Posts Tagged With: Holy Spirit

What is Decision Theology?


Many church denominations today push the idea of “Decision Theology”. Maybe some who are reading this blog post do not know what Decision Theology means. It is possible also that many who are reading this do know what it means and feel or have been taught that it is the only way to heaven.

The purpose of this post is to define “Decision Theology”, state the truth, and most importantly, to offer comfort in the knowledge that the way to heaven does not depend on anything we do, say, or feel of our own decision. Salvation is a free gift of God’s love and mercy for lost sinners.

 

Decision Theology

Catechism

(Luther’s Catechism, Anniversary Edition pg.186)

Can people decide, by the power of their own wills, to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Unfortunately, many today speak about faith in Christ as a personal decision. They believe that people must ultimately decide whether or not to accept what God has to say and whether or not to invite Jesus into their hearts.

The Bible doesn’t teach this. Rather, it teaches that we are all by nature spiritually dead. Our human wills, in any spiritual sense, are also dead. What is dead cannot contribute toward becoming spiritually alive. Those who view faith as something brought about by a human decision are placing confidence for salvation in something other than God. Such misplaced confidence opens the door to uncertainty and doubt, leaving them to wonder if they truly believe or if they are sincere. We place our trust in God, who alone has the power to work the miracle of faith through the gospel.

There is no need for anyone to make a profession of faith to any church body or pastor, or make a personal decision to accept or receive Jesus into his heart or follow Him. No; it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

So take comfort dear friends and be confident in the knowledge that Jesus did it all for you. There is nothing you can do on your own to come to Him. It is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word. No one can say, Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

I urge you to pick up your Bible and begin reading. Let the Holy Spirit take it from there. You will be blessed!

Gloria Dei!

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Categories: Beliefs, Faith, Grace | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Fairy Tale?


Jesus

Jesus, God’s gift of love

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. Philip said, Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. Jesus answered: Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.  (John 14: 6-9)

What is a fairy tale? One could say that a fairy tale is an imaginary story of good versus evil with an, everyone lived happily ever after, ending. Stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, etc. would be considered fairy tales.

Recently a discussion came up between me and a friend regarding religious beliefs. I realized that we do not share the same beliefs regarding The Triune God, life and death, heaven and hell, Satan and Demons. She explained that she believes in God the Father (or at least that there is a “higher” power ruling the universe) and the Holy Spirit, but she doesn’t feel that Jesus is true God along with them. She feels that the accounts in the Bible (His-Story) are fairy tales – too good to be true.

We remain friends, and in the end we agreed to disagree. We respect and accept each other for who we are regardless of beliefs. But every day I pray that the Holy Spirit will touch her heart and soften it, so that she will be able to experience the gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus, and share in the hope that I have for eternity.

In actuality “His Story” is the “History” of the world from Creation through the life and death of Jesus and up until about 90 years or so after he ascended into heaven. It is God’s revelation of who we are as humans, where we came from, and where we are going when we die. Much of ancient history coincides with the accounts recorded in the inspired Word of God.

Many times in life we do find that when things seem too good to be true, they more than likely are. But, is that true with the Word of God and His wonderful grace, mercy and love? It really does seem almost too good to be true.

We each ask ourselves, why would God love me? No matter how hard I try I am not able to be the person He expects me to be. Or we may think to ourselves; there are so many people in this world. How can He know and love each of us personally? It is difficult for our human mind to comprehend, but it is true. You can believe it. He does love each and every one of us as if we were His only child.

There are many things in Scripture that we as humans are not able to understand, but we simply believe with our eyes of faith. Everything we need to know for this life and for our salvation however, is clearly written so that even a child is able to understand it.

In the verses above from the book of John, Jesus is expressing that He and God the Father are one and the same. In other words, if we don’t believe in Jesus, we are also rejecting God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus’ perfect life, innocent death, and resurrection, there would be no hope for humanity.

God expects holiness and perfection. Because of our sinful human nature we are unable to be good enough to spend our eternity with God. But through Jesus’ perfect life and his suffering and death, all who have faith in Him are washed in His blood and covered in His holiness. He paid the debt we owe to God for our sin, when He took our place on the cross. By God’s never ending grace (undeserved love), the sacrifice of His Son, and the gift of faith ignited in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we are assured of a place in heaven when we die. It’s a gift offered free to all who believe.

Do I believe in fairy tales? No, but I believe in Jesus and what He did for me. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s the truth. It’s faith. It’s a wonderful release from the bondage of sin and the shadow of death that hangs over each of us from the day of our birth. If you happen to be a doubter, stop a minute and set aside your human reason. Pick up your Bible and let the Holy Spirit work in your heart through the Word. You will be blessed.

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:25)

“Yes, Lord. I believe.”

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

Categories: Beliefs, Eternity, Faith, Fellowship | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Spiritual I.D.


Baptismal Certificate

Baptismal Certificate

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43: 1)

Do you have a legal document that tells others who you are? In the U.S. every child born receives a social security number and a birth certificate. Your birth certificate and SS number are proof of who you are.
Your birth certificate lists your time and date of birth, the hospital and city where you were born, how much you weighed at birth, and the names and address/addresses of each of your parents.
Your SS number is unique to you alone. There is no other person in the U.S. or anywhere in the world for that matter, who shares that number with you. It identifies who you are. You will be asked to present it for any legal document you submit to anyone, and for all important paperwork.
The most widely used I.D. people in the U.S. carry however is a driver’s License. Your driver’s license is a laminated card which contains a picture of you, shows your date of birth, weight, sex, and the address where you live. Most young people here in the U.S. obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16 after they pass their driver’s training course. It is something they will carry with them their entire life. Your driver’s license is legal proof of who you are, no matter where you go.
As a young teen getting my first driver’s license, I can still hear my mother instructing me; don’t ever go anywhere without it! It tells others who you are. If you get in an accident and aren’t able to speak the police will be able to identify you and notify your family.
I took the instructions my mother gave me seriously and always obediently made sure I had my license whenever I went out, even if I wasn’t driving. But there was one time when I forgot it. I was out of state spending time with my cousin in Phoenix, AZ. I was new to the area and the evening after I arrived, she took me out and introduced me to some of the local gathering places for young people. For whatever reason (I have no idea why, but maybe I just forgot it) I didn’t take my purse.
My cousin was driving and as she pulled into one of the city parks, a police officer pulled up beside her. She had not been driving recklessly or broken any laws, but I think he just randomly pulled her over, maybe because she was young and it was a Saturday night. He was just being cautious and making us aware of his presence. Of course he asked each of us for our I.D. and I didn’t have mine. I honestly don’t think he believed me when I told him I had forgotten it at home. I’m sure he thought we were up to some kind of “no good”, but he finally let us go and told us to go straight home. I couldn’t believe it! The one time I didn’t have it with me, I get caught! Now, forty some odd years later, I don’t recall ever having repeated that mistake again.
We should each recognize that our I.D. is a very important document because it is proof of who we are. I am not aware of what laws and regulations are in effect in other countries, but pretty much everyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 has and needs some type of picture I.D. If you don’t drive you may have what we call a State I.D. or maybe if you are a student you have your Student I.D. But do you have a Spiritual I.D.? Do you know what a Spiritual I.D. is? Do you know where/how to get one? Let’s talk about it.
I obtained my Spiritual I.D. on April 23, 1950. That is the day my parents brought me to baptism. I was one month old. We are all born into this world sinful. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). We inherit the virus of sin from our parents, and their parents, and so on down the line. Many people feel that babies are sweet and innocent and don’t sin, but they are wrong. They may be sweet, and they are innocent in that they

My Spiritual I.D.

My Spiritual I.D.

aren’t aware of their sin and don’t know any better, but still they ARE sinners. As little sinners, they need God’s forgiveness in order to be fit for heaven. They need to be washed in the blood of Jesus through faith in order to be saved. I tell you the truth; no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3: 5, 6).
At one month of age, even though I was too little to understand it all, I was born again through my baptism and became alive in Christ. I now belonged to His family of believers. Through the waters of baptism connected to God’s Word, The Holy Spirit put faith in my tiny little heart and I was washed clean of my sin and reborn into a new life. There was rejoicing in heaven that day! There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). The angels rejoice jubilantly over each person on earth who is forgiven through faith. God loves all people and doesn’t wish that anyone would go to Hell. He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3: 9).

Faith comes from hearing the Word. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ (Romans 10: 17). But it also comes to us through the Sacraments ie: Baptism and Holy Communion. A newborn baby is too little to read the written Word and understand what it means for his/her soul. The Holy Spirit, through baptism, places faith in the hearts of babies and little children who are too young to understand. Through baptism their sins are forgiven. Through baptism God showers His never ending grace upon each little child so that when He looks at him/her He no longer sees a sinful little human, but the holiness of Jesus.
Many people have the mistaken idea that baptism is something we do for God. They feel it is something we should let our children decide upon when they become old enough to understand. Baptism is not our commitment to God. On the contrary, baptism is God’s commitment and gift to us. It is His way of saying; I love you and you are Mine! I promise I will never leave you. I will watch over you and protect you. I will bring you home to be with me forever when your life here on earth of over.
Parents, it is your God-given responsibility to bring your child to baptism. Jesus himself tells us; Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18: 16).
My baptism certificate is my Spiritual I.D. It is the I.D. which says I belong to God. It tells me I am saved through the blood of Jesus shed for me on the cross so many years ago. It is proof that I am His forgiven child. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3: 27). I carry His name with me every day that I live. It is not a guarantee that I will never leave Him, but it IS His guarantee to me that He will never leave me. I pray that he will watch over me and keep me in my baptismal grace until the day He calls me from this earth.
Unlike my driver’s license or state I.D. I will not need to present my spiritual I.D. for legal documents here in this life. I won’t need to present it when I stand before God on the last day either because he has a record of it in His Book of Life. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10: 20).
Have you obtained your Spiritual I.D, yet? Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of sins? Are you an heir to His eternal kingdom? Have your children been baptized? If you and/or your children haven’t been baptized and you are interested in finding out more about it, feel free to email me at grandmapoz@yahoo.com. I will try to direct you to someone in your area who can tell you more about it and help you make it happen.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children (Acts 2: 38, 39) Goria Dei!

by Christine

Special note to parents:

God does not tell us in His word what happens to little babies who are killed through abortion or who die before birth or before there is time for baptism. It is not my intent to put fear in the hearts of already grieving parents who have lost children to death before baptism. For your comfort, remember that our God is a just God, but He is also a merciful, fair and loving God. We can trust that in His almighty wisdom He takes special care for the souls of helpless infants. All life is precious to Him.
He does command baptism however, and entrusts these little lives to us as parents, to be cared for and nurtured. It is our responsibility to make sure they have all that they need, not only for their bodies (their physical good), but especially for their souls (their eternal good). Eternity is forever. Therefore why would we not, when it is within our power to do so, want to afford ourselves the comfort of knowing for sure that their souls are safe in His loving arms?

Categories: Sacraments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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