Saturday, March 3, 2007

Do we understand what we teach?

From Galations 2:11 - 18
" When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was lead astray.
When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gosple, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we our selves are sinners, does that mean tht Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what i destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker."
I continue to be surprised at the ignorance of men in their understanding of scripture. Just as Peter, a leader of the church in Antioch came to Grace, then reverted to entertaining those Jews who continued in the law of Moses, men of today, who claim to have stood in the pulpit still have no understanding of what saves them.
Once you've explained what righteousness is, then have presented this passage to a person with the word 'justified' (dikiasune in Greek: to make or render right or just; to act with justice; to avouch to be good and true, to vindicate; to hold as guiltless, to accept as righteous, to justify") a person will still continue to treat salvation as if it is an automatic entrance to Heaven.
Any of the descriptive words in the salvation process may be wrongly misused. Words like: righteous, perfect, sanctified, justified, consecrated and holy will all have the same meaning to someone who does not understand what these words are intended to describe.
The word 'justified' is like a qualification. To be justified is to be seen by God as someone whom He can have a relationship with. Justification comes by atonement.
Atonement is to meet the requirements of God's law. Then we are called righteous or justified.
Christ becomes our perfect living sacrifice in which he fulfilled the demands of the law. Now, His human blood atones for us because He offers Himself as a sacrafice for us. We are seen as one who has fulfilled the requirements of the law when we accept His work as having been done on our behalf.
This is faith; that we believe in Him just as Abraham believed in Him.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Value in origional language

Some things that are not easily seen in the scripture after translation from original text and language have been known and recognized as obvious. For example:

"The Sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 15:56-57 (NIV)
Compare my translation to the NIV:
"The destructive power and eminent danger of the propensity to sin
can be controlled by the sinner through the law.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:56-56 (JLV - James Leasure Version [Not a real version])
I'm just a novice at translation of scripture. But, if I am correctly translating, I Corinthians 15:56-57 tells us that we have the power to avoid the danger of and propensity to sin by keeping the Law of the Old Testament. Then Paul exclaims, Thanks to God, we do not have to practice the Old Testament covenant with all of its rituals and ablutions. Christ has accredited an account of permanent fulfillment of the Law to us.
Think about the essence of the passage quoted. Are we not already aware of this? How? The message that I arrived at is a message that is revealed in other passages of the Bible. We also have the promise that God has written His law on our hearts. Testimony to the unbeatable, unavoidable ability of God to give us His message. The Bible has survived all attempts to snuff it out. The message has not been lost in mistranslation. God's word will never pass away. (Luke 21:33).

Monday, February 26, 2007

God's family

From Romans 16:1-16;
Not more than three or four verses into the reading of this passage did I ask myself this question: "How did Paul find love for so many people"?
Paul, so many times used words like: "My dear friend", "I long to come to you", "Beloved brethren"...etc..
It is so characteristic to find such a list of thank yous from Paul to people who have helped him in some way. He very aptly expresses love for the church as a whole and earnestly expresses love for all of the people he has met personally.
I think that people eventually come to an understanding that they will have love for mankind in general as the Holy Spirit produces growth in each of us who are Christians.
Paul has no difficulty loving the human race. Paul's transformation was supernatural. God snatched him up! Paul's zeal for God was very real. God could use him because of that. So, God pummeled Paul with the Holy Spirit saying, "This is the instrument that I will use to carry my name before the gentiles...". (Acts 9:15)
Paul was literally brought to his knees with the fear of God in him.
Paul's understanding developed quickly. He did not deserve what God was giving him. More than a second chance; grace - righteousness! God unmercifully gave Paul proof of what God's plan for man is. Paul would never be the same. In fact, his name was Saul (acts 9:4) and became Paul at some point between the events recorded at Acts 9 to Acts 13.
What is more sincere a sign of desire to want God's will than to have a sincere love for man?
I can't explain how this came to be for Paul. I do not know exactly how God manifested this love in Paul. In witnessing the lives of prison inmates, the one thing that I shared in common with all of them was a desire to be with my family and friends. This gave me an awareness that no matter the outward appearance of a man, somewhere inside him, he had compassion that would be displayed for the ones he loved. A longing for his family. As a young Christian, I turned that thought and my new revelation into a spiritual reality. We are all God's children. God wants us to be his family. A family that does not despise its' siblings.
Paul became a member of God's family on that day he fell to his knees on the road to Damascus. Others would not. Even, still, those who I thought to be scum, but found compassion for may never come to a real understanding. All that they need do is realize that the love they have for family, is the love God wants for humanity.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Character

What we do is a reflection of who we are. It reflects our character. Character actually may be defined (from Koine Greek [New Testament language]) as 'exact impression'. And in the Koine Greek, the word is actually pronounced by the ancient Greek as "character".

This really sheds light on the incredible responsiblility we have in raising our children. We must give them the best part of ourselves. In days ahead, they may wander away and express themselves in a way to emphasize their desire for inviduality. It may be for the worse; in some cases for the better. We can't do much about the choices they make to be individuals. If they refuse to honor their parants and omit the quality teaching that their parants have given them, it is folly and we can only pray that they will not remain there.

Colossians 3:3-4, translated in its true meaning says that "...we will be laid up with Christ with God. When Christ comes in his true character then we will also be in our true character".

How could we teach our children to be evil? The things that we teach them are the foundational principals that they hold on to. They revert back to them at all times of their lives from day-to-day. Teach them virtuously and they will always have it because it is their true representation. They may stray. But it is only a matter of will that determines for how long.
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