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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Our 200th Study - The Importance of Making Distinctions

I started writing out my personal studies in 2003. It started with the Book of Romans. I was puzzled as to why Paul seemed to go back and forth addressing Jewish believers and then Gentile believers. I was trying to work through the "grafting in" in chapter 11 along with the threat of being "cut off" in the same chapter, aimed at Gentile believers only.

You [Gentiles, v.13] will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. -Rom 11:19-22

I believe I had written out about 11 pages when I realized there was still a piece missing. I could never close the "Acts 2 Church" loop. I continued this habit of writing out studies and inevitably the "classical [Acts 2] dispensationalism" I had come to understand since leaving the Roman Catholic Church 12 years prior seemed insufficient.

I had come out of a Roman Church in which I was educated and in which I taught Religious Education. A church which embraced Replacement Theology. A church which took a mystical and allegorical view of many parts of scripture. A church which embraced all of the earthly ministry to Israel for itself. I had come out of that system and struggled to understand scripture on my own. That journey took 12 years (ironically) and left me just shy of truly grasping the fullness of this age.

I will not recount here the next year of study which led me to fully embrace the Dispensation of the Mystery (revealed secret) laid out by Paul in his post Acts epistles. But what I learned in my study of Romans is that writing out my personal studies (attempting to show my approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, 2 Tim 2:15), is that my theology is my responsibility.

That is one the major emphases of this blog. Your theology is your responsibility. Surely, I am responsible for what I present here (and will answer for it), but I am quick to say that I am not a guru and I claim no authority. My only authority is scripture. When I am wrong, I want to be sure to admit it. When I am unsure, I hope to be clear that I am unsure.

The Lord knows we are but dust and that we have limited, failing minds. He is loving and patient. But what scripture makes clear is that God is opposed to the proud and arrogant. I would also add that he does not take kindly to those who claim things which are not theirs.

I have presented several series of studies on this blog. I believe the parallel series on Walking in the Spirit and Walking Worthy were very profitable to me. But one of the most important series concerns the book "Who Is A Jew?" It treads a very dangerous and truth-destroying path by taking one verse in Romans, wrongly dividing it, and claiming the promises to Israel and to the fathers for Gentile believers in this age. This is horribly dangerous theology.

Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. -Rev 3:9 (Letter to the Church in Philadelphia)

We see in our own day how the "Black Hebrew Israelites" are attacking the physical sons of Abraham in New York. In Christendom we have seen "British Israelism" and the Catholic Church claiming it has the priesthood of the New Covenant. Almost all Christendom claims the New Covenant. The Plymouth Brethren abandoned their own doctrine of seeing the New Covenant as for Israel in the future and have claimed it as their own. This foul doctrine is at the heart of much heresy and blinds eyes to a right division of the Word of Truth.

If you ever want to even begin to understand the Plan of God for the Ages or how to live the Christian life or what lies ahead for you as a child of God, you must make distinctions where God makes distinctions. Again, we are but dust and will make mistakes, but we cannot get anywhere. we cannot grow, if we fail in this area or is we surrender our responsibility to study to some "authority" outside of scripture. 

Regardless of all that has been said here, I want to stress that Christ must be the foundation. His work on Calvary, his lack of decay in the grave, and his glorious undoing of the curse in his resurrection is central to everything. We cannot understand scripture. We cannot live the Christian life. We cannot understand our hope apart from a personal knowledge of the Son of God. If you do not yet know him personally as your great God and Savior from your sin, I urge you to read the Book of John

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. -John 20:30-31

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