Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. – Hebrews 10:26-31 (ESV)

This is one of the passages of “severe warning” found in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is one of the main sections of Scripture used to teach the erroneous idea that genuine Christians can lose salvation. However, to see this as its interpretation is to misunderstand the passage entirely. It is so important that we rightly interpret these words. With this in mind, I encourage you to listen to these two sermons by Dr. James White:

Sermon 1: If We Go On Sinning Willfully… (Hebrews 10:26-29)

Sermon 2: By Which He Was Sanctified (Hebrews 10:29-31)

People of the Book

Sidenote: The REFORMATION STUDY BIBLE in the ESV is available on sale in bonded and genuine leather (in burgundy and black) “how many of you have read it?”

Many raised their hands until he quickly added, “all of it?”

I could hear audible grumblings around me as many of those with raised hands now slowly lowered them. Some mumbled, “I’ve read most of it”, or “I’ve read all of the New Testament.” One thing became clear, only about 5% of the audience had actually read the Bible through.

He then asked, “how many of you have read any other book?”

All raised their hands once again.

Then the preacher said, “do you see how inconsistent this is? Here you are, having read other books, but the book you claim to believe is inspired by God Himself, is not something you have read. What does this say about your belief in the Bible?”

The silence that ensued was more than a little uncomfortable.

He went on, “If you sincerely believe the Bible is the word of God, should you not have read it?”

Once again, he paused, allowing for the question to make its intended impact.

Finally, he then said, “Here’s my challenge – start today and read three chapters a day and four on Sundays and by this time next year you will have read the Bible through.”

I am sure there are better methods for reading through the Bible but the preacher’s point is a good one. We as Christians need to be “people of the book.” If there is one book we should read or should have read, it is the Bible. All Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16) and it is unlike any other book out there. Job wrote that he loved God’s law more than his necessary food (23:12). He would rather go without food than miss time with the word of God. Can the same be said about us?

Justin Taylor wrote the following: “I really believe in the value of not just reading, but hearing, God’s Word… In listening to an old lecture recently by J. I. Packer, he made the comment that it was not until after the 17th century (as far as he could tell) that people started doing silent prayers and reading as opposed to praying and reading out loud. For most evangelicals, silence represents the vast majority of our reading and praying. But I wonder if that’s to our detriment. One of the great enemies to Bible reading and praying is a wandering mind—and one of the great ways to make your mind wander is to do everything in your mind without involving your voice and ears! . . . Here’s something else to consider: the entire Bible on audio is usually about 75 hours (or 4500 minutes). If you commute to work 5 days a week, that’s about 260 days a year. And if it takes you, say, 17 minutes to commute each way to work—and if you listen to the Bible on audio during your drive each way—you’ll get through the entire Bible twice in a year.”

There are many good daily Bible reading plans. For those who would like the convenience of an online source there are now many options. New technology allows not only the reading of the Bible, but hearing it too. If you enjoy the ESV here are many different plans to choose from – each of which allow for each daily segment to be sent to your e-mail address or as a podcast.

Redemption Planned

by Don Kistler

In Reformed circles, we hear much about the covenants. We are a people who place our trust in God’s covenant faithfulness. We hear about the covenant of grace and the covenant of works, but we hear very little about the covenant of redemption. We also hear much about the saving work of Christ, but give little thought to the fact that the triune God conceived the work that the second person of the Trinity would do that would save sinners.

Simply stated, the covenant of redemption is a covenant God the Father made with God the Son before the foundation of the world was laid, that if the Son would offer Himself up as an offering for sin, the Father would give Christ all those for whom He would die as a love gift. The elect, then, are a gift from the Father to the Son for suffering and dying to redeem them.

God the Father chose from all eternity past, in His eternal and unchangeable decrees, to save some people. God the Son, from all eternity past, agreed to redeem those people from the fallen state that God ordained, from all eternity past, they would be in. If you ask why God ordained the fall of man and the sinful state into which he would go, the answer is that God ordained sin so that we would know Him in the fullness of His revelation of Himself. If God had not ordained sin, we would know Him only as the Creator; because God has ordained sin we can know Him as the Redeemer. Our knowledge of God is much more complete because of sin.

In Zechariah 6:13, this is referred to as a “counsel of peace … between them both,” that is, between the Father and the Son, between God and “the man whose name is the Branch” (v. 12). It is “the Lord of Hosts” who is speaking about the counsel of peace that will be between Himself and “the Branch.” When Christ speaks in John 17 of having been given people as a gift, He is praying to God, whom, He says, gave them. “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me” (John 17:6 kjv). The “thou” and the “thine” both refer to God the Father.
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Discussing the Bible with Roman Catholics

TurretinFan writes…

John Lollard (which I presume is a psuedonym) has provided the following dialogue between a hypothetical truthseeker and a Roman Catholic:

Roman Catholic (RC): “Here, this book came from God. Read it and believe it.”

Truth Seeker (TS): “Okay! Hey, this book says X is true.”

RC: “What? Give me that!”

TS: “Right there, ‘X is true’.”

RC: “It doesn’t actually mean that. What it means is that X is false and Y is true.”

TS: “But, you said this book came from God?”

RC: “It did. But you should just listen to me, and not worry about what this book says.”

TS: “What? Why should I listen to you?”

RC: “Why, it says right there in the book, ‘the true believers’ – meaning me of course – ‘will never teach falsely’.”

TS: “But this book teaches X and you teach Y. Doesn’t that mean you do teach falsely?”

RC: “Look, I’m the one who gave you the book in the first place.”

TS: “Then thank you very much for the book that you claim came from God, please read it yourself and obey it.”

I have one criticism of this dialog, though. How many savvy Roman Catholics would suggest to a truth seeker to read and believe the Bible? Reading the Bible is not going to lead you Romeward, and I think most RC proselytizers realize that.

What does the Qur’an teach about the Bible?

Many Muslim apologists like to attack the Bible by claiming that the text has been tampered with and corrupted. Yet in doing so, they undermine the Qur’an which claims this is not the case at all. They cannot have it both ways. If they believe the Qur’an, then they must affirm that the text of the Bible has been preserved by God.

As Dr. James White has stated, “It is great to hear someone whose origins are from “the other side” of the divide confirming what we have been saying repeatedly in reference to this vital issue (i.e., he knows the Islamic sources from the inside though he is a convert). A full and complimentary study would be found in Gordon Nickel’s vital work from 2011, Narratives of Tampering in the Earliest Commentaries on the Qur’an (Brill). The brightest and best of our opponents in the Islamic world need to start realizing that walking the path charted by Ibn Khazem which leads you to walk next to agnostics and skeptics like Bart Ehrman leads inevitably to the destruction of your own faith and text. It is grossly inconsistent with not only your world-view, but with the Qur’an as well!”

If only T. D. Jakes was asked….

If you have been reading the Evangelical blogs over the last 24 hours, it would have been hard to miss the talk and chatter about the “Elephant Room 2” controversy over whether Bishop T. D. Jakes has in fact renounced modalism and embraced orthodox Trinitarian theology. There seems to be mass confusion, which, most regretably, is what I thought might happen. The questions asked of Jakes needed to be rigorous and very specific. This was a time when great clarity was needed. If Jakes still embraced modalism in any form, he would need to be rejected as a heretic. If not, then he needed to make it clear that he considered his former belief heresy.

This of course, is not what happened and this is why, after all the talk and bluster has taken place and the smoke has settled, mass confusion abounds on the day after the dialog has taken place.

My friend, Dr. James White, author of the book “The Forgotten Trinity” has boiled it down to just one simple question that he believes should have been asked of the Bishop:

“Sir, did the Son, as a divine Person, distinct from the Father as a divine Person, exist prior to the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem?”

Jakes’ answer to this question (as stated) would have revealed all we needed to know. Sadly, this question was never asked.

For a full discussion of the issues here, I would invite you to watch this Dividing Line program with Dr. James White: