Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 22
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
In this issue:
DO YOU FEEL SAVED?
saved? How do you know you are saved? "I know I am saved because I feel it
in my heart," many often say. But are the feelings of your heart the proper
standard to determine your salvation? We do not use this standard in other
matters. No one says of his bank statement, "I know it is right because I
feel it in my heart," while they ignore to properly add and subtract from
their balance. No carpenter says, "I know the board is 10 feet long because
I feel it in my heart" - he checks the board with the proper standard, the
measuring tape! But, when it comes to a matter far more important than bank
balances and board lengths - salvation - many are willing to trust their
eternal welfare to their feelings.
Can you trust the feelings of your heart to
tell you whether or not you are saved? The Bible says "No!" "He who trusts
in his own heart is a fool" (Prov. 28:26), for "the way of man is not in
himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jer. 10:23).
"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death"
(Prov. 14:12). Feelings are subjective, they change from person to person
and even within the same person. Truth is objective, it remains fixed and
does not change, regardless of the person or the year.
you feel about salvation does not change God's truth concerning it, just as
the way you feel about math, does not change the truth of it. Whether or not
you are saved is an objective fact, not subject to the whims of how you feel
from moment to moment. So how can they know they are saved? The Scripture
says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding" (Prov. 3:5).
not have to rely upon your own faulty and deceptive feelings concerning your
salvation. The Lord has given "the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make
you wise for salvation" (2 Tim. 3:15). The knowledge and confidence of
salvation can only come from the objective standard of God's Word. God will
judge you by His Word, not by how you feel. Jesus proclaimed, "the word that
I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). What
is your salvation based upon? Many people feel in their heart they are saved
because they have "simply believed" in Jesus. While salvation certainly
requires faith in Jesus, faith alone does not and cannot save according to
God's Word. James wrote, "You see then that a man is justified by works, and
not by faith only" (Jas. 2:24).
Other people have prayed and "asked Jesus to
come into their heart" and now they feel they are saved. But nowhere does
the Bible teach one must simply pray to Jesus in order to be saved. God's
Word teaches to be saved you must: hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17); believe
Jesus is the Son of God (Mk. 16:16); repent of your sins (Acts 2:38);
confess Jesus (Rom. 10:9; Acts 8:36-38) and be baptized for the remission of
your sins (Acts 2:38; Mk. 16:16). Those who obey God's Word do not have to
guess whether or not they are saved based upon the feelings of their heart.
They know they are saved because their salvation is based on the unchanging
Truth of God's Word.
ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT
Joe R. Price
people believe in the doctrine of illumination as part of the Holy Spirit's
work. Christians are being given false assurances that the Holy Spirit
personally guides and influences them apart from the word He revealed.
"Illumination is the Holy Spirit's work as
he enlightens the human mind with spiritual understanding in order that man
might grasp the revealed truth...The Spirit still illumines the mind and
heart of every serious student of God's Word so that he may discover truths
hitherto unknown to him" (Hershel Hobbs, The Baptist Faith and Message, page
This doctrine says we can understand the
Scriptures only as the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds with understanding.
It asserts (but does not prove from the Scriptures) the Holy Spirit leads a
person to understand the Bible in a personal, individual way separate from
the Scriptures. (Jesus repeatedly said, "Have you not read?" not, "Have you
not been illuminated by the Holy Spirit?") The Calvinistic doctrine of
illumination is deemed essential before you can even understand Scripture
because, according to this false doctrine, you are totally depraved and
incapable of anything good without it.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints also teach an illumination doctrine. As a Mormon friend put it, "It
is my contention that Timothy could not have 'rightly divided the word of
truth' without revelation through the gift of the Holy Spirit." Mormonism
teaches one must receive a personal revelation from the Holy Spirit to
understand God's written revelation.
Both of these approaches to understanding
the Scriptures make God responsible for either enlightening a person or
keeping that person in the dark. The person's role in learning truth is
minimized and a false hope is fostered as people are urged to ask for and
expect personal guidance from the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit's work of helping people
know God's truth is accomplished by (1) The truth He revealed (John 16:13;
Gal. 1:12), (2) The truth He miraculously validated (Mark 16:20; 1 Cor.
2:4-5; Heb. 2:3-4), and (3) The truth He inspired that was preached to the
world (Col. 1:5-6, 23; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16). He continues
His work through the Scriptures today. No Scripture teaches a separate
function of illumination by the Holy Spirit before one can understand the
Illumination comes as we become educated in
God's word. Through reading, studying, meditation, and application, we grow
in knowledge and understanding of His will. God expects us to educate
ourselves and be led by the Spirit by hearing, receiving, studying, and
learning the Spirit-given word (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31; 2 Tim. 2:15; Acts
17:11-12; Eph. 3:3-4; Neh. 8:8).
Educate yourself in God's word and obey Him
in faith to be saved and blessed (Matt. 7:24-27; Eph. 5:17; James 1:25). Do
not wait for some additional illumination from the Holy Spirit. Walk in the
illumination He already provides in "the word of the truth of the gospel"
(Ps. 119:105; 1 Jn. 1:5-7; Col. 1:5).
CHANGING GOD'S MESSAGE
an amusing little story about a Vermont restaurant near an Interstate
highway that had a large sign saying “STEAK.” But when the restaurant was
sold, and became a Chinese restaurant, it no longer served steaks. The new
owner, however, didn’t change the sign until people began to pressure him to
stop advertising what he didn’t sell. Finally he solved the problem by
removing the letters “S” and “K” so the sign read “TEA.”
God’s original message in the Bible can also
be changed by removing parts of the message. For example, God tells us to
believe in Christ, (Mk. 16: 16; Jn. 3:16), repent of our sins (Lk. 13: 3;
Acts 2: 38), confess our faith in Jesus (Rom. 10: 9-10; Acts 8: 37), and be
baptized in water for the remission of our sins (Acts 2: 38). But many have
removed baptism from the message. True, many still practice something called
baptism, but in many churches real (scriptural) baptism has been replaced
with mere sprinkling, and baptism of believers has been replaced with infant
baptism, and baptism for the remission of sins has been replaced with being
baptized because one already has remission of sins, and to qualify for
membership in a denomination.
However, in the Bible, baptism was
immersion, and it was for people who believe, and it was never administered
to join a denomination. Thus, Acts 2: 38, Acts 22: 16, Gal. 3: 27, 1 Pet. 3:
21, and other places in the Bible teach that baptism is a part of what God
requires of people who want to be saved and become Christians.
Like the restaurant sign that was changed
from “STEAK” to “TEA” by removing some of the original letters, preachers
who have tried to remove baptism from God’s plan of salvation have changed
the original message. For example, 1 Pet. 3: 21 says “even baptism doth also
now save us.” Thus, preachers change the “w” to a “t” making the apostle
Peter say “even baptism doth also not save us!” Better think on these
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149