Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Submitting to That Which Is Honest: My Initial Salvation Testimony Written For The Calvinists, Calvary Chapel And Everyone Else Who Does Condemn It To Justify Their Sin
“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (Jon. 3:21).
My False Conversion
I was born spiritually flat-line, shapen in iniquity with a soul blacker than hell's midnight (Psa.58:3). Age 7: My first grade teacher led me in the sinner's prayer (a damnable heresy found nowhere in the Bible). I was told to ask Jesus into my heart and I did and meant it with all my heart, even weeping because I didn't want to go to hell, yet this was a worldly sorrow that only worked death and not a godly sorrow that “worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of” (2 Cor. 7:10). I was not “grafted in” (Rom. 11:19) into “the True Vine” (Jon. 15:1), evidenced by my alienation from the fruits of biblical repentance noted in the following verse: “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2Cor.7:11).
“The sinner's prayer has sent more people to hell than all the taverns in America” - Leonard Ravenhill.
Christ did not live in me and I did not live for Him. The Christianity of my 1st grade teacher was a counterfeit; her gospel was not the power of God unto salvation, but was the powerful lie of Satan unto hypocrisy to the end, damnation.
Any “gospel” that does not set you free from a presumptuous, self-justifying self-righteousness is not the Biblical Gospel that ingratiates a man to forsake all that he is and has (Jon. 12: 20-26), God thereby crucifying him WITH Christ (Rom. 5:6, Gal. 2:20), burying him in a baptism of death, in which he is resurrected from his spiritual grave by the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Rom. 6). God draws men to Himself (Jon. 6:44), but all men are in bondage to self-love, hence, they are not willing to exchange the life that they have for the life that He has for them (Rom. 3:10-18). The God of the Bible who has hidden Himself (Isa. 45:15) makes men willing (Isa. 65:1, Psa. 110:3) to seek Him with all their heart (Jer. 29:13), forsaking their own ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:7), bowing the knee to the absolute totalitarian rule and reign of King Jesus (Acts 5:31,32); yea and God will give him a new heart that loves the things He loves and hates the things that He hates (Ezk. 36:25-27).
It was April of 2006, and NOT in 1989 that I could say in truth, “God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17,18). Bless the Lord! I can now sing with grace in my heart:
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature's night Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray. I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”
How did the Lord get me lost?
“They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Mat. 9:12-13, Luk. 19:10).
A young man gave me a gospel tract. Upon reading it, the commandment came and revived my dead conscience and I saw that I was truly liable to death eternal, for the Holy Ghost came like a fire and burned away all my false hope and false peace and revealed to me that God was Holy, Just, and Good and that I was a hypocrite worthy of hell-fire. I had no excuse. I was shut up under the “schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24). I then asked the Lord what He wanted from me. The Spirit of God was mightily bearing witness that He wanted me to flee from the wrath to come, to flee from the law of Moses which condemned me and flee to the city of refuge which is Jesus Christ, forsaking all, even to the denying of myself, picking up of my cross and following Him to my personal calvary that I might enter into His Person and Work through a baptism of death (Rom. 6:3-10), yet I despised His reigning grace (Rom. 5:21) that did want to make me holy (Tit. 2:11-15). I loved my life and wanted to keep it.
The next 5 years I ran away from the cross and was a willful rebel to the Grace of God. During this time God was drawing me to Himself, doing many miracles before mine eyes. (Those who don't want the cross will, apart from God's mercy, receive a false peace at such condescensions of God toward man (2Th. 2:10-12)). I had supernatural meetings with God, very strong influences of the Holy Ghost upon my soul, and even set my coarse to seek the Lord till I found Him two different times but never went through with God which could be likened unto the blind man who was given sight in John chapter 9 but was not saved.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jon. 12:24,25).
I got fired from the military. The idol that was my girlfriend was stripped from me. I was thrown in the streets, homeless, thrown in jail, nearly dyed twice on drugs; truly, it seemed like everything I put my hand to got destroyed. No matter how hard I would try to drown myself in sin to escape reality, the whole time God was reminding me of the calling He had for me and was continually pressing upon me and justifying His terms of peace to this Grace-hating man. The first remembrance I have of God ever speaking to me was when I was in my early teens. He told me that He wanted me to be a preacher. I was greatly offended and despised the mention of His Grace. The only reason why I love the Biblical God now is because He first loved me. Truly, all once-born men are cut from the same cloth as the 1st century Jews. I am no better than them and would have crucified the Prince of Glory apart from His restraining Grace. One last notable mention: during this 5 year period of being an awakened sinner up till the day of my conversion, I didn't come across a single person that was genuinely converted! Not one preacher of righteousness preached to me the way of salvation! Amazing Grace!
"I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11,12).
If anyone is going to get saved in this apostate generation, God is going to have to save them from the soul-damning influences of False Christianity and its false prophets. It was by the Father of Mercies that He spared me from a legacy of works-based contra-biblical traditions of men. He spared me from being planted by a pseudo-righteousness, a having a zeal for Christ without Christ by never submitting to His terms of reconciliation: an exiting of this present world through a cross, salvation through a Person, an utter surrender to the Lordship of Christ, my personal crucifixion with Him; hence, He does call all men everywhere to “Enter ye in at the strait gate” (Mat. 7:13). Praise God. There is no other way. Let all men bow the knee and give Him obeisance. The Biblical Christ is the strait gate and if any man come to Him he must come to Him empty-handed. He is not asking for much, just everything you are and have under His Lordship and John Bunyan said something like “to enter in at the straight gate, there is only room enough for body and soul: not body, soul, and idols”. Jesus saves from the Christianity of the world!
Excerpts from the Rolfe Barnard Sermon, “What It Means to Be Lost”:
“I'm known as a Calvinist; I don't know what that means. I know John Calvin wouldn't claim kin to us! But if you're gonna call yourself a Calvinist remember that Calvinism in its essence is simply this: not predestination, it's not election, it's not irresistible grace, it's not those terms. Calvinism, the contribution of Mr. Calvin was simply this: that the gospel has to be interpreted and applied by the Holy Spirit. Now I'll fight you for that; I won't fight you over those other terms. I don't use them myself - you can if you want to. You don't understand them and if you don't understand them you shouldn’t get mad at folks you're trying to pop them into because they don't either! But the heart of this thing is that America is a pagan nation calling itself Christian! BECAUSE IT HAS HAD A GOSPEL MEN CAN ACCEPT AND BELIEVE AND LAY HOLD OF APART FROM THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Now that's the issue of this hour. It wouldn't do folks a bit of good on God's earth for you to get them to believe what you call your “five points of Calvinism”; that's not the issue today. They would probably be just a little deader than they are now if they switched their terminology. But the issue that we've got to get excited about is that the gospel itself is a mystery and that nobody can understand it and nobody can accept it and nobody can believe it except in the power of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that right? And that's the only gospel that is the power of God unto salvation.
You see what we call the gospel gets people to accept Jesus but the Bible gospel gets men to be seekers of the Lord to do for them what they cannot do for themselves.
If you want to get to the heart of Brother Calvin's theology and Brother Luther, here it is: John Calvin said, “Nobody will walk the streets of glory who hadn't been made willing to go to hell.” Whew! And you say you're a Calvinist? Can you take that? That's what he taught. And a Baptist preacher a hundred years ago, if your experience of grace sounded all right, he'd say, “My brother or sister, are you willing to be damned for the glory of God”? - Brother Rolfe Barnard
How Did The Lord Get Me On The Cross?
"For this ye know, that no covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:5).
Hail Sovereign Love that did violently interrupt and overthrow my course to destruction and damnation. Heaven's Hand came down to overthrow the ruler-ship of every idol in my life. In summary, my life was like a glass jar put in a velvet bag that then began to receive several strokes from a hammer or like a bird on top of a high tree, shot clean through the neck to a collision with the cement. And this is the loving-kindness and tender mercy of God, that He would reign fire down from Heaven and burn away my Sodom and Gomorrah - self-righteousness, ambitions, plans, and wishes till all of it at His feet in ashes lay. Who was I to reply against God? Who can withstand His almighty decrees from Heaven? “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29)?
To make a long story short, God's outstretched arm and manifold judgments upon the lust of my flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life did cause me to hate my life in such a way that I wished I had been born a fish because at least this simple creature does not have to deal with his soul. The Lord was ever bearing witness of the “the wrath of God” that did abide on me (Jon. 3:36), truly, there were many times I was afraid to go to sleep, lest I wake up in hell.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Pro. 1:7).
My earthly parents were distant to me, Hip Hop (my religion) was like a father to me and smoking weed (my spirituality) was dear to me like the wife and children that I have now.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple... So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luk. 14:26,27,33).
(Disclaimer: “Didn't you join a “Christian” Hip Hop crew after you were born again, using rapping and breakdancing as a means of ministry”? To my shame yes, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways” (Pro. 14:14) and “if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor” (Gal. 2:18) but praise the Holy God of Scripture who delivered me again from this vain show and “from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Gal. 1:4,5)).
The Lord spoke through my mind's eye, showing me a land of deep poverty void of 1st world commodities, even electricity; I knew this meant no music, which meant no rapping and no breakdancing. I had a strong sense that He was telling me “would you be willing to be a poor person and preach to poor people your whole life”? Praise God, in the day of His power (Psa. 110:3) I was willing! Even gladly! At this point in my life the Cross, being crucified on it, was the most RELEVENT option for me.
"Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able" (Luk. 13:23,24)
Immediately after this, the Lord started to deal with my god of marijuana. My conscience was pricked through and through and I could no longer justify it. A sound sense of judgment did cause me to stop smoking weed with a down-right earnestness, yet I could not function at work without it, yea, I didn't even want to eat unless my taste buds were tantalized by the herb's powers. No matter how hard I tried, I would fail time and time again, especially before bed, as I could not even go to sleep without it. I was a slave to sin.
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Jon. 10:9, Psa. 23:1)
I was put into another crisis, truly, God was commanding me to repent or perish, but no matter how hard I would be resolved to stop smoking weed I couldn't. Blessed be God, in hindsight I can say “happy condition”. This surely was the mercy of God. He was closing every door that leads to a false peace, self-righteous form of godliness, Christ-less Christianity, that I may go the way of the Cross, know the Truth of His Person, and live His life by His power instead of the snare of being zealous to reform your life based upon Christian principles without ever becoming born again; trying to wrap your mind around, trying to mimic Christ instead of walking in Christ and it is written, “by grace (Christ) are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it (He) is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9).
"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" (Luk. 16:16)
Day after day, week after week, I would throw myself at the mercy of God, at the foot of the Cross, by much agony and groaning of soul, begging God to crucify me with Him. It was shocking. Through much determination I was able to turn away from other sins which were technically more addictive than marijuana, but I believe God was doing this to show me that you can't save yourself, for it is by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
"'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!” - (Hymn, Amazing Grace)
The Gentle Savior kept passing me by, but in April 0f 2006, the Holy Hand of God lifted me up to my personal Calvary and hammered the nails through my vain and worthless life, in which “it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me” (Gal. 1:15,16). (There will be many Calvinists in hell because the doctrine of Total Depravity was never quickened to their own hearts, may God have mercy). Words can't describe what was happening to me. I literally felt like the scum of the whole universe, trembling under the weight of His Holiness, and was, for a moment, refusing His free gift of grace, for I felt like the farthest thing from Heaven's worthies. It was like the Love of God and the Wrath of God were colliding upon my soul at the same time! My crying out to God went from “forgive me of the things that I have done” to “save me from who I am”! I hated my life (Jon. 12:23-28). I truly felt like I was a monster, not even human, a dead dog and not a man, a worm truly. How could I receive such an unspeakable gift after taking the arrows of His mercies and shooting them back to His face my entire life, especially the past 5 years as an awakened sinner? I had heard of John 3:16 my whole life but it's a whole other thing when God gives you another set of ears to hear it the first time. Instead of mental assent into agreement of biblical truths, I had God-given faith in the good news: Jesus died for me and all the power and merits that His blood availed were mine by faith! Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! A Spirit other than my own was overwhelmingly bearing witness to me that I was His! At that moment, I wouldn't care if all of Orange County and LA county came to my front door and told me that I wasn't saved, I would boldly look them all in the face and tell them “Jesus is alive, He lives in His people! I am alive and He is with me! My burden was lifted at Calvary”!
Salvation By The Works Of The Flesh Refuted
It was never about me, nor will it ever be about me. I believe God loves sinners but He does not delight in them because they are without His Son - the only One His Holiness can ever delight in. Amen. I of myself, from the crown of my head to the foot of my soul am only a provocation to incite His Holiness against me. God saved me because of His Son, for His Son's own purpose and glory.
“O boundless love divine! How shall this tongue of mine to wond'ring mortals tell the matchless grace divine – That I, a child of hell, should in His image shine! The Comforter has come”!
"For when [I was] yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward [me], in that, while [I was] yet [a] sinner, Christ died for [me]. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, [I] shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:6-9)
An irresistible, amazing grace did sweet the sound of the Gospel call to be “crucified with Him” (Rom.6:6). Upon my absolute surrender, a “Great Light” (Mat. 4:16), was commanded from heaven to shine in my heart “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor. 4:6), and thus the Living Lord and obedience to His will did become my treasure. The powers of sin and death that did dominate me were reversed before the eyes of all my family, friends, and co-workers, and I did bear His resurrection and Name to testify of the new birth and did embrace my new God-given repute and persecution earned by His voice followed. “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1Th. 1:9).
“Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest; now Thee alone I seek, Give what is best...More love O Christ, to Thee, More love to Thee”!
What God has put together let no man put asunder, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Let's meditate on this verse for a moment... God performs the miracle of regeneration upon souls, making them new creatures in Christ. They are His Work, saved that they might do His Works in Christ Jesus and His works will work because they are His works. Is there anything self-righteous about that? There is nothing about me, about self in that verse. Salvation, initially and presently progressively is all of Grace and Grace is a Person, the biblical Christ, hence salvation is not just regeneration but walking with a Person.
Many of my dear Calvinist brethren think that I have gone to an entirely different Gospel, when this is far from the truth; I only believe that God will not respect any man's person (1Pet. 1:17), whether you are converted or unconverted, if you don't repent you will perish. Unregenerate persons and Christians in Christ are not saved by what they do or don't do in their flesh, that would be works-based salvation (Gal. 2:16-3:3). Salvation, initially and present-progressively is not in what you do or don't do, it is in Christ and Christ alone. He is both the straight gate and the narrow way, the Alpha and Omega of saving faith. From the crown of my head to the foot of my soul, I am as a putrefying wound, there is no soundness or goodness in me (Isa. 1:6), it is only in Christ who “liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20) and if I bear the fruit of such good things, you should know Who to give the glory to. All men are born evil (Psa. 58:3), totally depraved, they will not and cannot seek reconciliation to the Holy God of the Bible (Rom. 3:9-18), save God in His amazing grace does seek and reconcile them to Himself for Himself (Jon. 6:65). “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:27).
I believe in eternal security. It's in Christ. I don't have anything else - Solo Christo. Without having vital reality with Him, I am nothing, can do nothing, and all my Christ-less produce that I produce is disgusting to His taste buds and “ If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jon. 15:6), but if I abide in Him, He says “my peace I give unto you” (Jon. 14:27) and “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you” (Jon. 15:11). I am not alone! His peace, joy, and “mind” (1Cor.2:16) is in me working and willing to do for His good pleasure! I know Him! What rapture divine! What pure delight! His heart and mine become one (Psa. 37:4)!
“I need Thee every hour in joy or pain, come quickly and abide or life is vain! He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul; all I need to cleanse and make me whole. I have all for Him forsaken and all my idols torn from my heart and now He keeps me by His power. Though all the world forsake me and Satan tempt me sore, through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal”! “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing (abiding)” (Mat. 24:46). Surely such men who are in a blessed state shall know Him and when such a state is kept “by the Holy Ghost” (2Tim.1:14), “unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mat. 24:13).
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:2-4).
"None but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, whatever profession they may make, whatever church they may be in: for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." - Jonathan Edwards
Please, before you anathematize me and my people, please consider the severity of rejecting and mistreating true brethren (Mat.25:40,41). Would to God that you would be slow to speak and quick to hear these testimonies of Jesus Christ in others who were saved by the same Gospel:
Also, we fully agree with and endorse the Gospel that Jonathan Edwards preached:
"Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates" (2Cor. 13:7).