Battle Plan – Strategy 7 – The Reason for God’s Wrath

(The list of these strategies in chart form can be found here: http://rogert.me/2w6E0sK )

Strategy 7: I realize that participating in and supporting immoral, sexual activities is making me a part of the reason God’s wrath is coming on the world.

 In Ephesians 5:3 we read the following:

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;” (Ephesians 5:3, NKJV)

Paul continues listing sins and then concludes with this:

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:5–7, NKJV)

Paul gives another such list in 1 Corinthians:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NKJV)

So God is saying that people who live in the life styles listed here will not inherit the kingdom of Christ and God. Now before you get too self-righteous, be sure to notice that he doesn’t include just the sexually immoral. He also includes those who are characterized by covetousness, idolatry, drunkenness, and thievery and swindlers among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Then he goes on (in Ephesians 5)  to tell us why we shouldn’t involve ourselves with these sorts of behaviors. The reason is because these sins are the reason why God’s wrath will come upon the earth. How can we justifiably participate in activities that are the cause of God’s judgment? It doesn’t make any sense for children of God to live in this way.

When we come to Christ there is a basic change in our nature. In this same passage in verse 8, Paul writes:

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8, NKJV)

There is a change. We’ve gone from darkness to light. It makes no sense to have fellowship or common bond with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph 5:11).

Priority Goal 7: Today, every time I am tempted to look at or participate in anything that God says is wrong, I will remind myself that it is because of these very things that God’s wrath is coming. Do I want to be a part of God’s reason for judging the world?

Charles and Larry discuss Poverty

These CL Discussions are imagined conversations between a conservative Christian and a liberal person. The conservative’s name is Charles. The liberal’s name is Larry. These are not real conversations. They are imagined and the conservative views are mine, a fact you would have had no trouble discerning yourself. The opinions of the Liberal are typical of people I have met over the years, but don’t reflect any one person’s point of view. I am not claiming that these discussions are unbiased. I’m using them as a means of organizing my own thoughts as well as possibly helping others clarify their own point of view as well.

(Check for further conversations like this on Fridays. Whenever I have a CL discussion, I’ll post it on Friday.)

C: Thanks for meeting me for coffee, Larry. It’s good to get out and have real conversation and discussion. So much of the debate and argument occurring today in politics and other corners of culture are so vitriolic and combative. One of the things I like about our conversations is that we can debate intensely, hold our ground and yet give each other space to think differently.

L: Agreed! You don’t find much of that kind of discussion going on anywhere anymore.

C: What have you been reading or thinking about lately?

L: Not really been reading much. I’ve been thinking a lot about poverty and its causes. Some people are at a real disadvantage in our economic system. The system seems to favor some people and penalize others.

C: What do you mean?

L: Well, some people grow up in homes where they don’t value education or where the parents are on drugs or something and the kids just grow up not wanting to learn or work hard or anything. They don’t develop a lot of skills and so they can’t find work and the cycle just repeats itself.

C: In all your thinking have you been able to come up with any solutions?

L: I don’t know, I just think we have to help people like that a little more

C: Are you?

L: Am I what?

C: Have you found some family like that that you’re helping?

L: No, not personally. I meant as a society our government should help people like that.

C: Where would the government get the money to do that?

L: I guess through taxes.

C: Do you think that would help the skill problem? I mean it might enable them to buy food and  clothes or keep the heat on, but I don’t think it would really get to the root of the problem.

L: There must be something that could be done to stop the cycle. Maybe there’s something our schools could do more. You were a teacher weren’t you. What are the schools doing to help?

C: I’ve thought a lot about this. I used to teach math and science to middle and high school kids. It was a poorer district. There were a lot of kids who received free lunch and so on. A higher percentage of those kids did not want to work in school and they really didn’t want to do their homework.

L: That’s because nobody at home modeled that for them. How would you expect them to do any homework when maybe their folks were high or maybe it was just a single mom at home who tried her best, but didn’t know how to make sure her kids had time to do their school work. Maybe she didn’t even realize how important it was.

C: So if one of those scenarios was the case, what should the school do about it?

L: Maybe keep the kids who needed help after school so that the teacher could work with them more.

C: You could do that, but then you’d have to hire more staff, but it could be done. What usually happened though is that the parents didn’t want to have to come to school to pick them up or perhaps they didn’t have a working car or something like that and so they relied on the school bus to take their children home.

L: They could do that, couldn’t they?

C: Sure. The buses sometimes took athletes home later. What I found though is that in most cases the kids really didn’t want to spend more time in school. They already didn’t like school. Their parents weren’t always willing to fight that battle against their kids. It worked for some kids certainly, but not for the majority. There was something about the climate in those homes that made it very difficult to overcome.

C: Realistically, it seems to me that what has to happen is for someone — now this is going to sound extreme, and it can never really happen – someone needs to basically move in to the home and assist the family to know how to set priorities, budget their time and money, educate them on the importance of learning a skill and teaching them that it takes persistence and daily effort and self-discipline to change into patterns that would be productive for them and their children.

L: Wow, that really is extreme!

C: Or you could have something like a working farm where the kids could go and learn how to get up early and do chores and live a disciplined and organized life with time for chores, school work and fun too of course. I’m not talking about a military camp or a slave farm. I’m talking about a place where kids could learn to be self-reliant and productive and realize the pleasure that comes from being successful at something. So many kids never have that opportunity.

L: But since your ideas are really extreme and are not really going to happen for the majority of kids coming from dysfunctional situations, isn’t the next best thing to provide the family with some assistance financially to get them out of poverty?

C: It doesn’t work. If you gave a family $50,000 a year and the family had no experience in budgeting, bargain hunting, saving for the future, prioritizing purchases, etc., that money would be basically wasted. Don’t you think?

L: Probably. But could we have required instructional classes that go along with it that they have to attend. Maybe somebody could go shopping with them to show them how to do it.

C: Where are you going to get that kind of staff?

C: And what happens when they don’t meet the requirements, miss meetings or whatever? Cut off their support? Then you’re right back where you started.

L: What does your Christian faith teach about all of this. Aren’t we supposed to have compassion on the poor?

C: Yes, of course. It’s too big a topic to go into in detail, but the Bible teaches a lot of things. Helping the poor is to be an individual or church matter, not a government function. Individual people and churches are to help the people in their communities, people that they have contact with and can follow-up with easier. The Bible teaches that one’s property belongs to the individual. If it is to be shared communally, it is done so voluntarily, not by voting to take more taxes from everybody in the community.

C: One of the things the Bible teaches is that poverty is often a result of individual decisions that arise from thinking or acting foolishly, without regard to wisdom. The Bible also teaches consequences. It says for example that someone who will not work should not eat. It’s not talking about people who are unable to work because of physical difficulties, but if someone is just sitting around all day and is unwilling to work, then they shouldn’t eat. I think we make it too easy for people to do that today. We give them support so that they don’t have to work but still get to eat. And besides that, most poor people in this country have television, a phone, a microwave, air conditioning, etc. That’s not what the word poor used to mean.

L: Now you’re starting to sound kind of mean and unsympathetic to their plight.

C: Not at all. We’ve removed the motivation to work.

L: But sometimes there isn’t a job for everyone.

C: I see help wanted signs all of the time in my county where there is still a lot of unemployment.

L: Maybe people don’t have the skill.

C: To work at Subway?! The thing is you have to follow a schedule, get to work on time, show up every day, and work. There are a lot of people who don’t want to do that.

L: I think most people want to be productive.

C: Then why don’t they take those jobs?

L: I don’t know.

C: Another thing that has happened is that because of all the lawsuits, people can’t really help out around their own government-assisted housing. What if people who lived in a low-rent situation had to help out by washing windows, keeping a garden, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, etc. But you can’t require them to do that or even allow them to volunteer to do some of that because what if they fall from a ladder while washing windows? Then you have a lawsuit on your hands. So then people who are on government assistance have nothing to do with their time. There is no productive work and so they sit around a lot. Sometimes people like this don’t realize what they’re missing and they get depressed because they don’t understand that what’s missing from their life is meaningful, productive activity.

C: We’ve completely lost God’s plan for work and the reward that comes from working hard and seeing the fruit of your labor. I don’t know how to get it back.

L: Wow! The time has flown by. Speaking of work, I had better get there. See you later, Charles.

C: See ya!

Battle Plan Series – Intro – part 1

Every day we are confronted with temptations that attempt to distract us from our primary focus of service and obedience to Christ. These temptations often derail our attempts to live a godly life. Every day we are engaged in a battle to defeat these temptations and to stay the course. What I hope to do in this series is to review some of what the Bible teaches as to methods and strategies we can use to fight successfully. I plan to provide you with 10 or 11 specific statements that you should be able to make about yourself and about your spiritual life. These will be supported with passages of Scripture to help give you a strong foundation for those statements. If these statements are true of you, you will be in a better position for success in this battle against sin, lust, and temptation. If the statements are not true of you, it should provide motivation and a goal that you can work on in order to improve areas of weakness.

 

You can download the Battle Plan Chart here: http://rogert.me/2w6E0sK

 

The first thing we need to realize is that this battle is universal among Christians. As you read this material you are going to be tempted to think that this is a battle for someone else. Often, when we speak of lusts, as we will in the following section, people immediately focus on sexual lust and if that doesn’t happen to be your problem, you might stop reading thinking that you have everything under control. That is a dangerous position to be in because if you are not aware of a battle for your heart and soul, the devil has you right where he wants you. But as soon as you realize that this applies to you just as much as anyone else and as soon as you take up arms to defeat your own lusts, you will find a battle greater than you ever imagined could exist.

 

The first step, then, is to ask ourselves the question: “Do I really want to pursue righteousness and holiness, and count everything loss in order to know Christ and the power of His resurrection in my life?”  In order to accurately answer this question, there are some truths we need to consider.

 

In 1 John 2:15-17 we read: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 

There is a distinction between the things of the world and the things of God. These verses very clearly teach that it is not possible to love the world and love God at the same time. This means a decision is required. Do I really want to abandon the world for Christ?  This is an overarching decision, but it is also a decision that has to be made hundreds of times a day. Making the decision during a momentary temptation without having made it as a principle of your life will make the battle ultimately impossible to win. So, before you go any further you need to decide – Christ or the world.

 

In this passage, the Bible focuses on lust.  Lust is a strong desire that is excessive to the point of being sinful. In this passage we have three components given for worldliness – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. We don’t have time to go into each one in detail, but if you think about it you will realize that many of the things we do and decisions we make are made based on these lusts. We covet what we see other people have. We lust for sex or excitement or other flesh-based pleasures. We desire to have people look up to us as someone important or powerful or contented.  Yes, we can be proud of our contentment and wish for others to be jealous of our contented life. All of these temptations come from the world and not from God.

 

In James 1:14-15 we read this:  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

 

Here’s the issue then. The world and Satan provide attractions that feed the lusts that John referred to.  But our temptations come from within us, from our own lusts or desires and we are drawn away by them. Everybody has their own set of personalized lusts. Because of them, we are pulled in a wrong direction. The desires come from deep within us. They are part of our sin nature, our fallenness, our brokenness. As these desires are conceived and gestate within us they give birth to sin. Sin is a thought or deed that is not within the will and character of God. These sins begin to grow and then, as James writes, they bring forth death. The Bible teaches that sin has wages and those wages are death.

 

A Christian, having been born again and now a child of God, has a new desire in competition with the old tendency and therein lies the conflict. Paul writes it this way in Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

 

So this leads us back now to the first point in what I’m calling Battle Strategies for the war on lust and sin. The first step is to ask ourselves, “Do I really want to pursue righteousness and holiness, and count everything loss in order to know Christ and the power of His resurrection in my life?” Do I really want this? Am I willing to work hard, suffer and sweat to gain it?

We’ll follow up with part 2 tomorrow.

Biblical Thinking in Troubled Times – Answer Key

Last week I gave you a Bible study to help us learn how to think biblically in the midst of times which are troubling. You can find a printable version here.

Here is the same study with the answers filled in.

Biblical Thinking in Troubled Times

Answers and comments

 

  1. Commit yourself to thinking about what is _true, good and beautiful________

John 8:32

Phil 4:8

 

  1. God is in control of __everything____, not just aware.

Political

Daniel 4:31                 Ps 75:6-7                     Prov 21:1

Isa 45:1-7                    Is 7:17, 18                   Isaiah 40:15-17

 

Nature

Job 38:8-11                 Luke 8:25

Matt 10:29

 

  1. God works all things for —ALL THINGS!

Our __good_ – Romans 8:28

Rom 5:3                      James 1:2

 

His __glory

Isaiah 48:11                Psalm 46:10                Rev 11:13

 

According to His _will

Dan 11:25-30              Romans 5:6                 Gal 1:15

 

  1. Sin______ and the Curse____ are behind much of what happens. After all, nature and the physical world have been cursed. Suffering is part of the consequence of sin.

Even suffering is ordained by God for our good and His glory. The Son of God suffered the curse. We are not better than He is.

Romans 8:18-22

But don’t try to connect specific events to specific sins:

John 9:2                      Ecc 9:1-3

Trials and tribulations cannot be avoided.  John 16:33

  1. What to do and not do.

Maintain watchfulness while avoiding “last days” mentality

1 John 2:18                 Rom 13:11                  2 Peter 3:4 ff

It’s been the last days since the New Testament days so it’s not good to have the Eeyore mentality that “we’re doomed” so let’s just give up. It’s not wise to say the old days were better. See Ecc 7:10

Avoid Cynicism – The view that everything is negative and will have a bad outcome or that God is out to get you and make things bad.

 

Avoid Fatalism – The belief that all events are predetermined and unalterable

For God this is true, but He asks us to participate by prayer and work to accomplish good in the world.

Pray

For leaders -1 Timothy 2:1, 2;  Confess our corporate sins – Daniel 9                                                Meditate on the Word – Example: Psalm 33

Biblical Thinking in Troubled Times

Biblical Thinking in Troubled Times – This is a short Bible study on the topic of thinking appropriately in troubled times. I’ll post the “answers” next week.

I’ve posted a printable version here.

 

  1. Commit yourself to thinking about what is _________

John 8:32

Phil 4:8

 

  1. God is in control of ________________, not just aware.

Political

Daniel 4:31                 Ps 75:6-7                     Prov 21:1

Isa 45:1-7                    Is 7:17, 18                   Isaiah 40:15-17

 

Nature

Job 38:8-11                 Luke 8:25

Matt 10:29

 

  1. God works all things for

Our _________ – Romans 8:28

 

Rom 5:3                      James 1:2

 

His ___________

Isaiah 48:11                Psalm 46:10                Rev 11:13

 

According to His _________________

 

Dan 11:25-30              Romans 5:6                 Gal 1:15

 

  1. S_________ and the C___________ are behind much of what happens. After all, nature and the physical world have been cursed. Suffering is part of the consequence of sin.

 

Romans 8:18-22

 

But don’t try to connect specific events to specific sins:

John 9:2                      Ecc 9:1-3

 

Trials and tribulations cannot be avoided.  John 16:33

 

  1. What to do and not do.

Maintain watchfulness while avoiding “last days” mentality

1 John 2:18                 Rom 13:11                  2 Peter 3:4 ff

 

Avoid Cynicism – The view that everything is negative and will have a bad outcome or that God is out to get you and make things bad.

 

Avoid Fatalism – The belief that all events are predetermined and unalterable

 

Pray

For leaders -1 Timothy 2:1, 2

Confess our corporate sins – Daniel 9

 

Meditate on the Word – Example: Psalm 33

Is There Not a Lie in My Right Hand?

Is There Not a Lie in My Right Hand?
(Reprinted from April 2016)

Much has been said and written about modern logic from the Enlightenment forward and how ancient peoples, including those in the Bible, were superstitious and illogical. However, the God of the Bible is revealed as a logical being and those who spoke for this true God spoke with incredible logic.
I was reading from Isaiah 44 this morning. Isaiah lived and wrote about 700 BC which is nearly 3000 years ago. In this passage he is discussing the foolishness of idolatry and he write about the insanity of a person cutting a log from the forest and using half of it to have a fire for cooking and warming himself and using the other half to make an idol to worship. In verse 10 he asks this question, “Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing?” (Isaiah 44:10, NKJV).

Here is the way Isaiah explains the situation beginning in verse 14:
He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it. Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it. He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.” And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”” (Isaiah 44:14–20, NKJV)

As a modern twenty-first century man, I am astounded by the logic of this ancient writing! The author is incredulous that someone would take a piece of wood and see plainly that it is consumable in a fire and with the other half make himself a “god” that he prays to and from whom he asks deliverance. He rightly asks the question, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

In our modern world we are not likely to carve and image and expect it to help us with our problems. But don’t we do the same thing when we trust in our stuff, our material possessions, to provide us with fulfillment, the esteem of others, and general well-being in life? Aren’t we doing the same thing when we do not give God praise and thanks for the air we breathe and the water we drink or when we do not acknowledge that every good thing we have is due to God’s grace and generosity?

Many are in the position of spending millions of dollars and countless hours of research to produce better cameras for our phones and at the same time argue that our eyes are the result of time and chance. Shouldn’t we as modern people be asking ourselves, “Am I believing and living a lie?  Am I as deceived as this ancient man?”

Psalm 96:4-5 says, “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

 

Thoughts on Ephesians 1:1-6

Ephesians 1:1-6

1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

There are many things to think about just in these 6 short verses. My goal is to choose a few topics which speak to my heart and may also speak to yours. In the process, I’ll pose a couple of questions also which might be able to stimulate some discussion and thought.

Much could be made out of the fact that Paul addresses these people as saints even though they were undoubtedly normal, failure-prone people. When God declares us righteous, we are righteous. The really amazing thing to me though is that in verse three, Paul tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. God is not stingy. I don’t know how many spiritual blessings there are, but it seems like there must be close to an infinite number. God has blessed us with every one. And then I think about the fact that it is not others who have been blessed in this way, it is “us”. I’m included in that.

Then, unlike us, Paul is not afraid to tackle a big issue without batting an eye. He tells us that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. I have thought about these things a lot and am convinced that even though we don’t understand how this all fits together with our responsibility for what we do, God is the one who chose us for himself long before we were born. What an amazing thing!

Some Questions:
What are some of the “benefits” we receive because of our adoption as sons?
What are some of the spiritual blessings we have been blessed with?

What can we do to become outwardly more of what we are positionally, that is holy and blameless?

(Originally published in 2005)

Dad’s Bible

 

I was reading my dad’s Bible the other day and came upon some notes that he wrote related to II Cor 13:4 which says, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”

His notes are as follows:

Because of II Cor 13:4 I need to pray daily:

1. By faith I apprehend and trust in a perfect Christ and His perfect work – but I do so with an imperfect faith. I pray that God will help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

2. Pray in trust that God will work in you (me) both to will and to do of His good pleasure – Phil 2:13

3. As I wait in prayer before God, I need to confess the love of whatever sin I may have succumbed to as well as the fact that I have fallen.

4. Daily I need to reaffirm my comprehensive choice, solemnly made before God to live in the NEW nature and refuse to live in the OLD.

5. Daily in prayer, I need to ask God to make real in experience the fact of Rom 6:14 “Sin shall not have dominion over you.”

6. Daily in prayer, I need to ask God to “Gospelize” and spiritualize my obedience.

7. Daily I need to plead: “Lord strengthen me mightily by thy spirit in the inner man against temptations that daily come my way.

8. Daily I should review important matters for prayer – especially those for whom I have promised to pray.

He closes with the words from the hymn Not What These Hands Have Done

Not what these hands have done can save a guilty soul
Not what this toiling flesh has borne can make the spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God.
Not all my prayers and sighs or tears can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, oh Christ can ease the weight of sin.
Thy blood alone, O lamb of God can give me peace within.
I bless the Christ of God I rest on love divine.
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.

Notes by Rev. Gerald J. Tuinstra

(Originally published January, 2005)

 

Goal: To Know the Unknowable

In Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians, he writes this concerning his desire for them: “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2:2-3.

When I stopped to meditate on this passage I got to thinking what an amazing goal this is. I’m especially focusing on the phrase “and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding….” Paul’s desire for his people is that reach and discover all the riches of full understanding. How does this take place? I think it takes place on two fronts. The first is in the heart of the person and their desire to grow in their understanding and the second is in the instruction they receive in their local church.

When God saves a person He gives him or her the desire and motivation to grow. God’s seed is in him (1 John 3:9), and he has the Holy Spirit indwelling him. These changes that take place when a soul is regenerated are essentially the giving of spiritual life when there was none before and this life has the natural desire for spiritual food, just like a human infant has a desire for food (1 Peter 2:2). So it is appropriate for Paul to have this as a prayer request and vision for his people.

Second, it’s important for the individual Christian to be regularly attending a local gathering of believers where the Word of God is taught in all its fullness and power. Each one of us needs to have the Word of God opened and exposed to our understanding so that we begin to see the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33). The depth of God’s wisdom cannot be plumbed, nevertheless, Paul frequently prays that people would see the bounds of what is boundless and understand what is beyond understanding (see Ephesians 3:18 for example).

So for this desire and prayer of Paul to be realized, each of us must eagerly approach the Word with all of the spiritual discipline we can bring to bear and pastors must expound and explain the Scriptures in such a way that the people begin to fathom the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

Sin and Forgiveness – Part 2

What we need to do is be prepared to deal with our sin problem on the basis of truth. So many times we face life letting our feelings and emotions lead the way. Feelings and emotions are real, but they should not be the determiner of truth. We may feel like something has been resolved when it really hasn’t been and we may feel as though God hates us when he may not, depending on our relationship with him. The truth should lead the way, with faith believing the truth and then let feelings follow along and adjust themselves to the first two.

So what is God’s answer to the three-fold aspect of our sin and guilt? First we’ll look at the guilt we have because we sinned in Adam. Those who are in Adam (i.e. those who have been born human) are sinners, guilty and condemned because of the decision of their head, Adam (Romans 5:18). But, those who are in Christ (i.e. those who have been born again of the Spirit of God) are saints, righteous and alive because of the actions of their head, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:19 says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

Just as Adam’s sin makes us a sinner, Christ’s righteous obedience makes us a saint! How much of a sinner did Adam make you by his disobedience? Then more so Christ makes you a saint by his obedience. Thus God has dealt with the first aspect of our sin problem.