[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Perseverance and Solomon

by Antonio da Rosa

Recently, I have been spending alot of time in the Old Testament. I have thoroughly consumed 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, and 1&2 Chronicles. Boy I would, if I had the time, go into many insights the Lord has given me and the blessings I have received as a result of my time spent in these books.

The preponderence of data in the New Testament uncompromisingly testifies to the fact that a true, heaven-bound Christian can ultimately fail in his Christian life. God does not drag anyone down the path of obedience. Romans 8:10 says, "And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin". The body is incapable of living anything spiritual whatsoever. What must a man do to live the Christian life through his flesh?

Paul has some commandments for us given in the imperative:

Rom 6:11-13
...reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and [present] your members as instruments of righteousness to God.


There are here 5 imperatival commands of Paul for the Christian. If the disposition of Christians were to do these things by virtue of regeneration alone, the commandments given here by Paul would be both superfluous and confusing. Does one need to command the sun to rise or the waves to roll or the stars to shine? It is manifest absurdity to enjoin someone or something to perform some action that it, by virtue of its inherent makeup, is inevitably disposed to do.

It follows that if the Christian does not purposefully

1) Reckon oneself dead unto sin
2) Deny sin's reigning
3) Stop presenting the members of his body as instruments of unrighteousness
4) Present himself to God as alive from the dead and
5) Present his bodily members of instruments of righteousness

he will not be sanctified and will be subject to abject, utter, and ultimate failure in his Christian life.

Not many people who read this blog would be willing to deny that Solomon, author of 3 books of the Bible and a couple of Psalms, is now in hell. But let us take a look at the end of his life as testified to by the bible.

1 Kings 11:1-12
But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites -- from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel,"You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.


What is very telling is what comes after this testimony concerning Solomon in the Scriptures. The only thing that occurs in the text between this statement and the
statement of his death is the demonstration of the Lord's wrath upon Solomon because of his rebellion. This took the form of various adversaries raised up by the Lord against Solomon, and the rebellion of Solomon's infamous servant, Jereboam of Nebat. There is no statements directing our attention to his repentance before death.

When we read the chronicles of the kings in the aforementioned books we find that the authors are very eager to tell us when a king starts out evil and becomes good, or the vice-versa. These things are instructional for their readers! The last words concerning Solomon in the text are that his heart was turned from the Lord unto idolatry, that God's wrath was meted out against him in the form of adversaries and rebellion, and that the Lord was going to tear the kingdom away from him.

We know that repentance can avert or end God's temporal wrath for sins. Solomon went to the grave being troubled by his adversaries (1 Kings 11:25) and the kingdom torn from him. And indeed his servant rebelled from him and became the king of the Northern tribes.

Oh how many times do we read of the kings being tender-hearted to God, ripping their clothes, weeping and humbling themselves before God and the result being that God relents of his wrath and/or pronouncements against them? There is no such text of Solomon repenting! Furthermore, God's hands remained heavy upon him until his death.

Finally we are met with this little bit of evidence from the life of godly king Josiah:

2 Kings 23:13-14
Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. 14 And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.


Literally hundreds of years later after Solomon's death, the shrines, groves, high places, pillars, and images which Solomon made for his idol worship were still standing!

Let me tell you how repentance is supposed to work. I remember a time when I placed the value and worship of a certain activity above God, my wife and family, and everything else. Upon reading these texts in the Old Testament, I was convicted of my sin of idolatry. In the name of Christ my Lord, I went home and destroyed all of the objects related to my sin, not sparing a single one; but completely pulvarized these objects into tiny bits and put them into the San Diego equivalent of the Brook Kidron.

Solomon died with God's hand heavy upon him and the kingdom torn from him

and the testaments to his idolatry still in place hundreds of years after his death.

Solomon died an idolator and under the wrath of God.

10 Comments:

  • It's late and I'm tired. I won't have much time on the computer this weekend as I share its services with my son and daughter for their homework.

    That said I must pick a small part of your post to comment on. That is this...

    "There are here 5 imperatival commands of Paul for the Christian. If the disposition of Christians were to do these things by virtue of regeneration alone, the commandments given here by Paul would be both superfluous and confusing. Does one need to command the sun to rise or the waves to roll or the stars to shine? It is manifest absurdity to enjoin someone or something to perform some action that it, by virtue of its inherent makeup, is inevitably disposed to do."

    Picture the great olympian, Michael Phelps. His body is perfectly suited to brake pool speed records - long torso, shorter legs, and very large feet. He also has the heart of a champion. He is hungry to train - some five hours a day.

    Yet, in all of this he still has a coach, one who will drive him to go the extra length; and to perfect his technique. These all come natural to Phelps; but he still needs a coach to instruct, and yes, to drive him.

    The word of God is given for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness... We are instructed to desire the sincere milk of the word in order to grow thereby. We are told that as we look into the word the Spirit will transform us into the image of Christ more and more.

    We have the writings of the apostles and prophets. We have the ministry of evangelists, and pastors and teachers - in short they are there to be used of God to bring the body of Christ into conformity to Him.

    Regenerate people need eachother and the ministry gifts to go on to Christ-likeness. No Calvinist will say that regeneration stands alone.

    Hopefully I'll have more time next qweek to address the rest of your post.

    Mark

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Friday, October 17, 2008 9:37:00 PM  

  • A great point, Antonio. I appreciate this post very much.

    Does one need to command the sun to rise or the waves to roll or the stars to shine? It is manifest absurdity to enjoin someone or something to perform some action that it, by virtue of its inherent makeup, is inevitably disposed to do.

    So true! Seeing this truth and the facts that:

    1. Salvation is free
    2. Discicpleship is costly
    3. We are not guaranteed to be a disciple just because we are saved

    Those three points make the warning points actually APPLICABLE to the Christian life.

    God bless you brother. It is so good to see you posting again! I am proud to know you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, October 18, 2008 5:01:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    As far as Solomon having gone to Hell theologians do not agree, viewing, as some do, Ecclesiates 12:13-14.

    That said, however, that Christians can backslide terribly, even L/S poster-boy, John MacArthur states that in "TGATJ" and its sequel "TGATTA". Yes even the Westminster Confession states that Christians can walk for a while apart from the Lord. That awards will be forfeited at the Judgement Seat of Christ most Calvinists would agree. But where we disagree is that God chastens all His sons and daughters that they may be partakers of His holiness. This chastening is always effectual.

    In short, we believe that people are saved for the very express purpose of being conformed to the image of Christ. This Ryrie agree's with in "So Great Salvation". Discipleship is so that we be like our Master, Luke 6:40. Again to be conformed to the image of Christ is WHY we have been saved.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Saturday, October 18, 2008 8:29:00 AM  

  • Good post.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Saturday, October 18, 2008 8:39:00 AM  

  • Mark, thanks for your input.

    Rose, astute observations. How is the book coming?

    Matt, I thought you might comment on the art. It is a painting depicting Solomon, his wives, and their idolatry.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, October 19, 2008 2:52:00 PM  

  • These verses about Solomon caught my attention about a week ago.
    These verses are loaded from David telling his son Solomon to “know God” and that if he seeks Him he will find Him, but if he doesn’t seek God he will be cast off forever, even though he has been chosen by God to build His temple.

    The choice is set before him!

    He chose to seek God, but did not wholly follow Him.



    1 Chronicles 28:9 “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:57:00 PM  

  • Yes, that is a good picture. Good choice.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Monday, October 20, 2008 12:37:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    You said, "It follows that if the Christian does not purposefully

    1) Reckon oneself dead unto sin
    2) Deny sin's reigning
    3) Stop presenting the members of his body as instruments of unrighteousness
    4) Present himself to God as alive from the dead and
    5) Present his bodily members of instruments of righteousness

    he will not be sanctified and will be subject to abject, utter, and ultimate failure in his Christian life."


    What do you consider to be "ultimate failure"?

    Paul says at the end of this chapter, after his imperatives that these believers have been freed from sin and enslaved to God.

    Romans 6:22,23 "But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    What's the benefit for being enslaved to God? Sanctification.

    And what's the outcome? Eternal life.

    Why? Because the wages of is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus out Lord.

    So it would appear that Paul is saying that the "ultimate failure" is death. And not just physical death because he contrasts it with eternal life. And he just got done saying that if you're a slave to God, the outcome is eternal life.

    It would seem that Paul's point in this passage is that you can't serve two masters because you are a slave of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness (vs. 16). And he clarifies that statement in verse 23. Sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Ten Cent, at Monday, October 20, 2008 9:52:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your own life, the best posts are the ones where I can see that which you learn also impacting your life. Praise God for the obedience that accompanies your profession of Christ!

    Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at Monday, October 20, 2008 5:34:00 PM  

  • In the context of the believer sins wages are always death, that is separation from God concerning fellowship. But when the thought first comes it is not sin. There is a sequence that must happen before it becomes sin and brings death. And the death spoken of concerning a believer is never eternal death for the fact it would contradict John 3:16 and so many other clear verses.
    This subject is very relative and not just hypothetical. I’m dealing with three men where I work on this subject as we speak. I happen to say to the one “Remember you’re a married man.” Two of the men are as yet unbelievers, the other has believed Jesus promise of eternal life. I have explained the free gift of eternal life to all three of them and how Jesus was able to provide it through His cross work. These are the verses I gave them concerning sin which always brings death in the believers life:
    (my answer to the ones statement)
    You’re right when you said “if someone says they’ve never lusted their lying.”

    Jesus said: Matt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a women to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    There isn’t anyone who can say they haven’t did that but that’s not to say we haven’t got a choice. When the thought first comes into our mind it isn’t sin but there is a sequence as this verse shows:

    James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    Note: Good thing that isn’t physical death or none of us would be here.

    What works for me sometimes is redirecting my thoughts by using these verses I’ve memorized: This has to do with taking your thoughts captive to Christ.

    Phil 4: 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

    When it doesn’t work and becomes sin then fellowship with God is broken until I confess it as sin and ask for forgiveness. And then fellowship is restored.

    1 John 1:55 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    A promise:

    I Cor 10: 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

    maybe this will help someone in the real battle!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, October 21, 2008 8:45:00 AM  

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