Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fleets in Being

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV)

In the past, between wars, there was an expression “a fleet in being.” It had the same connotation as “a standing army.” These expressions meant that we were ready for war but not actually in war. We were always in training, but never fighting. One time, the US Navy “fleet” in being got sunk by the enemy because it was not “at war.” Many of our churches and Christian organizations have become “fleets in being.” In other words, they do not think they are in the war. It is the same with many individual Christians, they have no intention of “going into harm’s way.” They think that they can live in peace.

The problem is that they ARE in the war. There is no honorable discharge from the service while they are alive. There is no “furlough” and no “rest and relaxation.” However, if they are not consciously participating in the war, they may be aiding and abetting the enemy. This is the next thing to treason, or if that is not the case, they become captives, ineffective, marginalized or immobilized by the enemy. All of this because they think that they are not in the war.


(Taken from Day & Night, 2001)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit: Self Control

“The fruit of the Spirit…is self control.” Galatians 5:23

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” Titus 2:2

“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,” Titus 2:4, 5

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” Titus 2:6
“I am not of course, suggesting that these immortal longings which we have from the Creator because we are men, should be confused with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who are in Christ. We must not fancy we are holy because we are human.” (Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, p.151)

A friend of mine in a Middle Eastern country drew my attention to a quotation from a book, The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai.

“For the Western mind, the strangest and most fascinating of all these contrasts is undoubtedly that between self-control and uncontrolled outbursts of emotionalism… In the Arab world, no such onus attaches to loss of self-control or outbursts of temper. Quite the contrary: such seizures are expected to happen from time to time, because in the Arab view of human nature no person is supposed to be able to maintain incessant, uninterrupted control over himself. Any event that is outside routine everyday occurrence can trigger such a loss of control and turn the docile, friendly, and courteous Jekyll into a raging, dangerous, and maniacal Hyde, who will return to his former self as soon as the seizure of temper passes… The Arab communicates by shouting accompanied with signs of anger. When bargaining in the market place, he yells and squabbles (Patai 160-161).

The commands in Titus were given to Christians in Crete who had the fruit of the Spirit. They were not commanded to do something that they could not do.

There are two other kinds of self-control, will power self-control and peer pressure self-control or a combination of the two. These are not the fruit of the Spirit.

In a Muslim culture where there is no saving special grace the fruit of the Spirit is not in anyone. There is little or no peer pressure for self control. So we have a society of anger. This is normal. Everything else is abnormal. What kind of culture are you in?

Are you counting on your will power or on the Holy Spirit?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Being & Doing III

Additional comments and questions were received on the Day & Night sent on August 9, entitled, “Being & Doing.” I hope the following provides some clarification.

In the last paragraph, I wrote:

“How do you ‘be?’ God does it! We obey by CHOOSING to ‘be’ without TRYING to ‘BE.’ We will ‘BE’ by our choice and God’s doing; we do not use will ‘POWER’ in order to ‘BE.’

“Choice” and “will” are almost synonymous. I used the word “choice” instead of “will.” Neither has any power to do anything. There is a word in the English language, “willpower” which seems to mean some sort of exertion or effort that is mental. If there is such a thing, it is not a substitute for the power of God. It should be rejected in serving God. The person who thinks he is obeying God with his own “willpower” is mistaken. He is obeying himself, thinking that whatever he accomplishes is pleasing to God.

“To be holy” is commanded. Therefore, the command requires an “aye, aye, sir” or a “no, sir” either expressed or ignored. However, “to be” is an intransitive verb. It does not DO anything. With the “aye, aye, sir” to God, God provides the “being.” If we are in Christ, we already have the “being.”

If the command is a “to do” command such as “ love your enemy,” the “aye, aye, sir” to God is the submission to the love of God which is suddenly expressed through the Christian to his enemy. God provides the POWER both in the transitive verbs (to do – that is, it has a direct object) and the intransitive (to be –that is it has NO direct object). The choice to “be” or the choice to “do” proceeds from either “converted” or “unconverted” persons. All men make choices. That is a characteristic of man as a creature before and after the fall and before and after regeneration. If he has the “being” of a fallen man, he can choose good, but he cannot perform it; he is a slave to sin. If he chooses to be bad, he can perform it with ease. If he has the “new self” of regenerate man he can choose and perform doing good.

“They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Ephesians 4:18-19 (NIV)

If he has the “being” of a Christian, he can choose to be holy and “be holy;” it is normal because of the efficacy of the work of Christ on the cross.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV)

“, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” Romans 6:19 (NIV)

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, IN ORDER THAT the righteous requirements of the law MIGHT BE FULLY MET in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 (NIV)


Unfortunately, “choice” or “will” in the English language has always been equated with the ability to perform. In biblical teaching and reality, this is not true. Even when people speak of “free will” they have inherent in their definition an ability to perform. It is not necessarily so.

“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34 (NIV)


(Taken from Day & Night)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Being & Doing: Follow-up Comments

In response to feedback from last week’s Day & Night entitled “Being & Doing” I am commenting further.

Yes, everything should be done heartily as to the Lord whether it is physical as slave labor or spiritual as in praying. The difference is of another kind.

The one can be done with our internal combustion engines, our bodies, which operate on fuel (water, oxygen, work and rest). The other operates on another fuel system which is not done with OUR energy. It works on a spiritual power from God.

“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” Col 1:28-29 (NIV)

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” II Peter 1:3 (NIV)

We cannot shovel the walks with this second fuel system and we cannot “pray without ceasing” with the first fuel system.

(Taken from Day & Night)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being & Doing

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

The things that people do are in two different groups.

1. They study, wash dishes, garden, play, go to work, etc.
2. The other is made up of spiritual things such as praying, loving, teaching the Word, etc.

The first fits in the category of Colossians 3:17 and 3:23-24 (instruction to slaves). The “Christian” slave may not WANT to, but he does them with all his heart TO the Lord and in the name of the Lord.

The second fits in the category of religious practice which God condemns when done in duty, not in a broken spirit. Psalm 51:16-17, Isaiah 58, Isaiah 1, and Malachi are also relevant.

God DOES out of what He IS.

1. "God is love" (1 John 4)

2. "God so loved the world" (John 3:16)

The first verse tells us what God IS, and the second verse tells us what He DOES. We also DO out of what we ARE.

3. "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matt 12:34).

4. "But just as He who called you IS HOLY so BE holy in all you do." (1 Peter 1:15)

5. "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16)

The BEING comes first. The DOING comes second. The command is to BE, not to DO.

How do you "BE?" God does it! We obey by CHOOSING to "BE" without TRYING to "BE." We will "BE" by our choice and God’s doing; we do not use will "POWER" in order to “BE.”

(Taken from Day & Night)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grace and Unity

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” I Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)

A few days ago Douglas and I were in a discussion over an apparent difference. He said something like this: “When talking across a theological divide it is difficult to communicate when we hear what is said with our own definitions while the person who is speaking is using his definitions.”

We both realized the truth of this. What is the solution?

In normal serious communication the burden is on the communicator. If he wishes to be understood he will speak with the definitions of his hearers. That is true for all nations except America. Americans expect everyone to speak and hear in English. If we really want them to understand our message we must either learn their language or get an interpreter. If I were an interpreter I would seek for words that are identical, or very close, to the meaning of the words being translated.

Not so in theological dialogue. Each person wants to use the word with his own definition and wants to hear with his own definition. This is not only a cause of misunderstanding, it is a cause of willful misunderstanding.

However, if I were willing to use the hearer’s definition of my word “grace” in order to be understood, it would not be the word “grace”. If I used the word “grace” he would hear it with his own definition and therefore would think I was saying something I was not saying.

In order to use the word “grace” I must come up with a common definition or use a word that means what I am saying.

Sometimes there is the same word in the same language with very different meanings. When Lucy was in the wardrobe, C. S. Lewis wrote, “It was almost quite dark.” That did not make sense to me. “Quite” in American English means “almost”. To me he was saying “almost almost”. “Quite” in English English means “absolutely” or “completely”.

In theological dialogue neither side wants to give up the word “grace” because it is the single biblical word that provides the righteousness that comes from God (and every other need we have which we cannot provide ourselves). When the word is used this way in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ people are justified. It is a common definition. People are saved by this common definition of the word. If we talked with each other with this common definition there would be “unity in mind and thought.”

However, when we add adjectives to the word we tweak the definition. Two of the most frequently used adjectives are “sovereign” and “free”.

Common Definition:

Grace is a saving gift from God that provides God’s righteousness to people who do not deserve it now and could not deserve it ever. It is provided by the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Sovereign” adds to the definition of the following: “God provides this saving grace selectively in advance by His own purpose. It cannot be refused or rejected by the selected person.”

“Free” adds to the common definition of the following: “God provides this saving grace universally. It is required, but not forced upon the sinner. It is optional because it is free.”

These additions do not provide “unity in mind and thought.” They have been arrived at by deduction. They are not explicit in the Bible. The additions are not saving.

They are not both right.

They could be both wrong.

Both groups preach the common definition to the lost. Lets preach it to each other.

(Taken from Day & Night)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Euphemisms

Euphemisms are pretend synonyms. They are used to be kinder or politically correct but succeed at the expense of strength and accuracy.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book titled, The Problem of Pain in 1940. If he wrote it today it would be titled The Difficulty with Discomfort.

The book would not be read because the euphemistic title.

There are other euphemisms that make bad things sound innocent or even good.

Here are three:

Gay
Affair
White Lie

Monday, January 21, 2008

Alliteration

Alliteration: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables, as in wild and woolly or threatening throngs.

Apparently, we like alliteration. It is common in English in short phrases.

Jumbo jet
Pied piper
Party pooper
Bad boy
Pet peeve
Pay the piper
Money monger

Good alliteration is found in Tolkien’s background poetry to the Lord of the Rings. There are three alliterations in every line. It is great. Longfellow’s Hiawatha is another alliteration poem.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Big and Small Words

English is a strong language. It has many words with very definite meanings. We can express ourselves clearly by using big words and more of them or we can express ourselves clearly by using short, simple words and few of them.

We can also say long, involved sentences that say nothing but sound impressive. It is more difficult to use short words and sentences and say nothing, but still possible as in Valley Talk and Cocktail Parties. Examples of the former are a PhD thesis in theology. If the candidate made it short he might not get his PhD.

Examples of clarity and strength with short sentences and words are Winston Churchill’s speech to the world after the evacuation at Dukerque and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

We see big words in Francis Schaeffer and simple words in C.S. Lewis.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Humility & Pride

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11 (NIV)

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14 (NIV)


When I am humbled by someone else, it is always humiliating. Humiliation is an evidence of pride. If I am already humble and someone humbles me, the experience is not humiliating.

Recently, at the funeral of a godly man, we heard a short teaching he had given to one of his sons. It went something like this: “There are two types of men in this world, humble men and men who are about to be humiliated.”

Jesus said it another time.

The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12 (NIV)

Humility in the scripture is always self-imposed. It has to be, for if someone else does it to me it is, by definition, not humility.

Pride is not a virtue.

Humility is a subset of love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. I Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

More repetition to follow . . .

(Taken from Day & Night)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Obedient, Holy Living

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2 (NIV)

In the many years I have been a Christian, I have been at first surprised, and always dismayed at the low expectations believers have of their living an obedient, holy life. I am no longer surprised, but I am still dismayed.

When there is a desire to live an obedient life, they seem to take one of the following directions:

1. “Make Jesus Lord of their lives.”
2. “Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
3. Have a second work of grace, sanctification.

Although I am stating the following without expressed biblical proof, I am willing to make the case. These “solutions” are:

• not biblical
• man-centered, experience centered
• they do not work

Or, they give up as in the following:

1.Accept the “truth” that the “old nature” is with me until I die, so why fight the inevitable?

2.Since I am going to sin anyway, I will try to keep my sins confessed up-to-date.

3.Since it is inconsistent to sin and then confess, I will quit confessing in order to stay consistent.

These three are aids to more disobedience. The solution is in the first sentence of 1 John 2:1.

(Taken from Day and Night)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where Will Your Name Be?

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

When the small and the great stand before the great white throne and the books are opened, it will not be a time of trial. There will be no defense counsel, no prosecutor, no jury, and no appeals to any higher court. There is no higher court. The books will be read and the sentence will be pronounced. It is that simple.

“And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done” (Revelation 20:12).


Apparently these books have no errors in them, so the judgment really took place when the event took place, when it was recorded in the book.

There is no spiritual law that says we are innocent until proven guilty. On the contrary, there are statements that say, “There is not a just person upon the earth that does good and sins not,” and, “There is none righteous, no not one.” This is no surprise to man. He knows it is true of himself and he knows it is true of others. He does not like what is obvious, and so he justifies the wicked.

If the burden of proof was to establish that man was innocent, born with a tendency to be good, and if a man had all of the facts of history and all contemporary knowledge to prove the case, he could not even begin to think it a possibility.

The great white throne and the books will be no surprise to man. There is a surprise, however. It is a good surprise. “Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire.” There is a way out. It is good news.

The good news has to do with how one is judged by having his name in the Book of Life rather than being judged by the events recorded in the books.

Here are two expressions of the Good news found in the New Testament:

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:1-6).

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of this Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).


(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Types of Sinners

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.


There are several types of sinners spoken of in the Bible. These different types are not based on the quality or quantity of sin, but on their attitude toward God and sin. Here are four examples:

1. “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling;
their words and deeds are against the LORD ,
defying his glorious presence.
The look on their faces testifies against them;
they parade their sin like Sodom;
they do not hide it. Woe to them!
They have brought disaster upon themselves.”
Isaiah 3:8-9 (NIV)


2. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw
and as dry grass sinks down in the flames,
so their roots will decay
and their flowers blow away like dust;
for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty
and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 5:20-24 (NIV)


3. “The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6:5 (NIV)

4. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Romans 1: 18-23 (NIV)

Do you see the difference between these people and David in Psalm 51?

David had a great view of God, His mercy, His love, His compassion and His Holiness. David had a great view of his own sin. He realized that sin was a violation of the Holiness of God. Sin was not a social impropriety. The world in its sin has deified man, humanized God and minimized sin. Consequently, there is no repentance and no forgiveness.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Invitation to the Thirsty #4

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed” (Isaiah 55:12-13).

This is the ultimate in joy. It is a description of the man who has forgiveness from God because he has turned to the Lord from his wicked way and has received pardon and mercy from God.

If you would like to learn more of this good news, please email me with questions and send me your mailing address.

Jim Wilson

ccm@moscow.com

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Invitation to the Thirsty #3

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:8-11).


Thank God that God does not think like man.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25).

There would be no mercy and no pardon.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More on Forgiving

The two great virtues of God expressed to man are the love of the Father and the humility of the Son. These both had their ultimate expression in the cross. The cross was for the forgiveness of sins. The one common denomination in man is sin and sins. The cross took care of both sin and sins.

When we have received the forgiveness of sin we are given these two virtues and commanded to use them toward brothers, neighbors, and enemies with forgiveness from the heart. The above statements are based on the assumption that you know the scripture and recognize that this is self evident.

God is not a man that he should repent. Therefore, we cannot imitate God in repentance. We can and must imitate God in forgiveness.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 4:32-5:1-2

Not forgiving is a great hindrance to fellowship. Not forgiving is deliberately withholding fellowship from the sinner after God has restored him to fellowship with himself.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Invitation to the Thirsty #2

Here is more from Isaiah 55:

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

This is a poetic way of describing repentance and the character of God in mercy and pardon.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Invitation to the Thirsty #1

For those of you who do not yet know the Father, I wish to share a message He gave to man 700 years B.C. You can find it in chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah in the Bible. Here is the first part:

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David” (Isaiah 55:1-3).


This is not speaking of physical thirst or physical hunger. It is talking about another kind of emptiness that can be satisfied and is free for the receiving. The end result is “your soul shall live.”


(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Repentance and Forgiveness

He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. (Luke 24:46)

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)

To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:18, 20)

Two words are repeated; one of them is a command and one is a result.

The command is to “repent” and the result is “forgiveness” of sin.

All of this is preceded by the Deity, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the real cause.

The secondary causes are preaching Christ, believing in Christ, and repenting to Christ.

The result is the forgiveness of sin.

Would you like to know more? Please read the Gospel of John and the book of Romans. If you need a New Testament, write to me. I will send you one.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Sixth Commandment

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not murder. Deuteronomy 5:17 (NIV)

This is one of those commands that is not determined by the state authorities like the 55 mph speed limit. The laws about murder in the states were written because God already had the law.

This law says and means “murder.” The King James Version says, “Thou shalt not kill.” All murder is killing, but not all killing is murder. Even without knowing the Hebrew language, we can tell from a textual study of Exodus 20 and 21.

The command was given in Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.” In Exodus 21:12 we see a requirement for capital punishment for the person who commits murder. Verses 13 and 14 then distinguish the difference between what we now call second- and first-degree murder.

Some of our states forbid capital punishment for murder but require it for other offenses. The solution then becomes to murder the witnesses to one of these other offenses, because if convicted for the other offense, capital punishment is the result. If convicted for the murder of the witnesses, on the other hand, life imprisonment is the only result.

If a person is already in prison for life without parole, then murder in prison receives no greater punishment than that which the prisoner already has.

We are well aware of the great number of murderers in this country. Handguns make murder convenient, but they are not the cause of murder. There are many causes, two of which are “hatred” and “greed.”

There is a preventative for physical murder.

When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NIV)

You can contact me by calling (208) 883-0997 or by sending an email to ccm@moscow.com. Our web address is http://ccmbooks.org.

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Fifth Commandment

Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16

This command is repeated in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:1, 2:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:1, 2

As in the fourth command, this one is given for the children’s good. The purpose is clear, “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” The change in the promise is that, in the Old Testament, it is a promise to the children of Israel of living long in the land and, in the New Testament, it is a promise to all believers of living long on the earth.

The truth is simple: children who obey their parents live longer; it also goes well with them, and they enjoy it. Notice this: “to honor” is interpreted as “to obey.”

(Taken from Good News/Bad News)