Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

Mount
Baker
Beacon

Volume 02, Number 22
05/28/2023

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM

Web site:
Mt. Baker church

Editor......John Bass


 

In this issue:


DO YOU FEEL SAVED?
Wayne Greeson

Are you 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.

The way 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).

You do 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.

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ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT
Joe R. Price

Many 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 21).

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 Bible.

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).

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CHANGING GOD'S MESSAGE
Dennis C. Abernathy

There was 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 things.

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  05/28/2023

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 or johnbass2468@gmail.com