“I know that if I just ask God for forgiveness, He will forgive me.” 

This is one of the most common responses when sharing the gospel with folks. Shockingly, the response above is most often given by those who claim to be believers but show no understanding of God’s character.

Sadly, this demonstrates the state of the American church today. We’ve become a church culture so “gospel-less” that the average person who attends church cannot articulate the true, biblical gospel.

Most people believe that they are heaven-bound because:

  1. They attend church and have been baptized or they do good works.
  2. They have asked God to forgive them.

Let’s focus on the second response since this is one that is most common.

One way I like to share the gospel is to turn it around and get people to share it with me. I’ll tell them that I have lived a horrible life and I have three minutes to live and desire to be forgiven. I’ll ask them to tell me how I can be forgiven and go to heaven. What I most often get is a simple, “just ask God to forgive you and He will.” I’ll ask, “is that all I have to do?” They respond, “yep!

This is where there is an inadequate understanding of God and how He is revealed in Scripture.

God is a forgiving God. The Bible tells us He is. But the Bible also clearly tells us that God is also just and He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. (Exodus 34:6-8) He is a just Judge and must deal with sin.If He just forgave us of our sins without dealing with our sins then He would be unjust, unholy and frankly a very bad judge.

One of the greatest questions that fallen humanity must ask is, “how can God be just and the justifier of the wicked?” This truly is the ultimate question.

So, this causes a dilemma. If we really begin to delve into God forgiving sinners, we must ask how He can justly forgive sinners without there being a penalty paid for the sin? How can God be just and the justifier of the guilty?

Let’s take a look at Proverbs 17:15:

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15, ESV)

This verse teaches us that it is an abomination to God if the wicked are justified and the righteous are condemned. So then, based on this verse if an unbeliever were to simply ask God to forgive him, and God did, then God would be going against His own word and would be an abomination in His own eyes.

Here is where the gospel shines with all its glorious splendor. God can and does forgive sinners but only if our sin is dealt with and His justice is satisfied.

It is impossible for us to do anything to satisfy that debt since we are already sinners and even our most contrite and heartfelt sorrow is in itself tainted with sin. The only solution is for someone who is without sin to stand in our place and satisfy God’s righteous wrath. What we need is a great transaction.

This is exactly what Christ did for us. 

“He made Him who new no sin to become sin on our behalf so we might have the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 ESV)

Christ is the answer to how God can be just and the justifier of sinners. The Father imputed all the sins of the elect on Christ on the cross (allowing Christ Himself to remain perfectly sinless) and poured out all the wrath on Christ in our stead. We must be careful never to think that Christ was an unwilling participant in this plan. Before time began, the Trinity planned this great event and Christ was a willing substitute for our sin as the Last Adam. It demonstrates our triune God’s great love for us. (Romans 5:8)

This way, God is just and has dealt with our sin. No created thing will ever be able to point the finger at God and accuse Him of being unjust in saving His people. The other side of this amazing transaction is that through repentance and faith, Christ’s perfect righteousness is imputed to us. When God looks on believers He sees the perfect, spotless righteousness of His Son.

So, God does forgive sin but only through the glorious substitutionary death of His Son. No amount of tears, good works or begging for forgiveness outside of faith in Christ will work.

Think about it this way. If God just forgave everyone who asked without a penalty for sin being due, then Christ died needlessly. (Galatians 2:21) If God could just sweep our sin under the “celestial rug” and not deal with it taking only our plea for forgiveness, then Christ’s death was pointless. The cross demonstrates to us not only the love of God but also His justice.

But isn’t there a verse in the Scriptures that promises if we confess our sin God will forgive us?

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

There is a problem though. This verse is not written to unbelievers. It applies only to believers in Christ Jesus. There is a very important little four letter word in this verse that is essential to our understanding of the gospel. That little word is just.

John tells us that if believers will confess their sins to God as Father that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. He can only be just in forgiving us our sins because Christ has stood in our place and bore His wrath. So this verse is speaking of the constant need for believers to confess their sins to God so that fellowship with Him is unhindered. An unbeliever cannot claim the promises of this verse since he is not covered under the atoning work of Christ.

I hope that as you’ve read through this that you will marvel with me at the wisdom of God in the gospel. Marvel at His grace and mercy but be aware that His grace and mercy are made available only through the cross-work and merit of Christ Jesus.

If you have thought all along that you could simply ask God for forgiveness outside of Christ, then turn in repentance and faith to the only One who can save you – Jesus Christ. If you have been trusting in yourself, your own works, attending church or doing good things, turn from them and put your faith and trust in Christ Jesus alone.

Cry out to God to open your eyes to the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6) that you may embrace Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Today is the day of salvation!

The post Can’t I Just Ask God to Forgive Me? appeared first on Hearts For The Lost.

John MacArthur-Mark DriscollNo doubt, many of you are aware of the recent controversy surrounding Pastor John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll regarding the Strange Fire Conference. For those who want more info, you can read (and see) about it here.

Recently, I read a blog post by Barnabas Piper entitled, “MacArthur v. Driscoll: It’s discouraging to young Christians like me.” I decided it was worth providing another perspective. I'm 33 now so I realize the “young christian” designation is slowly slipping away, but entertain me for the purposes of this article, please. Mr. Piper brings up several points in his article:

1. Piper states, “Sadly, though, it seems both are so bent on their own version of church or the agenda of their respective messages that they undermine the respect young people like me have (or ought to, or want to have).”

There are several things worth noting. Everyone has a standard to which they adhere to and use to discern what is right and wrong in terms of what they believe church should be. Some claim Scripture, others claim an Evangelical personality, some claim prosperity, while yet others claim integration with various religions such as Scientology or Islam. While I disagree with Driscoll on many levels, he has a version of his church which he is convicted about.  MacArthur has a standard as well. I don't believe it is wrong to have a standard or “version” of church. In fact, I would argue that the Bible teaches us to have one and to defend it vigorously (2 Tim. 1:13, 1 Cor. 15:2 among others).  Piper doesn't explicitly say that it is wrong to have a particular “version” or standard of church. I give him the benefit of the doubt in that I believe he would say that we should have one. My concern is, rather, when he decides to impose which standard both MacArthur and Driscoll (and possibly the rest of us) have to abide by. His standard or “version” is whether a standard “undermine(s) the respect young people like (him) have (or ought to, or want to have).” That, to me, is a real reason for concern. A man who has been in the Pastorate longer than Mr. Piper has been alive must make sure that his standard of doing church not only reinforces Piper's respect as a young person but also those of the young people like him? That is the Biblical standard apparently. Now, like I said, I'm 33. My wife is 26. Our close friends who go to various sound churches range from about 21 to 37. He isn't including us. We're “young,” yes, but we're the outsiders by default because we don't agree with his assessment. According to Piper, the “version” of church that must be adhered to, the only version, is that of the one that gets respect from him and his young friends. Not outsiders. Just him and his young friends. Sorry, Mr. Piper. No can do.

2. Piper states, “To young Christians, like me, John MacArthur is known much more for what he is opposed to than for what he believes in.” 

I hear this argument very often, and I am still puzzled by it. At face value, it seems that no one wants to be known more for what they are against than what they believe in.  Who wants to be known as a Negative Nancy? Not me.  I get it.  The question, however, isn't, “Is it bad to be known by what you are opposed to rather than what you are for?” but rather, “Can you be an advocate for something without people also knowing what you are against?” I would argue that if you truly believe there is this thing called “truth,” ie. there is a black and white, right and wrong, true and false on many various issues, then there is no possible way you can be known for what you advocate without others knowing what you are against. One of the best examples I've read of this in a while is a blog entitled… “MacArthur v. Driscoll: It’s discouraging to young Christians like me.” In it, the author spends the majority of his article telling us what he is against. Then, at the end, we learn what he is for. Surely, Mr. Piper appreciates the need to address what he is against in an effort to explain what he is for. This is one of the reasons I stay puzzled: Many of the very ones who place the burden upon our consciences to make us abstain in part or in whole from saying we are critical of something we believe is not Biblical, are in fact the self same persons who are being critical of being critical.

I get it. No one likes a Negative Nancy… but no one likes a Hypocritical Harry, either.

3. Piper states, “When younger Christians look to these prominent leaders, what do we see? We see discord between our shepherds and wedges being driven into the church over personal agendas and theological points that, while important, aren’t the heart of orthodoxy.” 

I think Piper addresses one of the biggest problems we have here in the Modern, Tech-Driven church. Because of technology we have access to many new preachers and speakers we would have never heard in our entire life were it not for technology. That is not a problem. In fact, that is blessing. I run a fairly popular Youtube site featuring many different preachers and speakers, and the feedback says that channel is a blessing to many. Because of the site, though, I do often run across people who have a problem discerning their local pastor from someone like Paul Washer, who is not their pastor. Piper says, “We see discord between our shepherds…” I actually see no discord between my shepherds. I am a deacon at Christ Reformed of Anaheim. My pastor is Dr. Kim Riddlebarger. My associate pastor is Andrew Compton. My assistant pastor is Chris Coleman. During this whole Strange Fire debacle, I saw no discord between them. Piper, however, says that “We see discord between our shepherds…” Is he a member of both Driscoll's and MacArthur's church? I do not see how he could make this claim aside from this being true. There is a reason why people go to Driscoll's churches and plants (even the ones within traveling distance to Grace Community Church (GCC) ) and don't go to GGC. There is also a reason why people from GCC don't go to Driscoll's church and plants. It's because they teach and believe different things. That is such an elementary point, I question the need to even make it, but maybe it needs to be stated more often during these times. They believe different things. Because of that, they have disagreements. Because they have disagreements that they believe are pretty serious, they don't fellowship together in a worship context. There's a reason I go to Christ Reformed and not Mariners down the street. I believe different things than them. Driscoll is a pastor of a local church. MacArthur is, too. They are not “our shepherds.” Shepherds? Yes. Shepherds we can learn a lot from? Yes. But “our shepherds?” Emphatically, no.

4. Piper states, “It hurts to see beliefs and agendas wielded like weapons.”

God states, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

+1 God.

I don't doubt Piper's sincerity regarding what he wrote in this article. I doubt his sincerity toward the basic tenets of the Christian faith if this article is a glimpse into what he believes and practices.  For a Christian believer, many of the things he says he takes issue with are the very things that define us a Christians, namely love. That is, love in the Biblical sense of letting your yes be yes and your no be no, declaring right from wrong, and not allowing error in your or other people's lives if you can help it; not love in the sense of pretending like error doesn't exist so you can have “peace” at the expense of Christ. I'm not interested in that kind of “love,” and Christ wasn't, either.

Why MacArthur v. Driscoll is Encouraging to Young Christians Like Me

1. It Shows that Popularity Doesn't Matter to Everyone

Driscoll is one of the most famous “Reformed” pastors today (whether or not he is actually reformed is a topic for another time). That fact alone is a reason why many, many people will never consider critiquing anything he has said or will say. In fact, that holds true not only for Driscoll but many in Evangelicalism abroad. This conference, however, has encouraged me in the fact that substance does matter. What a person teaches and preaches from the pulpit does matter. They don't always get a pass because they sell a lot of books, are well liked, or popular. At the end of our age, there is the Judge, and He won't care about your temporal standing in the eyes of the rest of your fellow redeemed and non-redeemed sinners. It's always encouraging when you get a glimpse of that by way of a pastor speaking plainly about error regardless of who the person is making the error.

Another encouraging thing I've witnessed that would fall under this heading is hearing from a number of Driscoll supporters who watched the “confiscation” video and decided that Driscoll wasn't exactly the most truthful in his assessment of the situation. They could be honest with that fact even while saying that they support Driscoll and think MacArthur is less than desirable as a teacher. That was pretty encouraging. There are still the few faithful drones who will say a particular person is right no matter what they do, but I've witnessed personally, in this situation, popularity isn't the arbiter of truth for a lot of fellow believers, and that is encouraging.

Finally, I saw posts from several people… YOUNG PEOPLE (gasp) who knew the security at the event saying that the head of security is one of the most stand up guys they know. They backed him throughout the incident. They could have said, “Well, this girl I like at Thursday Night Youth Pizza Group is really into Driscoll, and if I say publicly I believe security cause I know his reputation and have seen the video, I will probably be ostracized a little.” Well, apparently that wasn't on the mind for the young people I saw post about the event who are affiliated with GCC or Master's in some way. In summary, it was very encouraging that truth matters more than popularity to many more young people than I previously thought before this episode took place.

2. I'm Reminded That, No Matter How Bleak it May Look at a Time, the Truth Eventually Wins Out

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

3. People Are Talking About Theology Again

Confession: I have perceived a lull in the recent couple years with my desire to read, discuss, and debate theology. It's not that I didn't care about those things during that time, it's just that I didn't have as much a desire to get myself immersed in it as I did at another season in my life. If situations presented themselves, great! But my desire to seek out those situations wasn't what it was about 5 years ago. A couple close friends of mine have also told me the same. That, however, has started to subside this year. I'm really curious to know if anyone else has experienced this as well. I'm assuming so. My Twitter Follow Feed isn't as theological as it once was. Regardless, it seems the Strange Fire Conference has awakened in many a desire to discuss Theology instead of Personality again. I must admit, hearing about which person put out a new record, which person is speaking at which conference, etc. has worn me out a bit in recent years. It's not that these things are bad, but it's just that discussing things like limited atonement and justification interest me a lot more than discussing who plays basketball and also believes in Jesus or who is hanging out with famous rappers these days, etc.

This whole MacArthur v. Driscoll ordeal has made it pretty clear who wants to talk about doctrine and theology and who wants to talk about themselves. MacArthur et al caused a guy to drive from Long Beach, CA (where Driscoll's conference was) to GCC (not a short drive) because MacArthur et al discussed theology. In return, Driscoll arrives, social media's his whole visit (including posting pictures of him praying in public for others and claiming security “confiscated” his books, etc.). He then posts a blog post called “See You in Seattle, Pastor John MacArthur?” About theology? No. It's about many things, but suffice it to say it's an open letter explaining his actions and asking MacArthur to come to Seattle to talk. Even Driscoll's new book is said to be about getting together for “love's sake” instead of defending the truth for God's sake according to this post (“Mark Driscoll is promoting his new book, in which he is calling out Christian leaders for being too confrontational and fostering too much infighting… “). Now, these things are fine in their own time (aside from that book synopsis), but my point is that, for the longest time, this is what the popular sites have been attempting to feed me aside from a faithful few. I want to discuss the eternal things more and not whether so and so is liked by so and so or whether this or that. MacArthur, from what I know, hasn't made it personal with Mark, but Mark has surely made it personal with MacArthur. Enough of that. I would prefer to hear Driscoll have his own “The Fire Conference” where he addresses MacArthur's cessationism if he has such a problem with that. All this other stuff is superfluous.

So, as a “young” person, it encourages me to see that theology matters… and lay people are talking about it a lot more than I've heard in recent times not just because of this conference or because of this incident, but certainly not in spite of either event.

4. There is a Clearer Distinction of Where People and Their Character Stand After This

Regardless of what side you come down (Driscoll v. MacArthur) you can't come out of this whole situation without having clearer view of, not only where other people stand on certain issues, but where you and me stand as well.

5. Fads Fade

This debacle has reminded me that eventually, when we're in heaven, we won't care about personality quirks, but we will care about truth v. error. Everyone there will. It's a given. Even some of the personalities mentioned in this article who are pretty well known for riding a fad or two, while still influential, aren't as prominent as they were just a few years ago.  So this event reminded me that fads eventually fade, but the truth remains the same no matter who the person is presenting it.

Building Foundations

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to organize an outreach through my Church at a local county fair. This week-long endeavor required many volunteers to cover the 200 plus man hours needed. God provided!

It was during one of these days at the fair that I decided to experiment by asking youth, high school and younger, the following questions:  Who was Jesus? Who was Moses? Who was David? Who was Jonah? And finally who was Adam and Eve? I received a bizarre range of answers and blank stares. One child believed that Jonah helped carried the cross for Jesus. Another said Moses killed a giant. Others thought these people had to do with current events. The saddest was a middle school boy who had never heard of Adam and Eve. When I explained they were the first two people his eyes got big and he said, “We know that!

This brings up a question; how do we communicate the gospel to a generation that lacks any biblical foundation? Are we seeing such a shift in ignorance that witnessing in America will be akin to doing so with a new people group in a faraway land? While it is certainly true that society is becoming increasingly ignorant of biblical concepts this does not mean it is becoming a useless endeavor to proclaim the gospel.

However, what it does mean is we need to explain the terms. Repentance, faith, resurrection, grace, salvation, saved, and sin. We understand these terms and concepts but to a generation who at best has sat in church for a wedding or two have no basis for understanding our Christian terminology. We must define the words as we use them. For example, when sharing my faith I never use the word repentance without then defining it; agreeing with God we deserve punishment for sin, confessing sin, turning from sin to God, having sorrow over sin and hatred of it. Of course this brings me to another word; sin. What is it? Violating God’s law. But what is God’s law? The commandments. How does this apply to the person? You see, we must begin at the beginning. When speaking of the beginning, many times I have had to go back to Genesis in order to fill in the information that is missing from a person’s void of biblical knowledge.

While defining words are important I have not yet answered the real question. How do I communicate the gospel of Christ to a person who may not have even heard of Jesus Christ except as a swear word. Well to answer this we need to understand some biblical principles.

First, while a person may not appear to profess any knowledge of God the reality is they know there is one. How is this possible you may ask? Well, the scripture tell us this is in fact the truth.

“The fool says in his heart there is no God” -Psalm 14:1

And

“…by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” -Romans 1:18

So how does this truth become known?

There are two ways this truth is known to all men. The first is called General Revelation. This is the evidence of the creator that testifies to His glory: The Creation. By looking into creation itself man sees God’s handiwork. This give mankind no excuse to say there is no God, and makes him a fool for doing so.

“The heavens declare the glory of God” -Psalm 19:1

The second is the conscience. This is where God wrote His moral law on the hearts of men. And it is here that you should appeal to with a biblically ignorant society. Because God has placed a conscience in each person it is universally programmed and in tune with God’s commandments. Lying, stealing, murder, dishonoring parents, adultery, coveting are condemned largely in all societies. So this conscience is a God given foundation within each person to build from in your presentation of the gospel.

So here is a framework:

Engage in the natural realm

Engage the conscience

Present the problem

Provide the solution

Present the seriousness

So let me unpack that into a real word conversation.

Engage in the Natural Realm:

This is what you do every day. “How’s the weather?” “Did you see that game last night?” The content is not important but it engages the person into a conversation.

Engage the Conscience:

This can be lead into in various ways. One way I use is a more direct. I may transition by simply asking, “Do you ever thing about what happens to a person when they die? What do you think it would take to go to a better place after death?” At this point you have moved in to the spiritual realm with a person. The typical response to the proposition of the duty to enter a better place after death is most often living a good life. But if we work through the commandments, lying, stealing, lust, hatred the person will see, by their own conscience, they have not been good.

Present the Problem:

The problem or dilemma is that if we have broken the moral law we must deserve punishment. Assuming a person has no real understanding of heaven, hell, or God’s attributes you will have to define them as you proceed. But you are now beginning to educate the person to their destiny without Christ, of which the truth is being testified by in their conscience. This is a work of the Holy Spirit.

Present the Solution:

Once a person understands they have sinned against a righteous God and understand they can do nothing to save themselves then you can give them grace. The scriptures teach that Christ crucified is folly to the Greek. (1 Corinthians 1:23) why? Because they have no concept of its implications. But through the law, the Ten Commandments, their conscience will testify to the problem and reality of sin. Furthermore the Spirit uses this to bring understand of the solution. It is the Holy Spirit that enables a person to repent and place their faith in Christ. This brings relief to us. Knowing we are only responsible to engage and person and present the good news is good news indeed. As is often said, we plow the earth and plant the seed, others water it, but God makes it grow.

Presenting the Seriousness:

Often times I hear a presentation of the gospel that is left with the hearer as if they can make the decision as to its importance. But the scripture teaches this adherence is critical. In Act 17:30 we see He commands everyone to repent. We are also called to plead with a person that they might turn from their sins to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Leaving the message without this seriousness is inconstant with the presentation in the scripture.

Conclusion

In summary, as culture continues to slide into ignorance, approaching a person with the gospel without first using the law to explain sin, our efforts will sink into the sands of confusion and foolishness because of a lack of foundation. Beginning with sin just as the scripture begins with the fall will establish the foundation needed with the aid of a God given helper called the conscience. Coupled with explaining the terms, this approach is not only effective but biblical. However, it will be useless unless we step out of our comfort zone and engage the world where they are in our own neighborhoods.

The post Building a Foundation in a Biblically Ignorant Culture appeared first on Hearts For The Lost.

Diana Nyad
Diana Nyad

In her interview with marathon swimmer Diana Nyad — the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage — Oprah Winfrey said she believed in something greater than herself but did not go so far as to say that she believed in a personal god.

Nyad said that she was an atheist but found herself “in awe” of the cosmos. Oprah could not understand how someone who could be so awestruck by the vastness and beauty of the cosmos could not believe in a god-like entity.

“I don’t call you an atheist, then,” Winfrey said. “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery — that is what God is . . . God is not the bearded guy in the sky.” Oprah is as confused as Nyad as this exchange shows:

“I think you can be an atheist who doesn’t believe in an overarching being who created all of this and sees over it,” Nyad said. “But there’s spirituality because we human beings, and we animals, and maybe even we plants, but certainly the ocean and the moon and the stars, we all live with something that is cherished and we feel the treasure of it.”

Winfrey agreed: “Well, I believe that and feel that so deeply. It’s why every time I enter my yard or leave, I say, ‘Hello trees!’”

Contrary to all her protestations, Nyad is not an atheist. “So to me,” Nyad told Oprah, “my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.” Nyad has her own version of religion. All so-called atheists transfer their belief in the God they truly know and suppress (Rom 1:18–23; cf. Ps. 14:1) to a belief system of their own making: “For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (1:25).

This confused and bizarre exchange outraged atheists. They want an apology from Oprah for denigrating their belief system. They’re offended. How can globs electrically charged globs of matter that will one day return to the ground and become “dust in the wind” be offended? The elements of the Periodic Table are not offended when they’re used to make a destructive atomic weapon or a batch of methamphetamine.

The elements that make up the human body aren’t offended at anything. How can the combination of some of those elements express “awe” and “love” as Nyad claims for her brand of religion?

For an atheist, humans, animals, and plants are nothing but matter and electricity. Of course, no atheist actually lives consistently within the confines of the materialist belief system, no matter how hard he tries. Lester Frank Ward argues that “nature has neither feeling nor will, neither consciousness nor intelligence,”[1] and yet he wrote this sentence to be understood, and in doing so exhibited an intelligence that matter alone does not exhibit.

Even atheist high priest Richard Dawkins can’t live consistently with his atheist assumptions:

“All the great religions have a place for awe, for ecstatic transport at the wonder and beauty of creation. And it’s exactly this feeling of spine-shivering awe — almost worship this flooding of the chest with ecstatic wonder, that modern science can provide.”

This is not science; it’s religion.

Atheists need to get consistent with what they say they believe. Matter and electricity can’t be offended. There is no need to apologize to them. Atheism means never having to say you're sorry.

Notes:

  1. Lester Frank Ward, Dynamic Sociology; or Applied Social Science, as Based Upon Statistical and the Less Complex Sciences, 2 vols. (New York: Appleton, [1883] 1907, 2:12. Quoted in Gary North, The Dominion Covenant: Genesis, rev. ed. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1987), 298.

The Sin of Euthanasia

In the United States the debate on euthanasia has diminished since the 1990′s when the so called “Dr.” Kevorkian illegally performed this procedure resulting in his conviction of second-degree murder. Since the 90’s, while legal in some states, its debate has left the media coverage. In other parts of the world, euthanasia has been fully embraced. Many hardly even consider its ramifications these days but this sin, packaged as mercy, is devastating to the lives around its victims.

I was reading an article in the UK Telegraph about a woman named Nancy who had gone through a sex-change to become a man. Still, being unhappy with its result chose to end her life. The next story was about congenitally deaf twins who also ended their lives because they were scared they were going deaf. A quote from one of them said,

“I was the girl that nobody wanted,” Mr. Verhelst told the newspaper in the hours before her death.

The statistics are staggering showing that the number of elected “mercy killings” steeply increase every year. In 2012, there were 1,432 killings, which was an increase of 25 percent from the year before. To add to this there is discussion of extending this to children.

In His Image

In Genesis, we read the recorded events of God’s creative work culminating in the formation of mankind.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them.” -Genesis 1:26-28

Above all of God’s creation He set mankind in a peculiar position being made in “His own image” being set in dominion over it and God confirming that “it is very good.”

In what image did He make us? His own. But what does this mean? We are not immortal, we are not omnipresent, and we are not omnipotent. Ah, but He made us in the image of His moral perfection at creation, an original righteousness. But Adam being our representative entered into rebellion after allowing the woman to deceive him losing that righteousness. Regardless, wherein we are tarnished with sinfulness we are still His special creation which he has now bought with a price. The heavy and deep price of the blood of Christ to which all who repent of this rebellion and submit to God’s command that all should place their trust in Christ will be saved from the fires of hell and have unto them their original righteousness restored through Christ righteousness.

“O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions” -Psalm 104:24

How precious are our lives? So precious that God created ALL for him to have dominion over and then to sacrifice His son to restore the relationship mankind chose to obliterate.

This sin that has infiltrated our natures from the beginning at the garden and has not left anyone or creation itself untouched. As a result we suffer with disease, distress, depression. Our desires are sinful and lead to more pain and suffering as we futilely seek to restore ourselves in vain schemes. (Ec. 7:25) Knowing all this the great physician stands ready to heal, to restore, to remove our burdens. Not temporally, while that may be, but eternally in the hereafter. Oh, my heart breaks to see the wickedness of man to withhold the living water that can heal and replace it with fine sounding arguments that lead to death; sending a person from the frying pan of depression and vanity to the fires of enteral hell. What callous and wicked men! But beware Christian but for the grace of God it would be you that is indicted.

Christian, we must see these stories for what they are. There is a way that seems right that in the end leads to death. Stand up against the ways of the world and do not withhold the sweet medicine of the soul; the gospel of Christ.

Referenced Article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/10346616/Belgian-

The post In His Own Image: The Sin of Euthanasia appeared first on Hearts For The Lost.

Chuck SmithChuck Smith, the evangelical pastor whose outreach to hippies in the 1960s helped transform worship styles in American Christianity and fueled the rise of the Calvary Chapel movement, died Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 86.

Diagnosed in 2011, Smith continued to preach and oversee administration at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (California), where he’d been pastor since 1965. In 2012, he established a 21-member leadership council to oversee the Calvary Church Association, a fellowship of some 1,600 like-minded congregations in the United States and abroad.

Smith was known for expository preaching as he worked his way through the entire Bible, unpacking texts from Genesis through Revelation and offering commentary along the way.

On New Year’s Day 2012 during Sunday services, Smith stunned his congregation when he announced that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. However, since his announcement he continued to maintain his schedule of giving Sunday sermons, mid-week Bible studies, and co-hosting the radio show, Pastor’s Perspective.

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Fellowship Church in Riverside, who was one of many Christian leaders influenced by Smith’s teaching, stated, “Rarely does a man come along that impacts a generation, but Chuck Smith was that man.”

He added, “I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.’ (2 Tim 4:7-8)”

Laurie, who was encouraged by Smith to launch Harvest Crusades more than 20 years ago, wrote on his Facebook page that there is much more he will say in the days ahead, “but for now let’s remember to pray for Chuck’s family and his congregation, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.”

“Chuck is now in Heaven, and he will certainly hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant … Now enter the joy of the Lord!” (Matt.25:23)

On New Year’s Day 2012 during Sunday services, Smith stunned his congregation when he announced that he was diagnosed with lung cancer. However, since his announcement he continued to maintain his schedule of giving Sunday sermons, mid-week Bible studies, and co-hosting the radio show, Pastor’s Perspective.

Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Fellowship Church in Riverside, who was one of many Christian leaders influenced by Smith’s teaching, stated, “Rarely does a man come along that impacts a generation, but Chuck Smith was that man.”

He added, “I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.’ (2 Tim 4:7-8)”

Laurie, who was encouraged by Smith to launch Harvest Crusades more than 20 years ago, wrote on his Facebook page that there is much more he will say in the days ahead, “but for now let’s remember to pray for Chuck’s family and his congregation, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa.”

“Chuck is now in Heaven, and he will certainly hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant … Now enter the joy of the Lord!” (Matt.25:23)