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Purification

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:11-14)

Christ purifies us, and then He sanctifies us, through His death. By ourselves, as we’ve all no doubt found out, we’re pretty hopeless… and useless… and all those other lovely adjectives used to describe those trying be good by their own volition. e.g., “bad”, etc.. A little more simply, we were “defiled persons”, as the author puts it.  But Christ is able to purify all.

The sacrifices the Israelites used to make were really quite meaningless, except to serve as a foreshadow of Christ’s sacrifice. They had no real power to take away sin, or to relieve guilt. Rather, God looked on them, and was reminded of the sacrifice which He had planned before time; the sacrifice of His son, which actually could take away sin and guilt.  Christ didn’t come before God with, as the author says, “the blood of goats and calves”, but with His own blood, to forgive the sins of the people; us.

Jesus didn’t only forgive our sins, though that in of itself would of been enough. He has also purified our consciences “from dead works to serve the living God.” All who believe in Christ as their savior are free from the slavery of sin and guilt, and are under a commission to “serve the living God.”  I believe I’m serving God, albeit in a very small way, through my blog. As are numerous others through their blog. Pastors serve God when they preach, deacons do when they serve, and so forth. But ministry doesn’t have to stay in the Church, or for that matter in the blogopsphere. In fact, it shouldn’t stay just in the Church (or blogopsphere). Rather, however it is we can serve, we should serve God in that way. Whether in the Church or not.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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Lord of the Sabbath

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. I believe that’s rather definitive: the author states quite clearly, in no uncertain terms, that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God… But, how does this solution fit into the context of the surrounding verses?

For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4:4-7)

We see here that some people apparently failed to enter God’s rest, “because of disobedience.” How hard can not doing any work one day out of the week really be? It seems like such a simple thing. Perhaps the author means they didn’t “enter” the rest because of their disobedience, in the sense that they simply didn’t stop working on the Sabbath. i.e. Perhaps the author simply means they disobeyed God’s command. Yet, context tells us that the author is speaking about the Israelites (we see this in verse 3, where the author quotes Psalm 95:11, which in its own context we see is in reference the Israelites.), a people who kept the Sabbath day holy all the time. How could it be that they didn’t “enter into” this rest?

Because the Sabbath rest the author is talking about, isn’t the Sabbath of old. Rather, we see (In Matthew 12:8) that Jesus is the “Lord of the Sabbath”. Jesus Himself is our Sabbath rest. Paul confirms this for us:

14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:14-17)

The Sabbath finds its fulfillment in Christ. He is the one that gives us rest now: We no longer have to stop all work on the Sabbath, or else risk God’s wrath. Rather, now we have to accept Jesus as our savior, or face Hell.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
 

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Soldiers for the Lord

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8)

We’re told four things here: first, that God wouldn’t be ‘pleased’ with our sacrifices (he isn’t pleased if we offer our firstborn son). Then we’re told the three things God has commanded us to do: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. — On a side note, those three things aren’t for salvation; we don’t ‘do justice,’ etc. to be saved. We’ll talk more about that in a bit. But for now, lets look at the first thing that we can see:

God Doesn’t Like Our Sacrifices

Now, Micah doesn’t actually go right out and say that God doesn’t like sacrifices. Rather, he shows us some examples of sacrifices we may offer, then says what God actually does require for us to do, and, as sacrificing isn’t in “the list”, its inferred God doesn’t ‘want it’… With that being said, we are told to ‘present ourselves as living sacrifices’ in the New Testament (see Romans 12:1). So, because of that, its reasonable to assume that here Micah is only referring to sacrifices of things which are important to us, and things which we think would draw us closer to God, but in reality aren’t helpful at all (i.e. sacrificing bulls, our first born, etc..). Meaning, in essence, that God doesn’t want us to offer works, He wants us to offer ourselves. Of course, offering ourselves will naturally lead to works, but the works wont be in an effort to be made right with God (which seems to be what Micah is referring to).

Now that we’ve said that… Why doesn’t God want us to offering a couple thousand rams? After all, doesn’t He like seeing a couple thousand of His creations burning? Well, to start with, Isiah tells us all our works are like filthy rags (see: Isaiah 64:6), so no, God doesn’t really like seeing His people wiping themselves with dirty rags, in an effort to make themselves clean. But more, much, much, much more importantly than that, is this:

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (3:16)

So much more worse to God than seeing His people trying to “clean” themselves by their own works, is seeing them reject His free offer of a bath! He hates seeing them struggling to get clean, while all the while He’s offering to wash them clean; to remove any and all stains. Which is why He hates to see us virtually offering our first-born up; He’s already done it! He already offered His son on our behalf, there’s no need for us to do so.

Now, rather obviously in Micah’s time, Jesus hadn’t yet died and risen again. But even then God didn’t like sacrifices, and so set up several things for them to do; i.e. love judgment and the rest – along with several other things, it’s just those three where the most important… Speaking of which, lets look at those three things now:

God Wants us to ‘Do Justice’, ‘Love Kindness,’ and ‘Walk Humbly with Our Lord’

Now, obviously this wasn’t the only things that the Israelites were supposed to do, and neither is it for us. However, as Christians and as an expression of our love for our Lord, we are to be just, kind, and walk humbly with God. But more than that, look at the verbs (I think they’re all verbs, possibly minus the first one) attached to each action: “Do,” “Love,” and “Walk Humbly.”

“Do” implies action. Its doing, its active. “Do”, is a command, not a statement (such as “done”). “Love,” is also an action, but according to Paul it’s also far more:

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

“Walk”, isn’t just standing still (… Rather obviously). It means movement, rather than just standing by. “Humbly,” means with respect. It means knowing that we’re far inferior to a mighty, all-powerful God. It means submissiveness; we’re to submit to Him, and what He tells us to do. So, we’re supposed to actively try to do justice (in a loving manner), we’re to love doing kindness, and we’re to humbly walk with our Lord.

Finally, in closing, I would like to say this: we aren’t to do the three things I just mentioned because, as, again, I already mentioned, God doesn’t like seeing His people trying to wipe themselves clean with filthy rags. Instead, we’re to do those things because we’re Christians, and as such its our duty to, even if only by our actions, show the love, compassion, and justice of God to others. i.e. We should do it because we should want to, and even if we don’t want, we should do them because its our duty as soldier in the Lord’s army to do them (a soldier must be just, kind to those not his enemies, and must be in constant, humble, connection with his leader).

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

P.S. I recently re-read this post, and saw that my spelling was rather dramatically off (to say the least), and thus the point of what I was trying to say was somewhat diminished. I plan on fixing it in the near future, but in the mean time, please forgive the errors.

Thank you,

Joshua

 

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Finding Peace and Shelter in Jesus

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace. When the Assyrian comes into our land and treads in our palaces, then we will raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; (Micah 5:2-5)

We see a couple of things here. First of all, we know that the person Micah is referring to here, in the beginning of the passage, is Jesus. That’s obvious, because only He was the one who was born in Bethlehem, and was the ruler of Israel, and through His birth caused God to remember His people. Along with that though, we also see what we’re supposed to do:

  1. Dwell secure in Him.
  2. Find peace in Him.

Our job/s are really pretty simple; it’s not like we have to die on a cross. All we need to do is find our security in Jesus, easy, right? People have a problem (yes, that’s a slight understatement). That problem is that they tend to require physical things, such as food. Sadly, people, including myself, have a tendency to carry over that need to touch, to taste, etc. over into Spiritual matters; things which you cannot tough or taste. Which is a long-winded way of saying that, frankly, putting our security in Jesus (someone we can’t touch) is rather difficult. We’d rather trust in money, something we can see. Or we’d even prefer trusting in nature, or better still, our own works! — A song-writer put it in this way:

Sink the whaling ships, save the whales
Kick out the French, save the baby snails
Stop the interstellar radiation
But we can never be our own salvation

— From: Ian Eskelin

Dwelling in Christ, and finding peace in Him, can only be done with the help of the Spirit. Because, as previously mentioned, we typically prefer tangible to Spiritual things… Unless the Spirit is working within us to will and to do the will of the Lord. With that being said, though, this is what it means to dwell in Christ, and what it means to find peace in Him, in simple terms:

We dwell in Christ when He dwells in us (seems like a paradox, I know, but the same rules don’t apply Spiritually that do physically). And we find peace in Jesus, when we aren’t worried about what will happen to us physically; i.e., when we have the attitude that if we die, all that’ll happen is that we’ll go somewhere even better than where we are now… Because, to be frank, we will.

We Dwell in Christ when He Dwells In Us

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

Dwelling in Christ simply means being a Christian. As I said before, it means having Christ dwell in us; live in our hearts, thus making us “Christians.”

Finding Peace in Christ

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

We shouldn’t be troubled. Why? Because, as I’ve already said, we’re safe in Christ. As Jesus Himself said, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (see: John 16:33), thus no matter what “the world” (temptation/unbelievers) do to us, Jesus has already overcome; thus, through Him, we have as well.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Jesus in Micah

Hello again!

Today we’re moving ahead a book from Jonah, to Micah. — This is what God gave me today in His word:

Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the Lord GOD be a witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? And what is the high place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? (Micah 1:2-5)

Look for a moment here at exactly how, and in what order, Micah phrases things:

First off, he tells of God in His temple. Then he tells of how “the LORD is coming out of his place”. Thirdly, he says, “and will come down and tread upon the high places of the Earth.” And this is followed by mountains melting under Him and valleys splitting open. Not only that, but Micah then tells us why and where this will happen: it will happen because of the transgressions of Judah and Israel, and it will happen at Jerusalem. Well, I don’t remember any of this happening ever? When did God step out of Heaven, for the transgressions of sinners? If you don’t mind, I would like to share with you a couple of verses that may make you see this in a new light:

And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). (Mark 15:22) – An interesting thing to note here is that Golgotha is right outside of Jerusalem. In addition to that, it’s a mountain… One could even call it a “high place.”

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Mathew 27:51-53)

Jesus Christ stepped down from Heaven; stepped down from His place, down to the high place on Earth, called Golgotha. And, when He stepped down to Golgotha, and was crucified, tombs broken open; the dead were raised to life (their Spirits flowed from on high back into their bodies, possibly in a slightly water-like way, we don’t know for sure), the valley of death was breached! And why did all of this happen? It happened because of sin; because of transgression.  And where did it happen? Right outside of Jerusalem. Jesus, one can rather safely assume, is the fulfillment of the prophecy Micah made.

The point being simply this: the Old Testament, no matter where, to some extent or other, speaks of Jesus. We’ve just got to find it.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Transname: Genesis 33:17-20

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Verses:

But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth. And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. (Genesis 33:17-20)

Transname:

At first we found rest and refreshment in ‘the wisdom of the world’; we drank all the saltwater the world offered us. We turned our backs to God and continued on our path to death. Yet then Jesus was elevated on a cross; becoming an (elevated-)ransom for us all. And now we call Him our God; the God of Israel.

Explanation of the transname:

First of all let me, in you would, explain that last part of about God being our God/the God of Israel: no, I’m not an Israelite by birth, but every child of God is a son of Abraham and thus technically are Israelites:

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham (K)because they are his offspring, but (L)“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but (M)the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: (N)“About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Romans 9:6-9)

With that out-of-the-way… Here are what the names mean (in order):

Succoth: Boothes (booths were place of refreshment.)

Shechem: Back (or sometimes, “Shoulder”)

Paddan-aram: Elevated Ransom or Plain of Aram (under the circumstances, the first one seemed to be more right)

El-Elohe-Israel: The God of Israel

New Testament confirmation:

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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Only Through His All Surpassing Power

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)

The power of God, is made perfect in weakness. That’s an interesting thought, that aligns with the rest of scripture. Take the Israelites, an enslaved nation, yet God chose them. Or if you want to get out of the scripture, take us! Unable to do anything to help ourselves, unable to stop sinning, yet God chose us. – Abram (later to become Abraham) and Sarah, a very old man and very old women), were chosen by God to have a son. The slave women Hagar, when she was powerless to save herself or her son, God chose to save them. – Paul, a persecutor of Christs’ followers, (he would actually kill them!) was chosen by God to be on of the most influential Christians of all time. Weakness is God’s platform on which he builds his people it seems.

First, if someone isn’t weak Spiritually, can they actually be saved? … We’ve just established that God uses the fools of the world to humble the “wise”. So what if someone simply doesn’t have any problems aside from the pride every human being living has and the occasional temptation?

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

The day someone like the person I described is found, will be the day pigs fly, of course that won’t happen, seeing as evolution doesn’t really exist. But that’s another point for another day. – My point being that there is no “perfect person” living, there isn’t even someone who even comes remotely close to being, “acceptable” and as for “mildly alright”, forget about it. We’re all, everyone on of us, weaklings. Pathetically running into the pit of sin, unable to stop ourselves from hurtling straight towards a very earthly(/early) and cut short life. Not only that, but trying to cut down everyone else in the process. This is why it’s only through Christs’ death and Resurrection that we can be saved; only by his all surpassing power that we can live eternally. In fact, not only are we now completely turned around, and running in the opposite direction, we now try to help others as well when Christ saves us.

Through our weakness, God’s power is made perfect. Through our gleeful run towards that which will kill us, Christ’s saving power is made even more clear in our lives. That phrase, “through our weakness, God’s power is made perfect.” is so big, there’s no way anyone can possibly touch on every aspect of how that’s true. You could even say that in our weak-minded brains, the incomprehensibly large power of God is made to seem even greater by our feeble efforts to capture it in words.

This is my point: it actually does matter how weak you are, it matters a lot. Oh how weak you are, all the better for God’s power to be made even more spectacular when people see the incredible change that has come over you! We in of ourselves can’t kill ourselves. Which is exactly what is required for salvation; death to our old nature. We are weak, we aren’t able to break the “addiction”, we aren’t able to stop, or for that matter, we’re not even able to start fixing the problem, only by Christ’s death can we be set free.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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The Removal of the Veil

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Corinthians 3:11-16)

Paul seems to have switched topics. First he’s talking about Moses’ fading glory, then he’s talking about a veil covering the Israelites hearts. Then he’s talking about a veil covering everyone’s heart, until they turn to the Lord and are saved. From these switches, we seem to pick up the idea that the, “veil” Paul is referring to has turned from something physical on Moses’ face to something Spiritual, which can cover the heart. So what exactly is this Spiritual veil that cover’s every unbeliever’s heart?

First, what is the Spiritual veil Paul is referring to? … Assuming there is an answer to that question.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. (2 Corinthians 3:7-9)

In both the physical and Spiritual case Paul is referring to pretty much the same thing; “the ‘ministry’ of death.” Commonly known as the law. The veil Paul is talking about, is the law. With that established, what is this other ministry Paul keeps referring to? Well if the ministry of death is the law, then we can safely assume that the ministry of righteousness is the thing opposite of the law; the cross. – But what takes off the veil? Paul mentioned turning to the Lord would take it away, but what does that mean?

It mean’s turning to the Lord. To be frank about it. How do we turn to the Lord? By the afore-mentioned cross. How does the cross help us turn to the Lord? By turning the lights really dim and playing soft music in the background? By psychologically effecting some deep part of the brain? No, and no again. The cross turns us to the Lord, by being the way we turn to the Lord. When Christ died for us on the cross, the veil covering our hearts was torn from top to bottom (along with the temple veil).

Second, what power does the law have now? … If it has any at all.

Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. (2 Corinthians 3:10)

The law doesn’t have power like it used to. For example, we are no longer under obligation to obey the The 613 Mitzvot commandments, or the Halakhah, Torah, or the Kashrut, to name a few. So to repeat the question, what power does the law hold, if any?

This is the power the law holds: the power to show us what we’re doing wrong and to point us to Christ. When the veil still covers our hearts and when we still are trying to obey the law; we find out that it’s impossible to obey the law. We just can’t do it, no matter how hard we command ourselves and try to force ourselves to obey the law, we always fall back into sin. That’s the power of the law. To make us realize our helplessness, so that we realize we need Jesus to save us.

The point being this: The Spiritual veil that covers everyone’s heart before they’re saved, is removed in one way. That way being simply turning to the Lord, which is accomplished in two ways. First the veil itself contributes to the cause, by making us realize how impossible it is for us to obey the law. Second, Jesus’ death on the cross is the way we turn to the Lord; By accepting Jesus as Lord, we turn to the Lord. All in all, Paul is simply reminding the Corinthians (and us) that life is much better without the veil than with it.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Delivered Through Love, Glory

 

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Fulfillment: Our’s, and the law’s.

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56)

How can the law be the power of sin? I always thought it was the thing that told us what to do, granted, it was more of a, “what to do; or else,” sort of thing. But it still tells us the way to salvation! So how and why does Paul say it’s the power of sin? How could something given by God himself be the power of sin?

First, how can the law be the power of sin? …

Well let’s think about it a minute. Let’s say I tell you not to think about a pink elephant (an example my dad uses). What did you just think of? A pink elephant… Adam and Eve in the garden, God told them not to the fruit of the tree of good and evil; what could they not resist doing (with a little help)? But now, is this really the purpose of the law? God after all did give it to help the Israelites, right?

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:20-21)

The law is the power of sin in this way: it tells us what not to do, but doesn’t give us the power to do it. In fact, to the contrary, it gives us the idea of doing those things. The point of the law isn’t so much to make us perfect, as it is meant to lead us to the one who can; Christ.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Second, now that we understand the purposes of them law, what good does it do us who are saved? … i.e., now that we know what the law is meant to do; point us to Jesus. And now that we’ve been saved, what good can the law do us?

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

How does one realize they are sinful? Guilt? Some inward moral code? Your conscious? All three, or maybe some mixture? Yes, all of those things, possibly minus the second one, could be contributors, but not necessarily. Someone realizes they are sinful by, frankly speaking, realizing they’re sinful. Or more accurately, by realizing what they’re doing is wrong. How can someone experience guilt if they don’t know what they’re doing is wrong? Can’t conscious be, “dulled”? How can anyone have a inward moral code if they don’t know what is moral and what isn’t? The law is meant to show us what is right and what is wrong.

We have to keep in mind now though that the law was taken down and that it was destroyed not in part, but the whole. – The law was meant to make the Israelites look at themselves and see what they were, what they were doing. However, they could look all they wanted, they had no real ability to fully, as in, 100%, without any break, to obey it. That’s why sacrifices were instituted. We too have no ability to obey the law, that’s why the sacrifice was instituted. That one, fulfilled all the one prior to it.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Of course, we still do, “good works”. But for an entirely different reason and purpose. We found in the verse in Exodus that the Israelites had the fear of the Lord pushing them on to attempt perfection, we don’t have that. They’re purpose was as already mentioned, perfection. We won’t have that until we die and know not to the try. So what is our reason for doing anything good in life? Why not live like the nations the Israelites destroyed used to; In sin. Because as Paul noted, it’s not us so much doing the work as it is the Lord inside of us. And it’s not us who makes the work prosper, it’s the Lord (God). That’s why we still do, “good deeds”.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

[Chorus:]
Hear us say Jesus
Where are we while the world caves in? Are
we showing love or hate, are we enemy or friend
what was black and white has now turned grey
Let’s right this wrong with
love today. Stand our ground but with a helping hand

[Chorus]
So sing it out now, with one voice loud and clear
Sing
Hallelujah, for our Redemption’s near

Fall In Line
Seven PlacesCD: Hear Us Say Jesus
BEC (2004)

 

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Yoked to Christ

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

“My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they were set upon my neck; he caused my strength to fail; the Lord gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand. (Lamentations 1:14)

Our sins (above).

The Lord has become like an enemy; he has swallowed up Israel; he has swallowed up all its palaces; he has laid in ruins its strongholds, and he has multiplied in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation. (Lamentations 2:5)

The result thereof (also above). – The result of sin is that God becomes an enemy. But what I find interesting, is that God himself is the one who put the yoke around Israel’s – the author is referring to himself as Israel here – neck. Does but does this apply to us? Well no, it doesn’t actually. But why doesn’t it? And if (because) it doesn’t, what burden do we have, if any?

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

Why doesn’t it apply to us? Because unlike the Israelites, all our transgressions were bound up onto Jesus for us. He bore our yoke for us and now we’re no longer under the supervision of the law. But what is it we’re under now, if not the law or our sins (guilt, etc), then what?

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

The “yoke” we now bear is Christ. But what’s the point of saying all this? What’s the conclusion? Because Christ, God’s only son, died and rose again for us, the burden we now bare is not one of guilt, but one of freedom in Christ. – We’re now yoked to Christ, and that’s quite freeing!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 

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