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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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The Shepherd Never Loses a Sheep

John 10 29_30.JPG

John 10:22-30

Too many Christians are living lives of constant striving and struggle. What is it they are striving for and struggling about? Sadly, many have succumbed to a legalistic mindset that they have to perform at a certain level, or check off a list of things to stay pleasing to God and remain safely in His hands.

In this passage, Jesus has said some astounding and very comforting words to us all. Let is start with the end if we may; “I and my Father are one.” Jesus doesn’t merely possess the power that God the Father has given; He and the Father are one. Jesus is, in fact, God in the flesh! Jesus further shares here the great power of His Father, that being “greater than all.” We have been given to Jesus the Son by God the Father, and “no man is able” to take us away.

Beloved, we do not save ourselves; God saves completely, through His Son Jesus Christ. Because God saves us, apart from our own efforts, we also do not keep ourselves. God, through Jesus does that as well. If we are spending our Christian lives in a misguided effort to assist our Father in keeping us safe and secure, then we are likely not doing the works He wants us to be doing. Our Shepherd will keep us and never let us go; all we need to do if follow Him in faith and allow Him to direct our path.

 

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A Friday Song-He Touched Me

He Touched Me

Shackled by a heavy burden, ‘Neath a load of guilt and shame. Then the hand of Jesus touched me, And now I am no longer the same.

Shackled by a heavy burden,neath a load of guilt and shame. What are we burdened with? We are burdened with the weight of our sin. Who is burdened with this load? Well, or course, we all are. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  “Oh, I don’t feel such a burden” a person says; however we all do, because we all know. We know we have fallen short of the glory of God. We know how glorious He is and that we cannot stand beside Him with our heads up. We know because of the presence of God’s work around us, and we are all without excuse.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

I am not bothered by these things you Christians call sin,” a person says. That is simply not true, as we are all given the same conscience concerning what is right and wrong by the same God. We all have it, whether one of God’s chosen and redeemed or not.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another

Let’s take a look how David, a man after God’s own heart, felt about his own transgressions. Now, some would say that what David did was not REALLY so bad, after all, many are guilty of it. But, one of the greatest believers in history felt differently.

(A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.) O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Then the hand of Jesus touched me,And now I am no longer the same. By His stripes we are healed. How did Jesus touch us? He touches us by His atoning work. Because our sin not only loads us down with a burden everyday, but it faces us with a penalty. For the wages of sin is death. Spiritual death, and eternal separation from God, because He is perfect and holy and we are not, nor can we be through our own efforts. So, we each owe payment for the crimes we have committed against God’s moral law, and somebody has to pay. It can be us, sure. Each and every one of us could pay for our own sin. We don’t have to, however, and that is how Jesus touches us. For not only is the wages of sin death, but the passage keeps on going. It also states  the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are touched by Jesus, and we are changed, and we are no longer the same. What is different? We are justified, or made righteous from Jesus’ payment for us and we see that, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:. We have peace with God, we are no longer separated from Him, nor will we ever be!

Since I met this blessed Savior, Since He cleansed and made me whole, I will never cease to praise Him, I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.

Since I met this blessed Savior,Since He cleansed and made me whole,. Jesus does make us whole. At the pool of Bethesda, when Jesus met the man who had been disabled for the thirty eight years of his life, he asked him, wilt thou be made whole? We see that the man was made whole as Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked:……. But Jesus didn’t come to Earth to heal us physically, that just proved that He could heal us, in all ways. We see Jesus getting closer to the truth of our healing as He ministered to the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 years, so much faith that she though if she could only touch Him she would be healed, and Jesus’ response to her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. We see the Roman Centurion whose faith was so great that Jesus said, When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. At that very instant, the Centurion’s sick servant was healed. It is our faith, and God’s grace which makes us whole. We are whole because we are righteous and cleansed from our sin. The entire debt for our transgressions past, present, and future is paid and we are whiter than snow. I will never cease to praise Him,I’ll shout it while eternity rolls. I will praise Him in the here and now. After all, isn’t that why we are here in the first place? He is certainly due that from us, because For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:. In fact, no things would exist, including us if not for Him: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Not only should we praise HIm, but we should tell about Him! Being touched by Jesus is not some secret we should keep to ourselves. If we are headed to an eternity with HIm, don’t we want as much company as possible? The Psalmist taught us this:

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

If that wasn’t enough, our Lord Himself told us, ………Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  That’s pretty clear I think! Eternal life; that is quite a concept, yet that is exactly what we are promised after our salvation through Jesus Christ. And we don’t even have to wait for it, because our eternity begins at that very moment. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:  Hath, has; he who believes on the Son, HAS eternal life. Sadly, those not saved by the atoning work of Jesus Christ face the opposite situation, as He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life as well as, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

He touched me, Oh He touched me, And oh the joy that floods my soul! Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole.

He has touched me. Has He touched you? Do you want the joy of everlasting life to touch YOUR soul? Something can happen, if it has not. Forgiveness and salvation is available to all who are offered it, whosoever will. Whosoever means me, it means you.

Do want to be made whole? Repent toward God. Understand that sin has driven a wedge between you and God that nothing you can do will ever remove it. Accept the payment Jesus made on that cross to pay the penalty we could never pay. Believe in His atoning work and resurrection from the dead in three days. Accept Him as Savior and Lord of your life. Do that, and you can sing this song:

Shackled by a heavy burden ‘Neath a load of guilt and shame Then the hand of Jesus touched me And now I am no longer the same

He touched me, Oh, He touched me And Oh the joy that floods my soul Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole

Since I met this blessed Savior And since he cleaned and made me whole I never cease to praise Him I’ll shout it while eternity rolls

Oh He touched me, oh He touched me And oh the joy that floods my soul Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole.

Bill and Gloria Gaither


 

Justice? Wait, I thought God Loved Me!

This is a slight reworking of something I posted at another blog a long time ago. Blessings and enjoy!

justice-love-scales

All powerful

All Knowing

All present

Grace

Longsuffering

Love

Mercy

Creator

Sustainer

What is all that you ask? Well, those would be just some of the many characteristics, roles, or attributes of God. He is all of those things. He is all of those things, all of the time. He is all of those things in equal measure(that measure being infinite, of course). But that is not all. God is also the following:

Lawgiver

Judge

Jury

Administrator of Justice

We don’t like the idea of justice so much. We love love. We love grace. We love mercy. We don’t so much love law, judgement, or justice. Well, that is not really true. We do love justice, just not applied to us. Don’t we all scream for justice constantly?

That’s not fair!

Someday THEY will get what they deserve!

I deserve better than that!

They are going to pay for that some day!

Hey, where’s mine?

And on and on and on it goes.

So, we all have an innate, and generally very well developed sense of justice. After all, we spend big parts of our lives demanding it. Did we evolve into this almost universal sense of justice? Well, of course not. We were given our sense of justice. When? Back in the Garden of Eden when God scooped up the dirt of the Earth, created a man, breathed life into his nostrils, and man became a living soul.

We were created in God’s image; we have a sense of justice because the One who created us also has a sense of justice

I have taken a sort of round about trip to answer a common question:

If God loves us, why can’t He just forgive us and move on? Why doesn’t He just “Let us all go” so to speak?

 I don’t really want to over complicate the answer to that question, so will answer it with some short scenarios and questions of my own. If any reader decided to pay a visit to the local court day in their town and saw the following occur, what would the reaction be?

What if before court even started, the presiding judge stood up and proclaimed the following:

I really, really, really love you all! I know you are all guilty as charged, but I really, really love you all. So, even though you all did your particular crimes you won’t be punished for them. Every body go home!

What if the local auto thief came before the judge:

Thief: Yeah, Judge I stole that car, but I am really, really sorry!

Judge: Ok, great. Thanks for the apology. You may go home.

What about the guy who stole the radio from that car?

Thief: Yeah judge, I stole the radio. But at least I didn’t steal the whole car like that other guy!

Judge: Ok. Hmm. Good point. You may go home.

The armed robber?

Robber: I did it judge sure I did. You know all the charity stuff I do, right? How am I gonna do all that in jail?

Judge: Good point. Go home

If any of that actually occurred, what would our reaction be? At bare minimum we would quit electing that Judge, or work to have such a judge removed from the Bench. Why is that? Well obviously the conduct described above violates any sense of justice any normal, rational person has.

We believe in Justice

We are in God’s image

God gave us our sense of justice

God is just Himself

Why do we demand He behave differently?

Remember earlier when we talked about God’s attributes? He is all the things listed, all of the time,  in full measure of each. Since being unchanging is also one of God’s attributes, He can not stop being any of those things. This is just simple fact as He has revealed to us in His Word, the Bible. We know these things because He has told us.

Another attribute of God is perfection and Holiness. Simply put, our transgressions large or small, are less than perfection and separate us from Him.

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Big, or small. Shoplifter to mass murderer.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

So in the eyes of a perfect and Holy God we are all guilty as charged. If this was our local courtroom, we would demand justice. Well, so does God.

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death………

That’s right, the penalty prescribed in God’s Law for violation of that law is the death penalty. The penalty is not penance, or purgatory, or a monetary fine or any sort of good works to make up for what we have done. The penalty for our sin is death. What does this mean? Well, after the first sin, it meant physical death. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would have lived forever in their physical forms, in harmony with God. Their sin brought into the world all the sickness and death as we know it today. Death also means spiritual death.  Even though we all eventually die physically, we are are all eternal in our spirits. Our spirit, or soul will exist for all eternity.  So, again, what is it to spiritually die? Spiritual death is eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. It’s really that simple. When God says the wages of sin is death, that is the death of which He speaks.

Justice demands this. So, now what? Well, there is more!

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God has given us a gift. Even though we owed the penalty of death for our sin, He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way for that debt to be satisfied. God became flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ and became incarnate on this Earth for that very reason. Jesus Christ was fully human, so He could pay the price humans owed for their sin; He was also fully God, so He could pay the infinite price of the sin of all humanity past, present and future. Despite how He hates sin, God loves us deeply and completely.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is a gift, we do not pay a thing for it; Jesus paid it all. We do not deserve it and we do not earn it.  All we have to do is accept it. How do we do this? Let’s look at what the Bible teaches about this:

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It’s the meeting of the attributes

Justice

God demands it

Love

God has it

Mercy and grace

God offers it

Will you accept it today?

Throwback Thursday-Jesus Paid It All and the Payment Was Enough for Everyone

throw back thursday

jesus saves
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Time for another Throwback Thursday edition of my Jesus Paid It All Series

Allow me to preface this with the statement that I understand not all agree with this position on this topic. The truth is, several thoughts on this seem to be quite well supported Biblically, and we simply have to conclude that no one can lay claim to their position being proven absolutely by God’s Word. It does, however, represent what I believe to be true based on my reading and hopefully correct illumination by the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus paid it all, He paid it for all of us. Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to cover the sin of every human past, present and future.  Before readers get alarmed, please understand I am not saying that everyone from the past was saved, nor am I saying that all will be saved now or in the future.  In fact, the majority of people from the past, people now and those who live in the future will not be saved and enter Heaven. The sad truth is the majority of humankind will spend eternity separated from God in a place of torment called Hell.  So, please do not misunderstand; I am not espousing some form of Universalism, where everybody ends up in Heaven.

What am I saying then? I am simply saying that the quality of Jesus’ sacrifice and payment on the Cross  was enough for all humanity to escape the penalty of their sins. Jesus’ payment was not just for an elect group of people whom God the Father has preselected in eternity past to be eternally with Him in Heaven. Not everyone will agree with that statement, of course, but this is what the Bible teaches.

God’s gift of salvation through the death of His Son Jesus Christ is available to all, but not all will accept it.  Even though it is a free gift, there are terms under which we must accept. What are the terms? Repentance toward God for our sin and belief in His Son Jesus Christ. We must agree with God that our sin is wrong; we have to understand what we deserved as punishment for those sins. That covers repentance toward God. Then we must believe that God, in the form of the man Jesus Christ, came to Earth to pay on our behalf. Not only that He died, but He rose after three days dead thereby conquering sin and death. If we do that and call on the name of the Lord, we will be saved as we clearly learn in Romans 10:13.

How can we know that this salvation is available to all, and that our failure to have it is not because God denied it to us but because we refused it?

To understand this, we have to start at the very beginning. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, we are all sinners by nature and choice. It is never a question of if we sin, but only a question of when. The Calvinists have it right on this point, really; we are so totally depraved that we are not even capable on our own of wanting to be saved from our sin. The sinful state we are born into is made clear in Romans 5:12 and 5:13, which teach us that sin and death entered into the world by one man, Adam.

We do not want to be saved, as we love our sin more. Left to our own devices, we would never seek God. Romans 3:10 and 13 tell us that not only is no one righteous, but none of us seek God. Romans 8:7 is yet more dire, teaching us that not only are we the enemies of God, but we are not even capable of accepting the things of God. In John 6:44, Jesus taught that no one would come to Him unless the Father drew them.

So even though we are not desiring or capable of seeking God, God has made provisions for us in order that we may overcome our inability.  In Matthew Chapter 19 after the rich young ruler left disappointed, Jesus pointed out to His disciples how difficult it was for a man to be saved.  When asked who could be saved, Jesus replied that with men it is not possible, but with “God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25,26) So, we see that we would only respond to God if He draws us. The good news is that we hear Jesus say  in John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” God also draws all men unto Himself through the light of Jesus Christ; John 1:9 teaches us this light lights all men.

Atonement is not limited. It is available to all men. Scholars get around this clear teaching of Scripture by spinning what the Bible says when it says “all.” Of course any word can have more than one meaning including that one. But nothing in the context of any of the verses below suggest that “all” is limited in any way.

Hebrews 2:9, Jesus did “taste death for every man”
Hebrews 10:10 teaches Jesus body was offered “for all.”
John 12:47, Jesus came to save the World
Romans 5:8, Jesus died for sinners
Romans 5:18, Jesus free gift is offered to “all men”
Romans 8:32, Jesus was delivered up for “us all”
Isaiah 53:6, he bore the iniquities of “all”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Jesus died for “all”
2 Peter 2:1, Jesus even died for false teachers and liars doomed for Hell.

So, there you have it. It’s available to everyone. No one is denied it. Repentance toward God and belief in The Lord Jesus Christ and it’s yours.

Throwback Thursday-Jesus Paid It All and Your Payment’s No Good Here

throw back thursday

It’s Thursday, and I am still reposting this older series, one of my favorites.

jesus saves

Aside from the obvious non religions like atheism, humanism and so forth, there are only two actual “religions” in the world.

The first is the religion of good works. Believers in this religion believe that there is something, somehow, that they can do to ensure their own entry in to Heaven. There are subsets of this religion: some believe sacraments and rituals, if done properly, ensure entrance into heaven. Some believe in the scale of justice theory of salvation, believing that if their good outweighs their bad they can ensure their entry into Heaven. Some believe that if they just do not do anything “really bad” they can ensure their entry into heaven. Adherents of this religion call themselves many different things: New Agers, spiritual, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhist, and even Evangelical Christians. Some may call themselves Methodists, Baptists, or any other name one can call to mind.

On the other hand, there is the true “religion”. This is simply the Faith that teaches that absolutely nothing any human can do is sufficient to pay for the sin we have all committed. Our payment is no good here. In the first article in this series, Jesus Paid it All, we discussed the fact that we can each certainly pay our own way for our own sin. That article can be Read Here:

Jesus Paid It All and you Really Don’t Want to Pay Your Own Way

But, as that article shows, the only way we can pay for our own sin is by death, both physical and spiritual. Eternally we pay our debt by being forever separated from God in a place of torment called Hell. That is the ONLY way we can pay for our own sin.

In other words, we can pay our own debt, but we can never redeem ourselves from the penalty of what we have done.

Ephesians 2:8,9 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast

That verse is really fairly self explanatory and says and means exactly what it says. It seems to say it with little ambiguity or room for alternate interpretations. Nonetheless, let’s expand a little on what it is really saying.

We are saved by God’s Grace, through our faith(and even that is given to us by God.) Grace is a free gift of God, not earned by us. No work we might ever do contributes one iota toward our eternal Salvation. We WANT our salvation to be by our works because we really, really like ourselves.

Grace plus nothing equals our Salvation. Jesus Paid it All. He doesn’t need our help to finish the project, His Grace is sufficient. Period and end of the story.

We can’t do enough good to cover our own sin.

We can’t avoid enough bad to cover our own sin.

We cannot do anything in our unsaved state to appear favorable in the sight of a Holy and perfect God.

Our Rituals, Sacraments and Ordinances, while not wrong by any means can never save us.

No sacrifice of any sort can ever save us.

What, then saves us? It starts with Grace. God’s gift of His son who COULD pay for our sin, and did. We simply have to accept the gift by Repentance toward God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ.

Throwback Thursday-Jesus Paid It All and You Really Don’t Want to Pay Your Own Way

throw back thursday

For the next several Thursdays I am rerunning something I have run numerous times, and which I will likely re run yet more times in the future. Blessings and enjoy!

jesus saves
http://cdn.crossmap.com/images/2/08/20857.jpg

 

Jesus paid it all. That is a very simple statement, with very profound implications.  Today begins a multi part series on Jesus’ payment. A good starting point is for us to discuss exactly what Jesus paid for. We will end with a discussion of why we really don’t want to make that payment ourselves.

What did Jesus pay for? Well he paid the necessary payment for our sins, of course. That seems fairly simple, yet the vast majority of the world fails to truly understand exactly what that means. The non believing world, as well as a large part of the “Christian” world totally fails to really understand what the Bible teaches about this issue.  Of course the non believing world simply dismisses the issue completely; and within the “Christian” world there are so many perversions and misunderstandings about this issue that they simply cannot be counted.

This series will be a close examination of some of the truths contained in the simple statement, “Jesus paid it all.”  In this first part, we will simply discuss the nature of both our sin debt and the payment Jesus made on our behalf for that debt.

Let’s talk about sin.  In its simplest meaning, sin is the breaking of God’s law. By God’s Law, we aren’t talking about the Old Testament Law, such as dietary laws and so forth. We are talking about the moral codes of behavior which God has laid out for us to adhere to. God’s law comes out of the aspects of the nature of God. For example, God considers a lie to be a transgression of His law, because God himself cannot lie. God’s Law reflects His character and His Holiness. To not love others trangresses God’s Law, because God is love. God’s Law is not just some arbitrary list of rules, but a reflection of His character, holiness and perfection.

Do we sin? Well of course we do! The Bible teaches that clearly. Romans 3:23 is the most famous scripture verse on this issue, stating that 

All have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God

Not only do we all sin, but we were all born into this world as sinners. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, all mankind has inherited a sin nature. Romans 5:12 teaches us that,

 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

But let’s get more specific. It’s easy to toss out the general idea about how we are all sinners by nature and by choice. But we should actually discuss some particulars of our sin. Most people would agree that the Ten Commandments are a major source of a great number of the specifics of God’s Law. We should give ourselves a test. By the way I fail this test miserably!

Have you ever told a lie? Any lie, small or large. Any lie, whether a little white lie or a big black one? What is a person who tells lies called? A liar of course

Have you ever stolen anything? Big or little. Have you stolen a pencil at work? Run copies on the company printer? Have you cut in line? Then you stole that person’s spot. What do you call someone who steals? A thief of course.

Have you ever used God’s name in vain? This doesn’t even have to be the most obvious one where we actually use His name as a curse word. Have you called Him “the Big Guy?” Any use of the Holy name of God in a flip way is considered blasphemy by God.

Ever looked at a member of the opposite sex with lust? Of course we all have, unless we like the same sex. Jesus taught that to look at a woman with lust is to commit adultery of the heart.

We really have not gotten through all of the Ten Commandments, which are His moral law, and we have established that for the most part we are all lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterers at heart! (Thanks to Ray Comfort for that little test by the way)

So, the only question that remains is: Someday when you stand before God will you be found innocent or guilty? Based on our test, the answer obviously seems guilty is the only possible answer. To really get this, we have to understand and try to look at the issue from God’s perspective. We might look at some of those things and just not consider them to be a big deal; however, God disagrees. The real issue is this: Do we get to rate ourselves, so to speak, against our own human thoughts about right and wrong, or are we subject to the evaluation of a Perfect and Holy God?

Let’s start with something basic. God hates sin. That is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless. Why does God hate sin? There are many reasons, and we will cover a few of them. First and foremost, God hates sin because He is Holy and sin is unholy. Sin, simply put, is outside the character of God and it offends Him. Like we said before, the Bible teaches that God cannot lie and that God is love. It flows from His character naturally then, that He would hate liars and those who do not love. God hates our sin because it separates us from Him. Before they rebelled and ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden daily with God, as we learn in  Genesis 3:8. After The Fall, they were physically expelled from the Garden of Eden and the presence of God. The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to write the following:

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Our sin separates us from God, yet He created us to commune with and worship Him; therefore He hates anything which separates us from Him.

God hates sin because we will love our sin more than we love Him. God is love, loves us and wants our love. He hates anything which diminishes that love. James covered this in his epistle:

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

God hates sin because sin is a sign of our rebellion toward Him.  In the Garden of Eden, God only made one rule for Adam and Eve, and that was that they not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve succumbed to the tempations presented to her by Satan, and she and Adam ate the fruit anyway. God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in harmony, in communion and in worship of Him. They chose, however, the things that appealed to them rather than the things that mattered to God. That is what our sin represents to God today. When we sin, we are simply saying to God that we think our way is better than His way.

So, God is the Creator of the Universe and the supreme law giver. He is entitled, by virtue of that position, to make the guidelines by which we live; falling short or refusing to comply with those guidelines offends God’s character and He hates it. Obviously, it seems, any violation of His law makes us guilty of being law breakers. Nonetheless, many come up with various defenses of their actions in attempts to say they really are not guilty. We are going to look at some of those defenses; and we are going to compare what God might think with what any judge in any courtroom in the world wpuld say if these defenses were presented to him or her. That seems fair; we would understand a human judge responding in accordance with the law. It seems we would expect no less of the Supreme Judge of the Universe! For this scenario, just envision being before a human judge, say for the crime of armed robbery and that the penalty for that is imprisonment. This is the law, no exceptions.

“Judge, it wasn’t really a big robbery. I didn’t even use a gun! And I only got a little bit of money anyway.” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. God likewise does not care about the size of our sin. God is perfect and Holy, remember? A small sin makes us just as guilty as a big on in they eyes of a perfect God. James 2:10 teaches us that a man can keep the whole law and yet offends in one point is still guilty of violation the entire law.

“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but I never killed anybody!” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge. God is not going to look at all the things we could have done, but did not do. Once again, a violation of the law is a violation of the law.

“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but did you know I have been working down at the food kitchen helping the homeless for years? What about all the money I gave to charity?” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge.  No matter how many good things we may do, they do not make up for our violation of God’s law. We cannot cover our penaly due by doing anything good.

“Judge, look what THAT guy has done!” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge.  God is not comparing us to each other to decide our innocence of guilt. He only compares us the the standard of His perfection and Holiness. It only matters what we have done, not what anyone else has done.

“Judge, I’m really, really sorry for committing the armed robbery.” The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. Off to jail says the judge.  The idea that we could tell a judge we are sorry and expect to be released is really absurd. The law says what the penalty is, and the penalty must be paid. Why would God be any different?

Let’s get serious for a few moments now. Based on the standard of the law, we are all guilty of breaking it. I am; you are, every single one of us is. Someday we will all stand before God and the only possible verdict is a resounding GUILTY! This however, is not armed robbery, and the penalty is not simply imprisonment. What, then is the penalty? God’s Word tells us the answer to that question:

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death………

That’s right, the penalty prescribed in God’s Law for violation of that law is the death penalty. The penalty is not pennance, or purgatory, or a monetary fine or any sort of good works to make up for what we have done. The penalty for our sin is death. What does this mean? Well, after the first sin, it meant physical death. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would have lived forever in their physical forms, in harmony with God. Their sin brought into the world all the sickness and death as we know it today. Death also means spiritual death.  Even though we all eventually die physically, we are are all eternal in our spirits. Our spirit, or soul will exist for all eternity.  So, again, what is it to spiritually die? Spiritual death is eternal separation from God in a place of toment we call Hell. It’s really that simple. When God says the wages of sin is death, that is the death of which He speaks.

The penalty is due; we all owe it, for we have all sinned and transgressed God’s law.  And each and everyone of us can pay that penalty ourselves if we want to. We each owe it, and we can each pay it. I could have payed for my own sin; you can pay for yours if you wish. But that’s the point of this article. We don’t really want to pay our own way; we don’t want to suffer eternal death in a place called Hell.

Although we can certainly pay our own way, we do not have to. The title of this article is Jesus Paid it All, and He did. The Good News of the Gospel is that even though a penalty is was due and payable, it has already been paid! We need to go back to Romans 6:23 and look at the rest of that verse, as we only showed part of it earlier:   

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God has given us a gift. Even though we owed the penalty of death for our sin, He have us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way for that debt to be satisfied. God became flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ and became incarnate on this Earth for that very reason. Jesus Christ was fully human, so He could pay the price humans owed for their sin; He was also fully God, so He could pay the infinite price of the sin of all humanity past, present and future. Despite how He hates sin, God loves us deeply and completely.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is a gift, we do not pay a thing for it; Jesus paid it all. We do not deserve it and we do not earn it.  All we have to do is accept it. How do we do this? Let’s look at what the Bible teaches about this:

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It’s simple really. We have to confess Him. Basically we have to agree with Him that our sin is wrong and understand we should have paid for it. We agree with God that our sin is wrong and turn away from it. We call that repentance. We also need to believe that Jesus paid the price we should have paid ourselves, and to trust Him as our Savior and Lord.  And finally, we do have to call on Him. Romans 10:13 teaches that. The gift is available, and it is free; however God will not force it on anybody. He does require that we call on Him and ask for that gift.

Jesus paid it all. Four words full of meaning.  We all have a choice. We can pay our own way or we can accept that Jesus has already paid our way, if only we repent toward God and believe in Jesus Christ.

 

Hey! How’s That Pulse Doing?

Originally posted in May 2015

throw back thursday

EKG-Green-e1317620077506

A while back in a post or a comment(I don’t remember where exactly), my friend ColorStorm, asked a question along the lines of: “Hey, how’s that pulse doing?” I sort of hijacked the phrase, stole it if you will, and now I use it fairly often. It has, as I was told, a certain shelf life.

So, what’s the point?

Thump, thump

We are all born, and we all die. As the saying goes; Nothing is certain but death and taxes. We all hope to live a long, happy, and fruitful life. We also know that is not always the case; tales of unexpected, sudden death are all around us. How many times have we heard the phrase:

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

Of course, it’s rarely expected, It is, however, coming. Do we know when? What are some things God’s Word has to say about the timing of our passing from this world?

Job 7:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

James 4:13-15 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Thump, thump

Many will say: “Well yes, life is short and can end unexpectedly, but death is just all my cells ceasing to function. As long as I made the most of what I had, it’s all good”

Thump, thump

But, we are not just a collection of cells. Read how we were created:

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

We are a living soul; we are a living soul which will live eternally. We were created by God to exists in joyful fellowship with him forever. God was so close with His creation, Adam and Eve, that he walked with them in the cool of the day. God wanted to exist with us in eternal love and fellowship; however, He did not force this love upon us. He gave us the free will to choose love, or rebellion.

Satan showed up in the Garden that fateful day, spouting his damnable lies.

Hath God said?

Ye shall not surely die

It was all downhill from there, Eve ate; Adam ate.  Because of their sin and rebellion

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Furthermore, sin has a penalty, a penalty which must be paid, for the wages of sin is death.

Thump, thump

That’s the bad news. We have all sinned, and we are all under the penalty of sin, for which the only payment possible is death, physical as well as spiritual. We saw that above, but that was not the whole thing. Here is the rest:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thump, thump

God has promised us eternal life through the atoning work of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is available to us all; repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ is all that is required. All we have to do is agree, and ask.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Here is the problem. There are no do overs. The only chance for us to make the decision regarding our eternal destiny is here, and now, and in this lifetime. Once we draw the final breath, we have no more chances.

Thump, thump

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

2 Corinthians 6:2 ……now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation

In the book of acts we see the stories of two men, Felix and Aggripa, both of whom the Apostle Paul shared the Gospel with. they had the following to say.:

Felix: Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Agrippa: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

What we never see, no matter how hard we read and study, is any record that anything ever changed for those two men. They wanted a more convenient season, they were almost persuaded.

Oh…it was just so UNEXPECTED!

It may be expected; it may be sudden. It will, however, BE. The death rate among the general population is 100 percent.

But the choice is ours. We can accept the Grace of God and the payment Jesus Christ made on our behalf….or we can reject it. But, now is the time. There may not be a later.

Thump, thump

Thump, thump

So…..How Is that pulse doing?

He Touched Me

He Touched Me

Shackled by a heavy burden, ‘Neath a load of guilt and shame. Then the hand of Jesus touched me, And now I am no longer the same.

Shackled by a heavy burden,neath a load of guilt and shame. What are we burdened with? We are burdened with the weight of our sin. Who is burdened with this load? Well, or course, we all are. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  “Oh, I don’t feel such a burden” a person says; however we all do, because we all know. We know we have fallen short of the glory of God. We know how glorious He is and that we cannot stand beside Him with our heads up. We know because of the presence of God’s work around us, and we are all without excuse.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

I am not bothered by these things you Christians call sin,” a person says. That is simply not true, as we are all given the same conscience concerning what is right and wrong by the same God. We all have it, whether one of God’s chosen and redeemed or not.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another

Let’s take a look how David, a man after God’s own heart, felt about his own transgressions. Now, some would say that what David did was not REALLY so bad, after all, many are guilty of it. But, one of the greatest believers in history felt differently.

(A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.) O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied. They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is. Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Then the hand of Jesus touched me,And now I am no longer the same. By His stripes we are healed. How did Jesus touch us? He touches us by His atoning work. Because our sin not only loads us down with a burden everyday, but it faces us with a penalty. For the wages of sin is death. Spiritual death, and eternal separation from God, because He is perfect and holy and we are not, nor can we be through our own efforts. So, we each owe payment for the crimes we have committed against God’s moral law, and somebody has to pay. It can be us, sure. Each and every one of us could pay for our own sin. We don’t have to, however, and that is how Jesus touches us. For not only is the wages of sin death, but the passage keeps on going. It also states  the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are touched by Jesus, and we are changed, and we are no longer the same. What is different? We are justified, or made righteous from Jesus’ payment for us and we see that, Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:. We have peace with God, we are no longer separated from Him, nor will we ever be!

Since I met this blessed Savior, Since He cleansed and made me whole, I will never cease to praise Him, I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.

Since I met this blessed Savior,Since He cleansed and made me whole,. Jesus does make us whole. At the pool of Bethesda, when Jesus met the man who had been disabled for the thirty eight years of his life, he asked him, wilt thou be made whole? We see that the man was made whole as Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked:……. But Jesus didn’t come to Earth to heal us physically, that just proved that He could heal us, in all ways. We see Jesus getting closer to the truth of our healing as He ministered to the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 years, so much faith that she though if she could only touch Him she would be healed, and Jesus’ response to her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. We see the Roman Centurion whose faith was so great that Jesus said, When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. At that very instant, the Centurion’s sick servant was healed. It is our faith, and God’s grace which makes us whole. We are whole because we are righteous and cleansed from our sin. The entire debt for our transgressions past, present, and future is paid and we are whiter than snow. I will never cease to praise Him,I’ll shout it while eternity rolls. I will praise Him in the here and now. After all, isn’t that why we are here in the first place? He is certainly due that from us, because For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:. In fact, no things would exist, including us if not for Him: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Not only should we praise HIm, but we should tell about Him! Being touched by Jesus is not some secret we should keep to ourselves. If we are headed to an eternity with HIm, don’t we want as much company as possible? The Psalmist taught us this:

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

If that wasn’t enough, our Lord Himself told us, ………Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  That’s pretty clear I think! Eternal life; that is quite a concept, yet that is exactly what we are promised after our salvation through Jesus Christ. And we don’t even have to wait for it, because our eternity begins at that very moment. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life:  Hath, has; he who believes on the Son, HAS eternal life. Sadly, those not saved by the atoning work of Jesus Christ face the opposite situation, as He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life as well as, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

He touched me, Oh He touched me, And oh the joy that floods my soul! Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole.

He has touched me. Has He touched you? Do you want the joy of everlasting life to touch YOUR soul? Something can happen, if it has not. Forgiveness and salvation is available to all who are offered it, whosoever will. Whosoever means me, it means you.

Do want to be made whole? Repent toward God. Understand that sin has driven a wedge between you and God that nothing you can do will ever remove it. Accept the payment Jesus made on that cross to pay the penalty we could never pay. Believe in His atoning work and resurrection from the dead in three days. Accept Him as Savior and Lord of your life. Do that, and you can sing this song:

Shackled by a heavy burden ‘Neath a load of guilt and shame Then the hand of Jesus touched me And now I am no longer the same

He touched me, Oh, He touched me And Oh the joy that floods my soul Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole

Since I met this blessed Savior And since he cleaned and made me whole I never cease to praise Him I’ll shout it while eternity rolls

Oh He touched me, oh He touched me And oh the joy that floods my soul Something happened and now I know He touched me and made me whole.

Bill and Gloria Gaither


This content originally published by me on the Isaiah 53:5 Project. Please go over there and check out some real blessings

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