Sunday Meditation – Predestination

Sunday Meditation – Predestination

“Fate is a different doctrine altogether from predestination. Fate says the thing is and must be; so it is decreed. But the true doctrine is — God has appointed this and that, not because it must be, but because it is best that it should be. Fate is blind, but the destiny of Scripture is full of eyes. Fate is stern and adamantine, and has no tears for human sorrow; but the arrangements of Providence are kind and good. The greatest good for the greatest number, and the glory of God above all, are the ends that are therein subserved. Do not imagine that God has simply out of his own arbitrary will, determined this and that. He doeth as he wills, but he always wills to do that which is in conformity with his high and glorious nature. He never wills an unjust thing; he never wills a really unkind thing. All the appointments of his Providence, especially towards his people, are ruled in mercy, in tenderness, in love, and in wisdom, and all are conducive to their highest interest and their greatest happiness.”

Charles Spurgeon

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Why I Am Not a Hindu

Why I Am Not a Hindu

While Hinduism is the third most popular religion in the world, it’s not very often that Christians in America encounter Hindus. This is one reason why there are so few Christian books on Hinduism. In this article, I will explain why I am not a Hindu, but a follower of Jesus Christ.

1. Hinduism is scientifically impossible because it teaches that the universe never had a beginning because it is divine.

The Upanishads teach that God is the whole world (pantheism):

“Brahman, indeed, is this immortal. Brahman before, Brahman behind, to right and left. Stretched forth below and above, Brahman, indeed, is this whole world” (Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.11).

“Thou art the dark-blue bird and the green parrot with red eyes, Thou hast the lightning as thy child. Thou art the seasons and the seas. Having no beginning, thou dost abide with all-pervadingness, wherefrom all beings are born” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.2.4).

Since “Brahman, indeed, is this whole world” and he has “no beginning,” therefore, the world must have no beginning.

But this goes against everything that we know about the universe from science. While many atheists try to defend an eternal universe because they don’t want to believe in God, their arguments have insurmountable problems.

2. Hinduism teaches that the universe is an illusion or maya:

“This whole world the illusion maker projects out of this [Brahman]. And in it by illusion the other is confined. Now, one should know that Nature is illusion, and that the Mighty Lord is the illusion maker” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 4.9-10).

But if this world is an illusion, then that would make scientific inquiry impossible. We would be unable to trust our own senses or believe anything at all. Yet Hindus use science all the time and act as if their senses are trustworthy. In this sense, Hinduism suffers from many of the same problems as Christian Science which teaches that death is just an illusion.

3. Hinduism offers no means for atonement in this life or assurance of salvation.

There is no forgiveness in Hinduism, only reincarnation into a lower caste of people to pay off the sins from our previous life. The caste system is inherently racist and forbids marriage between the castes. It condemns people to a life of poverty and is cruel to the poor. It justifies the attitude that poor people are getting what they deserve so there is no incentive to help those who are poor and suffering.

4. Hinduism is filled with pagan religious practices which demonstrate its human origin.

I remember a great illustration from my Biblical Counseling class with Paul David Tripp where he told a story about how he visited India once and entered into a Hindu temple where the people were bowing down before statues of male and female private parts. He was so revolted by what he saw that he ran out of the temple as quickly as he could. Then he realized the disgust he felt is how God sees his sin.

Hindus still do this today as you can see from this sad video. Some Hindus even worship rats and other animals as Paul warned against in Romans 1:22-23. Historically, Hindus practiced sati where widows were burned alive with the bodies of their husbands. It was only because of the work of Christians in India who raised awareness about this evil practice that resulted in it being banned.

5. Hinduism is not a faith grounded in real historical events.

There is no corroborating evidence for Hinduism outside of its sacred texts. In contrast, Christianity is rooted in the historical events of the Bible, a book grounded in history. And there are good answers for those who object to the historical reliability of the Bible.

6. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus from the Bible, fulfilled prophecy, and history is overwhelming.

I have already written about the evidence for the resurrection of Christ in this article.

7. The Bible is filled with incredible prophecies which confirm its truthfulness.

While there are many prophecies in the Bible about the kingdoms of this world and the coming of Jesus, the most incredible one is the messianic prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 which gives us the exact date when the Messiah would die.

Sunday Meditation – Sustained by His Grace

Sunday Meditation – Sustained by His Grace

“There are many men, I doubt not, who are true believers, and love their Saviour, who would tremble to come to the test of suffering. Imagine yourself my brother, taken to-day into some dark dungeon of the Inquistion; conceive that all the horrors of the dark ages are revived, you are taken down a long dark staircase, and hurried you know not whither, at last you come to a place, far deep in the bowels of the earth, and round about you see hanging on the walls the pincers, the instruments of torture of all kinds and shapes. There are two inquisitors there who say to you, ‘Are you prepared to renounce your heretical faith, and to return to the bosom of the church?’ I conceive my brethren and sisters, that you would have strength of mind and grace enough to say, ‘I am not prepared to deny my Saviour.’ But when the pincers began to tear the flesh, when the hot coals began to scorch, when the rack began to dislocate the bones; when all the instruments of torture were wreaking their hellish vengeance, unless the supernatural hand of God should be mightily upon you, I am sure that in your weakness you would deny your Master, and in the hour of your peril would forsake the Lord that bought you. True, the love of Christ in the heart, when sustained by his grace, is strong enough to bear us through; but I am afraid that with many of us here present, if we had no more love than we have now, we should come out from the inquisition miserable apostates from the faith.”

Charles Spurgeon

The Erasure of Former Homosexuals Who Have Been Transformed by Christ

The Erasure of Former Homosexuals Who Have Been Transformed by Christ

Erasure is a term that is used by the LGBTQ community to describe what they believe is the tendency of right-wing conservatives to pretend as if gay people do not exist. They argue that there is a conspiracy to erase gay people from society. Therefore, they argue that we need to include more LGBTQ characters in movies, games, and television to compensate for society’s neglect of them. They believe that gay people should be celebrated for being gay and anyone who does not join in with the chorus is showing hatred for gay people. They argue that Christians who believe that homosexual activity is sinful are contributing to the depression that leads to the high suicide rate among gay people.

But there is another kind of erasure that is practiced by those who believe that homosexual orientation is an unchangeable fact of life for those who experience same-sex attraction. The gay community and those who support them do not want to believe that there are people who have been transformed by the gospel to no longer desire homosexual relations. But by definition, such people cannot exist because they believe that our sexual orientation is something we are born with like our skin color and cannot change. As Macklemore said in his song Same Love celebrating homosexuality, “And I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.”

But the problem with this narrative is that there are thousands of people who have been transformed by the gospel to no longer desire homosexual relations. The existence of such people disproves that sexual orientation is something unchangeable like skin color and therefore attempting to parallel Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality with racism is untenable. The LGBTQ community responds to these people by saying that they are either lying about their past or that they weren’t really gay to begin with. But I will let you be the judge of that through these examples:

David Upton

Melissa Fryrear

Emily Satterfield

Brooke Donnelly

Christopher Yuan

Jackie Hill Perry

Rosaria Butterfield

These people are living testimonies to the truth of 1 Corinthians 6:11 that hope for change is possible through faith in Christ. But the LGBTQ narrative that gay people cannot change robs people of the hope they so desperately need. The solution for same-sex attraction is the same for every sinful desire: the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in the good news about Jesus which calls us to repent of our sins and place our faith in Christ alone to save us. We must come to God on his terms, not while trying to hold on to our sinful desires at the same time. According to Paul in Romans 1, those who practice homosexuality have forsaken God’s plan for his creation and forsaking God always leads to misery and depression. The happiness of sin is but for a moment, but the good conscience that comes from true repentance lasts a lifetime.

Sunday Meditation – Divine Love

Sunday Meditation – Divine Love

“One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old; perpetual change is on all things, but our Lord is the same. Force over turns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me. My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the Lord, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it–see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged Himself to thee to be thy God and to hold thee as one of His people. Kindness and covenant-dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.”

Charles Spurgeon

Justification by Faith Alone in James 2:24

Justification by Faith Alone in James 2:24

The only place in the Bible where the phrase “faith alone” is used is in James 2:24 which says, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” So, how can we who are Protestants believe that justification before God is by faith alone when James says that we are not justified by faith alone?

The answer to the question is to recognize that James is defining faith differently than the way Paul uses the term in Romans and Galatians. Faith in James 2 is mere intellectual assent or agreement to facts about Jesus, whereas faith for Paul is confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Rom 10:9). To confess Christ as Lord is not merely accepting truths about Jesus, but the submission of one’s life to the rule of Christ in repentance and trusting in him alone for salvation. This is the kind of faith the demons do not have (Jas 2:19). They know the truth, but do not submit to Christ as Lord. A faith that only acknowledges facts about God is a demonic faith because it is still in rebellion against Christ. True saving faith results in works and sanctification because they flow from a heart that has been born again. Mere intellectual assent cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit.

And James is using the term justification differently than the way Paul does as well. For James, justification is the demonstration before man that one is justified before God whereas Paul is defining justification as the legal declaration by God that a Christian is righteous in his sight on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. But in James 2, justification is being declared to be a genuine Christian by man on the basis of the fruit of one’s life. Abraham demonstrated his faith by his actions and so was shown to be righteous for everyone who will ever read the book of Genesis. Rahab demonstrated the truth of her justified state before God by her actions in hiding the spies. We declared her to be righteous when we read the account about her in Joshua. The only way we can see that someone is truly saved is by their actions (Matt 7:17-19; John 8:31; 13:35; 15:8). But God, who knows the heart, already knows whether our faith is genuine or not. God doesn’t need to see our good works to know if we are saved whereas man does. Understanding that James and Paul are speaking from two different vantage points allows us to reconcile them together.

Sunday Meditation – Spiritual Hardihood

Sunday Meditation – Spiritual Hardihood

“Now, trial works in the saints that spiritual hardihood which cannot be learned in ease. You may go to school for ever, but you cannot learn endurance there: you may colour your cheek with paint, but you cannot give it that ingrained brown which comes of stormy seas and howling winds. Strong faith and brave patience come of trouble, and a few men in the church who have thus been prepared are worth anything in times of tempest. To reach that condition of firm endurance and sacred hardihood is worth all the expense of all the heaped-up troubles that ever come upon us from above or from beneath. When trial worketh patience we are incalculably enriched. The Lord give us more of this choice grace. As Peter’s fish had the money in its mouth, so have sanctified trials spiritual riches for those who endure them graciously.”

Charles Spurgeon