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Category Archives: God Saved Us!

The Old and the New

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. (Hebrews 8:6-7)

In the first covenant, people were required to obey, under penalty of quite literally, death in some cases. Though really, no matter what happened, if you sinned, something had to die. That could be a sheep, a dove, or any number of other things. Just look at Exodus and Leviticus if you want proof. – To put it one way, there was always blood, in front of God: for your sin, for your brother’s sin, for your father’s and mother’s sin. Don’t even get me started on fellowship offerings, peace offerings and the rest. So what really is the difference between the old and new covenant?

What exactly is the difference between the old and new covenants? 

Well, there’s still blood and it’s still covering our sin. There’s still a high priest; there’s still intercession made between us and God. The difference is that Jesus, is the sacrifice that was made once and for all. It was the final one made on our behalf before God.  Not only that, but now Jesus constantly intercedes for us, instead of just once a year with a rope and bells attached to him.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:23-27)

The writer (who we’ll refer to as, “he” again), first gives us our hope, then he gives us our responsibility. Our hope, being Jesus. Our responsibility, being to hold fast to that hope. Also though, it’s to not sin (deliberately). A very reasonable question to ask now is, “how can I do that?” It seem’s and in fact is impossible for us to do. The only way not to do it, is through Jesus’ power. Through his strength and not our, “will power”.

The point? We have been given hope, but we’ve also been given a warning not to try to “abuse” that hope.

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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Remember From Afar

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“You who have escaped from the sword, go, do not stand still! Remember the LORD from far away, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: (Jeremiah 51:50)

Remember the Lord from afar. I think that sums up the Old Testament fairly well, don’t you? Barely escaping destruction, and remembering the Lord from afar.

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” (Exodus 20:18-19)

So this is what we should still do today, right? After all, if the Israelites, God’s chosen people, were afraid of even hearing his voice, should we be any different today?

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split (Matthew 27:50-51)

Yes we are different today, and the reason is simply because we don’t have to remember the Lord from afar anymore, the veil has been broken! Our savior, Jesus Christ, died for us; ripping the veil that kept everyone but the High Priest (and him only once a year) from seeing and talking with God. But now we see a new question has God somehow changed between back then and now? Well we know that is impossible according to Hebrews 13:8. So why does it appear he has suddenly become more merciful then back then in Jeremiah’s time?
No, he hasn’t changed, just the way we worship him has:

4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4)

Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:27)

So what’s the conclusion? We don’t have to remember God from afar, or make sacrifices to him anymore. Though he (God) himself hasn’t changed, we now can come into his presence and not die, because Jesus Christ has covered us in his own blood!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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An Execration; a Horror; a Curse; and a Taunt.

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. You shall see this place no more. (Jeremiah 42:18)

In what circumstances though would this happen I wonder? – If they returned to Egypt, God said the above (they’re becoming a: execration, etc), would happen. So how are we to apply this today? If someone goes back to “Egypt” or in today’s words Drugs or Alcoholism, should we do all of those things to them? Well of course not. But why? Let’s think about this for a moment: why is it today, that we don’t do the same thing God did back then (or more accurately; was going to do)? Why is it that everyone that turns to drug’s isn’t promptly put out of the church (you will see this place no more) and beaten (all the rest). Well aside from that being extremely illegal, the reason we don’t do what God did today, is because there has been a change in the way we do things.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21-22)

From the above passage (the one in Galatians) we can see that things have in fact changed; we’re no longer under the law… We’re not stoned to death any longer for doing something wrong. Why? Because of what he, Jesus, did for us. Namely, dying on the cross for us.

Conclusion? Because Jesus was beaten, made to become an execration and a horror. Cursed for our transgressions and a taunted (spat at), we no longer have to become the afore-mentioned. However, this does not entitle us to freedom to do whatever it is our flesh want’s to do. Paul in Roman’s 6 makes that point quite clear.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Because of What You’ve Done

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he took him bound in chains along with all the captives of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon. The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The LORD your God pronounced this disaster against this place. The LORD has brought it about, and has done as he said. Because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey his voice, this thing has come upon you. (Jeremiah 40:1-3)

Because of what you’ve done this has come upon you. Because of what Jeremiah did, he was punished. Well let’s say I have a ton of debt, I suppose does that mean God’s punishing me? Now that I think about it, my car broke down, Is the resonable conclusion though that I must have disobeyed the Lord? … Careful; one false step could mean the dishwasher is next! – We don’t have to live that way, obviously (unlike Jeremiah). But think about it, why is it we don’t have to live in fear of doing something wrong in God’s eyes?

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard that verse and I don’t see how it changes anything. Sure Christ became sin for us, but that only covers what happened before not what will happen.

for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

Ah, so God’s working in me now to will and to act according to his good purpose. That would explain the not-broken-state of the toaster I suppose… So just give me a minute here to get this all straight:

Because Christ became sin and died, God now lives in me, and now I’m free to do whatever I want. With no limits or bounds what so ever. Without there being a resulting earthquake, volcanic explosion, etc. I’m free, free, free! After all I can’t do anything God doesn’t want me to, so obviously I can do whatever I want to!

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:1-7)

Ah, well let me revise my summary then:

Because of what he (Jesus) di(e)d for me and therefore I am free, yes, but that freedom is freedom from sin, and slavery to Christ.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The First and Last Adams

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:7-8)

And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:9-10)

Grab your popcorn, because I predict the second big bang is about to happen. In which the Earth will be utterly obliterated! … Why are we not all dead, that’s my question. Anyway you look at it, we, as a planet, have done evil in God’s sight. Could it be that God is simply looking the other way? What’s going on here?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Ah, that would explain why we aren’t little bits floating around in space. But how is it that one man dying on a cross, could possibly save the entire world, half (or more) of which isn’t even sure he ever existed.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.  (1 Corinthians 15:45-47)

Conclusion? By one man sin was brought into this world, and by one man sin was taken out of it. – Christ became sin for us; in this way he took on the sin of the world and saved us.

Video URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGCISQQ7Zo

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Sins Of the Father Passed Down To the Son?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, ‘Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?’ then you shall say to them: ‘Because your fathers have forsaken me, declares the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, (Jeremiah 16:10-11)

Because my dad was at one point “bad” as we all were, that automatically means I’m going to do everything bad my dad ever did in life plus whatever else I’ve already done or will do? Well if that’s the case, I’m also going to copy the sins of my grandparents, great grandparents etc… And if that’s the case, it means, all in all, I’m a hopeless wretch, you’re a hopeless wretch, and we’re all going to hell because at one point our great, great, great-grandfather did something he shouldn’t have.

23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, (Galatians 3:23-26)

Ah, so now we’re children of God and not men, but how does that figure? How did we get there, what is this “faith that has come”? And while I’m at it, don’t I still have my own sins to contend with?

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

Conclusion? The sins of the father are passed down to the son! But because our father is perfect, the opposite is true: The glory and forgiveness of the father are passed down to the son.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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God’s Wrath; God’s Way; and Back To Wrath

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. “Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. (Jeremiah 6:11)

God’s Wrath (above)

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)

God’s Rejected Way (above)

Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. (Jeremiah 6:18-19)

And back to God’s wrath. Why? Because the law is life, (right?) and they didn’t obey. Speaking of which, I’ve “rejected the law” in a sense because I have no ability to obey it. So why hasn’t this same fate befallen me? After all, I’m deserving of God’s wrath, as are you. So, why hasn’t God burned me up yet?

Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. (Galatians 3:25)

Well If I’m no longer “under supervision”, why not simply go and have a party in the world? … After all, God won’t give me the same fate as the fellas above. What does God expect me to do if I don’t have restrictions; start taking drugs and drinking? Well, obviously that can’t be it because of Romans 6, but what does God want me to do? I feel useless just sitting around.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

So, once again, all I have to do is let Jesus do it.

So in summary:

we no longer have to fear God’s wrath being poured down on us, because Jesus took it for us when he fulfilled the law. And, because Jesus is the fulfillment of the law, I no longer am “supervised” or controlled by the law, but instead by Jesus.

Which in turn all means just one thing: though I did nothing to earn my salvation, in fact though I did the opposite of trying to earn it, Jesus still saved me and you!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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