Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biblical discrepencies!

A good friend of mine, Gregg Stone, has a wonderful newsletter he calls "the Preacher's page". I greatly enjoy it and look forward to receiving each one. The messages are always very timely and true. Below, you will find a quote from the latest one that really got me to thinking.

"In 1631 an English Bible printer forgot the NOT in one of the Ten Commandments. Here's how his mistake in Exodus 20:14 read: "Thou shalt commit adultery." Because of this colossal goof, the edition became known as The Wicked Bible, and the printer had to pay a large fine.



An edition of the Bible printed at Cambridge , England in 1653 contained the following printer's error: "know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?" (1 Corinthians 6:9)."


As you can see, leaving a small word out of the text- not- makes a HUGE difference in the meaning of a verse.

We live in a day and an hour that, in an effort to "make the word of God more understandable", keeps printing newer and newer versions of the "word of God". In principle, I have no problem with the idea itself. If someone were to go back to the KJV (King James Version) and go through the Greek manuscripts that those translators used, then a truly more understandable version could be brought out- without changing the word of God.

For example,1 Peter 3:1-2 states, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the CONVERSATION of the wives; while they behold your chaste CONVERSATION coupled with fear." In our current culture, the word "conversation" generally means to be in a good talk with someone. Therefore, many think that, in this scripture, the husbands will be reached by what the wife says to her husband. How many men, no offence to the women that are truly trying to reach their husbands, grow weary of their wives "preaching at them"?

In truth, however, the word Conversation comes from the Greek word "anastrophe", which means "behavior". It really is by how his wife acts AND talks that the unregenerate husband is won over- not simply by what she says. To put it bluntly, a wife can preach at her husband all day long, but if the husband sees no love of God in her actions and hears no love of God in her voice and attitude, then she's wasting her words.

If someone were to come out with a version of the Bible that said, in 1 Peter 3:1-2, "Be Christlike, wives, and be in submission to your own husbands; that way, if any husband does not obey the word of God, they may, without your trying to pound them with the word of God, be won to God by the Godly lifestyles that they see displayed by their wives; because they see the pure lifestyle coupled with the fear of God.", I'd have no problem with that.

That having been said, however, the truth is that the "modern translations" are not translations at all! They are transliterations. Instead of going word for word, as the KJV translators did, and translating the word into the (at that time) modern equivalent to that word for people to be able to understand it, they've reworded the word of God in such a way as to make the word of God ineffective.

Here's one example. John 3:13 is one of my favorite verses. It reads, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven." In this one verse, Jesus was revealing to Nicodemus that, although he was speaking with Jesus face to face, Jesus was also in heaven at the same time he was speaking to him. In other words, he was telling Nicodemus that even though all he saw was a man, Nicodemus was actually talking to the very real God of the universe.

The New Living Translation says, "No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the son of Man has come down from heaven".

The Message Bible says, "No one has ever gone up into the presence of God, except the one who came down from that presence, the son of man."

The New American Standard says, "No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended from heaven: the son of man."

The NIV says, "No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven- the son of man."

Can we not see the changes that they've made? Can we not see that they all leave the phrase "which is in heaven" completely off? Do we not understand the damage that they have done to the true meaning of the word of God?

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

There is much in this verse, but we will focus on this one part. If a person believes, they SHOULD not perish. It does not say SHALL not. It is not a guarantee or a blank check. By believing in a biblical way, we have the option to follow Jesus and let him live through us. If we stay in that relationship with him we will make it to heaven. If, however, we choose to leave that relationship, we will NOT make heaven. That's why it says SHOULD, not SHALL.

When a couple gets married, they've made a commitment and are joined together in the eyes of God and man. If, however, one of them decides to leave the other and go off with someone else, they break the covenant. The marriage, in most circumstances, is over (and biblically could be). If we leave our covenant relationship with Jesus, we break the marriage and unless we go back in real repentance and pray back through, we will (in the words of a good friend of mine) bust hell wide open!

Now, what do the other mistranslations say?

The NIV says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him SHALL not perish but have eternal life."

The NAS says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him SHALL not perish but have eternal life."

The Message says, "This is how much God loved the world: he gave his son, his one and only son. And this is why, so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go through all the trouble of sending his son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him IS ACQUITTED; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that persons failure to believe in the one of a kind son of God when introduced to him."

The NLT says, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him WILL not perish but have eternal life."

In short NO TRUE BELIEVER should ever use the modern translations. It's that simple. They are not the whole word of God. A little bit of leaven leavens the whole loaf. A little lie written and passed off as the word of God makes the true word of God in the rest of the book to have no effect. Stick with the KJV and a good Strong's concordance. For now, anything else, is not the word of God!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Grace alone? What is grace anyway?

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesian 2:8-10

There is a belief in the "Christian community" that says that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. The reasoning comes from the above stated scripture. They say that if we are saved by grace through faith, then we can add nothing to that and play no part in the salvational process. Of course, the actual ending of their argument is ignored. If we have absolutely nothing to do with the process of our salvation, then nothing is required of us- everybody is saved already!

The real crux of the matter is this, however: What is grace? When asked this question the vast majority will respond that grace is "God's unmerited favor". Is that the true definition? Greek word for grace means, "the divine influence on the heart, and it's reflection in the life, including gratitude".

Does this mean "unmerited favor"? No. God is a gentleman and does not force his will upon anyone's life. Indeed, the scriptures declare that "it is not God's will that any should perish...", yet we know from scripture that the majority of people will go to hell. So what does the definition of Grace really mean?

First, it says that grace is "the divine influence on the heart". Jesus said that no man can come to him except the spirit first draws them. God sees us in our fallen state. He sees all of our sins that keep us separate from him. Yet, he loves us anyway! Thanks to his sacrifice on calvary, the door is wide open for us to be in relationship with him! He loves us so much that he begins to try and draw us out of the world and into his will for our lives. No one comes to God on their own, God drew them out. He whispers his love for us in the little things in our lives. He reaches into our hidden desires and dreams and tries to open our eyes to new possibilities. He taps us on the shoulder while we're trapped in prisons of our own making, and tells us that he loves us and is willing to set us free!

Yet, the definition of Grace does not stop there. It goes on to say that God's influence must be "reflected" in our lives. If Grace is the "unmerited favor of God" and we are saved by grace alone, then there is nothing else required of us. But, since grace is a process that begins with God influencing us, but that influence also has to be reflected in our lives, then we DO play a part in our salvation. Salvation then becomes a choice. It is up to us as to whether we are willing to accept that divine influence and allow him to work in our lives! If we do, then his influence will be reflected in our lives for the whole world to see.

For the record, "Unmerited favor" or, put another way, "favor from God that we do not deserve", is MERCY, not grace. Grace is a partnership between us and God. It is God working in our life and our submission and obedience to his will for us. His mercy caused him to go to calvary to pay for our sins. His grace gives us access to the blood that he shed. Mercy opens the door for the divine partnership of grace!

This is why, on the day of Pentecost, on the birthday of the church, the Apostles did not tell the multitudes that all they had to do was "believe in Jesus" and their sins would be forgiven. No, when the crowd asked "what shall we do?", the answer was "Repent, be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38)

What does the divine partnership of grace have to do with Acts 2:38?

First of all, noone would even ask the question "What shall I do to be saved", unless God had influenced their heart and convicted them of their sins- drawing them with his love to the possibility of a right relationship with God.

Next, they (and we) were told that we must repent. What is repentance? It is a spiritual ACTION on our part. It is our first response to the call of God in our lives. We see ourselves as sinners. We see the cross and all that Jesus did to pay for OUR sins. It is an emotional and spiritual response. It is a letting go of our own will and excepting and submitting to the will of God. It is, in short, a complete turning from our sinful ways and turning to God in COMPLETE surrender. This is part of our portion of the divine partnership of grace.

Further, they (and we) are told to "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of your sins." Again, the partnership of grace is displayed. We submit to him in baptism and repentance, he does his part by applying the blood to our lives and washing away our sins.

Finally, they (and we) were told that we would "receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". Again grace is displayed. We submit to God and open our hearts to him, he infills us with his spirit.

One more thought. The proponents of the false "grace alone" theory point to John 3:16 as the plan of salvation. They say that "whosoever" believeth in him WILL not (actually says SHOULD not- it's not a guarantee!) perish but WILL have everlasting life. The Greek for Believeth here means "to have entrust ones spiritual well being to Christ." However, in John 2:23-25, a group of people "believe on Jesus" (same Greek word for believe). We are told that Jesus did not commit himself to them! Newsflash! If Jesus doesn't commit himself to you, you're NOT saved! Yet, in John 3:16, we're told we must believe and these people in John 2 did- but they were not saved. What are we missing here? Is this a contradiction? No.

John 3:3-5 says that we must be born again of the water and of the spirit. Look again at Acts 2:38. We must Repent of our sins, be baptized in Jesus name (born of the water) and receive the Holy Ghost (born of the spirit).

His mercy opens the door for his grace. His grace is a partnership with him that allows him to work in our lives and clean us up. It is a process that is activated and freely given at our biblical new birth (Acts 2:38) and continues, if we allow it, until we die. Grace is a lifetime commitment, not a one time event. God bless you all.