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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

I just finished reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. A friend gave it to me many months ago, but I put off reading it assuming it would be about gruesome descriptions that would depress me. The book was just the opposite. It was filled with praise of the lives of faithful and holy men and women who at the end of their lives stood firmly against brutal, persecuting religion and state officials ignorant of the Bible.

With exception of its beginning, which lauded Emperor Constantine for ending the blood-bathed reign of his brother Diocletian (when in actuality he acted purely self-interestedly and allowed the church leaders’ intrigue to subtly overthrow the political status of the hedonistic atheists in order to take their place of political power), the succeeding accounts of persecutions and martyrdom provide an inside view of the battle the gospel had against Satan’s wrath-filled error and superstition and self-indulgence.

In declaring and praising the faithfulness of Reformation heroes the danger exists of creating another pantheon, that of Protestant saints and martyrs to be worshiped. Notwithstanding, the record is clear from other sources, that the church of Rome was a corrupt, ruthless enemy of all true peace and civility and righteousness. Satan used this system to enslave the souls of men by force or subterfuge. The Catholic Mass was and is still Satan’s giant counterfeit, his replacement for the once-for-all great propitiation to God by Christ for us.

In His sacrifice of His own self, who alone pleased the Father perfectly, we can find acceptance and peace with God. We have redemption alone through Christ's eternal love for us, and our reckless hatred for Him which caused the Father to finish His Son’s destruction after we did what we could to kill Him, together with Satan and his hosts doing all they could to tempt the Son of God to give up His redeeming love for us. The Mass sidesteps the gospel through glorifying a priest’s supposed power, through senseless mummery, to supernaturally reincarnate the Son of God, not into the image of fallen man, but into a morsel of bread.

Even more subtle, and thus more deceptive, it is called faith to believe this “mysterious” magic trick; whereas Bible faith means simple trusting in a friend, that is a Friend in heaven, who sends His Holy Spirit upon us like a kiss. True faith comes with hearts knit together in love; faith is our response to grace. Gracious love, from whatever source, human or divine, appeals to us and we trust our new friend and benefactor forever. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn. 10:17-29).

It is not “faith” to simply believe in something mysterious and unexplainable. If that were so, believing in ghosts and the world of spiritualism would qualify as faith. Transubstantiation and the Mass are substitutes for the gospel; and like Jeroboam’s temples to Baal, providing easy alternative instead of reliving the infinite self-sacrifice of God’s Son which alone can break our heart and self-will, sweeping away our pride and congenital bitterness and wrath.

We retain our natural born bitterness unless we receive the transforming effect of the dying Lamb of God, the tormented tranquility of the perfect Prince of peace, suffering the cost of our corruption in sin and rebellion. Without our drawing near to God and receiving His Holy Spirit through the expiring Victim on Calvary, we continue in pride and selfishness, hurtful and vengeful.

This substitute religion, correctly called a religion but falsely called a church, leaves the fallen nature unredeemed and fully capable of persecuting. It was just such a religious substitution as was Cain’s offering, which left him so insanely bitter that murder was the natural product. We see it in all the cruelty and wickedness of the Canaanite nations surrounding Israel. We see it in Israel after their return from Babylon, but with a religious twist. The Jews had abandoned the barbaric practices of ancient Canaan, but had lost the truth of God’s grace from Moses and the prophets. Thus they became full of force and cruelty. Ez. 34:4. What do we see differently throughout mainline Christianity’s history after the passing of the apostolic church?

The human is born basically evil, not basically good. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-18).

Through innocent-looking, holy-sounding false religion Satan always works ingeniously to perpetuate the evils of our nature. “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15).

Offered in the papal substitute for the apostles’ gospel, which is heaven’s cure for our bitterness and rebellion, false worship brings forth every evil work: envying and strife; a devilish genius, ready to destroy those who cross its self-seeking inclinations; sensuality, physically and intellectually; “all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:29-32); “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” (Gal. 5:19-21)”.

The substitute gospel leaves our old corrupt nature intact, untouched, and unchanged, but the true worship and true religion baptizes us with fire and water, and produces “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22,23). The counterfeit “gendereth to bondage.” (Gal. 4:24). The original makes us free, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1Tim. 2:2). “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36).

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