they tend to come from those who mistake doctrinal knowledge for spiritual maturity. I have been greatly blessed by many who adhere to CT and have counted many as partners in ministry.

All of that said, dispensationalism is often characterized as the unthinking eschatological position, that bases its entire system on a few verses in Revelation 20. The Left Behind books/movies and the ravings of John Hagee as seen as typical of all dispensationalists rather than the solid teaching of John MacArthur or the theology of Robert Saucy. In short dispensationalism is often characterized as the theology of the dumb and unsophisticated. But it is not, there is plenty of biblical evidence for it outside of Revelation chapter 20. To that end I want to give you five very important reasons I am a premillennial dispensationalist, and you should be too.

  1. His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

If those sound like familiar words to you it might be because they occur frequently in the Psalms, in fact that phrase occurs a total of 288 times in hesedthe ESV translation of the Psalms. Steadfast love translates the Hebrew word hesed which is covenant making and covenant keeping love. The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDOTTE) notes that “Divine hesed counteracts the wrath of God…Divine hesed is enduring, persistent, even eternal, the biblical writers celebrate the everlastingness of God’s hesed. This is seen by way of contrast with things which are long lasting but may not last forever.” The notion that God in his wrath rejected Israel for her disobedience contradicts what He has revealed about Himself, 288 times in the book of Psalms alone, in His inerrant infallible word. Consider the words of Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains will be shaken and the hills be removed my hesed for you will not be shaken.” To say that God has removed His hesed from Israel because of her disobedience is an attack on at the very least the clarity of scripture, and more fundamentally on the character of God.

  1. The Abrahamic Covenant

Speaking of covenant making and covenant keeping love, the conditions of the Abrahamic covenant have never been fulfilled. Most reader will rightly locate the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12:1-3, but it is also repeated in Genesis 15. That is where God ratifies the covenant unilaterally. The LORD instructed Abram to split a heifer, a goat and a lamb in two and to arrange them as would be appropriate for a covenant ceremony. In the ancient near east a covenant would be ratified by a ceremony where the parties to the covenant would pass together between the halves of slaughtered animals before a feast was held with the butchered animals (in Hebrew covenants are literally cut, not made). The ideas was that if either party violated the covenant they would be as dead as the animals that were split in half. But Abram never passes through the alleyway of the covenant, God Causes a deep sleep to fall upon him, and appearing in the form of a smoking firepot, passes between the slaughtered animals alone. In order for God to break His Gen15map

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