Saturday, February 16, 2008

Raging Hordes of Enthusiasts. Part 3

Genesis 3: 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" ESV

Did God say that? Did He really mean it? This is the oldest doubt cast upon God’s word and we still face it today. In the Holy Bible we are faced with some incredible claims by God. Not the least of these made by our Lord Jesus Himself.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. ESV

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." ESV

The Enthusiast believes teaches and confesses that God works in a non tangible and ill defined manner in our lives. In the above recordings of the words of Jesus He states that one is born again of water and Spirit and that baptism makes disciples. The Enthusiast will contradict this vehemently. “How can water save anyone or make a disciple? That only makes a person wet.” These questions about the word of God are quite similar to the one the serpent made to Eve at the temptation.

A real danger to the faith of the believer is set in motion when the word of God is made subject to human reason. Reason is a gift of God to help us muddle through this world from day to day when His word is silent on a matter. “Which job should I take?” “Which car should I buy?” These are both decisions which God will bless in the life of a Christian. Reason will aid in making these decisions about the economy and comfort of the car and the prospects for earning a living in the employment. When it comes to something about which God has spoken specifically reason is to play a servant role to the word rather than the teacher.

In the case of baptism reason will learn about it by looking at what the rest of God’s word teaches to see if it matches up or if it indeed teaches one is only getting “wet for Jesus.”

Ezekiel 36:24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ESV

These are sure promises of God. Notice who is doing the action. God will take us from the nations. God will sprinkle clean water on us, His people, to cleanse us from uncleanness and idols. God will give us and new heart and spirit; God will remove the hard from us and make it flesh.

Father, thank you for your word which you have given us to know You and the promise of adoption in baptism. Forgive us for times we harden our hearts against what you have clearly promised in Your word. Jesus, thank you for believing the word perfectly for us and dying for our guilt for not believing it like our parents and transferring these to us in baptism. Holy Spirit, thank you for Your presence in baptism. Please make our hearts tender to those things in scripture which are for our good and our peace. Amen †

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