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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living and Active

LIVING and ACTIVE; these two words are fantastically amazing wonderful glorious descriptors of the Word of God. (Hebrews 4:12-13) The original words in Greek are Zon and Energes, they mean literally Alive and Energetic / Capable of Doing Work / Active. These two words seem to get overlooked when talking about the Bible, we know it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its content, and we know that it is sharper than a scalpel bladed sword, and we know that it is where faith comes from; but it seems that there is a general oversight that the Word of God is literally its own entity capable of doing its own work.

Compare Isaiah 55:10-11 before we go further,
as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
I want you, my dear reader, to see that the Word of God is not just a weapon, it's not just a tool, it is not at the mercy of the user to be used effectively; Instead of an arrow fired from a bow aimed by an archer it is a self propelled laser guided missile. This Word rips through defenses, stops mouths, cuts to the heart, comes alive in the hearer and slays its enemies. (Take a moment and read Galatians 2:19-20, Romans 3:18-20, Romans 7:10-11, and Acts 2:37)

Short phrases like "You must be born again" (George Whitefield, John 3:7), "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles" (The Son of Sam / David Berkowitz, Psalm 34:6), and "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written the righteous shall live by faith" (Martin Luther, Romans 1:17) are credited for transforming utter sinners into outright saints, for faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.

I love how 1 Peter 1:23 puts it,
you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
My own soul was born again when a verse preached out of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible described Jesus Christ's advent as, "God was manifest in the flesh." (1 Timothy 3:16) Through that one verse and concept the Saviour of mankind crushed my pride, exposed my sinfulness, drew me near to himself, and redeemed my soul. But if you read that verse out of any other translation it simply says "He was manifest in the flesh." Indeed, the original Greek does not bear with it the fact that Jesus Christ is God, at least not in that verse, but many other passages do (see John 20:28, 2 Peter 1:1, Titus 2:13, and John 1:1, among many others), but it was that verse out of the King James Version of the Bible that quickened my soul.

So is there something special about that translation? Should we preach exclusively from it? Indeed this translation did amazing things when sent by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, Asahel Nettleton, Charles Spurgeon, Paris Reidhead, Leonard Ravenhill, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind and a multitude of others. But a prolific amount of archaeology in the 20th century showed that the Textus Receptus, the Greek manuscript which the King James translators used, is not an exact copy of the originals, albeit it is very close. Today we have infinitely better manuscripts and awesome Bible translations that have been born out of them, including the NASB, NIV, and ESV, among others.

With the supersedance of the KJV for newer and better translations there has been a push for what has been dubbed "King James Onlyism", or the rejection of every English Bible except for the KJV. This push is based on many facts, such as that the KJV was the Bible of choice for over 300 years, that so many were converted under its preaching, and that many of the majority text manuscripts are missing a few superfluous verses. We know quite decisively that the extra verses in the KJV are addendums and that the Bible suffers not when these verses are removed, since the concepts are concretely discussed elsewhere in scripture (See Mark 7:16 and 1 John 5:7 for example), yet one cannot deny that the King James Bible, even with its errors, did magnificent works and amazing things for the kingdom. Conversely, we see a proliferation of nearly perfect translations that will never see the usage or conversions on the scale that the KJV was involved in.

What does all of this mean? Why have I typed it? It is to remind you, dear reader, that the Word of God is alive and energetic and that it is not a translation that saves, but the Godhead, expressed in text, which transforms a soul. The King James Translators never saved anyone, they planted and watered, but it was God who gave the growth.

The difference in word choice between the KJV and even the Textus Receptus are massive, while you may see the lineage of the English Energetic from the Greek Energes, you wouldn't likewise claim an etymological link between English Abiding and Greek Menei or English Living and Greek Zon. Yet the Greek phrase Zon gar o logos tou Theo kai energes has the exact meaning of the English phrase The Word of God is living and active. The phrases use radically different words with the exact same meaning; still the Word of God, still able to accomplish its purposes with or without your help. It's the difference between calling a Patriot missile an MIM-104 Surface to Air Missile...different names, same purpose and same effect. (Humor me and pretend the Patriot could actually hit anything)

So we see something interesting in the proliferation of better translations doing less, and KJV Only proponents holding to a once amazing translation who are now doing little to nothing for the kingdom. It is not the translation or the manuscripts or the language that does the converting, but the Word of God deployed and sent out which converts souls.

It's two squadrons holed up in a hangar, one claiming the F-15 is the best, the other saying the F-22 is inviolable, and as they argue over which aircraft to launch the enemy is raining havoc down all around them. If one or the other were put up then they would make short work of the adversary, imagine if both launched at once! But the church is content to keep these weapons safely tucked away, perhaps occasionally taking them out on a joyride or mock engagements against other churches (often ending in fatalities), but putting the Word of God on the offensive against a violent and insatiable enemy is intolerant and unheard of.

Dr. Charles Love was converted reading the worst Bible translation of all time, the New World Translation; while the equivalent of F-15 and F-22 state-of-the-art fighter jets were safely snuggled in mega-hangars, a lone dilapidated Cessna, with a BB-gun and no home-base, rocked Dr. Love's world and ushered him into the kingdom of God, because it was put into action and accomplished the purposes of God.

The Word of God is alive and energetic, more than capable of doing exactly what it was designed for. Will you send it today? Will you open up your Bible and preach? Will you give out a gospel tract? Will you tape your favorite Bible verse to the wall in your cubicle? Will you write "John 3:16" on the window of your car in washable wax? You don't even have to do anything except send this capable Word on its way, God will do the rest; it is self propelled and laser guided, it will not return without accomplishing its purpose.

Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, he was raised for our justification, he sits ready to intercede for us, he even gave us his Holy Spirit to empower us; every detail has been taken care of, all that is left for you to do is to open your mouth and preach this glorious living and active Word.


Michael Gormley said...

Dear Canyon,


Best of all, the promise of eternal life is a gift, freely offered to us by God (CCC 1727).

The Catholic Church teaches what the apostles taught and what the Bible teaches: We are saved by grace alone, but not by faith alone (which is what "Bible Christians" teach; see James. 2:24).

When we come to God and are justified (that is, enter a right relationship with God), nothing preceding justification, whether faith or good works, earns grace.

But then God plants his love in our hearts, and we should live out our faith by doing acts of love (Galatians 6:2).

Even though only God’s grace enables us to love others, these acts of love please him, and he promises to reward them with eternal life (Romans 2:6–7, Galatians 6:6–10).

Thus good works are meritorious. When we first come to God in faith, we have nothing in our hands to offer him.

Then he gives us grace to obey his commandments in love, and he rewards us with salvation when we offer these acts of love back to him (Romans 2:6–11, Galatians 6:6–10, Matthew 25:34–40).

15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.

16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5: 15-16)

Jesus said it is not enough to have faith in him; we also must obey his commandments. "Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do the things I command?" (Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:21–23, 19:16–21).

We do not "earn" our salvation through good works (Ephesians 2:8–9, Romans 9:16), but our faith in Christ puts us in a special grace-filled relationship with God so that our obedience and love, combined with our faith, will be rewarded with eternal life (Romans 2:7, Galatians 6:8–9).

Paul said, "God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work" (Philippians 2:13).

John explained that "the way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3–4, 3:19–24, 5:3–4).

Since no gift can be forced on the recipient—gifts always can be rejected—even after we become justified, we can throw away the gift of salvation.

We throw it away through grave (mortal) sin (John 15:5–6, Romans 11:22–23, 1 Corinthians 15:1–2; CCC 1854–1863). Paul tells us, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

Read his letters and see how often Paul warned Christians against sin! He would not have felt compelled to do so if their sins could not exclude them from heaven (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Galatians 5:19–21).

Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God "will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life for those who seek glory, honour, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness" (Romans 2:6–8).

Sins are nothing but evil works (CCC 1849–1850). We can avoid sins by habitually performing good works.

Every saint has known that the best way to keep free from sins is to embrace regular prayer, the sacraments (the Eucharist first of all), and charitable acts.

Tortoise said...

Is Half of The Story Sufficient For Salvation?

How many sides are there to a story? If you say two, then you are wrong. If you had one side and I had one side that would make two sides. However, there is a third side, the side of truth.

Rule # 1... One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story.

No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth.

Both sides have to be heard, then analysed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.

This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us.

Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth.

Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.

In the following examples, side 'A' is the first side, side 'B' is the second, and side 'C' is the right, or truth side.

Example # 2... Sola Fides... Saved by faith alone. The fundamentalist believes he is assured of salvation. All he has to do is to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and savior and salvation is automatic and irrevocable no matter what he does for the rest of his life.

Oh Yeah? What happened to the ten commandments?

A. Many verses in Scripture attest to salvation by faith alone. Joel 2:32, "...that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Acts 2:21 says the same almost word for word, and likewise for Rom 10:13. "...I live in the faith of the Son of GOD...", is from Gal 2:20. Again, these are beautiful words that should be heeded by all.

B. However, elsewhere in Scripture there is quite a different side of the story. Start with Mt 7:21, "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven shall enter the kingdom of Heaven."

It is very clear that you have to do the will of the Father to gain salvation. I like 1Cor 10:12, "...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

That one says you cannot be guaranteed of salvation. Then James 2:14-26 says over and over, "...Faith too without works is dead...Faith without works is useless...so Faith also without works is dead." Again, words to be heeded by all.

C. So what is the answer to this dilemma? Is this one of those Bible 'conflicts' you keep hearing about? No, not at all. The answer is very simple.

There are two types of salvation, 'objective salvation', and 'subjective salvation'.

The verses in 'A' are examples of objective salvation. Jesus Christ did atone for all of our sins, past, present and future.

He did His part and did it well, but He left the burden upon each one of us to complete the second side of the story by atoning for our own sins, by doing the will of the Father.

We have to keep the commandments. We have to practice 'subjective salvation'. There is no salvation by accepting only part of Scripture as shown in 'A', and by rejecting, or trying to explain away the verses in 'B'.

Yet this is what some non-Catholics are doing. Again, we have to combine 'A', and 'B', to have the full truth.


daveg4g said...

Two Extremely Simple Questions
For Non-Catholics to Answer.

They are about as basic as you can get, and are both extremely important for your salvation. If they are so simple and are so basic, why then do non-Catholics refuse to answer them?

Why don't you be the first to answer them with the truth?

Question #1:

Every church on earth had a founder with a name. Please name the founder of the Catholic Church? No guesses please, or personal opinions just the facts.

Backup your answer with genuine historical documents and/or Bible verse(s).

Question #2:

After studying this page , please show me the Bible verse(s) which gave authority to anyone to found another church other than the one which Jesus Christ founded?
Here are a few hints to make it even easier for anyone to come up with the correct answers:

For Question #1:
Acts 8:1-3,
"And at that time, there was raised a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.

And they were all dispersed through the countries of Judea, and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men took order for Stephen's funeral and made great mourning over him.

But Saul made havoc of the church, entering in from house to house: and dragging away men and women, committed them to prison."

So here we have Saul making havoc of the Church which Jesus Christ founded.

It is obvious that Saul knew almost nothing about who the founder of that Church really was, or else he would not have been persecuting it.

Acts 9:1-5,
"And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus. And suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him.

And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad."

So, Saul thought he was persecuting the Church that Jesus Christ founded, when in fact he was persecuting its founder.

Saul found out the hard way. Do you wish to find out the hard way also?

When you stand before Jesus Christ in judgment, do think He might ask you the same question that He asked Saul? "(substitute your name here) why persecutest thou me?"

I strongly suggest that you who persecute the Catholic Church had better find out who founded it,
that is if you value your salvation at all.

For Question #2:

Read these verses in your Bible:

Psalms 127:1, 1Corinthians 3:11, John 10:1-2, John 10:16, 1Peter 4:17, 2Peter 2:1, 1Corinthians 14:33, Luke 11:23, 2John 1:9, and Romans 10:15.

Now who will be the first non-Catholic to give me truthful answers to these two ever so simple and basic questions?

Canyon Shearer said...

How did you get to this post without reading my post on personal responsibility, which utterly refutes EVERY one of the Romish cults arguments?