Thursday, December 10, 2009

Soteriological Cogitations #1

2 Cor 2:
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

2Cor 4:
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

Paul alludes here to the roman custom of triumphal procession. Part of the ceremony and pomp involved in welcoming a conquering hero was, the burning of incense and the tossing of flowers, hence Paul's use of "aroma" as a way of describing the effect of the Gospel message.Christ leads the procession as the "conquering ruler" and we the apostolic church, intercessors and prophets, evangelist, shepherds and teachers spread the fragrance of the Gospel and the person of Christ everywhere.For those who are under the rule of the conqueror it is a time of joy and pageantry. Sadly for those who are the wrong side of the battle it brings death.

Rev 19:
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. 17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, "Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great." 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The Gospel is the fragrance of life to those who are alive, i.e. the regenerate.It is the aroma of death to those who are dead in their sins, therefore they hide from it John 3:1-21
It is a veiled message to the dying. They refuse to see and hear.

Mark 4:
11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that "they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven."

Acts 28:
24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 "'Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. 27 For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their 28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."

The sovereign and unconditional election of God is the only "way" to salvation and eternal life ,i.e. the new creation. This election is summed up in Christ who is the Truth and the Way. The religious of the day twisted scripture and taught a form of salvation by works.
Matthew 23;John 5:19-47;Eph 2:8-10

However there is Christ alone, by grace, through faith alone, preached through the Word alone, for the glory of God alone.

John 5:
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

John 10:
25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of 30 I and the Father are one."

This is the Gospel Paul preached. The smell of death to the dead,(no wonder they run from it), and the aroma of life to the living. Only those born again by the Holy Spirit hear the Word that brings faith. The unconditional election of God is not based on man's goodness or choosing, and most certainly not withheld because of our sins. Where has the church gone off track in evangelizing? Christ did not save by having coffee with the sinner, but by dying for them. May the church lift up Christ crucified and may the Father draw those who are being saved, to the Messiah. Acts 2:42-47

"I may be called Antinomian or Calvinist for preaching a limited atonement; but I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it."
Charles Spurgeon

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