Monday, October 29, 2012

Falling into the trap of universalism


Honor is misplaced unless it goes directly to the One who creates, sanctifies, and sustains. God created you for specific tasks to further His kingdom. He wants to use your life--and will allow you to watch His powerful hand at work. Listen for His leading, and praise Him for all He accomplishes.


This story comes to mind: There once was a farmer who owned a horse. One day the horse ran away. All the people in the town came to console the farmer. “Oh, I don’t know,” he said, “maybe it’s a bad thing and maybe it’s not.”

A few days later, the horse returned to the farm accompanied by 20 other horses. (Apparently the horse had made some friends!) All the townspeople came to congratulate the farmer: “Now you have a stable full of horses!” “Oh, I don’t know,” said the farmer, “maybe it’s a good thing and maybe it’s not.”

A few days later, the farmer’s son was out riding one of the new horses. The horse got wild and threw him off, breaking the son’s leg. All of the people in town came to console the farmer because of the accident. Again he said, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe it’s a bad thing and maybe it’s not.”

A few days later, the government declared war and instituted a draft of all able-bodied young men. They came to the town and carted off hundreds of young men, except for the farmer’s son who had a broken leg. “Now I know,” said the farmer, “It was a good thing my horse ran away!”



Rather, in spite of how things may appear, we trust Him to achieve His good purpose. Hold your thoughts and continue reading....

I remember having read  an article recently written by  Dr. Jack Graham who quotes his impressions  about Universalism. I also liked the article:

It goes like this....   

I meet many people today who are falling into the trap of universalism. This idea basically says that no matter what you believe, you’ll go to heaven as long as you are fully sincere in your faith. So whether you’re a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, or any other faith, you’ll go to heaven if you truly believe it. And pure universalists don’t even think you have to have any belief at all.

But here’s the problem with universalism: What do you do with those who were sincere in their faith, but were sincerely wrong? Hitler was sincere in his faith that God created the white race as supreme. And the 9/11 terrorists were sincere in their faith that Allah would grant them paradise for killing infidels. So if you’re truly a universalist, you’d say those people would be in heaven.

Universalism breaks down on so many levels. So why is it so popular? Well, it’s because in this postmodern age, people are afraid to claim their way is the right way. But if someone thought drinking cyanide would make them happy, you’d have to tell them the truth that it would kill them. Simply speaking, the truth must be told when lives depend on it!

Don’t shy away from the truth. Be bold in standing for Christ, knowing that your witness just might be the way God brings others into eternal life!  (1)

On the surface, it is pretty difficult to explain why you believe in God. No one has seen Him face-to-face, touched Him, or smelled Him, yet His fingerprints are everywhere. You must get beneath the surface where the intangible becomes tangible. God is made visible through Jesus Christ. Paul writes that Jesus is "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1: 15). If you want to know about God, learn about Jesus. If you want to see God, look at Jesus. If you want to please God, follow Jesus. He is God in the flesh!

To a fundamental Christian, a Unitarian is a heretic who has rejected Jesus as the only "way, the truth and the light". A Unitarian on one hand says that Jesus is the greatest teacher. But Unitarians are blinded to His teachings. Jesus said "I and the Father are One". And, Jesus also taught John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.

To a Christian, a Unitarian seems like someone who can never make up their mind about anything. One of their claims is that they are Unitarians so not to be led into errors by the "teachings of men". But, in remaining outside Christianity, and truly grasping the teachings of Jesus, they fall into the same trap they propose to be hiding from --being misled by men who teach them false doctrines. The Unitarians reject the doctrine of eternal damnation, the Trinity (triune God), and the divinity of Jesus. Universalism is the theological doctrine that all souls will ultimately be saved and that there are no torments of hell.

I know Muslims and Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah Witnesses, Unitarians, Scientologists, Moonies, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Seventh Day Adventists -and many others - will not want to hear this, but the Bible declares that Jesus was the FINAL revelation of God to man (Hebrews 1:1-3). There have been no others.

God bestows upon His followers gifts tailored to each one's ordained assignments. The Holy Spirit reveals our calling, and we're to give our best effort. Of course, no matter what the task may be, the result will be worthless unless the Father breathes life into it. In other words, we are entrusted with God-appointed work. He assigns the duty, provides the skills, and causes growth. The Lord deserves all of the glory. We are blessed simply to be a part of His plan.

As mere vessels that God uses, we should be thankful for anything He accomplishes through us. And by giving Him all the credit, we need never feel defeated with disappointment. Rather, in spite of how things may appear, we trust Him to achieve His good purpose.

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju


 Reference: 

(1) Dr. Jack Graham, Can you say your faith is the absolute truth? PowerPoint Ministries ,


Monday, October 22, 2012

Making Your Own Idol





Exodus 20:1-10 ESV

And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, ...

Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honor and regard to created forms other than God. Behavior considered idolatrous or potentially idolatrous may include the creation of any type of image of the deity, or of other figures of religious significance such as prophets, saints, and clergy, the creation of images of any person or animal at all, and the use of religious symbols, or secular ones. In addition, theologians have extended the concept to include giving undue importance to aspects of religion other than God, or to non-religious aspects of life in general, with no involvement of images specifically.

Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship...Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money etc."

What is an idol? A man takes his own ideas and puts them into the work of his hands, and then he begins to worship it. What he is really worshiping is himself.

You may say, “Well, I’m not guilty of idolatry.” Let’s just see...is there anything that you love more than God? Anything you fear more than God? Anything you serve more than God? Anything you trust more than God? Am I getting hot?


Is there anyone or anything in your life that takes precedence over God? Confess it and repent of it. Now, put on the throne the rightful Master—the Lord Jesus!The Lord wants you to stop and take time to meditate!




On the basis of who we are in Christ - redeemed, inheritors with Christ, adopted into God's family, and destined to spend eternity with Him - we are to live a lifestyle that reflects our identity. We are no longer to live as we did before we knew the Lord - or as those who do not know Him. By putting on the "new man" we will preserve the unity of the Spirit and show the world that Christ is real. He makes a difference in the life that is dedicated to Him.

If we are still here, it’s because God believes in us: 

I read sometime back a write up on obsessive behavior mannerisms. I personally felt it spoke to me in terms of  the issue of idolizing.  A man takes his own ideas and puts them into the work of his hands, and then he begins to worship it. I was kind of like that. Perhaps I know  that I need to change my attitude, behavior, and mannerisms. I had to change certain work areas. I needed to have a meaningful  way of dealing some projects.  In a nutshell  I must always remember that 'I must decrease and He must increase' in every area of my life. Period. 

Furthermore, I came across an interesting article recently. It is a short one. It is titled " The Sweet Taste of Success? " which is written by Chuck Swindoll. I was impressed with what it  says:

Our society has gorged itself on the sweet taste of success.

We've filled our plates from a buffet of books that range from dressing for success to investing for success.

We've gobbled down stacks of notebooks, cassette albums, and video tapes in our hunger for greater success.

The irony of all this is that . . . instead of fulfillment, we experience the bloated sensation of being full of ourselves—our dreams, our goals, our plans, our projects, our accomplishments.

The result of this all-you-can-eat appetite is not contentment. It's nausea. (1)

It is so true.

It is difficult for us to get quiet without an agenda of activities, or without some kind of media entertaining us, isn’t it? Because we are part of an active culture, we think the most important thing we can do is offer ourselves to God for what He wants us to do. But the most important question we can ask God is not, “What do you want me to do?”, but rather, “Here I am God…what are You saying?” Listening like that helps your heart to “cling” and “sing”.

Just as a vehicle can take a person to places he could not go on foot, the physical world can help us reach spiritual heights that aren’t otherwise reachable. The Internet is great example. It’s definitely physical and is the product of earthly science and technology. Yes, it has its pitfalls and can lead a person to sin, but look at the spirituality it is spreading. It has given God’s word a megaphone, and we can spread His word to every land! It can bring people together and empower God’s servants. This is only one example. Everything that is physical can become spiritual when used in service of God.

What are your material gifts? Your body, your home, your money, your talents, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the mouth you speak with – the list goes on and on. Now think about how each one can raise you spiritually. How can you use your resources to help others? How can you use them in service of God?

However, I have also serious doubts in my mind about how useful can I be. At times, we feel like giving up. Life is tough, and sometimes we feel defeated or even worse, we feel worthless.  If we are still here, it’s because God believes in us. We have a mission and we are up to the task. If not, we wouldn’t have woken up this morning. Every day that we are alive means that we have a job to do. God needs us and the world needs us. So how could we possibly give in to feelings of despair?

I’m not _____________ enough. You can fill that blank in with smart, talented, gifted, spiritual, or any number of positive attributes. But the root source of each one of those lies is “I’m not good enough.” It is one of the enemy’s favorite weapons and he uses it to keep God’s children in bondage to feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy. The bottom line is, the enemy wants you to believe that you are “not enough.” Period.  But you are enough. You are enough and have been equipped by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do everything that God has called you to do.

It seems the message of “I’m not good enough to earn my way to heaven on my own,” has been transformed into I’m not good enough… period. God created man and woman and said, “It is good.” We are so valuable to God that He gave His only Son to restore our brokenness.

When you look at it like that, you realize that the Lord knows each thing that you are going through. You may be going through turmoil and you can't even say a word in prayer. But know that He knows every detail already. And He already knows the solution to each of those problems in your life.

This is such a reassuring promise. Why not put your life in His hands now and trust Him? He will not let you down.


References : (1) "The Sweet Taste of Success? " by Chuck Swindoll,  Insight for Living, Oct 2012.


Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju