The Conversion of a Sinner

Raised in church

I was born and raised in the Pentecostal Church….it is all I can remember from the earliest of times. I do not think that I was ever converted at a young age….though I did enjoy going to church. One of the main reasons was I got to sit on the front pew with my Great Grandpa who was one of the gentlest and most humble men I have ever known. I look back with fondness at the times I would climb into his lap and he would read GoldenBooks and the little Living Bible to me.

It came as a great shock, when I was about nine years old, that he died from complications from a relatively minor surgery. Being used to death, it was not that someone died that was the problem, it was that he died….someone so important to me. I blamed God and I blamed Him wholeheartedly. I threw myself into my bed, buried my head between the wall and mattress, crying that if that was the type of God in Heaven I hated Him and I wanted no part of Him ever. The worst part was that there was no comfort, no support, no Biblical counsel from anyone in my family. I did not know where to turn or what to do: so I left any pretense of following God and turned inward for the help I needed.

Me a sinner Converted

I soon after smoked my first cigarette, I got drunk for the first time at thirteen, and learned and mastered the fine art of profanity. Throughout my teen years I ran from God and rarely attended any type of church service….I just had no use for it. It was not as if I never had any guilt: for my conscience would sometimes arise but I would beat it into submission and revel in my sin. It was an honor to be the most coarse and crude one in our crowd and we all tried to out do one another.

The years passed and I was now 20 years old and living my life how I wanted to. I was not the worst sinner but even I knew that the life I was living was wrong…and yet God was still at work. I had friends from high school and summer baseball that went to the local Church of God and it just so happened that they had a gym. I would, about twice a year, show up on a Wednesday night and play basketball with them. It was June of 1995 and I was staying with my Grandparents as I usually did while commuting about 30 minutes to mow my parents lawn. On this particular Wednesday I was going over to mow and I said to myself…” why not go play some ball tonight? “ so I grabbed a change of clothes and headed off.

What was interesting is that God was seriously dealing with me…working on the conversion of a sinner…. as there was a weight that had settled upon my heart that I could not rightly explain. My usual pleasures were no longer satisfying and my usual hangouts had lost their luster. I was burdened, uneasy, and unsatisfied with everything in my life.

On this Wednesday night I arrived and the Youth Ministry Building ( the College and Career were part of it ),  sat around, listened to the message, and while preparing to leave,Tim the youth minister, threw his arm around me and said, “ Ya know, we are going to Carowinds this Saturday and it just so happens we have an extra ticket. We have a charter bus so all you would need is a little food money….what do you say? “

I thought a moment and told him we would see all the while having no intention of showing up. I thought about it for awhile though and it only made sense…even having to spend the day with Christians…it was a free trip to an amusement park…so I decided to go. They were leaving around 7 Saturday morning so I prepared to go, steeling myself against the thoughts of spending the entire day with the goodie goodies.

We went and the day was mostly uneventful except for a few inadvertent profane words on my part and a couple sideways glances from the ones unfamiliar with the life I lived. I even thought I behaved myself rather well considering my overall attitude at the time and almost broke my arm patting myself on the back.

We arrived home around midnight and as I went to hit the hay I said a little offhand prayer as my head hit the pillow, “ God if you want me to go to church tomorrow wake me up “ Did I expect God to answer that prayer? Not in a million years as I was a heavy sleeper and I had no intention of setting the alarm. I knew sunday school started around 9:45 and deep inside I knew there was no way I would make it.

God had other plans. I woke up around 7, then 7:30, 8, 8:15 until finally I said fine I will go to Sunday school but you cannot make me go to the main service. So I drug my sorry carcass out of bed and went to Sunday school. I sat through it and as I was leaving I felt the heaviness worse than ever before and barely heard one of my friends say, “ hey why don’t you stay for service? “

“ eh….I don’t really want to…but maybe…who knows….”

Guess what? I went in, stood for the songs, bowed my head during prayer, and listened to the sermon all the while denying the Lord who had lead me there. When the invitation to pray was given at the end of the sermon we all stood and I gripped the back of the pew in front of me until my knuckles turned white…..I had no intention of yielding anything in my life to an unseen God who had no part in my life…..I would not…ever.

God had other ideas…..when people started to pray…I remember hearing something like this….” confess your sins, repent, and believe..”

During that time I prayed….a real simple prayer….Lord forgive me….and the most amazing thing happened…He did. The weight lifted, the burdens were gone, and this person who had walked in that morning entirely antagonistic to God now had tears streaming down his cheeks sobbing like a baby…and I didn’t care…not one wit.

Tim came over, placed his arm around my shoulders, and prayed quietly with me as the service wound down. Friends came over smiling and offered the hand of fellowship….and all I could do was smile and cry….cry and smile and thank the God of Heaven that He would have mercy on someone like me.

Much water has went under the bridge since then…I have been a member of the Family since that June in the year of Lord 1995 and through the ups and downs God has been forever faithful to me. Remember the early years and the Bible stories read to me? The moments in church even when I was not paying attention? The Word was sown by faithful men and women of God and the seeds that were planted then….even though lying dormant for years….God brought them to life and gave the increase. So never lose heart when witnessing to loved ones. Never get discouraged though the years of prayer seem to fall upon deaf ears and the Heavens seem as bronze…God is still God and He can and will save whomever He wills. No one is beyond His reach.

The rest of my story…from then til now…will have to wait as that is a story for another day.

The Word of ( non ) Faith and the Atonement

Atonement

The Word of Faith and the Atonement

As stated in Hebrews 9:22, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins and it has been so from the beginning…..God, after the Fall provided Adam and Eve with skins from innocent animals as a covering for their shame ( Genesis 3 ). It is seen in the Old Testament sacrificial system that was given as a type and shadow of the ultimate Sacrifice. The reconciliation of His people to Himself is paramount to the Biblical narrative and finds its culmination in the work of Jesus Christ.

Matthew in his Gospel declared that Jesus came to save his people from their sins ( Matthew 1:21 ), John says that the Father has given those who will be saved to Him ( John 6:39 ), and Paul in Ephesians says that we all, both Jew and Gentile, are now the people of God through faith ( Ephesians 2 ). So how was the Atonement, our salvation, wrought?

Word of Faith and Atonement

Their views on these two subjects will invariably also affect how they believe the Atonement was secured. Since faith does not have an object ( the Person of Christ ) and all men are little Messiahs….how could the Word of Faith doctrinal teachings on the Atonement not be skewed from the orthodox perspective?

Copeland et all have said the following in regards to the Cross and

Word of Faith
Kenneth Copeland

my Saviour:

He allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of hell as if He were the most wicked sinner who ever lived … Every demon in hell came down on Him to annihilate Him … [They] tortured Him beyond anything that anybody has ever conceived … In a thunder of spiritual force, the voice of God spoke to the death-whipped, broken, punished spirit of Jesus … [in] the pit of destruction, and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life … He was literally being reborn before the devil’s very eyes. He began to flex His spiritual muscles … Jesus Christ dragged Satan up and down the halls of hell … Jesus … was raised up a born-again man … The day I realized that a born-again man had defeated Satan, hell, and death, I got so excited … !” (“The Price of it All,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, September 1991, p. 4).
Copeland- “It wasn’t the physical death on the cross that paid the price for sin … anybody could do that.” (What Satan Saw on the Day of Pentecost)
Copeland- “When Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. There were still three days and nights to go through before He went to the throne. … Jesus’ death on the cross was only the beginning of the complete work of redemption.” (“Jesus—Our Lord of Glory,” Believer’s Voice of Victory, April 1982, p. 3)
Jesus’ “rebirth” in hell. “[I]n hell He [Jesus] suffered for you and for me. The Bible says hell was made for Satan and his angels. It was not made for men. Satan was holding the Son of God there illegally … The trap was set for Satan and Jesus was the bait.” (Walking in the Realm of the Miraculous, 1979, p. 77)
Hinn- “He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, ‘The only way I can stop sin is by Me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch Me; I and it must become one.’ Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan where He became sin!” (TBN, 12/1/90).

 

Word of Faith
Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer “There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth I am presenting. You cannot go to heaven unless you believe with all your heart that Jesus took your place in hell” (In her 1991 booklet, The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make
Meyer-“His spirit went to hell because that is where we deserved to go.” (The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make 1991, p.36.).
Hagin-“Physical death would not remove our sins. He tasted death for every man – spiritual death. Jesus is the first person ever to be born again. Why did HIS spirit need to be born again? Because it was estranged from God.” (“The Name Of Jesus”, Kenneth E. Hagin, pp. 29-30.)] Frederick Price-“Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God … Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound and they threw a net over Jesus and dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.” (“Ever Increasing Faith Message”, Frederick K. Price, June 1980 Audio).

By diminishing Christ’s vicarious sacrifice, by looking elsewhere other than the Cross for our Atonement, and by elevating Satan throughout the Passion, the Word of Faith teachers have relegated Christ to an afterthought and set up an idol suitable to their own appetites.

Further Word of Faith Heresy

One of the concepts the Word of Faith spout, that is clearly unbiblical, is that anyone could have made the sacrifice necessary in the forgiving of sins. This view, based upon an aberrant belief as to the Nature of Christ, in that, instead of being the Divine, Eternal, and Co-existent Second Person of the Godhead who came in the Flesh to redeem His people for Himself, leads to the belief that Christ is an exalted man, an adopted son, or that He consist of two persons simultaneously, or worse yet, that anyone could have done it. In case Copeland, a Word of Faith Leader, and others are unaware of this, it is rank heresy to proclaim that anyone, other than Jesus, could have perfectly, innocently, and vicariously died on the Cross for the remission of sins.

God, in His Infinite Wisdom and Omniscience, because of which He knows all things and causes all things to come to pass through His Divine Providence, stated in Genesis 3 that the coming Messiah would crush the head of Satan though His heal would be bruised. It was further revealed that through faithful Abraham that all the nations of the Earth would be blessed ( Genesis 18:18 ) and that there would be a prophet greater than Moses that would come (Deuteronomy 18:15, Acts 3:22 ). It was also declared in Holy Scripture, by the prophet Isaiah, that He would be Immanuel, God with us ( Isaiah 7:14 ) and that He would be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace….( Isaiah 9:6 ).

We read in the New Testament that in the Beginning was the Word and that Word was with God and the Word was God ( John 1 ), that Jesus and the Father are One ( John 10:30 ), that before Abraham was I AM ( John 8:58 ), and that He is the Alpha and Omega ( Revelation 1:8 ). We can know from Scripture that Jesus, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was no mere man, and as such was the only one uniquely qualified to pay for the sins of humanity.

More Problems with the Word of Faith

There is another problem with the Word of Faith Movement’s view of the Atonement and that is when it was accomplished. The Cross was God’s plan, His doing, His design, and by Him it was brought to fruition. This in no way denies the use, by God, of sinful men to bring about His purposes. It was through the wickedness of those involved that the Cross was possible, but it was no happy accident in the economy of God and Satan was merely a tool to be used by the Almighty; not the sovereign of Hell torturing the Christ at his pleasure.

Take a quick look at the hand of Providence in the Cross:

Psalm 22: 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Isaiah 50: 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

Acts 2:23-24 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

God, not Satan, was fully and ultimately in control, despite the Word of Faith teachings, and there was no further punishment needed after the shedding of blood on Mount Calvary. Christ told the thief that today they would be together in paradise ( Luke 23:43 ), had prayed in the Garden that the cup ( a symbol of God’s wrath ) would pass from Him ( Matthew 26:39 ), that into your ( the Father’s ) hands I commend my spirit ( Luke 23:46 ), and very importantly that “ IT IS FINISHED “ ( John 19:30 ).

the crossThe wrath of God was poured out upon the innocent Christ on the Cross and not in the bowels of Hell at the hands of the Devil and his minions. Make note: Satan was not then, is not now, nor will he ever reign in Hell. You need to remove that pagan concept from your mind as it has no foundation in a Christian World view. “ It is Finished “ means precisely that……all that was needed to secure our salvation was done from His birth to His death: including His active and passive obedience.

Copeland’s Wormy Spirit

[Demons] tortured him beyond anything that anybody has ever conceived… [Christ’s] emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit down in the bottom of that thing [hell].” – Kenneth Copeland, “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne,” cassette #02-0017, 1990)

Contrary to what Copeland claims, Jesus did not become a “ wormy poured out little spirit “ and neither did He need to be born again. He ( Jesus ) never took on the nature of Satan, as claimed by Hinn and others, as Christ is fully God and fully man….not fully God, fully man, and fully Satan on the Cross. This blasphemous assertion without any Biblical basis is enough to turn our hearts and heads from them.

Paul, in the book of Colossians, tells us unequivocally that on the Cross, not in Hell, Jesus made an open show and put to shame the powers of darkness all the while nailing the handwriting of ordinances against us to it:

Colossians 2:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

It was not in Hell that our salvation was won, as touted by Word of Faith proponents, but upon the Cross where the wrath of God against sin was poured out on my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Holy one of Israel did not see corruption ( Psalm 16:10 ) and tasted death for all believers ( Hebrews 2:9 ) so that we should have life.

It is by the precious blood of Christ that we are forgiven and brought into the Family of God. I thank God for the Lamb who willingly went to the slaughter on my behalf so that I would not have to….taking my sin upon Himself and placing His righteousness upon me.

Who is responsible for salvation?

From Turretin on the Atonement

For whom did Christ die? Did He die for all men equally or was their a special intent in the Father sending the Son?

Some thoughts from Francis Turretin

I. The mission and death of Christ”

“are restricted to a limited number—to his people, his sheep, his friends, his Church, his body; and nowhere extended to all men severally and collectively. Thus, Christ “is called Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins,” (Matthew 1:21). He is called the Saviour of his body, (Ephesians 5:23). “The good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep,” (John 10:15), and “for his friends,” (John 15:13). He is said “to die—that he might gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad,” (John 11:52). It is said that Christ “hath purchased the Church [or his flock] with his own blood,” (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25–26). If Christ died for every one of Adam’s posterity, why should the Scriptures so often restrict the object of his death to a few? How could it, with propriety, “be said absolutely that Christ is the Saviour of his people and of his body, if he is the Saviour of others also? How could it in the same way be said that he laid down his life for his sheep, for the sons of God, and for the Church, if, according to the will and purpose of God, he died for others also? Would this be a greater proof of his love and a firmer ground of consolation?”

Excerpt From: Turretin, Francis. “The Atonement of Christ.” iBooks.
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