Can I be a Wesleyan and believe in eternal security?

For five hundred years Israel did not hear from Jesus.  They filled this void themselves, and created “traditions” they believed were equal to God’s words.  Then when Jesus, the Messiah, written about by their beloved Moses, appeared, their “traditions” blinded them to the One revealed by God through Moses.  Jesus was clearly not from God (in their judgement) because he profaned the Sabbath.  He deliberately healed on the Sabbath, and he told those he healed to also profane the Sabbath (carry their mat on the Sabbath).  (These actions were against the “traditions” they held dear, but not against God’s words).  Because they believed their “traditions” over God’s words, they were blinded to the truth God and Moses had written them.

Now let’s fast forward hundreds of years to the “traditions” of today.  There are at least two “traditions” today.  The first says: I have no responsibility for entering into, or keeping, a relationship with Jesus.  Everything has been predetermined by God.  I have no responsibility for choosing anything.

The second “tradition” says:  I have the responsibility to choose to respond to Jesus’ invitation to a relationship with him and I am responsible to choose to keep that relationship by “not rejecting Christ.”  (According to my former pastor, The Rev. Dr. Wayne Schmidt, if I reject Christ I will not be capable of enjoying heaven and will spend eternity separated from God).

God’s written words in Romans shed light on these two “traditions.”  God wrote through Paul, “those he foreknew he predestined.”  First he foreknew, or knew ahead of time, those who would choose to respond to his invitation to a love relationship with him.  He has this knowledge because he created time, he can live outside of time,  and all of time is laid bare before him.  The first “tradition” interprets “foreknowing” as the action of determining.  This is wrong.  God gives me the freedom to choose because without being able to choose there is no possibility of me having a love relationship with God, which is God’s highest goal for me.  He knows the future, he knows what I will choose, but he doesn’t determine what I will choose, I make the choice.

Second, he said he predestined them.  Of those that chose Jesus of their own free will, God said their destiny would be to be conformed to the image of his Son.  This was God’s choice and it is not conditioned on my performance.  I can still choose to sin.  But God is greater than me or my ability to sin.  (Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more).

But you may say, this kind of love can be abused, it risks being license.  And I may reason, if I can sin without consequence why not continuously enjoy the pleasures of sin?  Yes I can sin, but it is not without consequence.  Because I am now his child, Jesus lovingly makes my life a living hell when I deliberately disobey him.  He chastises me.  And his correction, though in love, feels just as horrific to me now that I am his child, as when he had punished me in the past for my sins before I became his child.

Jesus risks me choosing to disobey him in order to give me the priceless freedom and security to love him purely.  He gives me the freedom to love him apart from the coercion and threat of being separated from him if I reject Him (and all sin is rejecting Jesus).  And he gives me the security that I don’t have to depend on myself to stay saved.  (And I must depend on him because I have completely proven to myself that apart from Jesus I am completely undependable).

And because Jesus loved me no matter what I did, I learned it is not my behavior that Jesus values most highly.  It is me.  He loves me.  He loves my heart.  He loves me just as I am.  And he is willing to love me into relationship with him, despite the risks of the abuse of that love.  And I will spend eternity with him, not because I can keep him, but because he can keep me.

 

 

We need to give more than proof

Apologetics, or proving the reality of Jesus, never moved me toward a personal relationship with him.  It wasn’t until I saw someone who was very upset with their spouse, and yet was speaking so lovingly about their spouse at the same time, that Jesus began the process of breaking through my hate.  Speaking kindly and respectfully of someone you were mad at made no sense to me.  People that angry, verbally destroyed their spouses, they didn’t recount their spouse’s good qualities.  And yet this reality was being presented to me.  I had never met anyone like this.

One of our threesome left and I went to coffee with this person thinking I could be a listening ear and help them.  This person shared Jesus with me.  And because I had seen Jesus in this person (but didn’t recognize him) before they shared Jesus I gave this person the right to influence me.

The movie God’s Not Dead states that you cannot prove God exists.  I think you can, it’s just that some people will not believe you even if you do.  But God’s love, demonstrated in you, toward them, can do what no argument can do.  It can change the human heart.  It can meet their deepest need.  It can give them new life.

 

 

The double tithing results of June

No new job.  No meals paid for by strangers.  No extra ordinary things due to double tithing.  In fact, some things are even worse.

God helped me and my family all month…  Just like he always does.

He is helping others through me and my family… Just like he always does.

So what was the benefit of double tithing?

Well, I learned I love Him just the same, regardless of whether He works overtly or quietly.

Whether I notice anything different or not.

He is enough.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain

 

I used to think this meant swearing.  But another meaning has surfaced to me.  The people who God will not hold guiltless are those that claim to represent him, who take upon themselves His Name… falsely.

Those who preach “Health and Wealth.”

How many New Testament followers of Jesus had “Health and Wealth?”  Jesus certainly had Health, in fact He gave it away.  But the Bible doesn’t say He had Wealth (in terms of money).  Paul was not rich or healthy (eye disease?).  Timothy had stomach trouble needing wine.  After Jesus went to heaven his followers were persecuted, scattered, fleeing for their lives from town to town.  Not conducive for accumulating wealth.

Those who condemn you for a sickness because you don’t have “faith.”

How many lives have been ruined by those who tell someone dealing with mental illness to “get off your meds, trust God, and He will heal you.”  When the four friends let down their sick friend through the roof of the home Jesus was teaching in, it says that Jesus saw their faith, (the friends), not his faith, (the sick one).  And Jesus healed the sick one because of his friends’ faith.  There is a lesson here.  When you condemn someone for being sick and not having faith to get well, you are condemning yourself.  Because you are responsible to have enough faith.  Not the sick one.  Read about the “friends” of Job and what they said about him and what God said about him.  Job called them miserable comforters.  God said Who is this that darkens His counsel with words without knowledge?

Those who outwardly follow Jesus instructions in order to gain money.

Jesus’ principles make good business sense.  But if your motive is to gain money by doing them “you deny the power” of Jesus and his message of love for all.  You deny the love Jesus died to bring you and “your god is your stomach.”

Those who preach Jesus to have their own followers in order to feed themselves.

Jesus followers talk about Jesus and what he has freely given them and all others.  Self-seekers use Jesus as a means to get fame, fortune, power and pleasure (what satan and the world offer).

These people do not represent a true picture of God’s character and love for all.  They are harming Jesus’ reputation (Name) and hiding the true Jesus that loves them just the way they are.  That is why they are guilty.

 

Nobody’s perfect

 

Poor in spirit,
those who are not confident in their own ability to please God.

Mourn,
over the sin that they can’t stop doing

Meek,
great power under complete control

 

First Jesus says blessed are the poor in spirit,
and they that mourn.

He says my righteousness is to exceed the “Super Religious” (the scribes and Pharisees),

If I am angry with someone, if I call them “stupid” I am in danger of hell fire,

Adultery is looking at a woman to lust after her and is worthy of dismemberment.

Then He ends by saying for me to be perfect,
just as my Heavenly Father is perfect.

At this point I give up.

Because I know I cannot do this.

And my spirit becomes poor,

and I mourn over my sin I can’t stop doing.

And I know I do not have great power

and the power I do have is not under complete control.

And I know I hate my enemies.

 

And I realize

 

I need a Savior.