Friday, June 08, 2007

Easing Their Own Conscience

Mark has an awesome blogpost entitled Dear Dr. Out and Proud and Ms. World up at his Chester Street blog. It would be best to read it before reading this post.

Jesus said that his kingdom is "not of this world" (see Cor. 2:8). I once asked a lesbian friend named Deb (who I met through Mark's blog) whether or not it bothers her that her Christian views are just like the world's view on the subject of homosexuality. I do not recall any answer to that question from her.

Everything that Mark pointed out in his post is true. The reason our opponents on this issue are so angry is because they cannot negate God's Word. They can twist, disregard, attempt to change, and even physically eliminate the verses (by creating their own version of a "homosexual condemnation free" Bible) that offend them. But what they are actually doing is taking out portions of the Bible that speak against homosexuality from God's unchanging Word in order to ease their own conscience about this sin. However, the original intent of the authors (who were led along by the power of the Holy Spirit) cannot ever be destroyed and a remnant of the faithful will see to it by their unwavering commitment to follow God's Word, no matter what.

This is what bothers them, whether they want to admit it or not.

In our last conversation, Deb had told me that she rejected the original view (she was taught) that was held by Biblical Christians that homosexual behavior is a sin that needs to be repented of. She, in fact, blamed those Christians for being hateful, intolerant, wrong, meanspirited etc. because they spoke the truth.

Rejecting the truth does not make it go away. It just leads one on a path to error. Once on that path to error, one inevitably takes others with him/her.

This is why God's Word is so essential to Christian beliefs. People can make errors all day long, but God's Word stands forever. Those verses in Jude that Mark ended his post with, are a direct warning to those who would stray from the truth.

We are told that in the end times, this would be the awful direction that those "of this world" would attempt to lead us.

We are warned that there will be a spirit of anti-Christ in the world which would fool "the very elect; if that were possible."

Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

That verse assures us that once born again in Christ Jesus, it is no longer possible to deceive those with the Holy Spirit's indwelling. When someone puts forth an idea and claims that it is a Christian one, we can check it against the TRUTH; that is, God's Word, and RECOGNIZE THOSE WHO ARE DECEIVED!

What is shameful about those who are actively deceiving others on this issue is the fact that those being deceived may not have the wherewithal to know that they are, in fact, being deceived. Without being born again in Christ, and thus having the Holy Spirit's indwelling and leading in their life, they can easily be led astray.

Bible study is essential to growth in your spiritual journey (sanctification) in Jesus Christ. Remember Christ's own warning about this? It can be found in the parable of the seeds.




Mar 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.

Mar 4:2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:

Mar 4:3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.

Mar 4:4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.

Mar 4:5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

Mar 4:6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

Mar 4:7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.

Mar 4:8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”

Mar 4:9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Mar 4:10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.

Mar 4:11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables

Mar 4:12 so that,



“ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,

and ever hearing but never understanding;

otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[fn1]”



Mar 4:13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?

Mar 4:14 The farmer sows the word.

Mar 4:15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.

Mar 4:16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.

Mar 4:17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

Mar 4:18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;

Mar 4:19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Mar 4:20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”

Mar 4:21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?

Mar 4:22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.

Mar 4:23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Mar 4:24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you–and even more.

Mar 4:25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”


Matthew Henry's commentary on the entire chapter of Mark 4 is well worth the read. Here, I will focus on, and post this particular portion:




II. It concerns those who hear the word of the gospel, to mark what they hear, and to make a good use of it, because their weal or woe depends upon it; what he had said before he saith again, If any man have ears to hear, let him hear, v. 23. Let him give the gospel of Christ a fair hearing; but that is not enough, it is added (v. 24), Take heed what ye hear, and give a due regard to that which ye do hear; Consider what ye hear, so Dr. Hammond reads it. Note, What we hear, doth us no good, unless we consider it; those especially that are to teach others must themselves be very observant of the things of God; must take notice of the message they are to deliver, that they may be exact. We must likewise take heed what we hear, by proving all things, that we may hold fast that which is good. We must be cautious, and stand upon our guard, lest we be imposed upon. To enforce this caution, consider,

1. As we deal with God, God will deal with us, so Dr. Hammond explains these words, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you. If ye be faithful servants to him, he will be a faithful Master to you: with the upright he will show himself upright.’’

2. As we improve the talents we are entrusted with, we shall increase them; if we make use of the knowledge we have, for the glory of God and the benefit of others, it shall sensibly grow, as stock in trade doth by being turned; Unto you that hear, shall more be given; to you that have, it shall be given, v. 25. If the disciples deliver that to the church, which they have received of the Lord, they shall be led more into the secret of the Lord. Gifts and graces multiply by being exercised; and God has promised to bless the hand of the diligent.

3. If we do not use, we lose, what we have; From him that hath not, that doeth no good with what he hath, and so hath it in vain, is as if he had it not, shall be taken even that which he hath. Burying a talent is the betraying of a trust, and amounts to a forfeiture; and gifts and graces rust for want of wearing.

III. The good seed of the gospel sown in the world, and sown in the heart, doth by degrees produce wonderful effects, but without noise (v. 26, etc.); So is the kingdom of God; so is the gospel, when it is sown, and received, as seed in good ground.

1. It will come up; though it seem lost and buried under the clods, it will find or make its way through them. The seed cast into the ground will spring. Let but the word of Christ have the place it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself, as the wisdom from above doth in a good conversation.
After a field is sown with corn, how soon is the surface of it altered! How gay and pleasant doth it look, when it is covered with green!

2. The husbandman cannot describe how it comes up; it is one of the mysteries of nature; It springs and grows up, he knows not how, v. 27. He sees it has grown, but he cannot tell in what manner it grew, or what was the cause and method of its growth. Thus we know not how the Spirit by the word makes a change in the heart, any more than we can account for the blowing of the wind, which we hear the sound of, but cannot tell whence it comes, or whither it goes. Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; how God manifested in the flesh came to be believed on in the world, 1 Tim. 3:16.

3. The husbandman, when he hath sown the seed, doth nothing toward the springing of it up; He sleeps, and rises, night and day; goes to sleep at night, gets up in the morning, and perhaps never so much as thinks of the corn he hath sown, or ever looks upon it, but follows his pleasures or other business, and yet the earth brings forth fruit of itself, according to the ordinary course of nature, and by the concurring power of the God of nature. Thus the word of grace, when it is received in faith, is in the heart a work of grace, and the preachers contribute nothing to it. The Spirit of God is carrying it on when they sleep, and can do no business (Job 33:15, 16), or when they rise to go about other business. The prophets do not live for ever; but the word which they preached, is doing its work, when they are in their graves, Zec. 1:5, 6. The dew by which the seed is brought up tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men, Mic. 5:7.

4. It grows gradually; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear, v. 28. When it is sprung up, it will go forward; nature will have its course, and so will grace. Christ’s interest, both in the world and in the heart, is, and will be, a growing interest; and though the beginning be small, the latter end will greatly increase. Though thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, yet God will give to every seed its own body; though at first it is but a tender blade, which the frost may nip, or the foot may crush, yet it will increase to the ear, to the full corn in the ear. Natura nil facit per saltum—Nature does nothing abruptly. God carries on his work insensibly and without noise, but insuperably and without fail.
5. It comes to perfection at last (v. 29); When the fruit is brought forth, that is, when it is ripe, and ready to be delivered into the owner’s hand; then he puts in the sickle. This intimates, (1.) That Christ now accepts the services which are done to him by an honest heart from a good principle; from the fruit of the gospel taking place and working in the soul, Christ gathers in a harvest of honour to himself. See Jn. 4:35. (2.) That he will reward them in eternal life. When those that receive the gospel aright, have finished their course, the harvest comes, when they shall be gathered as wheat into God’s barn (Mt. 13:30), as a shock of corn in his season.
(bold mine)

Recognize this fact. On ANY subject matter, if what others are saying doesn't match up with what is already written in Scripture, then we know that they are not sharing the truth, as proclaimed by God through the prophets and Holy Spirit led apostles and writers of the Bible. The absolute truth of God's Word is our godly wisdom "measuring rod" that must always be considered paramount and trustworthy before giving consideration to the fallible wisdom of men.

God's "standard of measurement" is revealed all throughout Scripture. 2 Corinthians presents good arguments for not living by the standards of this world; demolishing arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God; taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ; and boasting about nothing other than to boast for the Lord.

NIV Version:
2Cr 10:1
By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you–I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away!
2Cr 10:2
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
2Cr 10:3
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2Cr 10:4
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2Cr 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2Cr 10:6
And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
2Cr 10:7
You are looking only on the surface of things.[fn1] If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he.
2Cr 10:8
For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it.
2Cr 10:9
I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters.
2Cr 10:10
For some say, “His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”
2Cr 10:11
Such people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.
2Cr 10:12
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
2Cr 10:13
We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you.
2Cr 10:14
We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.
2Cr 10:15
Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.[fn2] Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand,
2Cr 10:16
so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in another man's territory.
2Cr 10:17
But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”[fn3]
2Cr 10:18
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Footnotes:
10:7
Or Look at the obvious facts
10:13-15
Or 13 We, however, will not boast about things that cannot be measured, but we will boast according to the standard of measurement that the God of measure has assigned us–a measurement that relates even to you. 14 … 15 Neither do we boast about things that cannot be measured in regard to the work done by others.
10:17
Jer. 9:


(bold mine)

8 comments:

ebsfwan said...

I understand where you are coming from but I'm not so sure why you are so selective in your attacks on gay folk.

I can think of two targets much more deserving of your attention:

1. God hates divorce. I'm damn sure there are more divorced people than there are gay people. Divorced people are more of a danger to the institution of marriage as they have made a mockery of it already.

2. What about poverty? I would guess that you are rich. Now you may disagree with me but if you are an average American then you are rich by world standards. I'm fabulously wealthy by world standards but just doing nicely by contemporary Western standards. I have a nice suburban house with a nice suburban car and a nice suburban mortgage. I don't think Jesus would be too impressed with us myself. I'm pondering upgrading my computer and tv at the moment. I know I should rather donate most of my earnings to charity but I don't. I'm a damn poor Christian.

I guess the reason some folk (and I don't know if you fall into this category or not) target gays is because they are such an easy target. You can feel all righteous about doing Gods work with no real cost to yourself.

And I'm guilty of this. I can critique along with the best of them and not do much to change the world. Wouldn't Jesus be proud?

I think I need to do more good. God bless you Christine. Pray for me a sinner.

Christinewjc said...

Ebsfwan,

Divorced people aren't out there holding "divorce pride parades" or putting forth "divorce theology" or preaching that "divorce is good for you" in public schools.

Although it is a different issue (meaning, it's not about sin) the subject of poverty isn't (and shouldn't be) projected as a thing that is desirable, either.

The reason this particular issue is front and center for Bible believing Christians is because our culture is being harmed by the advance of the liberal mindset that "gay is O.K." while the children are not getting the complete story regarding homosexuality.

Ex-gays are demeaned and often prevented (whether it's in the media or public schools) from sharing their stories of successful release from homosexual behavior and identity.

The courts are attempting to pass "hate crimes" laws which is a code-word for preventing any opposition (including Biblical verses) that say that homosexual behavior is sin, an abomination to God, and something that needs to be repented of.

I've covered this in great detail in other blogposts here. Just type in "homosexuality" in the blog search and you can read about all of it.

This is an issue that is not going away. Christians aren't going to just lay down, give up and let the liberal secularists (or the "gay" theology people and followers)get their way in promoting homosexual behavior as normal, natural and a positive thing to pursue. That is the homosexual activists goal, and they are succeeding on many fronts in this cultural war of ideals. But they will always find opposition from the Bible. It is our job, as believers, to uphold God's Word in the face of adversity; no matter what other people may think of us or our efforts.

~Deb said...

The fact remains, you can literally have a scripture war. There are counteracting scriptures that can be shot back at you. The key point is interpretation and translations. Now, as you’ve stated, you said Mark’s post was “true”. What is truth if people have different beliefs, interpretations and various opinions on what is “truth”. Do you go by someone who preaches with profanity? I’m sure that’s a perfect example to set when you’re trying to preach the “good word”. Does Mark think he’s effective by insulting people with hurtful words and cursing while he speaks about religion?

Nice.

Well, I’m battin’ back my scriptures to you- in order to answer how I see the bible and what it also says.

Romans 7 1-6
Now, dear brothers and sisters—you who are familiar with the law—don’t you know that the law applies only to a person who is still living? Let me illustrate. When a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.
So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit.

Here… Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Here is my interpretation of the cherry picked version of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11…

“Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t you fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers---none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.”

Now, most homosexuals will say to that verse that’s been thrown at them by other judgmental people, “Oh wow! I’m going to hell if I continue being gay!”

Wrong. Read the next verse, which most Christians fail to provide for you…

“There was a time when some of you were just like that, (before Christ), but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.”

Christians will yell out, “that was past tense”---however, it was past tense **before Christ**. When Christ died for our sins, he paid the full price. It’s up to us whether or not we fully believe that our sins are washed away.

We need to be “in this together”, and not bashing one another for our personal relationship with Christ. Who’s to say that my spiritual experiences with the Holy Spirit wasn’t true? My messages from God are mine, which I am sharing with others. Am I completely wrong?

Doesn’t Romans speak specifically about the “lusts” and “sexual desires” towards others when it comes to homosexuality? Of course it does! Lust is different than love… I have love with my partner which God has blessed.

I totally respect your beliefs, and I like hearing what you think. I’m not trying to argue intentionally with you, but what about the scriptures that say we are no longer bound by the law? What about those scriptures that are missed by other Christians who use it soley to take down homosexuals? (Like in Cor. 6:9-11)

I’m not this evil person trying to deceieve people, Christine. I’m a genuine person who loves people and wants to share what I’ve learned through many sources, spiritual experiences as well as knowledge on the bible. I’m not a false prophet or someone who wants to twist the scriptures. I seek questions and always will, but I also see the truth in it----I see the truth as “I believe it to be”. And you do the same.

Without a large messy debate, I guess we can definitely say that we have so much faith that no one can take that away from us. You cannot take that away from me, and I cannot take that away from you. Our beliefs are very different, and for years and years beyond years, people have been fighting over religious matters. It’ll never end, because faith is not fact. Blind faith is what Christians go by. But, when you have a spiritual experience which the Holy Spirit leads you to, it’s hard to say that it’s not fact. That’s where I am.

Thank you for listening to me and hearing me out. I know you don’t agree, but that’s where I’m coming from. And by the way, I’m not out there holding a gay pride march. I’m actually against it, due to the promiscuous folk ruining it for the people who stand for genuine monogmous relationships. So stop stereotyping us and making yourself out to be a bigot.

God bless!!! Enjoy your weekend.

kathi said...

I appreciate the heart in which you witness. May God bless you, and continue to guide you in your walk with Him.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Deb,

Even though we disagree vehemently on this one issue, I'm glad that we can still have a somewhat civil conversation about it. Except for the part where you called me a bigot.

Personally, I don't see that word "bigot" as an accurate description against me when the conventional definition is being applied. So, I have changed the meaning to represent the acronym below.

Today, whenever someone uses such a term against me, I now apply it to represent:

Bible
Is
God's
Only
Truth

That eases my conscience a bit.

I think that it is hard for homosexual people to get away from that word. Having been oppressed for so many decades (prior to the 70's when the liberation movement catapulted those who identify as gay into gaining many rights and tolerance, if not acceptance, in the mainstream media), I can understand why that word lingers in your vocabulary.

It is similar to the term "racist" being used extensively in minority communities. Yes. There are definitely instances and attitudes where racism still exists today. No doubt about that. I'm not denying that. But the rancor about racism when it doesn't genuinely happen is damaging to the cause (IMHO) The same could be applied to the incessant spouting of "bigot" by the homosexual community.

With that said, I will also say this. I really like you Deb. I think you are talented, funny, genuine and loving in your attitudes towards people. I can learn a lot from you. I actually enjoy our convos; especially because you don't give up so easily. That tenacity can be a great asset when winning people to the Lord.

The fact that we disagree on this one volatile issue probably means that neither one of us will convince the other to change those deeply held convictions. But I think that our back and forth convos may help others who read what we write to think and decide for themselves which "road," so to speak, they should travel on this particular topic.

Now to your comment.

Deb wrote:
"The fact remains, you can literally have a scripture war."

You are absolutely correct on that point. I have stated in the past on this blog that I do not like to get into petty arguments with other Christians about denominational differences. However, I think that the "gay" Christian movement needs to be countered. People like you and Ebsfwan may perceive my actions as "picking on gay people," but that isn't my intent or goal. We live in a secular culture today, but our nation was built upon Judeo-Christian ethics and values. I don't think that we should eliminate those values from the public square; especially when it comes to teaching children in schools.

Deb asked:
"What is truth if people have different beliefs, interpretations and various opinions on what is “truth”."

What you are describing is subjective truth; which is, unfortunately, paramount in the "gay" theology movement.

Objective truth is essential in gaining knowledge about God's absolute truth in His Word.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary - Cite This Source
Truth

Used in various senses in Scripture. In Prov. 12:17, 19, it denotes that which is opposed to falsehood. In Isa. 59:14, 15, Jer. 7:28, it means fidelity or truthfulness. The doctrine of Christ is called "the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5), "the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7; 4:4). Our Lord says of himself, "I am the way, and the truth" (John 14:6).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

As I mentioned in previous comments, God's Word is our "measuring rod" against all falsehood and what man's wisdom comes up with that is in opposition to God's Word. God's Word is unchanging. It is man who wishes to change the meaning of God's Word.

How can we determine what is truth and what is falsehood? This is recognized through the use of several "tools" such as hermeneutics, exegesis, Sola Scriptura (see this page for an example on the word "repent", and Scripture interprets Scripture. This is why Bible Scholars can continually refute atheists, skeptics, heretics, and apostates through their research into the Scriptures and the harmony of commentary as a result of their research.

Deb wrote:

"Do you go by someone who preaches with profanity? I’m sure that’s a perfect example to set when you’re trying to preach the “good word”. Does Mark think he’s effective by insulting people with hurtful words and cursing while he speaks about religion?"

I have been accused of the exact same things, Deb. The Gospel itself is offensive to those who are perishing. Talking about the need to confess and repent of one's sins isn't popular today. It's considered "insulting," "hurtful," and is some cases, even considered "profane," by those who reject it.

Mark and I may have different styles (and/or bad habits that we need to work on...no one is perfect), but we agree on what the Scripture says. Mark and I have never met. We have only corresponded online. How is it that we hold to the same interpretation of Scripture? Because we both have studied it and have used the "tools" listed above to eliminate human error from sharing what God's Word teaches.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:


2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

"Perfection" is unattainable while we are still in these fleshly bodies. But the leading of the Holy Spirit never counters against what is written in the Scriptures. Depending on how well one follows His leading (and rejects the fleshly desires) determines how Christlike we become. We are all a work in progress here. The Bible reveals that when we see Jesus in eternity, we will "see Him as he is" and will "be like him" at that point. Meanwhile, as imperfect messengers for Christ, we do the best we can with the gifts God has given us to point towards Jesus and the gospel.

Jesus gives us the challenge to "be perfect":

Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Of course he knows we will never attain that here, so it is something that we work on each day. Amen?

Deb wrote:

"But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit."

We are no longer captive to the punishment for our sins because we are unable to keep the Law in our own flesh. That is why Jesus died for our sins and took the punishment that each one of us deserved because:

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

God the Father looks at Christ's sacrifice for our sakes and is satisfied. Christ paid the penalty of death for us all. Those who repent and believe are saved. Those who don't are "already condemned" because their sin remains on their own souls.

The verses that I have already shared about continuing in the sins of the flesh (and God forbid) inform us that the Law hasn't been abolished, just fulfilled by Christ. Consider this. Are non-believers still under the Law?

As believers, we are to keep the Commandments as a sign that we are no longer our own, but belong to Jesus. Jesus said, "If you love me keep my commandments." It is a sign of love and devotion to no longer indulge in the sins of the past because we are "new creations in Christ." This doesn't mean that we can't ever sin again (that would be robotic and eliminate our free will choices), or won't ever sin again, but it means that we don't want to sin again because it grieves the Holy Spirit of God (and, additionally, it is felt as guilt within our own hearts, too) and is anathema to Christ's request to us "if you love me, keep my commandments."

In your comment discussion of Galatians 2:17-21, I think that the problem may be that you are taking what is being said a bit out of context.

Matthew Henry's commentary on this is quite long, but if you scroll down to where he discusses those particular verses, you will see that the "keeping the law" argument was in reference to the concern between those who have been born and bred in the Jewish religion, vs. the impure Gentiles. This portion speaks directly to this:

1. With the practice of the Jewish Christians themselves: "We,’’ says he, "who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles (even we who have been born and bred in the Jewish religion, and not among the impure Gentiles), knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we ourselves have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. And, if we have thought it necessary to seek justification by the faith of Christ, why then should we hamper ourselves with the law? What did we believe in Christ for? Was it not that we might be justified by the faith of Christ? And, if so, is it not folly to go back to the law, and to expect to be justified either by the merit of moral works or the influence of any ceremonial sacrifices or purifications? And if it would be wrong in us who are Jews by nature to return to the law, and expect justification by it, would it not be much more so to require this of the Gentiles, who were never subject to it, since by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified?’’ To give the greater weight to this he adds (v. 17), "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ the minister of sin? If, while we seek justification by Christ alone, and teach others to do so, we ourselves are found giving countenance or indulgence to sin, or rather are accounted sinners of the Gentiles, and such as it is not fit to have communion with, unless we also observe the law of Moses, is Christ the minister of sin? Will it not follow that he is so, if he engage us to receive a doctrine that gives liberty to sin, or by which we are so far from being justified that we remain impure sinners, and unfit to be conversed with?’’ This, he intimates, would be the consequence, but he rejects it with abhorrence: "God forbid,’’ says he, "that we should entertain such a thought of Christ, or of his doctrine, that thereby he should direct us into a way of justification that is defective and ineffectual, and leave those who embrace it still unjustified, or that would give the least encouragement to sin and sinners.’’ This would be very dishonourable to Christ, and it would be very injurious to them also. "For,’’ says he (v. 18), "if I build again the things which I destroyed—if I (or any other), who have taught that the observance of the Mosaic law is not necessary to justification, should now, by word or practice, teach or intimate that it is necessary—I make myself a transgressor; I own myself to be still an impure sinner, and to remain under the guilt of sin, notwithstanding my faith in Christ; or I shall be liable to be charged with deceit and prevarication, and acting inconsistently with myself.’’ Thus does the apostle argue for the great doctrine of justification by faith without the works of the law from the principles and practice of the Jewish Christians themselves, and from the consequences that would attend their departure from it, whence it appeared that Peter and the other Jews were much in the wrong in refusing to communicate with the Gentile Christians, and endeavouring to bring them under the bondage of the law.

Notice the bolded parts. Whether Jew or Gentile, once justified, we are not to allow such justification to be used through continuing to sin like we used to and thus making Christ a "minister of sin." Paul reacts in horror and says, "God forbid."

The point is that observance of the Law does not save a person (a.k.a. justify) because then Christ would have died in vain.

Paul's point is that keeping the Law does not justify a person (a.k.a. being saved). The reason is because no one can keep the Law perfectly! So, the argument that the Jewish Christians had against the Gentiles was that because they (the Gentiles) hadn't been observing the Law before believing in Christ then perhaps that should eliminate them from consideration into the family of Christ.

One analogy might be like saying to a person today, if you don't go to my particular church and observe those rules first, then you are not "eligible" to be saved. We know that that is not so.

Think about the two thieves on either side of Jesus at the cross. At first, both thieves ridiculed Jesus. Then, one thief came to his senses and realized who Jesus really is. He admitted his guilt and said, "Lord, remember me when you enter into your kingdom." Jesus replied, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."

Ask yourself this question. Did that thief have the time to observe the Jewish Laws before his death? No. But what he DID DO was REPENT and BELIEVE in Christ. That is what is required for salvation and justification.

Of course, the repentant thief wasn't able to do so, but if he got off his execution cross and went back to his "thieving ways" do you think that Jesus would have been happy about it? Of course not. Would he lose his salvation? Not if his repentance and belief was genuine. Would he lose rewards in heaven for backsliding and sinning again? Yes. The Judgment Seat of Christ reveals what every believer has done in his/her life. But because the penalty of death was already paid by Christ, and the person repented and believed on Christ, he/she is saved.


Remember that elsewhere Jesus tells us, "If you love me, keep my commandments." A believer does not lose their salvation if they sin again (plus, no more need for sacrifices of animals as the Israelites did in OT times because Christ's sacrifice covers all), but we are admonished not to continue in sin (as was the case where Jesus told the adulterous woman), "Go and leave your life of sin."

What do you think Jesus would have thought if that woman went out and encouraged others to commit adultery? Would Jesus approve? Of course not! Especially if her audience were all unsaved! Encouraging them to continue in such a sin might cause them to reject repentance altogether; then they would miss out on recieving Jesus as Lord and Savior, miss the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and miss out on eternity with God in heaven.

We must take our witnessing efforts very seriously. We should never do anything that would lead a person astray. That is why God's absolute truth as revealed in the Bible and the Person of Truth, Jesus Christ is essential to all of our witnessing efforts.

This is getting quite long so I will end here for now and return to complete my response to your comment later.

God bless!
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Hi Kathi,

Welcome to Talkwisdom!

I'm not sure if you were referring to Deb or I (perhaps both?) but nonetheless, thank you for your kind words!

May God bless you as well.

Love in Christ,
Christine

~Deb said...

"The Gospel itself is offensive to those who are perishing."

Accoring to whose gospel? See, we believe different things regarding the bible. You and I can throw scripture after scripture at one another till the cows come home, and we will still disagree.

I'm not trying to convince you otherwise. I know that your walk with God and your faith is strong. I love that about you.

I read everything you write and I really have learned a lot by it. I think you're a great teacher and you are definitely blessed.

The only reason why I refer to bigot- with you, Mark, Dani and whoever - is because sometimes the main focus and goal is to make homosexuals into heterosexuals. It's insulting, due to the fact that our beliefs are so very different. So, I apologize if I have offended you.

And don't get me wrong, I have my downfalls too with language and whta not, but I try my absolute hardest not to hurt people.

I just feel, that if we all love God, then we should have enough trust in Him to know that if we are close to God, He will guide us into the right direction.

And, as far as your comment regarding leading people into adultery-----it's not the same for me. I am speaking on the terms that homosexuality is not a sin- they speak only about the lustful desires and promiscuous nature of being gay.

I've sold a ton of books and led many people to God. Don't you have enough faith that God will lead the way? Even IF I am wrong, I'm bringing people towards God. But, in my heart, through my spiritual experiences and study of the bible, I feel that my beliefs are my own...are my own truths, which I share with those who need to hear God's word.

Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Christinewjc said...

Deb wrote:

""The Gospel itself is offensive to those who are perishing."

Accoring to whose gospel? See, we believe different things regarding the bible."


According to the one and only Gospel, Deb. The Gospel of Christ.

Note these verses where Christ is considered a "stumbling block" and a "rock of offence" to the non-believer:


Old Testament prophecy (KJV):

Isa 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Isa 8:15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

About these verses, Matthew Henry's commentary reiterates what I originally said in my last comment to you:

III. He threatens the ruin of the ungodly and unbelieving, both in Judah and Israel. They have no part nor lot in the foregoing comforts; that God who will be a sanctuary to those who trust in him will be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, to those who leave these waters of Shiloah, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son, (v. 6), who make the creature their fear and their hope, v. 14, 15. The prophet foresees that the greatest part of both the houses of Israel would not sanctify the Lord of hosts, and to them he would be for a gin and a snare; he would be a terror to them, as he would be a support and stay to those that trusted in him. Instead of profiting by the word of God, they should be offended at it; and the providences of God, instead of leading them to him, would drive them from him. What was a savour of life unto life to others would be a savour of death unto death to them. "So that many among them shall stumble and fall; they shall fall both into sin and into ruin; they shall fall by the sword, shall be taken prisoners, and go into captivity.’’ Note, If the things of God be an offence to us, they will be an undoing to us. Some apply this to the unbelieving Jews, who rejected Christ, and to whom he became a stone of stumbling; for the apostle quotes this scripture with application to all those who persisted in their unbelief of the gospel of Christ (1 Pt. 2:8); to them he is a rock of offence, because, being disobedient to the word, they stumble at it."

New Testament:
NLT version:
1Pe 2:6 As the Scriptures express it, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem,[fn1] a chosen cornerstone, and anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.[fn2]"

1Pe 2:7 Yes, he is very precious to you who believe. But for those who reject him, "The stone that was rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone."[fn3]

1Pe 2:8 And the Scriptures also say, "He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that will make them fall."[fn4] They stumble because they do not listen to God's word or obey it, and so they meet the fate that has been planned for them.

Footnotes:
2:6 Greek in Zion.
2:6 Or will never be put to shame. Isa 28:16.
2:7 Ps 118:22.
2:8 Isa 8:14.