Freedom Vs Autonomy (by Walt Henrichsen)

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” John 8:36 Great confusion plagues the body of Christ regarding the relationship between Law, grace, and freedom. Gentiles have never been under the Law; grace has made us free from trying to gain God’s favor by our works. We do well to remember that whatever “freedom” means, it must be understood within the framework of our eternally being His slaves. Men embrace either reason or Revelation as the final court of appeal in their lives. Selecting God’s Revelation means that you are obligated to obey God’s commands, but are free to determine on your own how He wants you to invest your life. When you live under the authority of the objective Truth of Revelation you are “free indeed.” Those who live under the authority of reason are enslaved by the subjectivism of competing with other people’s reason, for no two people can consistently agree on what is reasonable. This means that justice is defined by the strongest; one day you are under the authority of your parents (children have in common that they think their parents are unreasonable), then of the school, next under the authority of your employer, and you may well end under the authority of a tyrant. The freedom of reason leads to slavery. If Christ makes you free, then you are free indeed, but you will never be autonomous  ...

Alone but Not Lonely (by Walt Henrichsen)

“Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man on his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” John 16:32 With this verse Jesus draws His Upper Room Savior’s last Discourse to a close. These are the words to His disciples before His betrayal and crucifixion. Because Jesus was intimate with His Father, those around Him – including, the disciples never fully understood Him. Although they spent three years together, much of what He said and did they did not comprehend. In part, this was due to their preconceived convictions regarding the role of Messiah when He came to Israel. If God is with you, you are never alone, and yet the closer you grow to God the more alone you become in the world.  The world simply has no capacity to understand those motivated to be Jesus’ slaves; they cannot help but assume that you are motivated by the same values as they are. Because Jesus was not alone in the sense of being One with the Father, He was destined to be alone in every other relationship in life. In a limited sense to the degree that you are committed to Him, His experience will be yours....

Justice and Mercy

The New Testament prohibits seeking justice. The goal of justice is punishment. Rom 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  NASB The New Testament does command treating others justly, but that is not seeking justice. Mercy sets aside punishment. Mercy forgives. The New Testament commands forgiving others, which is mercy or setting aside justice. Matt 6:14-15 14: “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15: “But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.  NASB Even the Prophet Micah in the Old Testament says the same. Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?  NKJV To love mercy is treating others justly and forgiving them. However, during the early days of the nation of Israel, when they were a theocracy, God commanded the people to administer justice according to the law. After the Theocracy, the ruling authorities exercise justice. Today, governments are set up by God to exact justice for the purpose of keeping order in a society. All governments fall short of perfect justice, but God will perfect all justice at the final judgment. When the government refuses to punish lawbreakers or exercise justice, the result is violence and chaos.  We see this today in cities where prosecutors refuse to punish criminals. Christians are commanded to obey the...

When God Asks Questions (by Walt Henrichsen)

“To answer a man before hearing him out is foolish and disgraceful?”” Proverbs 18:13 After Adam and of Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.   God the of the met them with a series of questions.  “They heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of day; the man and his wife hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  The LORD God called out to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’  He replied, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden , and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid’.  Then He asked, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?’  The man said, ‘The woman You put at my side – she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’  And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done!’  The woman replied, ‘The serpent duped me, and I ate'”. 1 There are at least four reasons for asking questions: 1. You wish to discover what another person knows about a subject.  2 – You don’t know the answer and you want to know. 3 – You help a person discover the answer, as does Socrates in Plato’s Republic. 4- You suspect the answer and wish the person to confirm your suspicion. God did not ask for any of these reasons. He knew the answer, but wanted Adam and Eve to condemn themselves. Unlike God,...

Are You Teachable? (by Walt Henrichsen)

“And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”” Matthew 21:23 Jesus performed miracles in the presence of scribes and Pharisees, and they asked Jesus this question “Doing these things” pertained to the miracles they witnessed. Assuming that Jesus was unable to control the natural order, who gave Him the authority/ability to alter the natural order? If I see what I believe, rather than the opposite, how do I avoid what these religious authorities did?  If I saw a man performing miracles, and he preached as truth that which differs from my understanding of the Bible, how would I respond to him? Jesus therefore answers their question with a question, to which they respond: “…but if we say ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'” 1 How do I avoid allowing culture to shape my assumptions of reality?   All are teachable.  The question remains, “From whom will I learn?”  When I say a person is not teachable, I merely suggest that he refuses to learn from me. ______________________________________________________________ 1 Matthew...

Lies Men Want to Believe – Part 8 (by Walt Henrichsen)

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” 2 Thessalonians 3:14 Because some New Testament commands are cultural, you must decide which commandments apply to you and which do not, is the eighth and final lie I wish to call to your attention. The number of people I know that consider all New Testament commands obligatory are few. I suspect there are a number of reasons for this. First, most New Testament commands are not affirmed by reason or conscience, such as honoring your parents, women covering their heads when they pray, and men not taking fellow-believers before the civil court in litigation. Furthermore, because conscience is pliable, what violates the conscience in one generation is affirmed by conscience in the next. Second, when justice is defined by equality, biblical prohibitions appear unjust. People reason that it is unjust for past mistakes to keep people from doing what would otherwise be appropriate. For example Joe and Sue married when young and immature, and decided to divorce. It is unjust to conclude that they cannot find the “right” spouse and remarry. Culture plays an inappropriate role in the life of the church, resulting in people wanting to appear tolerant rather than biblical. You conclude that a command such as foot washing is impractical in today’s culture where we wear shoes, and the command to lift your hands in prayer only appears once in the New Testament and is therefore not important1. Such conclusions may appear harmless to you, but what you have done...