God’s holiness

Given Versus Came #3

Friday, February 24, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

Hebrews chapter 12 summarizes the drastic change in how God dealt the Israelites when they rejected His grace and preferred a performance-based acceptance system: “[18] … the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, … blackness, and darkness, and tempest, [19] And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: [20] (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: [21] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: )….”

With the institution of the Mosaic Law (delineated in Exodus chapter 20), JEHOVAH God became distant and severe. If there was so much as an animal that touched Mount Sinai, God demanded it be killed! A man was to be put to death if he touched Sinai! Israel, up to this point, had not been fearful of God. They had seen God deal harshly with Egypt, but not with them. Now, they literally tremble as the Old Covenant is ratified!

Friend, the Law is not the sinner’s friend. No, the Law is not flawed: God’s Law is “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12). However, it is “weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). The Law “worketh wrath” (Romans 4:15). We cannot measure up to God’s righteous standards. Not only are our deeds evil; we, by nature, in heart, are evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 7:11). The Law exposes our sinful nature and deeds: “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56b). The Law only highlights our failures. It was intended to teach Israel they could not be God’s people based on their efforts!

As long as they had a performance-based acceptance system, their religious works being the issue, God would always be distant, displeased, offended, and angry. They would need JEHOVAH God to institute a more advantageous, and personal, system….

Given Versus Came #2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

In Exodus 19:1-8, Israel accepted God’s Covenant of Law. They will be His people only if they obey His Law. How does God react? How is His relationship with Israel changed? Their wish is granted via an extremely frightening encounter with Him!

“[9] And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. [10] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, [11] And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. [12] And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: [13] There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.”

“[16] And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. [17] And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. [18] And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. [19] And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.”

The dreadful Law of God will be implemented….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

He Who Knew No Sin

Thursday, June 2, 2016

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV).

What does the Bible mean—Christ “knew” no sin?

The Greek word translated “knew” (ginosko) in today’s Scripture in the King James Bible, is rendered “had” in six modern English versions. That is, “had no sin” is found in: NIV, NIV-UK, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV), Expanded Bible (EXB), International Children’s Bible (ICB), and New Century Version (NCV). While this rewording avoids copyright infringements, it is a poor translation. Out of 50 English versions, only these six use “had.” The majority—agreeing with the KJV—renders ginosko as “knew.” Why is “knew” superior?

Jesus did not merely “have no sin.” As someone once pointed out, “had” allows the possibility that Jesus had personal sins that God did not simply credit to His account. Nay, our KJV has the correct reading—“who knew no sin.” As 1 John 3:5 says: “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” And 1 Peter 2:22 confirms: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth….” Jesus had no sins for Father God to reckon because He never “knew” (experienced) sin! Our Lord Jesus had no relationship with sin like we. How was this possible?

The Lord Jesus was far from a “good man” and “great teacher.” He was the perfect Man, God manifested in our humanity. There is no way a man cannot sin… unless, of course, he lacks a human father. So, the Lord Jesus did not have a biological earthly father. Therefore, he had no Adamic sin nature to inherit. He merely had a human mother, with God the Holy Spirit supplying the male sex cell. Notice Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” That “holy thing” was Jesus’ sinless human nature, contrasted with our “unclean thing,” or sinful human nature (cf. Isaiah 64:6).

Without a sin nature, Jesus could never “know” sin!

Biblophobia and Christophobia

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved (John 3:19,20 KJV).

Behold, the phobias from which all lost sinners suffer!

In recent years, “homophobia” (fear of homosexuals), “Islamophobia” (fear of Muslims, or Islamic theology), and “xenophobia” (fear of anything foreign) have entered common English vernacular. These terms have been fashioned into clubs to beat Christians over the head. Actually, this sort of name-calling can be summarized as: “childish playground antics with a multi-syllable twist.” The Christian is chastised when speaking out against sin and false religion. Those who cry “foul” and “bigotry” then spew their hatred with, “Homophobe!,” “Islamophobe!,” “Xenophobe!”

Fellow Bible-believing Christians, when we are called names with the suffix –phobia, may we kindly point out that our critics suffer from conditions “Biblophobia” and “Christophobia.” They fear and hate the Holy Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ whose will it exalts. Whatever they believe and say is their business, and whatever we believe and say is ours. If they want to embrace vain lifestyles and pursuits, God will gladly let them (Romans 1:18-32). May they “enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25)!

Today’s Scripture with its context: “[18] He that believeth on him [the Son, Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [21] But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

So, really, when people talk about “homophobia” and “Islamophobia,” they are really saying, “Do not shine the light of God’s Word! Keep it dark! What is done in the dark no one sees!” They have a phobia… a fear of the spiritual light God’s Word casts on their sin!

Lamentations and Adulations #2

Saturday, February 27, 2016

“But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us” (Lamentations 5:22 KJV).

What a befitting end to the book of Lamentations!

Lamentations is actually the Holy Spirit through Jeremiah expressing His grief concerning the destruction His people brought upon themselves. But, it is also Jeremiah the Prophet voicing his praise of JEHOVAH God. The God of Israel is a good God, most forgiving and most gracious (Lamentations 3:22-25).

As He told Moses many centuries before Jeremiah, Exodus 34:5-7: “[5] And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. [6] And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, [7] Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

No matter what horrible situation Israel placed herself into, there was (and always would be) assurance that JEHOVAH God would never give up on her. He would never leave her completely. Israel, as all of sinful mankind, turned out to be such a rotten nation. God had every right to utterly reject them and be very wroth with them. They had turned Jerusalem, the city where He desired to live with them, into a pagan shrine where they had literally set up idols to worship and serve! My, how He judged Jerusalem—yea, all of Israel. But, He will never break His Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

As Paul the Apostle commented, although Israel is set aside today in our Dispensation of Grace: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:28,29). God will make Israel His kingdom of priests in His own time. “Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21—the verse before today’s Scripture). Israel’s best years are still future—due to God’s faithfulness, not hers! 🙂

The Real Bartimaeus

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“And they came to Jericho: and as he [Jesus] went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging” (Mark 10:46 KJV).

Who is “Bartimaeus” really?

We continue reading after today’s Scripture: “[47] And when he [Bartimaeus] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. [48] And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. [49] And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. [50] And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. [51] And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. [52] And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

The etymologies of the Bible’s proper nouns (people, places, et cetera) are great teaching tools. For example, in today’s Scripture, “Bartimaeus” means “son of the unclean/defiled.” He is a son of Adam, the first sinner, and he illustrates Israel’s defiled nature as descendants of Adam.

Bartimaeus recognizes his physical blindness, symbolic of his (and his nation Israel’s) spiritual blindness. He cries out to the Saviour for help, but people want him to be quiet. The Lord Jesus has compassion, and asks Bartimaeus what he desires of Him. Representative of believing Israel, Bartimaeus shouts, “Lord, that I might receive my sight!” Jesus Christ acquiesces. He wants Israel to give Israel spiritual sight, that she see His truth. To demonstrate it, He grants physical sight to Bartimaeus! Bartimaeus depicts Israel’s believing remnant. They come to Jesus Christ to be healed of their sin problem, and through the endless ages to come, they follow Him in their identity as His people. Israel has a grand hope in store for her! 🙂

Eternal Life or Folly Forever

Thursday, September 25, 2014

“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 KJV).

Like the Galatians, many today are “foolish,” not thinking clearly, assuming our salvation unto eternal life is gained or enhanced by our frail efforts!

Organized religion always urges us to do something to “enhance” our Christian life—tongue talking, aisle walking, sin confession, holy-day obligation, prayer recitation, generous donation, water rites, visits to holy sites. To varying degrees, every group pushes external activities, either to gain your salvation, to prove your salvation, or to keep your salvation. Undeniably, to arrive at such conclusions, they had to completely ignore the six Bible chapters, 149 verses, and 3,098 words known as “the book of Galatians.” As 1 Timothy 1:7 says, these works-religion people have no idea what they are saying or what they are insisting.

Friends, to corrupt the grace of God into a works-message is the most damnable of all teachings. It is strong language, but here is the plain truth. Either Jesus Christ paid for all our sins at Calvary’s cross, or He did not; either His performance was and is enough, or it was and is not ( He should have stayed in heaven then!).

To put our dirty, sinful fingers around God’s holy collar and demand He give us a place in heaven because we did a few “good” works is utterly silly; Jesus Christ did more than a few good works, and, unlike us, He was no sinner. On Calvary’s cross, He suffered your second death, the pain so deserving us in hellfire. What would take you eternity to do, He satisfied God’s righteousness in just a fraction of a day! God does not want reformation of deeds; He wants Jesus Christ to be in you to do good works (Galatians 2:20,21). We need a new nature, not just a change in lifestyle.

If our dear religious family members and friends could grasp these simple Bible truths, it would literally save them an eternity of regret! Jesus Christ’s shed blood paid the price, and His resurrection gives us new life. We can trust in Him alone, and He will do the rest! (Or we can continue in our folly.)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does God intervene in my life? If so, how?