The Apple Of God's Eye

May 30, 2011

Does God’s Word Wash You?

alleducationisreligious.blogspot.com

God desires that Christians make a real change of character after their calling. During baptism, the removal of sins is accomplished as an event, in a moment in time. But even for Christians, sin is an ongoing process. God’s righteousness never ends.

Do we think once we are baptized that we no longer have to be careful about sinning? Is the law of God then no longer applicable in our life? That’s not how it works. We have to keep putting in a big effort towards growing in grace and knowledge and becoming perfect as our Father is perfect.

God does not want divided loyalty, two faced people who are half-hearted. We know this because Jam. 1:8 says a double minded man is unstable, with a doubtful, skeptical mind.

We all have this state of mind in one way or another.  We have to allow the mind of Christ to be in us. Our human nature desires to be a part of this world and we have to battle this on a day to day basis. Even the great apostle Paul fought his human nature (and sin daily), but knowing that nothing less than the power of God could help him overcome – see Rom. 7.

If we are double minded, we can’t be effective for God. It controls our actions and we have to be sickened by this world and its abominations. We can’t truly fight that which we have come to accept. Satan has brainwashed this world into thinking that good is bad. In other words, he has completely deceived the entire world – (Rev. 12:9).

God wants to cleanse our thinking from unrighteousness.

We have to love the Church, not this world (Eph. 5:25). This world is a sin that easily begets us. We have to replace our thoughts with the thoughts of God, look up the thoughts of God in the Bible. Immerse ourselves in the mind of Christ.

The book of James says we have human nature that gets us to lust, but that lust will destroy us spiritually. These words are not inspired in vain. In order to overcome, we have to take the word of God spiritually, not casually. If we don’t use the power of God, Satan will get to us. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. We have to get serious about repentance.

April 10, 2011

Why Do We Eat Unleavened Bread?

judahgabriel.blogspot.com

By the time you read this, Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread will be almost upon us in 2011. To God’s true people, this season and all of God’s Holy Days are deeply meaningful.

But how much meaning do they have for our children, those young ones whose teaching God says is our responsibility?

Do we ourselves deeply understand God’s Holy Days? And, most important, do we set the proper example in observing these days? Do we take them seriously? Unless we do, how can we effectively express to our children the significance of God’s master plan?

Ancient Israel’s example

The ancient Israelites, in slavery in Egypt, certainly were forced to take God’s plan seriously when God began to work with them.

Times of national crisis — war, economic depression, enslavement of one nation to another — are probably harder on children than on any other single group within a nation. Without a doubt this was true during ancient Israel’s hard bondage in Egypt.

Imagine the plight of Israel’s children during the months and weeks leading up to the Exodus:

Slavery no doubt broke up families. The people lived in extreme poverty. The Israelite children were not afforded good opportunities for education.

The hard labor, from which even the children were not excepted, must have claimed a heavy toll in terms of the children’s physical and mental health. Nothing — not even human life — could stand in the way of the massive building projects Pharaoh pushed so obsessively.

Then God intervened. Keeping His promise to the patriarch Abraham (Gen. 15:13-14), God began to deliver Israel. Moses arrived on the scene and God, through miraculous and devastating plagues, drove Pharaoh to release God’s nation. We know the story.

But think of the Israelites’ children. While the grown-ups were no doubt bewildered by the course of events, the children must have been most confused — even fearful.

Israel followed God’s instructions and prepared for the very first Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 12:1-25). God struck down the firstborn in every Egyptian home and Moses began to lead Israel out of Egypt. These events would only have added to the children’s wonderment.

But God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). He wanted His people — every person, down to the youngest child who could understand — to know about His plan. So He provided a means for the children to learn about the events and ceremonies of these first Holy Days: Parents were to teach their children, then and for every generation thereafter.

Notice Exodus 12:26-27: “And it shall come to pass,” God told Israel, “when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

God placed a heavy responsibility on parents. They were to teach their children about the things of God, including God’s Holy Days, which show the plan of salvation.

One of the most effective ways for them to have done so was to have set the proper example of obedience in their own lives. Personal example goes much farther than words in setting a pattern of right living.

The Bible shows, however, the adult Israelites themselves failed to heed God’s commands, let alone teach the younger generations. Therefore, God allowed every Israelite past the age of 20, except Joshua and Caleb, to die in the wilderness rather than enter the promised land.

And Moses, before Israel crossed the Jordan River into Canaan, had to repeat for the younger people, in Deuteronomy, things their parents had failed to teach them. Sad to say, this younger generation also failed to teach their offspring about the ways of God, and the record of Israel’s unhappy history shows the result. (more…)

March 12, 2011

What Was Really Nailed To The Cross?

thegospelcoalition.org

Does Colossians 2:14-17 prove the Ten Commandments, Sabbaths and Holy Days were “against us,” “contrary to us,” and were therefore blotted out — “nailed to the cross”? Just what do these verses really mean?

Nineteen hundred years ago, on a stony slab of ground jutting upward near Jerusalem, a young man was nailed to an upright stake, suffering a uniquely harsh form of execution.

The one who was put to death was not merely a man — but also GOD in the flesh! And His death was a potential atonement for the sins of all mankind!

We know Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty of our sins. But when He was nailed to that stake, what else was nailed there? Do you know?

A Much Misunderstood Scripture

Many fundamentalist theologians point to Colossians 2:14-17 in an attempt to prove that the entire law of God, sabbath days, and God’s annual festivals were done away — nullified and abrogated at the death of Christ. According to them, these verses say that the Ten Commandments were “against us,” and so Christ took them out of the way, “nailing them to His cross” when He died.

What do these verses in Colossians 2 really mean? Before examining Colossians 2:14-17 word by word and comparing it with other scriptures, let’s understand who the Colossians were, and why Paul wrote to them.

The City of Colossae

Colossae was a city in Asia Minor near Laodicea, in the province of Phrygia, on the south side of the Maeander river. At one time the city was controlled by the Macedonians. It was later transferred to the Seleucids, and finally became subject to Rome.

The Colossians were Gentiles and pagans. In the apostles’ time, the city, like the other cities of Asia Minor, was wholly given over to the worship of false gods and goddesses. Those of the saints who lived in Colossae had formerly been steeped in the same pagan idolatry.

Because pagan teachings and anti-Christian influences were rife in the city, and deceptive teachings of numerous religious philosophies abounded, the Apostle Paul was deeply concerned for the brethren in Colossae. He was actually alarmed lest false teachers, propounders of a mixture of Oriental philosophy and Judaistic beliefs, should again deceive them and subvert their faith in Christ.

In chapter 2, verse 8, Paul warned the brethren in Colossae: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [elements] of the world, and not after Christ.” (more…)

March 2, 2011

Is God’s Law Abolished In The New Testament?

dozierdon.blogspot.com

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Therefore we don’t have to keep the law — Christ kept it for us.” Or so goes a familiar — but erroneous — argument!

This false argument takes the form of many Sunday sermons that, unfortunately, lead many professing Christians away from the truth (Jeremiah 50:6).

Let’s examine the key Bible passage around which the whole question revolves, and see just what Paul meant.

What the Bible doesn’t say

The main verse in controversy is Galatians 3:13: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.”

First, let’s notice what this verse does not say:

1) It does not say that if you keep the law you will be under some terrible curse. Just the opposite is true. Satan himself knows that those who keep God’s spiritual law will be richly blessed, and that breaking the law brings a curse upon mankind. Thus the archdeceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) inspires deceived ministers (II Corinthians 11:13-15) to preach the diabolical lie that keeping God’s law brings a curse.

2) This verse does not say we don’t have to keep God’s spiritual law. The same Paul who wrote Galatians also wrote, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). Paul also said that it is not the hearers of the law who are just before God, but the doers of the law who shall be justified (Romans 2:13).

What, then, is the curse of the law? (more…)

November 24, 2010

Proving The Existence of God’s Law

gpcw.org.au

Consider the all-encompassing magnitude of God’s law. It outlines, in broad detail, our right relationship with the true God to receive needed guidance, help and blessings; and also our right relationship towards human neighbours – including parents, children, husband or wife. This law provides for every human need for our own good in a living, active, continuous relationship with the all-wise, all-powerful, all-loving God.

When we mediate fully on the ten commandments, we can see that God provides the means for mankind to have pure religion, happy families, a right social life, and wealthy economies. Never did God intent that His law be oppressive or destructive. In fact, the law can be summed up in one powerful word – love.

Our loving God has given us a law only forbids those things that harm us. God will never force us to keep His law because He has made us free moral agents. God wants us to choose to follow Him and His ways. It is all for our good. Yet, many who call themselves Christians teach that Christ did away with the ten commandments under the New Testament. However, that does not square with Christ’s personal example. (more…)

May 29, 2010

Why Did Christ Come To Earth?

Filed under: Law Of God — melchia @ 6:01 am
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elca.org

Christ came to earth the first time for a great purpose. “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see [or think they see] might be made blind” (John 9:39). Christ came to this world for the purpose of judgment, or justice.

One definition in Thayers Lexicon for judgment is “a matter to be judicially decided, a lawsuit, a case in court.”

Christ came to this earth that we “might see” what true justice is and how we are to be judged. This world hated His judgment, or system of justice, and killed Him. But the second time He comes, Christ will enforce His justice based on God’s law of love. He will rule according to what is right and wrong.

Why don’t more religions discuss this justice system. A true Christian is one who follows Christ. If we are Christians, we should seek God’s law and judgment

Christianity is often the greatest hypocrisy of all. People profess it, but they don’t believe in Christ’s message of justice. They talk about Christ, but they don’t teach His judgment or justice based on His law, the Ten Commandments.

Men don’t know what true justice is. But Christ knows and he wants to give sight to the blind. Soon, in your lifetime, Christ will implement His system of justice based on His law, in spite of man’s rebellion.

May 10, 2010

Use Your Sin Filter

God has given the true Christian a very effective filter against sin. We wear it continually and are to use it to bear up to the standard of God. One of the ways we do this is through immersing ourselves in the word of God. That way we recognize when sin creeps into our life. Obviously we want this filter to be as tight as possible, allowing no penetration of impure materials.

Looking into scripture, we can find the things that filter out evil:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8)

None of these things dwell on anything that is against the law of God, and therefore all are spiritually pure. (more…)

April 30, 2010

What Is Truth?

netstint.com

Just before Christ was crucified, Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler over Jerusalem asked a question of Christ that has puzzled mankind for thousands of years. That question was, “What is truth?” It was a good question; a deep question even. But strangely, Christ didn’t answer him. Why not? Did He not have universal truth to give? He sure did, but there was a very specific reason He did not answer.

Many in this world believe the Bible is open to interpretation to anyone professing Christianity. That notion could not be more wrong. Christ did not answer because he had a vile and corrupt ruler in front of Him who hated the law of God. It doesn’t matter if people today say they are Christian; if they do not obey God, they are not Christians – period. We can’t just throw the law of God out the window when the Bible is obviously a book of law from beginning to end. Christ wants us to know that if He’s going to reveal what truth is, that we have to do something. (more…)

April 1, 2010

Days Of Unleavened Bread: More Than Mere Symbolism

Leaven pictured as sin

Leviticus 23 outlines part of God’s law, where we find commanded the holy days of God (v. 2).  Rehearsing these holy days (the Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day) reinforces understanding of God’s master plan of salvation. They are to be honored and observed for eternity.

God also directs us to remove all leavened products from our homes during the one week period of the Days of Unleavened Bread (D.U.B.) , and conversely to eat unleavened bread to remind us of the haste in which Israel fled Egypt. On the two Holy Days at the beginning and end of the festival, God forbids Christians to continue in regular work because attention is to be focused on Him. The days are holy and an offering is to be taken.

The D.U.B. teach us that we should strive for perfection in obedience to the law of God at all times(Leviticus 23:6-8). God’s law is extended through the New Testament to help Christians build character in their lives. Christ taught, “But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17). If we are to enjoy eternal life in God’s Family, we must obey the law. (more…)

January 16, 2010

Why The Resurrection Instead Of Going To Heaven?

Most people believe that Christ completed God’s plan of redemption by dying on the cross. But if salvation was made full and complete by Jesus’ death, then why does the Bible still speak of a resurrection from the dead?

We often hear the saying, “Christ died to save sinners,” but this is not even a Biblical quotation. If you believe that Christ’s death imparts to us eternal life — that the blood of Christ — His death, actually saves or imparts everlasting life, then you are wrong in your assumption. Nowhere in the Bible does it say this is so!

So why did Christ Die for us ? First, realize that all have sinned and the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)! The Bible definition of sin is the transgression of God’s law — summed up by the Ten Commandments (I John 3:4). It was established by God for the happiness of man, something that has eluded him in a world of strife and war, fear and worry, poverty and want, discontent and suffering.

This world believes God’s salvation merely imparts eternal life! Jesus said He came that we might have eternal life, yes. But He also said something more: “I am come,” He said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Not merely continuous existence — but a life full of happiness for all eternity! (more…)

January 11, 2010

Can Christians Be Saved Without Obeying God's Commandments?

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Many believe this verse says we don’t have to obey God’s commandments, but that we can still be saved just as long as we believe. Is this right? Not if you understand your Bible!

What do you mean by believe? The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty.

If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is about as strong as a verse can get in the Bible. It is also abundantly clear and straightforward. Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

  • “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
  • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3).
  • Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32).
  • “Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good! Will you believe Him?

December 21, 2009

Do Christians Become Dead To The Law By The Body Of Christ?

What did Paul mean in Romans 7:4, when he said, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God”?

Notice carefully what Paul said. He did not say, “The law is dead.” He clearly said, “Ye … are become dead.” The law of God did not perish. But the people became dead to the law by the body of Christ.

Verse 5 helps explain it. “For when we were in the flesh” — that is, before we were converted, and while we were living according to the pulls of the flesh — “the motions of sins, which were [manifest, revealed for what they were] by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” Thus, when we were yet sinners, we were worthy of death in God’s sight, having transgressed His holy law.

“But now,” Paul explains in verse 6, “we are delivered from the law” — that is, from the inexorable death penalty of the law. Christ paid it for us — in our stead. The law of God no longer claims our lives, “that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

While sinners, we were worthy of execution. But, now, Paul says, we are dead to the law — that is, the penalty of death has been paid by another, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us. So far as the law is concerned, the penalty is paid — we are dead, in Christ — and there is no further date with death for us, if we continue to live in Christ.

This verse in no way says the law is done away. It merely shows that Christ paid the penalty of the law for us. He died for us. We are dead with him (Rom. 6:3-4). No longer does condemnation await us (Rom. 8:1), because we are also made spiritually alive with Him through His resurrection (Rom. 6:4-5, 11).

No longer, then, are we in a sense married to sin, the way of the flesh, but we are to be “married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead [in newness of life], that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).

So rather than doing away with the law of God, Rom. 7:4 actually magnifies the effect of the law on the life of the Christian.

November 30, 2009

The Emotional Perfection Of Jesus Christ

mysteryshrink.com

Emotion is sometimes looked upon as being a negative experience, but in reality this is only because some have not grown up emotionally. This is especially so in mainstream religion, which promulgates emotional fervor as the basis of legitimate religious experiences.  In that sense, God becomes a nebulous sentiment and repentance a hazy feeling. Yet neither Jesus Christ nor His disciples ever set such an example.

Jesus Christ was not some overly sentimental preacher, nor was He emotionally detached, in a catatonic state of nirvana like high. If you study your Bible, you will see He was always in complete emotional control, yet he was able to show emotion at the right time and for the right reasons, setting us an appropriate and perfect  display of emotional maturity. He showed that emotion can be a valid part of religion, if expressed properly.

Here are some examples:

  1. He was filled with deep emotion as He looked out over Jerusalem, whose deceived and erring people He loved (Matt. 23:37). He cried out for Jerusalem in an intelligent expression of feeling. In Luke 19, He beheld the city and wept over it (verse 41).
  2. He was also moved with compassion for the multitudes that followed Him in Matt. 9:36. Jesus Christ desired to send the Good News to these spiritually bankrupt people and he lamented the lack of labourers for the plentiful harvest (verse 37). He saw the potential if there were only more labourers.
  3. In Mark 6, when He was about to get away for some much needed rest, the multitudes kept following. Christ reacted emotionally to this, but in an outflowing and serving way.  He was moved a their religious poverty and desired to teach them, as well as feed them because they were hungry (verses 31-34). See also Matt. 15:30-32.
  4. Christ sighed with feeling as He healed a deaf man in Mark 7:31-34. “Sighed”is the same term as used in Rom. 8:23, where God’s people groan within themselves. Seeing someone in need just moved Him too much to stand idly by.
  5. Even when confronted with antagonistic Pharisees, Jesus Christ did not react with anger, but sighed deeply within Himself for their lack of faith in seeking a sign (Mark 8:12). Although He was angry at what the Pharisees were doing to people’s religion, He perfectly controlled and expressed His emotions, using them to serve the work of God.
  6. The image of a soft spoken Christ is also false, as “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried [aloud] saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink'” (John 7:37). This shows He was a powerful and dynamic speaker.
  7. When Christ found men selling in the temple and exchanging money, He deliberately made a small scourge and drove them all out of the temple, overthrowing the tables (John 2:13-14). Rather than being a violent tantrum, this was an expression of righteous indignation and zeal (root – boiling over), as expressed in verse 17. The zeal of God’s house and the vision of God’s plan for all mankind was all consuming for Jesus Christ.
  8. When the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Christ in Mark 10, it says He was much displeased. But this wording does not do justice to Christ’s emotions. In the original Greek, it means ” moved with indignation.” He was passionate even about the little children.
  9. Christ groaned in the spirit and was troubled (visibly moved, perhaps in controlled anger) at the lack of faith the Jews expressed after Lazarus died. ” Troubled”  here is the same word as used on the night of His last Passover when He was betrayed and ultimately crucified. Jesus wept (shed tears) over this lack of faith in verse 35.
  10. At Christ’s last Passover, He was also full of emotion and  a desire (craving or longing) to celebrate this Passover with His disciples. Even though He was about to die, He spoke of being joyful (deep godly joy – John 15:11), showing a deep motivation for the work of God behind His feelings.
  11. The final emotional struggle for Christ came when He was near the end of His physical life. He began to react to the gravity of what was about to befall Him, becoming ” very heavy,” (Mark 14:33). Jesus Christ being human, still had to fight His own feelings and was probably terrified. The Greek (Thayers) implies that the phrase “very heavy” is the strongest of three Greek words…in the New Testament for depression.” That is why He was exceedingly sorrowful unto death in verse 34 and ” full of heaviness” (Ps. 69:20). These were not wrong emotions because Christ did not act only on them.  He re-focused on His Father’s will through prayer so fervent, it caused Him to sweat blood (Mark 14:35). He would not allow these emotions to become sinful, which is why Hebrews 12:4 says it was a prayer of ” striving against sin.” He did not allow emotions to control Him.

So we can see that it can be supremely masculine to show proper emotion. He did not allow these emotions because of persecution against Him, or personal suffering, but the anguish of seeing those He loved reject the truth and turn the wrong way. This is at the heart of emotional maturity – the state of development from taking to the state of giving. Christ’s emotions always demonstrated the ” give”  way. This requires control and right direction of feelings, tempers, impulses.

God’s law should always guide us in the right direction because it is the way of love towards Him first, above ourselves, and then to others, equal with love for self.

November 27, 2009

What Does The Bible Teach Regarding Tattoos?

tattoo-pearcing.blogspot.com

Tattoos have become a craze among young people today. But does the Bible have anything to say about the subject? Most would say no, but then, they would be wrong! God’s word plainly condemns such practices in Lev. 19:28, which reads, “Ye shall not…print [tatoo] any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

A true Christian attitude is one of giving and service. It should demonstrate humility and modesty. A Christian should not appear strange or outlandish in attire. It fact, there are warnings against such attitudes and rebellion.

“Body art” and tattoos are generally motivated by vanity, sexual lust and rebellion; attitudes condemned throughout the Bible. Even if someone says he or she isn’t doing it for those reasons, we should avoid all “appearance of evil” (I Thess. 5:22).

Christians are told by God to be a light to this world (Matt. 5:13-16), and their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. They must glorify God with it. God does not want graffiti on His temple (I Cor. 6:19-20). We must ensure that our appearance is clean, wholesome and modest. It must be based on God’s law.

November 10, 2009

Defining God's Law For The Disobedient!

godwordistruth.wordpress.comMany today teach that God’s Law was nailed to the cross and is no longer in effect. They say we are now under the new covenant and the old covenant is gone. The Old Testament was for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. They teach that we are at liberty from the law since we are now under grace. Scriptures such as Rom. 3:28 are used to show you “that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” and others such as Rom. 6:14 which states that “…ye are not under the law, but under grace.” So what about it? Is it true that the law was indeed nailed to the cross?

Why law?

In love God created man in His own image. God loves human beings and He wanted them to be happy—to have peace, and to enjoy life. In order to make such a happy state possible, God set in living motion the spiritual laws which form the very WAY to every physical, mental and spiritual well-being—to avoid sorrow, suffering, anguish, insecurity, boredom, emptiness, frustration, violence and death. These spiritual laws provide the way to happy, invigorating, vital, interesting and joyful living.

God’s proposition to ancient Israel was to make them the world’s most prosperous, most blessed and powerful nation—they were to have the supreme blessing of having the guidance, protection, help, of the all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful God, as their sole King and Ruler. Their government was to be a theocracy. God was the Lawmaker, not a congress, or parliament. He  would appoint leading men to execute His orders. And what was to come from the very voice of God for them to obey? A great law that already existed even as the laws of gravity and inertia—the laws of physics and chemistry—already existed. Only this was a spiritual law! God’s voice was to reveal that living, inexorable law in specific words, as a definite code.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Eternal thy God …” and then the voice of God spoke to that mass of people the words of the Ten Commandments! (Exod. 19)

On that very first day of Pentecost (called festival of firstfruits, or festival of weeks, in the Old Testament), God gave His law—His way of life—to His people. This came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s nation on Earth.

Then, many centuries later, on the day of Pentecost, a.d. 31, God gave His Holy Spirit to His people—the love of God to fulfill that law. And that came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s Church on Earth!

And if you think this law was for “Jews only,” you couldn’t be more wrong! Have you not read, in Acts 7:38, that those Israelites “received the lively oracles to give unto us”—for us who, under the New Testament, are Christians?

Sin defined

By Bible definition, sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) and without the law, there can be no sin (Rom. 4:15). Were the law really nailed to the cross, we would have no guidepost to tell us what sin actually is, and as we know, we can’t even enter into [eternal] life without keeping the commandments. This makes the “no law” arguement very difficult to defend.

John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Did you get that? Commandment keeping is associated directly with the law of God! Love is the way of giving, serving, sharing. That is why John 14:15  says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Imagine that. We cannot even pretend to love Jesus Christ if we don’t love His spiritual laws. Can it get any more real than that?

The love of God is eternal and so is the law of God. Perhaps that is why Mat 5:18 says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Yet man seems to think nothing of casting it away, despite these plain words. Observe more closely, now, the Sabbath command.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). God said remember this day! So men have insisted on forgetting—or trying to change it to a different day!

Christ said, in the sermon on the mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,” so professing Christians think He did come to destroy it!

Christ said, in the same sermon on the mount: “Swear not,” so professing Christians universally hold up their right hands and swear.

Christ said: “Love your enemies,” so professing Christians—pretending to follow Him—hate their enemies and go to war to kill them.

Christ said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” so professing Christians say, “It’s impossible to keep God’s law, let alone to be perfect. Christ kept it in our stead, and then abolished it.”

Christ commands “Do!”—and His professed followers don’t!

Christ commands “Don’t!” and His professed followers do!

Perhaps it is time to stop following the crowd and to keep God’s word the way it was intended – spiritually, not carnally.

September 15, 2009

The Power Of God In Universal Vastness

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov

It was just before dawn on July 16, 1945, and the world’s first atomic bomb was about to be tested in the desert of New Mexico.  It worked! In a split second, the world’s first atomic weapon released the power of 20,000 tons of conventional explosive.

Three weeks later, a second bomb was exploded. But this was no test. It was dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and in a flash of heat and light, the city was destroyed and 100,000 people were killed or injured. Conquered and conquerors alike were awed by the power of this terrible new weapon.

The power of the atom

What man did was turn a small piece of uranium — about one gram, or a 30th of an ounce — into raw energy. Scientists had long suspected that it was possible. It took the urgency of war for them to discover how.

But when they did, even those who worked on the project were sobered by the implications of the power they could unleash. U.S. President Harry Truman summed it up in a warning to the people of Japan the day after Hiroshima was destroyed. “It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power…”

President Truman was right. Man had indeed harnessed the power of the universe, the very force from which the sun draws its power.

The atom bomb that devastated Hiroshima was a mere firecracker compared to the weapons of today. Now we measure their destructive power in megatons — one megaton is the equivalent of a 300-mile-long trainload of conventional explosives! But we have become so accustomed to such figures that they no longer impress us.

We should look again at the power of the atom. It is indeed the force by which mankind will bring himself to the edge of destruction. But there is also an encouraging and reassuring side to it. By splitting the atom, we learn — or could learn, if we were willing — a little more about the awesome power of God.

Before nuclear physics

For most of his approximately 6,000 years on earth, man has been surprisingly ignorant about the true nature of his surroundings. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome made some progress in science. But after the fifth century, man’s knowledge hardly advanced for 1,000 years.

During the Dark Ages, science, magic and witchcraft were considered to be much the same thing. Such scientists as there were wasted their time trying to find the elixir of life or a way to turn lead into gold. They thought the earth was flat and that angels pushed the sun and stars around it. Superstition rather than science guided men’s thinking.

Then, in the middle of the 16th century, knowledge began to expand rapidly again. Navigators discovered that they could sail around the world without falling off. Copernicus showed that the earth was not the center of the universe, but just another planet in orbit around the sun. Galileo’s experiments in astronomy and physics challenged some ideas that had remained unchanged (and wrong) since the days of Aristotle.

The English scientist Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated how physical phenomena could be measured and quantified. He made it possible for scientists to build on their discoveries, rather than conduct isolated experiments. Newton realized there was a system of law governing gravity, mass, force, acceleration and motion. This laid the groundwork for the advances that made our modern world possible.

For two centuries nobody seriously questioned the validity of Newton’s laws. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was considered indisputable that physical matter (the elements) and energy (heat and light) were separate entities that could neither be created nor destroyed. The amount of matter and the amount of energy in the universe were presumed fixed.

Matter could change its form through chemical reaction. Energy could also change — heat into light, for example. But matter could not turn into energy or vice versa. Or so they thought.

The theory of relativity

It was Albert Einstein who first understood that this was not totally true. He put forward a theory that predicted that physical matter and energy were not separate — that they were, in a sense, interchangeable. Matter could be transformed into energy, and energy could be transformed into matter.

This “theory of relativity” rocked the scientific world. This article is no place to try to explain in detail these incredibly complicated ideas. But Dr. Einstein summed them up with the now famous equation E = mc2 (where E = energy, m = mass and c = the speed of light, which is about 186,000 miles a second). What this means is that if you can transform physical matter into energy, the amount of energy produced is equal to the mass of the matter times the speed of light multiplied by itself (i.e., 186,000 x 186,000).

You don’t need to be a genius to realize that if this line of reasoning is true, even a small amount of matter can produce an astonishing amount of energy.

Splitting the atom

But how do you turn matter into energy? To do this, you would have to literally split the atom — or, to be specific, the nucleus of the atom. And that is easier said than done.

Scientists had shown that the atom, once thought to be the smallest possible particle of matter, is composed of even smaller, subatomic particles — neutrons, protons and electrons among them. The protons and neutrons make up a central core or nucleus of an atom, while the electrons whirl around the nucleus rather like the planets orbit the sun, only much faster — billions of times in a millionth of a second. (The makeup of the atom is actually even more complex than this, but this will serve to make the point.)

These components of the atom each have an electrical charge — negative, positive or neutral. The electrons whirling around in orbit have a negative charge. The nucleus is made of neutrons, which have a neutral charge, and protons, which have a positive charge.

Think of these charges like the opposite poles of a magnet and you’ll get the idea. If you have played with magnets, you’ve discovered that like poles repel each other, while opposite poles attract. It’s the same with electrical charges.

So, since the nucleus of an atom is made up of neutral neutrons and positively charged protons, what stops the protons from repelling each other — or, in other words, why doesn’t an atom’s nucleus fly apart? (Again, think of it as trying to hold the like poles of two powerful magnets together. It takes a surprising amount of strength, and as soon as you let up, the magnets immediately push themselves away from each other.)

There must be a force that counteracts the repelling power of the protons and binds them together in the nucleus. Physicists call this the “strong force.”

It is indeed so strong that, for centuries, nobody even suspected its existence. So firm was its grip on the core of the atom that no force available to man could even begin to persuade it to let go. Thus it was hardly surprising that scientists thought the atom was the smallest possible division of matter.

In the 19th century it was discovered that some elements had a strange property. They gave off radiation — or, as we say now, were radioactive. Physicists realized that the atoms of these elements were slowly disintegrating. It happened very slowly — so slowly and unobtrusively that for thousands of years nobody even suspected it.

Strange, isn’t it? For millennia, alchemists had wasted their time trying to turn one element into another, yet here it was happening naturally under their noses all the time. Uranium, for example, given enough time, will decay down to lead, a nonradioactive element.

Experiments showed that when one element is transformed into another, not all of it is changed. A very small percentage of matter is changed into energy.

But if Einstein was right and E really did equal mc2, that still meant a lot of energy would be released as an atom decayed. Just before the Second World War, scientists learned how to speed up the decay by splitting the atom with a nuclear reactor, releasing the power in the atom.

When a radioactive element decays in nature, a small amount of energy is produced. For example, one pound of radioactive uranium gives as much energy as is produced by 5,000 pounds of gasoline. But it needs a thousand million years to do it. In a nuclear reactor (or a nuclear bomb) the atom is literally split in two. Much greater amounts of energy are released, suddenly and violently.

In the reaction that caused the devastation at Hiroshima, only about 1/1000th of the uranium was transformed into energy — about a 30th of an ounce.

Think of the power that was locked into that speck of matter, when it was transformed into heat and radiation! And that was a very small bomb.

A hydrogen bomb is many times more powerful than an atomic bomb. It takes an atomic explosion to produce enough energy to start the reaction.

But when the reaction does take place, it is with a flash of light brighter than the sun. Millions of degrees of heat are generated. That is why it is called a thermonuclear reaction. With the making of the hydrogen bomb, man has actually succeeded in duplicating the force that drives the sun.

The incredible sun

Look up at the sun. What you are seeing is a continuous chain of nuclear explosions in a reaction of unimaginable power. The sun is actually a giant thermonuclear reactor. It is composed mainly of hydrogen that is gradually changing into helium. Deep inside the sun’s core tremendous gravitational forces, 250 billion times those of earth, compress hydrogen atoms until the heat and pressure force a thermonuclear reaction to take place.

Energy released is thrust toward the surface, but the sun’s great mass pulls it back. It may take up to 15 million years for the energy to jostle its way through to the surface and escape as heat and radiation.

Scientists estimate that nearly four million tons of hydrogen are transformed into energy every second in the nuclear holocaust on our sun. (Remember, it took only a 30th of an ounce to destroy Hiroshima.)

And then stop and think about this: Our sun is only one star in our galaxy of 100 million stars. And there are probably 100 million other galaxies, each with another 100 million stars. That makes — oh, never mind. The point is that there is an almost inconceivable amount of power locked up in this awesome universe that surrounds us.

God made that universe by and out of His own power. “For He commanded and they were created,” the Bible tells us (Psalm 148:5).

The power of God

How can we even begin to comprehend the power that God has available? How much energy had to be held together to forge the atoms of even the most commonplace and seemingly insignificant of God’s creations — a sparrow, a spider or a leaf?

If all the energy compacted in a gram of matter could be released, it would supply as much energy as the Hoover Dam produces in about 18 and a half hours. Put another way, the matter in a 150-pound person, if converted completely to energy, would supply as much energy as Hoover Dam could produce in 144 years.

Yet God made giant stars 1,000 times the size of our sun! Can we ever begin to appreciate just how great God is? No wonder He could never allow mortal man to see the full power that radiates from Him. Nothing made of flesh and blood could survive that experience.

But God has, through His creation, given us hints, mere suggestions, of the immensity of His power. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they [those who don’t or won’t believe in God] are without excuse,” wrote Paul (Romans 1:20).

The physical things God has made can teach us — if we have eyes to see. But, sad to say, many scientists today have rejected the very idea of God.

Never before have they known so much about the universe. Never before has there been more reason to believe in a Creator. Not so long ago, sailors were afraid to sail over the horizon for fear they would fall off the earth. Now we travel into space routinely, discovering, measuring, analyzing and quantifying. And every breakthrough leads inexorably toward one conclusion — that there must have been a time when all that we see began.

But that implies a Creator, and that is something that many scientists cannot — or will not — admit. And so they “became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (verse 21).

Perhaps if scientists had been willing to acknowledge the awesome power of God, they would never have dared tamper with those forces that bind the universe together.

In God’s hands, those forces are under control and are used only to do good. He has carefully regulated the inferno on the sun so that it makes life possible on earth.

But what has man done with nuclear power? Certainly there have been numerous peaceful industrial applications, although some argue that even these are hazardous. But our potential to split the atom is also lurking in the warheads of the weapons that will destroy all life if they ever are used.

Those weapons may be even more destructive than we dare think. President Truman threatened a “rain of ruin” on Japan. He didn’t know then that those relatively little bombs were paving the way for a possible nuclear winter that would eventually eliminate those who survived the initial blasts of nuclear bombs.

While the human heart is ruled by anger, lust and greed, it would be wiser to leave the “basic power of the universe” alone.

But it’s too late now. Once the first atomic bomb went off successfully, the die was cast. A chain reaction began. The bombs got bigger, and Bible prophecy tells us that man will use the principle of E = mc2 to batter the earth to the point where it can no longer sustain life.

Then, and only then, will the people of this world look out to the heavens and ask once again, “My God, what have we done?” 

Psalm 19

King Davis stated in Psalm 19: “The law of God is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure… the statutes of the Lord are right… the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes… by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).

David knew that God rules His Kingdom and regulates His power with the great law of love. Before humans can inherit God’s Kingdom, they must show that they will live in obedience to that law. Only then can God be sure that the great reserves of power will always be used for good and peaceful purposes.

So God watches us now, while we are still relatively powerless, to see how we live. He expects us to take seriously even the smallest details of His law, which is far more binding than even the strong force that holds the earth together, or the power that constrains the energy locked in the stars. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away,” said Jesus Christ (Luke 21:33).

King David believed that. And so, when this righteous king looked into the heavens, he was filled with longing for the time when he could share that splendor as a born child of God. But he knew he had to qualify, and he knew he needed help. So he prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

God did help David. He gave him power — not the power of the atom, but the even greater power of the Holy Spirit. He began the greatest reaction process of all — the transformation of the very nature of David. One day, David will be resurrected in power and glory.

God will do the same for you. He will share His Spirit with you — just a little, for now. But you must use it properly — to overcome, to obey God’s law, to do good and serve others.

Then one day, you, too, will be welcomed by the great Creator God into His Kingdom, to live with Him in full brilliance and majesty and share His awesome power forever.

Source: Good News, 1985

August 22, 2009

Christian Conduct: Good – But Good Enough?

Nobody’s perfect — but compared to the world around you, you must rate pretty high.

You don’t curse, you don’t smoke and you don’t drink too much. You are faithful to your mate and you are honest. You go to church regularly, you pray, you study the Bible and you try to put it into action. That has got to make you better than the average person. After all, many people today aren’t even trying to be good.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. The apostle Paul warned that the end-time society would be a place of falling standards and collapsing values. “Know this,” he wrote, “that in the last days perilous times will come” (II Timothy 3:1-5). Paul warned that people would become more greedy and selfish. He predicted the brutality and mindless violence of our age, when people would love pleasure more than God, and when even those who were “religious” would not understand God’s truth. “From such people turn away!” he thundered.

If you are serious about serving God today, you must indeed turn away from this world before it collapses. But that is hard, and it is all too easy to relax and slip back into your old ways. And so the Bible tells those who are real Christians to examine themselves from time to time (and particularly during the Passover season) to see if they are indeed “in the faith” (II Corinthians 13:5).

When you measure something, you compare it with an accepted standard — a weight, a ruler or perhaps a thermometer. Then you can know how heavy, how long or how hot it is. But how do you measure how good you are?

How good are you?

If you compare yourself with the standards of the world around you, you would probably pass with flying colors. But is that good enough? There is a serious flaw in such reasoning. Obviously this world’s standard of what is “good enough” is not reliable, but do you know why? It is not just because it is wrong. It is also variable — or, to be more specific, it is declining.

“Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,” Paul warned in II Timothy 3:13. He realized that the end-time world was not just going to be bad — it was going to get steadily worse.

Today crime is increasing, and violence and perversion are becoming commonplace. Young people are becoming ever more disillusioned and older people more frustrated. The world has its ways of hiding the truth from itself. Everyone wants to believe that things are getting better, and so more and more evil is tolerated. The unacceptable is made acceptable and the illegal becomes legal. What was once wrong is now accepted as “OK.”

But legislating away sin and squelching the penalty never solves problems. All it does is ensure that more people are going to be harmed.

Declining movie standards

The entertainment industry gives us a good example of how this society gradually tolerates more and more evil. Back in 1939, when Clark Gable used a rather mild (by today’s standards) expletive in the movie Gone With the Wind, audiences gasped. But that was only the beginning.

In 1968 the Motion Picture Association of America decided to regulate itself, adopting a set of standards by which new films could be rated. “G” meant the film was suitable for general audiences. “M” indicated that some of the material might not be suitable for children and that mature guidance was required. Then there was the “R” rating, signifying that children were restricted from seeing the movie unless accompanied by parents, while an “X” determined that no minors would be allowed to see the movie under any circumstances.

But did that action lead to more good films and less obscene rubbish? No — today half the films produced in the United States get an “R” rating, and many that now get a “PG” (which replaced “M”) would have been rated “R” back in 1968. A “PG-13” rating has now been added to indicate that a film is more violent or sexual in content than a “PG” movie, but not enough to earn an “R.”

Standards have dropped. What was unacceptable is now considered acceptable. Today you are probably allowing yourself to be entertained by movies with themes and language that would have appalled “good Christian folk” as little as 15 years ago. Explicit four-letter words and blasphemies glibly roll off the tongues of actors, even in “PG” movies. We barely notice them, and it takes a lot to make us gasp now.

So if you measure yourself by the rating standards of the world around you, you are kidding yourself. Even if your standard of righteousness is always better than the average, it doesn’t take a genius to see that soon “good people” are actually worse than the average had been only a little time before. Those who consider themselves “righteous” by society’s standards are kidding themselves.

A lesson from the Pharisees

That was exactly the situation into which Jesus Christ came nearly 2,000 years ago. The standards of “good behavior” in that society were set by the Pharisees, a sect of self-righteous religious leaders. By their standards, the Pharisees looked good. They prayed. They studied the Scriptures. They gave tithes and alms, and they fasted often. The average man in the street, seeing a Pharisee in action (and the Pharisees made sure they were seen) would have thought that they were indeed righteous people.

But Jesus saw right through them. He gave a parable that showed what He thought about these hypocrites:

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).

Jesus showed that the goodness of the Pharisees, although seemingly better than average, was just not good enough. “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven,” He explained (Matthew 5:20).

Measuring accurately

Is there, then, a standard by which Christians can measure themselves? There is indeed. God’s law is a standard you can trust, a standard that never varies. With God there is right and there is wrong, and He commands us to do what is right.

Sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4), and God doesn’t grade sin. There are no “X,” “R” or “PG” transgressions. The penalty of sin always has been and always will be the same — death (Romans 6:23).

Now that is too strong for some, and there have been many attempts to liberalize or even do away with God’s law across the centuries. But God does not move His standards up and down to conform with changing times, or to agree with what some liberal theologian chooses to define as sin. He doesn’t alter His values to accommodate “progress” in a “more enlightened” world. He never condones sin. (He does, of course, forgive it, if we repent.)

Jesus summed up God’s standard in Matthew 5:48: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

In that case, perhaps we should just give up. Who can become perfect like the great God? But God is reasonable and understanding and does not hold out an impossible standard to thwart and frustrate us. He sets this standard to prevent His people, who are trying to stop sinning, from falling into the insidious trap of self-righteousness.

We must always remember that just reaching a better than average standard isn’t good enough.

By all means be encouraged if in your Christian life you are showing some progress. That progress should spur you on to keep going. But remember, you have not passed the test yet. God has a high standard.” He has promised to help you grow toward it — but not if you bog down into smug self-satisfaction. Don’t be fooled by the collapsing standards of a world that has lost sight of reality. You aren’t “good enough” yet.

The Good News, April 1986

August 6, 2009

What Constitutes Idolatry, As Outlined In The Second Commandment?

The Second Commandment reads, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord [Eternal] thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:4-6).

Man is continually looking for a physical means of worshipping God. That is exactly what this scripture forbids. Worship of God is spiritual. God continually forbade Israel to use any form of idol or image in worship.

Of course, God does not condemn art or sculpture. We are, however, not “to bow down” or “serve them.” In other words, objects should not be used for the purpose of worship. This includes crucifixes, sculptures, etc.

Clearly, this command also forbids pictures and images depicting Jesus Christ. If God’s Holy Spirit is leading you, you should not need a picture of either your Father God or Jesus Christ to properly connect with your Father in prayer. Aside from that, the modern conception of Christ as an effeminate, longhaired hippie is not based in reality. Jesus looked like the typical Jew of His day.

Of course, these things are only physical applications of this Commandment. In fact, anything that you allow to come between you and God can become an idol. Most men place themselves above God, which is a form of self-idolatry. Anytime you allow something to become more important than obeying God’s law of love, that has become an idol to you, and is a direct violation of the Second Commandment.

July 28, 2009

Why Will Satan Be Loosed At The End Of The Millennium?

transatlantica.wordpress.com/

transatlantica.wordpress.com/

Why will Satan be loosed at the end of the 1000 years of Christ’s rule on earth? God is working out a great purpose here on this planet. And He is doing so according to His master plan!

For 6000 years God has allowed man to work things out for himself. He is permitting human beings to try every conceivable way to solve world problems in their desperate attempt to find peace and happiness. Men have chosen to follow the way of Satan, the god of this world.

When men finally come to their wits’ end and are facing utter annihilation, God will intervene to save them from
themselves. Then Satan will be restrained from deceiving the world, and there will be 1000 years of utopia on earth. All people will be taught to follow God’s law — the only way to true happiness.

But familiarity breeds contempt. After 1000 years of real happiness, some will forget or will ignore the lessons of history and the record of how miserable it was when Satan ruled. Some few just won’t agree with God — they will insist on having their own way.

Satan will be released from his prison for a very short time to demonstrate to those minds the fact that God rules supreme — that His way alone brings true happiness.

Satan will be allowed to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. The nations Gog and Magog are a type of all rebellious peoples who have not yielded themselves to the Government of God (Rev. 20:8).

Those who choose to follow Satan and knowingly refuse eternal life can’t be allowed to be around when the next part of God’s plan occurs.

June 18, 2009

The Apostle Paul: Commandment Breaker Or Keeper?

www.art.com/MILLIONS of professing Christians assume Paul taught Christians to disobey the Ten Commandments. If you keep the Law of God, it is claimed, you are under a curse! You probably have heard this teaching from childhood and have assumed it to be true.

To be sure, many have sincerely thought and assumed that this is New Testament teaching. But God commands us to quit assuming — to “prove all things …” (I Thess. 5:21).

Does it make any difference to God whether you obey Him?

How to Begin

Some of what Paul wrote is admittedly difficult to understand. Peter was inspired to say that Paul wrote “some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable WREST, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:16).

But on the other hand, Paul also wrote much which is clear, plain and EASY to understand. In those passages it would be impossible to misunderstand what he is saying.  The logical way to understand Paul’s teachings about the Ten Commandments is to go first to his plain, clear, straightforward statements on this subject. Only when we first understand these, are we ready to intelligently study Paul’s more difficult passages.

However, because the natural mind of man has a built-in hostility toward God and His Ten Commandment Law (Rom. 8:7), men don’t follow this logical approach. Instead of understanding Paul’s difficult statements in the light of his PLAIN, CLEAR, easy-to-understand words, many do just the opposite. They totally discard, reject and IGNORE Paul’s direct, straightforward, UNMISTAKABLE statements about the Ten Commandments. They then twist and distort his more difficult-to-be-understood statements.

What Paul Clearly Taught

Now what are some of Paul’s clear statements about the Ten Commandments? One such statement is found in I Corinthians 6:9-10. Here Paul warns: “Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers… nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

In this one short passage the Apostle Paul names the breaking of FOUR of the Ten Commandments — idolatry, adultery, stealing and coveting — and dogmatically states that any found guilty of breaking these commandments will not inherit God’s Kingdom! And he warns us not to deceive ourselves by thinking otherwise!

Notice another unmistakably clear and easy-to-understand passage: “Now the works of the flesh … are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry… wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

This passage repeats two commandments — those pertaining to adultery and idolatry — and adds one more — the command against murder.

This makes a total of FIVE commandments which Paul has specifically and unequivocally stated Christians must keep if they are to inherit or enter God’s Kingdom. And since idolatry, which is mentioned in both of these passages, automatically breaks the first commandment, which is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3), Paul has actually commanded obedience to six of the Ten Commandments in just two short passages!

Now turn to Colossians 3:5-9. This passage reads: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of DISOBEDIENCE… But now ye also PUT OFF ALL THESE: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. LIE NOT one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”

This scripture names and condemns disobedience to two more of the Ten Commandments — bearing false witness, or lying, and taking God’s name in vain through blasphemy and filthy talk. (See also Ephesians 4:29.)

Next open your Bible to Ephesians 6:1-2. Here we read, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.” This is a direct quote from the commandment in Exodus 20:12. Yet here Paul explicitly COMMANDS Christians to obey it!

This makes a total of NINE commandments which Paul has distinctly and separately named as being binding on Christians. Only the Sabbath command is left. Let’s see what Paul taught about it.

Paul and the Fourth Commandment

Every argument imaginable has been advanced against the command to keep holy the day God made holy (Ex. 20:8). Some want to use time as they please. They don’t want God telling them what to do! Some hate this command more than any other, it seems. It is the “test commandment” to show who God’s people really are.

Did Paul obey this commandment? Did he personally keep the day God made holy — and did he teach others to obey it? Let’s not just guess or assume. Let’s examine the Scriptures and “prove all things.”

In Acts 13 we have the account of Paul and Barnabas coming to Antioch in Pisidia. There they “went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on” (Acts 13:14-15).

Then Paul stood up and spoke, preaching Christ to them.

“And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the GENTILES besought that these words might be preached to them THE NEXT SABBATH” (verse 42).

Now since Paul was preaching “the grace of God” (verse 43), here was his opportunity to straighten out these Gentiles. Notice what Paul did.

“And the NEXT SABBATH DAY came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God” (verse 44). Here Paul waited a whole week in order to preach to the Gentiles upon the day God made holy!

But this is not the only passage showing that Paul obeyed this commandment. In Acts 18:1-11 there is the account of Paul living with Aquila and Priscilla for one and one-half years (verse 11). During this time we read that he “reasoned in the synagogue EVERY SABBATH, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks” (verse 4).

Notice it! This New Testament passage tells us that Paul labored the six working days and taught in the synagogue every Sabbath for one and one-half years!

Likewise in Acts 17:2, Paul “as his manner was, went in unto them, and three SABBATH DAYS reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” It was Paul’s MANNER — his CUSTOM — to keep God’s day holy. Did he follow Christ in this? Certainly! Jesus, “as his custom was… went into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY” (Luke 4:16).

It was Christ’s custom to keep the Sabbath. Paul followed Christ and he commands Christians: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Cor. 11:1). Paul kept the fourth commandment and he commands Christians to follow him in this regard.

For a final clincher of this fact, turn to Hebrews 4:9. Here, according to the original inspired Greek, Paul makes the direct statement, “There remaineth therefore a sabbath observance to the people of God.”

This passage is obscured in the King James Version which reads, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” But the word translated “rest” comes from the Greek word sabbatismos and, as the marginal readings in many Bibles show, means “keeping of the Sabbath observance.” Because the King James translators didn’t believe this verse meant what it said, they translated sabbatismos by the obscure word “rest.”

This verse, then, tells us point-blank that those who really are God’s people will be keeping holy the day He made holy.

What Will YOU Do?

The evidence is overwhelming! Paul personally kept ALL TEN of God’s Ten Commandments. In doing this he followed in the steps of Jesus Christ. This is why Paul could say, “Be ye followers [imitators] of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Christ taught obedience to the Law. In John 15:10 Jesus said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments….” He says to His true followers, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.”

The question for us today is: Are WE willing to follow Christ, too? If we, like Paul, are crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) and Christ lives His life in us by His Spirit, Christ IN us will still keep God’s Ten Commandments, for He is the SAME, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

There are hundreds of additional New Testament passages covering obedience to God and His Law, both from the writings of Paul and others. We have, however, given sufficient information to prove conclusively and beyond a shadow of a doubt that Paul DID teach obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Don’t be deceived by those who teach disobedience! Many who hate God’s Law are very skillful at putting a clever twist on certain of Paul’s more difficult passages to make it appear that the Ten Commandments are “done away.”

Heed Peter’s warning! Don’t be deceived!

Source: Tomorrow’s World, January 1972

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