Tag Archives: Sin

A Reprobate Mind

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Romans 1:28)

Romans 1 beginning with verse 18 delineates the progressive decline of mankind’s spiritual condition into total depravity. I know, the Calvinists will point out that we are all born in total depravity, and I get that. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, I am speaking from a human perspective in this case. Humans gauge good and evil very differently than God does. For example, humans view theft in degrees. Lifting a pack of Live Savers ™ and slipping them into your pocket or purse when the cashier is not looking, is not as bad as armed robbery of the same convenience store. Holding up a convenience store because you want to feed a starving baby, is not the same as robbing that store because you need to feed your drug habit. However, to God, it’s all theft. He does not view sin in degrees.

So, back to the decline of man: Romans 1:18-32 outlines the progressive decline into a condition of irreversible depravity. It begins with the failure to recognize God, the Creator, in the first place. One does not need the Bible to inform oneself about God. The very creation testifies to His existence. The vastness, enormity, and complexity of creation, from the unfathomable reaches of the universe beyond our solar system to the invisibleness of the subatomic world, scream that all of this is no accident. It is all too well-balanced. It is too precise. Everything in the Creation works together and is interrelated. None of this could possibly come into existence from a freak explosion of an indefinable particle of mass somewhere in the emptiness of nothing. The thought of such a thing is absurd! Yet, the majority of humankind, if they give it any thought at all, prefers the absurd instead of acknowledging the Creator.

Therefore, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20, emphasis mine). God gives no excuse for denying the Creator.

From there the downward spiral begins. Since they deny God, they need to replace Him with something out of their own imagination: a Big Bang, evolution from a primordial soup, seeding and evolving of the human race guided by the aid of “Ancient Aliens” from other worlds. Close examination of such far-fetched ideas leads to a never-ending list of more unanswerable questions with just as many unsatisfactory answers. The real answer to all of these questions is GOD, but that answer is just too simple for God deniers. So, they continue in their fruitless pursuits, and they “[become] vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart [is] darkened” (Romans 1:21). The dark obscures clear vision. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). God calls them “fools.”[1]

After that, humanity falls into idolatry. Idolatry is not necessarily the worship of grotesque figures of strange demonic entities. Idolatry is more than that; it is the act of giving anything priority over God. That can be as innocuous as the forms of entertainment that occupy our time to involvement in such grandiose ideas as the activist groups who want to save the planet, combat climate change, save the dogs, engage in politics, etc. Anything that takes one’s focus away from God is idolatry. The passage explains the decline like this: “[They] changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:23). America pulled up anchor from the Solid Rock of God more than five decades ago and has drifted into idolatry, as a nation, ever since. As a result, “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” (Romans 1:24). We see this too in the rise of pornography, homosexuality and all forms of sodomy, pedophilia, and more.

This gives evidence that we are in the place of God’s judgment on our nation. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26-27, emphasis mine). Unless you have been living in seclusion, or worse, you are caught up in the idolatry of this world, it should be obvious that our nation has fully sunk into the morass of all kinds of human depravity.

Except for the voices of maligned Christians, our nation as a whole gives no thought to God. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “reprobate” is adokimos means “not standing the test, or not approved.” It is used in reference to metals or coins that do not meet accepted standards. They are unfit, unproved, or spurious. The English definition gives the meaning of “depraved, unprincipled, or wicked.” A “reprobate mind,” therefore, is one that is incapable of proper reasoning.

This explains much of the unrest in our country. ANTIFA claim that they are anti-fascist, but they practice fascistic behavior. The BLM movement claims they support black lives, but their actions end up being detrimental to black lives. Many politicians of both parties wrap themselves in the Constitution, yet they oppose the duly elected President of the United States and refuse to investigate the illegal voting in five states that robbed President Donald Trump of a second term. And now that the other candidate appears to have the office in hand, they turn in irrational spite, hatred, and vindictiveness against the sitting President who has only a matter of days to serve in an attempt to impeach him. It makes no sense, and no amount of logic or reason will deter them from such a stupid act. This is a clear example of a reprobate mind!

Sadly, it appears that come January 20, 2021, the party of the reprobate mind will rule our nation unless we have a miraculous intervention of God. Let us pray that happens.

Notes:


[1]  Psalm 14:1; 53:1

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National Revival

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

This oft-repeated verse offers a tenuous hope for American Evangelicals that, if we only put its tenets into practice, God will keep His end of the deal and heal the trouble in our land. However, as I have asserted in the past[1], this verse is taken out of context and misapplied. If Israel’s history can teach us anything, it is that God has His limits when He will no longer hear the pleas for a nation.[2]

Recent history teaches us that, in regard to God, Americans are a fickle people. Following one disaster after another, America has turned to God in repentance only to return to its vomit[3] as soon as things get better. We find ourselves in a mess again. The Wuhan Bug paralyzed our nation with fear. Everywhere you look you find masked people avoiding contact with one another. You can even see masked people driving cars or walking outdoors. Fear over COVID-19 has shut church doors for fear of retribution by authorities and also for fear of spreading the virus.[4]

Unrestrained rioting in the streets of many of our major cities adds to the fear of many Americans, and everyone can see that our country is in serious trouble. Consequently, many evangelical leaders call on American Christians to pray for revival in our nation (again). They sincerely believe the promise that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16), and we can reverse the course our nation. Without getting into differences of eschatological views, many of these believe that through the hard work of prayer, Christians will turn the world around and usher in the millennial reign of Christ.

The prophet Jeremiah encountered a similar optimist in Hananiah.[5] God had already told Jeremiah that Judah would go into Babylonian captivity, and to demonstrate by way of an object lesson, God instructed Jeremiah to carry around a heavy ox yoke to illustrate the bondage into which Judah was going. However, Hananiah painted a different picture, “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon” (Jeremiah 28:2), and he took the yoke off of Jeremiah and broke it to demonstrate what God would do. But that was not God’s plan, and Judah soon came under the yoke of Babylon for 70 years. Hananiah, the false optimistic prophet, did not live out the year for speaking falsely in the name of the Lord.

I am not a prophet, at least not like those through whom God spoke in the Bible. But I do study the Word, and I try to see the world through the lens of Scripture. In Scripture, God’s “chosen” people were punished for their disobedience and their idolatry – which involved sexual perversion and infanticide in their worship. If God so dealt with “His” chosen nation what makes us think that we will fare better just because we pray? Not every person in Judah was corrupt. Take for example Daniel, Hananiah (not the false prophet), Mishael, and Azariah;[6] they went into Babylonian captivity and they maintained their devotion to God. Surely there were others, but that did not stop God from punishing the “nation” of Judah for their sin. Nor will He save our nation at this point for our national sins even though “His people” pray.

Consider the downward spiral of sin described in Romans 1:18-32 and compare that to our nation. Our nation holds truth in unrighteousness. Our nation denies God and promotes the idea that all things came into existence by natural causes, and though they cannot prove their ideas, they invent “just so” stories and present them as facts. We profess ourselves to be wise, but indeed we are fools and only deceive ourselves. Rather than worship the Creator, we worship the creation and in our own feebleness attempt desperate measures to protect the planet (The Green New Deal).  As a consequence of our denial of God, He has turned over our nation to perverse lusts “to dishonour their own bodies between themselves” (v. 24). Think about the various ways we disfigure our bodies through tattoos, body piercings, the unnatural coloring of hair, other types of mutilations, homosexual perversions of all kinds, etc. God has turned over our nation to the “vile affections” of homosexuality – women with women, men with men, and even the sexual perversion of children. God has given over our people to “reprobate minds” so that they are incapable of reasonable thought. Simply consider the irrational reasoning they offer in support of some of their crazy ideas about climate change, about abortion, about the benefits of socialism, etc. Does it seem that the world has lost its collective mind? It has because God has allowed it as punishment for our sin.

Look at how Paul’s description perfectly fits America today. “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication [any sex outside the bonds of marriage], wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:29-32, emphasis mine). Does that not fit America today?

Do you know what God told Jeremiah about praying for the people of his day? God said, “Don’t pray for these people.”[7] Their grace period had expired. I fear America’s grace period has also expired, and God is saying, “Don’t pray for these people.” The train is hurtling downhill fast and the brakes are out. Our Lord’s return gets closer by the day. Every new fire ignited by lawless rioters brings us closer. Every murder that takes place closes the gap. Every baby that is aborted draws the noose tighter. Jesus is the only fix to this broken world.

Still, we pray. We are instructed to pray for our leaders[8] that we might live “peaceable” lives, but that does not necessarily equate to praying for the salvation of a too-far-gone nation. I could be wrong, but as I have searched the New Testament, I do not find any admonition to pray for the nation, the leaders yes, but not the nation. I would like to see a national revival, but I sincerely doubt that it will happen. Our national track record in that regard testifies to the improbability of that happening. Still, my baby brother and I will join thousands of others on the Mall in Washington DC on September 26 for a Franklin Graham sponsored prayer march on the nation’s capital.[9] We will march from the Lincoln Memorial, past the Washington Monument and on to the steps of the Capitol. We will march, and we will pray as we go. If the direction of the nation is to change, our leaders need to change either physically or spiritually.

National revival is improbable, but not impossible. Who knows! Our Lord may delay His coming, but His judgment is not only for our nation but for the whole world. The entire world needs repentance. If only our nation repents, it may not stop the judgment that is coming upon the whole world. In any rate, it would be great if our nation experienced a national revival. We can pray.

Notes:


[1]  “If My People” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/08/21/if-my-people/

[2]  “When God Won’t Hear” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/07/17/when-god-wont-hear/

[3]  2 Peter 2:22

[4]  “Fear Not” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/08/16/fear-not/

[5]  Jeremiah 28

[6]  Daniel 1:6

[7]  Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11

[8]  1 Timothy 2:1-2

[9]  Washington Prayer March 2020 – https://prayermarch2020.com/

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Fear Not!

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)

In all my threescore and ten years I have not seen the kind of fear that grips our nation today. I grew up during the Cuban Missile Crisis and remember duck-and-cover drills in school, but I do not remember experiencing fear over it. To me, they were no different than fire drills and I thought it was fun to take a break from schoolwork.

Further along, I remember the Civil Rights marches and the Vietnam War protests, but they were far removed and affected me little. Soon the war called my number and I joined the Navy to do my part, but there was no fear in that either; I was just doing my duty as an American.

Our nation has gone through a lot in my lifetime, but never have I experienced the kind of fear that seems to permeate every pore of our society these days. First, the Wuhan Bug attacked, and we were frightened into sheltering in our homes and told not to come out unless absolutely necessary and then only when fully masked and with a good supply of hand sanitizer. So dreaded was the pandemic that churches shut their doors, as mandated by governing authorities, for fear of spreading the virus and of suffering repercussions at the hands of the authorities. Imagine Christians being jailed for practicing their faith! Unheard of! (Tongue firmly implanted in cheek!)

On top of all that, violent riots are breaking out in large cities all over the nation, and the authorities in those cities purposefully allow the riots to continue unabated while threatening churches and church leaders if they open the doors. The reprobate leaders in those cities want to comply with rioters’ demands to defund the police, but turn a deaf ear to Christians wanting to go back to church. Law-abiding citizens fear for their own safety because of the rampant violence taking place and the fear that they cannot count on police protection. Gun sales are up as citizens arm up to defend themselves from the lawless ones.

I completely understand why fear grips non-Christians. This life is all they have. Their only hope is what this life can give them, and they want to get as much out of this life as they can because there is nothing else. The Wuhan Bug and the lawlessness in the streets threaten the only life they know. Their world has been turned upside down, and it now comes down to survival of the fittest, the law of the jungle. That is a scary thing!

What I do not understand is Christians buying into the fear. Part of the reason, I believe, is that our churches have acquiesced to unlawful edicts[1] rather than obeying God’s directive to assemble.[2] I heard a sermon illustration once about the need for Christians to gather regularly. The preacher described a blazing bonfire with many logs piled high on it. But if you pull out one single log and set it off by itself, it quickly goes out and grows cold. That applies to a Christian that does not participate in regular church services with fellow believers. When Christians meet, we encourage one another. We share our needs and our praises with one another. We pray for one another and encourage one another. We lift our voices to God in praise together. That does not happen when the doors of the churches are closed. Yes, we can listen to our own pastors, pastors of other congregations, and any number of great Bible teachers on the internet, but that does not take the place of face-to-face fellowship. As a result, we lose courage and become fearful just like the rest of the world. Don’t you know? That is exactly how Satan likes it. As long as our churches remain closed, Satan is happy.

Why should a Christian succumb to fear? God has not given us a spirit of fear![3] Jesus said, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4-5, emphasis mine). So what if COVID-19 kills you! If you are a Christian, what does that mean for you? Or, are you so tied to the world and the things of this world that you would rather forgo heaven just to hang on to your stuff a little longer? Maybe heaven is not your home after all.

The first time God uttered the phrase “fear not” in the Bible, He said it to Abraham “saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1, emphasis mine).  As our “shield” God protects us from incoming missiles, even the Coronavirus. Do we believe that or not? A friend and fellow blogger commented on an article I shared recently.[4] She told me that her church opened its doors,[5] but soon thereafter, three of their congregation died from the virus and four were hospitalized and several in the church staff were infected. I do not know, but I suspect that her church has an aging congregation that is high-risk to begin with, and the fact that those in her congregation were infected does not necessarily mean that they caught it at church. Maybe they were, and maybe they weren’t. We all live in a fallen world, and therefore we are vulnerable to the maladies thereof. Another factor that must be considered is that this sampling is a minuscule part of the overall population of the United States and not representative of the entire populous. Numbers from the CDC indicate that deaths from the Wuhan Virus are extremely low, less than one percent.[6] Those that die from it have, in one way or another, already compromised immune systems. The median age of death from the virus for those over 59 years of age is 78 years old. Coincidently, the average lifespan in America is 78 years. This is not to minimize the value of every human life. Every life is precious to God, but the saints especially. Most of the saints I know would rather be “absent from the body and present with the Lord.”[7]

The second time God uses the phrase “fear not” is to Hagar after she and Ishmael were banished from Abraham’s camp.[8] God assures Hagar that He heard Ishmael’s prayer and He provided for her water in the desert. If God can hear the prayer of one without the camp, how much more will He not listen to the prayers of His own and provide for their needs? If we pray for God’s protection over our congregations, do we not believe that He will protect and provide for us?

On another occasion “Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20, emphasis mine). Could COVID-19 not be a test for the churches of God to “prove” them to see if they “fear” Him enough to obey Him rather than lawless men?

After Israel came into the Promised Land before they had kings, God said to them, “And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice” (Judges 6:10, emphasis mine). The “gods” of the Amorites were not imaginary; they were real demonic spirits that were worshipped by the Amorites. The problem with Israel was not the Amorite gods; it was their disobedience to God whom they should have feared. The Coronavirus is real, but we should not be in fear of the virus; we should fear God and obey Him rather than men.

Later on, Israel – the Northern Kingdom – found itself threatened by Syria, but the Prophet Elisha warned the king of Israel about the threat. When the Syrian king learned of the source of the “leaks,” he surrounded Elisha’s house to kill him. Elisha’s servant feared for their lives when he saw they were surrounded, but Elisha was unafraid. “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16, emphasis mine). Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes be opened and when God answered, the servant saw a greater army of angels surrounding the Syrian army. Is this just a fanciful story or does God still command an innumerable host of angels ready to protect His churches? Why are we fearful?

Must I go on? “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:4, emphasis mine). Jesus Himself said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, emphasis mine). It is long past time for churches to stand up to unlawful decrees, reopen the doors, and obey God rather than men.

Reader, if you are fearful in these days, you can find your security in God. Trust Jesus to save your soul and keep you safe in His arms. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Higher Powers” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/07/19/higher-powers/

[2]  Hebrews 10:25

[3]  2 Timothy 1:7

[4]  “Churches Aren’t Avoiding Death By Keeping Doors Closed. They’re Ensuring It

[5]  Read her comment here: https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/08/13/churches-arent-avoiding-death-by-keeping-doors-closed-theyre-ensuring-it/

[6]  Watch this report by Steve Deace on the BlazeTV (may require subscription): https://www.blazetv.com/watch/channel/series/series/5qrRSBLHHW7g-steve-deace-show/episode/43-ruvwuy6vllw9-overtime-a-coronavirus-quiz-81220?t=0

[7]  2 Corinthians 5:8

[8]  Genesis 21:17

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So Ready!

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

With everything taking place in our nation and across the world, I yearn with an aching heart for Jesus to call His children home. The event known as the Rapture captured my imagination almost 50 years when Hal Lindsey came out with his book, The Late, Great Planet Earth. Ever since, I have waited expectantly wondering if this could be the year.

Not long after reading Hal Lindsey’s book, I got married, started a family, and became very preoccupied with making a living and all that goes along with that. Thoughts of the Rapture came infrequently, but they never left my thoughts altogether.

Things back then did not seem as bad as they appear today. Roe v. Wade was a terrible decision by the Supreme Court, but as bad as that was then, it does not compare to the butchery taking place now and all that goes along with that. Homosexuals coming out of the closet disgusted us, but as long as they were not “hitting on” us, we could tolerate them. That sprouted into all kinds of perversion we see today that even involve young children. Today the “alphabet movement” demands that we accept their perversion as “normal.” They have even infiltrated elementary schools to indoctrinate our children into their deviance by teaching little ones that their gender is their choice, not a biological fact. What did Jesus say about those who harm little children? “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2).

Add to all of that the violence in the streets of our cities – as in the days of Noah.[1] Then we have the Wuhan pandemic plaguing the world, and recently I heard from an unverified source that Russia plans to release COVID-20 which is supposedly worse. On top of that, we have a rapid degeneration of relations with China, and with Russia that some fear could lead to war. Meanwhile, in the Middle East where end-times prophecy focuses, the stage continues to be set for the end-times wars outlined in the book of Ezekiel.

It is not so much that all these things are taking place, but that they are accelerating at a rapid pace. What we see is what Jesus described in Mathew 24. However, what Jesus described was the Tribulation,[2] “the time of Jacob’s trouble,”[3] prophesied by Daniel.[4] Jesus referred to the time of His return to earth to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The prophet Jeremiah called it “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” God changed Jacob’s name to Israel,[5] and he was the father of the twelve tribes that composed the nation of Israel. Furthermore, the angel instructed Daniel that “Seventy weeks [or 70 x 7 or 490 years] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…” (Daniel 9:24, emphasis mine). The first 483 years ended when Jesus was crucified. One final seven (years) remains to be fulfilled; that is the time of the Tribulation. The book of Revelation outlines in horrific detail the events that will transpire during those seven years. However, the point here is that the time of Tribulation is for the sake of Israel (Jacob). More could be said about this, but that is not my intent here.

The Church is not Israel. The Church has not replaced Israel as some wool-clad wolves are saying. The time of Tribulation is not for the Church. The purpose of the Tribulation is for the saving of Israel and for God to keep His promises to Israel. The Church will be removed before the Tribulation begins at the Rapture!

Many argue that “Rapture” is found nowhere in the Bible. That is true. The English word “rapture” is not in the Bible, but the source of the word is. The Greek word Paul uses to describe this event is harpazō.[6] It means “to seize, carry off by force,” or “to snatch out or away.” The KJV translates to “be caught up.” The Latin Vulgate Bible translates the word as “rapturo,” from which we get our English word Rapture.

There are several examples of people being “caught up” in the Bible: Enoch[7] and Elijah[8] in the Old Testament, and Philip[9] in the New Testament. In fact, harpazō is the word used for Philips catching away. Paul tells us that we will not all die, which seems to contradict what is said in the Letter to the Hebrews. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, emphasis mine). That is generally true; however, there have been and will be some exceptions. Remember, Enoch and Elijah did not die, and we who are alive at the time of the rapture will not experience physical death.

We cannot enter the presence of God in our sinful bodies. Paul reminds us that we will not all sleep, i.e., die, “but we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51). “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). We need uncorrupted, i.e., “sinless” bodies to stand in God’s presence. Paul says that the time is coming when the trumpet will sound and Christians who have died will come up out of their graves, then those of us who are alive at that time will be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (that’s really fast).[10] Then he says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17, emphasis mine). Note that we go “to meet the Lord in the air;” He does not come down to earth. The Rapture is NOT the Second Coming.” That event happens at the end of the Tribulation.[11] This is the Rapture of the Church.

I believe the Bible teaches that the Rapture of the Church takes place before the seven-year Tribulation. The Tribulation is for the salvation of Israel. The Church is saved through the blood Christ shed on the cross. There are no signs for the Rapture. All the signs we see are for the Second Coming of Christ, which is preceded by the seven-year Tribulation. That we are seeing the beginning signs for the Tribulation should alert us to the proximity of the Rapture. The signs we see now are just “the beginning of sorrows,”[12] i.e. birth pains. Just as birth pains begin infrequently and sporadically and gradually increase in frequency and intensity, in the same way, the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming will grow in frequency and intensity until He returns. However, the Rapture comes first, and it could happen at any time.

I am so ready! I often wonder what it will feel like for my body to change instantly into a sinless, flawless, immortal body with a full head of hair and the body of a 30-year-old! Then to zoom through the roof of my house or car leaving my old rags behind and clothed in a sparkling white suit of clothes to meet Jesus somewhere out in space. Can you imagine that! I am so ready!

How about you? Are you ready to meet Jesus in the air? You do not want to go through the Tribulation. If you think this world is bad now, you ain’t seen nothing yet! If you are not sure, you need to settle that right now. Please visit my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 24:37-39; Genesis 6:5, 11-12,

[2]  Matthew 24:21, 29

[3]  Jeremiah 30:7

[4]  Daniel 9:24-27

[5]  Genesis 32:28

[6]  1 Thessalonians 4:14

[7]  Genesis 5:24

[8]  2 Kings 2:11

[9]  Acts 8:39

[10]  1 Corinthians 15:50-53

[11]  Revelation 19

[12]  Matthew 24:8

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Prejudice

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Growing up in the ’60s, racism did not exist. We had “prejudice.” While prejudice can morph into racism, prejudice is not necessarily racism. Prejudice is neither bad nor good. It is neither right nor wrong. Prejudice can have bad outcomes, or it can have good outcomes.

Dictionary.com defines prejudice[1] as (1) an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason; (2) any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable; (3) unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group. I disagree that prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or unreasonable feelings or opinions. Certainly, several examples could be given to the contrary.

I find the definition in the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary[2] more agreeable. It defines prejudice as “Prejudgment; an opinion or decision of mind, formed without due examination of the facts or arguments which are necessary to a just and impartial determination. It is used in a good or bad sense. Innumerable are the prejudices of education; we are accustomed to believe what we are taught, and to receive opinions from others without examining the grounds by which they can be supported. A man has strong prejudices in favor of his country or his party, or the church in which he has been educated; and often our prejudices are unreasonable. A judge should disabuse himself of prejudice in favor of either party in a suit.”

Racism casts prejudice in a negative light. In the ’60s, the prejudice that existed against black people resulted in racism and injustices leveled against them. However, not all prejudice was unreasonable or unjustifiable. For example, I remember, as a freshman in college, having to traverse a gauntlet of black athletes stationed in front of the main entrance to my dormitory. As I passed through, they taunted me with accusations of being prejudiced (today they would have said “racist”). Judging that they were only looking for an excuse to beat me up, I just walked past them without a word. My prejudice was not unfounded or irrational. I knew of others that opened their mouths and paid the price.

Racism, as I explained in my last article,[3] works both ways. These young men were prejudiced against me because I did not share their skin color, and I was prejudiced against them because experience taught me that black guys in groups liked to intimidate and beat up on non-blacks. It had something to do with “black power.” I experienced the same thing while I was stationed onboard the USS Sperry AS-12 when I was in the Navy. However, I was not racist. I had nothing against black people. I would have been happy to have joined their groups if I had been approached as an equal on a friendly basis, but that never happened.

Today, I have several black friends, and I get along well with all races. I am not racist. However, I am still prejudiced. For example, if I see a group of young men, regardless of color, and they look like “gangsters” – dressed in hoodies, droopy pants, and all tatted up – I will avoid contact with them. My prejudice may be wrong about them. They may just be a bunch of good Christian boys from a local church youth group having a public Bible study. On the other hand, my prejudice could be right, and if I ignore my instincts, I may end up robbed and in the hospital.

My point is that prejudice can be right or wrong, but in all cases, it should be cautiously tested until proven one way or the other. If I avoid getting to know someone based on the color of their skin, I may lose the opportunity to have the friend of a lifetime.

Here is another example. I am a Southern Baptist and I believe the basic doctrines of the Baptist Faith and Message.[4] I could, therefore, be prejudiced in favor of all Southern Baptist preachers, and because of my prejudice, I might accept everything a Southern Baptist preacher says without question.  I can be reasonably sure that they teach the Bible accurately because my prejudice says they believe the same way I do. Friends, that is a recipe for spiritual deception.  Paul told his young protégé, Timothy to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Holy Spirit intended that not only for young Timothy but for each one of us today. We should be as Luke described the Bereans who “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Do not allow your prejudice to lull you into false teaching.

Oh, and by the way, pastors are not immune from this kind of prejudice. They train in seminaries where they learn to trust the professors and the books their professors assign for reading. When they come out of seminary, they continue teaching what they were taught by their trusted professors without doing the hard work of examining what the Bible actually says. This can be proven simply by observing the number of churches and denominations that are going “liberal” – even Southern Baptist churches. So, this admonition applies to the laity as well as pastors.

Jesus taught us to be careful with our prejudice. Our starting verse above is the object of much abuse because it is frequently taken out of context especially by those who are prejudiced against Christians. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). I explain this in greater depth in my article “Beware of False Prophets,” but Jesus basically explained that we need not allow our prejudices for our preferred teachers to keep us from identifying false teaching. We have to judge rightly and without prejudice. That goes for the way we read our Bible. We should approach Scripture without prejudice and allow it to speak unrestrictedly by our preconceptions. Jesus teaches us to “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). That requires effort.

We all have prejudices, but we need to be careful about how we exercise prejudice. One prejudice that is always valid is the prejudice that instructs us that every word in Scripture comes directly from God, and it is therefore consistently true. You can always rely on that prejudice to be true. As Paul instructed the Romans, “let God be true, but every man a liar.” By keeping that prejudice, you will never go wrong.

Notes:


[1]  Prejudice – https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prejudice?s=t

[2]  Prejudice – http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/Prejudice

[3]  “Racism” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/07/05/racism/

[4]  “Baptist Faith and Message” – http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfm2000.asp

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