Can Jesus Be God Because He Was Made?

Jesus is God

Have you heard it said, ‘Jesus is not God because He was made by God?’ That is Jesus did not exist prior to being brought into this world by God the Father, and through his life of sinlessness then attained the status of great prophet. There are quite a few religions and people with this mindset, and their entitled to believe as they see fit.

To Err Is Human:
However I would like to touch on how this thinking results. Let’s take a classic example like Hebrews 1:4, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they”. It is easy to read this verse and then infer that Jesus was created by God and thus by that thought; deduce that Jesus was not God (who has always existed). How can someone be God, if they were created by God? Sounds pretty reasonable and valid assumption to me.

However could it be that we missing an intricate piece of the puzzle? Consider these three principles which could better guide us to the right answer about these words “Being made”.

Principle #1: When the alarm bells ring take action
Firstly it is natural to come to a portion of scripture, and then read it and come away potentially having concerns about God and the Bible. Why do these two portions say different things? Or how could the bible even say that? The thing to recognize and accept is that we are human. Prone to quick judgements and assumptions. However when we do feel this way the worst action we can take is to do nothing. The best course of action would rather be to resolve it immediately. Pray it through. Study it out. Speak to someone who is strong in the faith. Google it. Any one of these will do, so long as you do something to bring it to bed.

Principle #2: Ask yourself, is there a higher biblical principal being violated here?
The words “Being made”, speak to something being formed by materials or created. And this is the part that is causing the discomfort and the alarm bells to go off. Why? Because it is clashing with our current biblical principle that Jesus Christ is God. So when something is clashing, let’s apply the train of thought to it’s full conclusion. Test it!

Principle #3: Test the reasoning
If Jesus Christ is not God, then large portions of the Bible would be invalid (Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 40:10,11, Revelation 1:7-18; Revelation 2:8, John 1:1-3; John 5:17-18; Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:5-7 and much more). It’s not sound reasoning to look at a complex commonly misunderstood verse and weigh it up against a whole subset of plain and simple verses and then deduce a new principle or fundamental from it.

Secondly, if we read Hebrews 2:9-10; “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”. If Jesus was an ordinary man, and he died to atone for our sins, how would that even be possible? How could a man by the goodness of his life atone for thousands of years of men’s sin? The simple answer – he can’t. For our salvation to be perfect as described in verse 10; we needed God to manifest Himself as a man. Thus an eternal God crucified, pays a sufficiently high and eternal price for the sins of the world.

The Answer
Our reasoning here has clearly failed. It thus must be that Jesus is God and was God. But then how do we explain “Being made”. Simply, that it speaks to the timeframe on earth where Jesus Christ was created, born of Mary by immaculate conception. The confusion was brought about by a natural comparison being made in verse 4, where Jesus is being compared to the angels, and thus our minds naturally assumed the timeframe and location to heavenly.

The initial assumption based on verse 4 may have been over-simplistic…..but in this simplicity we were able to see how easily it is to open up ourselves to the wrong kind of thinking. We were also able to derive some principles for the future that could steer and guide us.

I hope you were blessed.

The Bible: The Authority on Jesus

Glory

How can religion quickly be understood? One could answer, by it’s people. And sadly while that would be a great answer it’s not entirely practical, as often times from any religion comes a facet of extremism or liberalism that violates the religion itself. Perhaps another answer could be, by it’s sacred texts. For the Hindu’s the Vedas, for Islam the Quran and us as Christians the Bible. This is a highly accurate answer, but it’s only half the answer. Taken by itself and the nature of the sacred writings, it often takes time and effort before the sacred text can be understood correctly. So what is the answer then?

I would state the person, prophet and central figure of those sacred texts. Looking at a person, their life and what they have accomplished or done, is highly relatable to us as humans. And for understanding Christianity, there is only one person, one figure and that is the person of Jesus Christ. While there may be a plethora of sources regarding Jesus Christ, the final authority on who Jesus is, His life and what He did is the Bible.

Let’s turn to Hebrews 1 and gain a glimpse of Jesus.

Verse 1:
Literal Understanding of Verse:In the past, during different times and in different ways, God spoke to man by the prophets.
Explanation: There are two interesting things to note here, (a) Division and (b) Adaptation. Firstly, God spoke to His people at different times of history. Here is God breaking up His messages, across periods (or blocks) of time. These are divisions. Examples of these would be, God speaking to Adam and Eve in the garden and telling them to not eat the fruit. Another message and division by God would be Him speaking to Moses, and enabling him to lead Israel out of captivity.

In terms of our second point around Adaptation, we can look at the use of the word “manner” – the ways in which God acted. This speaks to God adapting how He said what He needed to say at different times. Examples of this; is Jeremiah who laments at God’s pending judgement. Another manner is the Holy Spirit working within us to teach us.

While the times may vary and the manner, the method remained the same (review latter part of verse 1). The method was always the Prophets.

Verse 2:
Literal Understanding of Verse: God in these last days times (that includes the time we are in); speaks to us by His Son. It is this Son, who God legally entitled to all things, and who also made our universe.
Explanation: Remembering in verse 1 while we saw the time and manner vary in which God worked, the method was always the same. In verse 2, we see a deviation in God’s method from Prophet; to God the father using His own Son – Jesus Christ. This change is dramatic and notable and reflected in the difference in the pages of the New Testament.

Next part of the verse indicates that this same Jesus is heir of all things. Heir is defined to mean, legally entitled, but also a person who inherits and continues the work of a predecessor.

A final and profound statement is made in the next part of the verse – that God not only used Jesus to be the method in these last days, but also used Jesus to create the worlds. Not only is He a method of God, our propitiation, our Lord God, but also the creator of all around us!

Verse 3:
Literal Understanding of Verse: Jesus is the immediate image of God. Jesus holds together all things word of his power. Jesus wiped away our sins. Jesus thereafter sat down on the right hand of God the father.
Explanation: This verse is so beautiful in capturing who Jesus Christ is. God’s glory when it shines forth, that shine, that awe, that light is Jesus Christ. Secondly, the direct image of the person of Great and Mighty God is Jesus Christ Himself. They are one. Thirdly, the Bible doesn’t say by the power of His (Jesus) words, but the word (singular) of His Power (the Father’s power). That’s an interesting read. Jesus Christ upholds all things, by the promise of God the Father’s power. Then it goes on to depict how Jesus himself, purged our sins. Purged there means “to cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off whatever is impure”.? And lastly, as a fifth point, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in heaven. Wow, our Lord God is amazing!!!

Finally….

In three simple verses of Hebrews 1:1-3 we have seen such bold and definitive statements about who Jesus Christ IS. The central figure of the Bible is Jesus Christ. He permeates it’s pages, and it’s pages embody Him. Without Jesus Christ as the centre of the Bible, Christianity is not christianity, merely another fairy tale. Without Jesus Christ, there is no salvation, and no hope in death. He is the essence of all things by Him do all things exists.Friends, the simple message this morning is this, the Bible is the final authority on Jesus. Not men. Not historic records or personal accounts. Not men filled in the Spirit. Not in other books. And while these alternate sources have their legitimacy and efficacy, only the Bible defines Jesus Christ authoritatively. For it is the authority on the man, on the God, Jesus Christ

How to Understand Your Bible: 4 Assumptions

rock

The Bible is an amazing book, and to the bible-believer it is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice and ultimate source of all truth. However as we know this is not the same view shared by people or even christians. The beauty to how God created us however, is that we are all unique and different. With different upbringings, life experiences and world views. Thus our perspectives of the Bible is unique and different.

The point I’m trying to make is that our own unique approach to the Bible determines our expectation, produces the outcomes of our Christian life and uniquely shapes our worldview. Today I’d like to take the opportunity to consider some approaches to the Bible – their benefit and the impact of that assumption.

Before we begin, let’s highlight how we all have some level of assumption in all that we do, whether consciously or sub-consciously.

We all make assumptions.

If you were flying to Japan you would need to make certain assumptions:

  • The Pilot knows how to fly the aero-plane
  • The plane will arrive safely
  • The immigration at Japan will honor your passport
  • You will be able to accomplish your intended purpose in going

Thus in taking any journey whether physical or spiritual, one must first have a certain level of assumption.

Let’s begin by considering 4 such assumptions in regards to the word of God. It’s important to note that sometimes these assumptions happen on a subconscious level and are seen by our outward behaviour toward scripture. These assumptions (conclusions from observations) come from Matthew 13:1-9.

1, ¶ The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.
2, And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3, And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4, And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5, Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6, And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7, And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8, But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Assumption 1: A Book I’d rather not read (Matthew 13:4)

  1. The Way Side: These are the seeds that fell on the way side that was gathered by the fowls. The seeds don’t even land on the earth where they have the potential to grow. And even the opportunity for them to be carried to the good ground, is negated by the fowls devouring the seed. This is basically the assumption that the bible is a book not worth reading, or that it is better not read and so God’s Word is plainly rejected.
  2. Benefits: The benefit is living life as you want, on your terms, without accountability to Christ. There is a supporting old adage for this – “ignorance is bliss”.
  3. Impact: Eternal condemnation of one’s soul and a false reality of life and eternity. Ephesians 4:17-18 echoes this – “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:” 

Assumption 2: Great book, great to hear but nothing more (Matthew 13:5-6)

  1. Stony Ground: Here the sower sows, but the seed lands on stony ground. In fact there is not much earth for the seed to take depth and grow, and so it never does. This speaks to those who see the Bible as a good book, hear it’s word, but their respect of the word and hearing it never have any lasting effect.
  2. Benefit: Onlookers believe that you are religious, moral and a Christian. People believe you something you not. You get to have your cake and eat it too, being religious and living like the world.
  3. Impact: Your religion is merely a form, nothing more, an empty shell. On the outside the person appears moral or even religious. But religion is merely an adornment. It’s fashionable. 2 Timothy 3:2-5, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”. 

Assumption 3: A Book from God But Written By Men (Matthew 13:7)

  1. Thorny Ground: The sower here sows the seeds but the thorns come up and choke them. This speaks to those who have heard the word, but instead of seeing the words from God as the final authority, they allow men to interpret truth and it’s application to their own lives. Their trust is first in man or something else; rather than God.
  2. Benefit: The responsibility and accountability of scripture is shifted to someone or something else. “A bad carpenter blames his tools”.
  3. Impact: The person never matures in the word, and ends up living on milk instead of meat. Hebrews 5:11-14, “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12, For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13, For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.14, But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,4 even those who by reason of use5 have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” 

Assumption 4: The Bible is God’s words on paper (Matthew 13:8)

  1. Good Ground: In verse 8 we see that the seed finds good ground, and as such brings forth fruit. The assumption here is that the person sees the words of the bible, as the very words of God. As opposed to the contrast of course, that if the ground is corrupt (has thorns or is stony), then it is not good ground and thus does not bring fruit when the seed meets it.
  2. Benefit: Firstly, the individual gets to bring honor and glory to God, by bringing forth fruit. Secondly, the person’s view about scripture, gives them confidence to trust what it says on a day to day basis through the midst of life storms. Thirdly, it gives hope for tomorrow and a sure anchor in which to ground their lives. 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17, That the man of God may be perfect, throughly5 furnished unto all good works.”
  3. Impact: You take responsibility for your walk with God, and the awareness of a pending day when He will judge you for your life lived. 1 Corinthians 3:9, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry,3 ye are God’s building. 10, According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11, ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ 12, Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13, Every man’s work shall be4 made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

Ultimately whether we like it or not, we are making assumptions in our approach to scripture. And so the questions stands today, which assumption are you making, and if so what needs to be changed?


 


The Beauty of the Four Gospels

Reading

There is a certain beauty, enchantment and eloquence in the four gospels . To some the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are clear indicators of the inaccuracy of scripture. However to those who take the time to understand the harmony of the gospels; they gain a deeper and richer experience about who God is. The Bible alone doesn’t mean much. But when viewed with eyes of faith ( trusting in it’s author and the accuracy of the text) new perspectives and thoughts arrange themselves around the wonder of who God really is. To some the different perspectives each of them have around events appear as conflicts, but consider this:

A man has a wife and two children (a older boy and much younger girl). If you had to ask the wife to describe the husband, she would do so in one manner perhaps highlighting his role and a few of his mannerisms. The older boy may also then describe his father, but in the context of a father son relationship. The much younger daughter may struggle to express herself, but may nonetheless simplistically describe her father. While all these perspectives may appear contradictory there are by no means untrue. That is, they are the real world experiences of honest people, honestly describing this man, their father or as a husband.

And so it is with the four gospels, they are the perspectives of four different men, with four different walks, depicting events differently and more so each capturing a unique quality of Jesus Christ that relates to them. Like the father described above – relationally to his wife and two kids.

While studying out the betrayal of Jesus Christ I noticed some simple commonalties in the accounts of the four gospels, but I also saw some differences that were truly beautiful. Beautiful because they revealed different aspects of who Jesus Christ is and was.

Jesus Christ in the Four Gospels: 

Jesus Christ in the four gospels is uniquely portrayed by His identities. In Matthew, Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Matthew the author is Jewish and a tax collector. The majority of the messages in this book are in regards to the Kingdom of Heaven (not to be confused with the Kingdom of God) and more so to Jewish people at the time. In Mark, Jesus Christ is a Servant. He is seen continuously reaching out to people, giving of Himself and His time. The key verse highlighted in this book is Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”. In Luke, Jesus Christ is the Son of Man. The words “son of man” are continuously repeated and speak to Jesus as Messiah but also a man. So each author of the gospel has their unique view of Christ through the individual books. As we gaze into the four individual accounts of Christ’s betrayal in the garden leading up to His arrest, it is these very identities that are highlighted, starting in Matthew.

Matthew 26:47-57: Jesus The Messiah

In Matthew we read in verse 53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”. This is Jesus directly stating that God is His Father. That would be blasphemous to Israel at the time (or at least to the Pharisees). But this speaks again to the fact that He was emphasising His descent, His lineage, and who He was; the Messiah.

In verse 54, “But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”. Here we see Jesus stating the these events are the fulfilment of God’s Word – again, He being the now rejected Messiah.

In verse 56, “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”. This time Jesus was revealing that these events were the fulfilment of the Prophets. Again associating Himself with that of the Messiah to Israel. Isn’t it just beautiful to the see emphasis of the author and how they manifest throughout each book?

Mark 14:34-53: Jesus The Servant

Now from a different perspective, we see the humanity of Jesus, or more so the servant to the Master (the Father). In verse 34-36 we read,  “And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”. Here is Jesus about to be arrested and face the pain, torture, trial, agony and shame of a trial and crucifixion. And it deeply saddens him, to such extent the bible quotes it as “unto death”. He then proceeds to pray to His Father to ask Him to remove the pending trial, but in so doing ends by asking only that God’s will would be done.

This is a true servant, one who surrenders his own will, for that of the Masters. An immediate question here, is what kind of servants are we? Are we faithful servants surrendering our will or captains of our own ship?

Luke 22:47-54: Jesus The Man

In verse 48, we see this question as the only account amidst all the other gospels, “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”. Notice that Jesus immediately identifies Himself as the “Son of Man”. It’s interesting to consider, that amidst the entire multitude that came to arrest Christ, Judas had the relationship to come and kiss Jesus Christ on the cheek. So yes while he had the intimate relationship -he abused it. Today that thoughts transcends itself and asks the question to us. Are we perhaps abusing our intimate relationship with God with a specific area of sin in our lives? Are we living closely with Him and His people, yet betraying that relationship with a “kiss”. Where are we in our walk with Christ TODAY?

John 18:1-12: Jesus our God

Lastly in John 18, we see Jesus Christ’s authority, and power as God. 

4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:” (verse 4-8)

I truly love this portion! On no other account do you see Jesus so mighty and so powerful. Note in verse 4, Jesus “went forth”. He went to them of his own accord first. In verse 5, Jesus says “I am he”. I AM is traditionally known to Israel and through the Old Testament as God the Father. In verse 6, as soon as Jesus identified Himself, they “went backward, and fell to the ground”. Here is this large group of armed men, with swords and spears, looking to arrest Jesus. Surely they would be in charge, they would be in command and without fear. Yet here is Jesus, and they step backward, as He steps forward, and they fall to the ground. This power and command of Jesus is further emphasised in verse 8. This is no sheep to the slaughter, this is a sheep laying down his life by His own will to the Glory of the Father.

To summarise, the four gospels are not conflicts of interest, but merely truthful, honest perspectives through the eyes of different men. So why do that? Simply to grant us a fuller picture of God, that is of the man Christ Jesus. 

I pray you were blessed.

Dane

Has the Gospel Changed Through the Ages?

The gospel

One of the traps we can fall into as Christians when we are reading our bibles, is getting caught up in the detail while missing the ‘big picture’. The big picture could be God’s message, His plan or even His specific work in that portion of scripture. Sometimes it’s great to just step back and approach the bible from a different perspective looking at specific themes, topics or people.

That leads me to the question, have you ever considered if the Gospel you and I believe in today, is the same throughout Scripture? Did Adam and Eve share the same Gospel that we believe in? Did Moses and Israel in the Old Testament?

Now before we go further to explore those questions lets lay down a foundation by defining what the Gospel is. Firstly the Gospel means ‘good news’ and there are various forms of it. In our day, the good news or the gospel is summarised in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. And in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast”. So it’s believing on Jesus Christ for salvation and not trusting anything you do to help merit eternal life. He paid for it, so you don’t have too.

On that basis, do you believe that’s the same message Adam and Eve had in the garden? I don’t believe so as they were the first created and their instructions were nowhere near the same as ours. Don’t take my word on it, let’s review scripture. God’s instructions and message to Adam and Eve was, Genesis 3:2-3And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” How could our gospel even apply, there was no sin in the world as yet? God was clear in what He desired of Adam and Eve and He gave them one command or “DO NOT” which they failed to uphold.

Let’s look at Israel and their redemption from the land of Egypt. How were the Jewish people of that time saved? Salvation came firstly in more than one form. They needed to be rescued from Egypt itself (physical bondage), but there was also spiritual salvation which came in their obedience to God’s instructions (around the law and the sacrifices) Exodus 21:1, “Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them”. For further reference you can review Exodus 20-23. To say they needed to believe and trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ would be a bit of a stretch, as Jesus was not made manifest to them, in thought, in word or even by sight. So while they may have had many indirect types of Christ in the Old Testament – the promise of His coming (Psalm 24) and even His victory over the devil (Genesis 3:15); none of these are literal presentations of the Gospel of Faith as we experience and are afforded today. They are merely pictures and symbols of Jesus Christ that was too come.

Has God’s Gospel changed through the ages? I don’t believe so, rather the Gospel of grace through faith only applies to our church age. Through different ages to different groups of people God gave distinct messages, distinct instructions, distinct gospels (ways of salvation).

As always I leave this sprout of thought with you. May you continue to move forward to gain a deeper insight and understanding into the beautiful and masterful weaving of our Great and Glorious Lord!

Stay blessed,
Dane

Not Everything Applies

Kjv1611

One of the biggest mistakes we can make as students of God’s Word is to incorrectly take what God has said to someone or some audience in a given context and apply it to ourselves. It’s dangerous breeding ground particularly in these the last days. Incorrect application has the potential to skew truth, incorrectly balance the message of scripture and challenge the simplicity of the Gospel. What gives me the confidence to say that you ask? Simply the number of cult ‘christian’ religions prevalent today who do not preach salvation through grace by faith in Jesus Christ. They have taken bible truth and applied it’s message to themselves instead as to whom God intended. Not everything in scripture applies to you!

Today I would like to raise an awakening, an awareness perhaps, both within myself and you as we study God’s Word, to be mindful of our approach and how we apply truth.

The messages (instructions or truth) of scripture can be broken down into 4 types, (a) Historical (b) Prophetical (c) Instructional (d) Spiritual.

Historical means in that specific portion of scripture God is re-enacting a historic event that took place for us. Like reading a History book, we would find facts, and accounts of people and key events. The Old Testament is largely a historic book revealing how God was working with His people, Israel. Now historical can become dangerous when we misapply it to ourselves, when God was clearly relaying a sequence of events from which we can indirectly learn about who He is, and what He desires.

Prophetical is simplistically a passage where God has made a prophecy about an event and it has happened, or will come to pass. The Bible has over 300 prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Now prophetical can become dangerous when we misapply what we see in scripture as current day events. For example; there have been numerous accounts of what “the four-horseman” are through the ages and while it’s great to draw these type of analogies, could it possibly be that the four horseman are literal? That may seem wrong but my point is that we must be careful in listening to others, watching Youtube videos or believing what we read on Facebook; simply because a prophecy has such strong association to current events.

Instructional is where God’s Word is giving direction, guidance or command. An example of this is the 10 commandments. However while there are plenty of cases where God provides instruction, not all of it is too us. Consider Israel’s instructions regarding their diet. Stoning those who broke certain laws. Who they should marry. Having altars, and offering animals unto God etc. Could those apply to us? Of course not. Does God’s Word ever change? No! It just has that appearance when we apply instructions to us (the bride of Christ) that were given directly to Israel. God left these accounts as a record to us, showing His nature and how He relates to man.

Now instructional can be dangerous when we rigidly follow God’s laws to an imbalance. This is known as legalism and involves being so rigid we do more harm than good. An example of this is the Pharisees and Sadducees who vehemently followed God’s laws, but had no heart for God.

Lastly, Spiritual is the process by which we take scripture and make it personal. This is the most common approach we take in our devotions, when reading our Bibles and when needing encouragement from God’s Word. Spiritual application can be very dangerous because we can take the words of God and bend it to mean anything. We fall into this trap because we feel it’s so real and applicable to us that the context of scripture may be completely ignored. Out of all four types this is the only one whose source is questionable, as we interpret the passage in light of the situation we are in. Is it “man” or is it the Holy Spirit giving the message? Whereas in the other three types, the message is already given by God.

There is a lot to chew on here and no supporting scripture, but my intent is merely to stimulate thinking and create awareness. I pray you were blessed by it!

For Christ, For You
Dane

Why callest thou me good? (Mark 10:17-23)

Good

In Mark 10:17, we see an account of a man who comes running to Jesus, kneels down and then asks ‘Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’. The simple nature of the man’s actions, in running and kneeling has the appearance of someone sincere or earnest (This looks so genuine doesn’t it?). Secondly, what a great question! This is the kind of question we as Christian’s desire to be asked so we can share God’s salvation with others. However, Christ’s response to this man is anything but that, His immediate words are “Why callest thou me good?”.

That’s a strange response….let’s understand why.

1. The man’s heart was not sincere
Christ didn’t share the salvation with this man because what seemed like a sincere and earnest question on the outside was not on the inside. Jesus’ reply to him was ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.’ Surely Jesus is good. How could He not be, He is God. He responded this way simply because the man had a wrong (non-biblical) perspective on what it meant to be “good”. And so Jesus challenges that by removing human comparison (which was what he was doing), and moving the benchmark for “good” against whom it matters, GOD himself.

2. The man’s heart was self-deceived
Jesus with His infinite grace doesn’t shrug of this man, but takes the time to help unravel the man’s spiritual blindness. Jesus does this by then repeating 6 of the commandments, to which the man immediately replies that he has obeyed all of these commandments from his youth. Clearly this man had built up his own measure of ‘good’ and had arrived at a place where he thought he deserved to inherit eternal life. Sadly as we know, “good” people don’t inherit eternal life, only those who believe Jesus Christ and His atoning work (Ephesians 2:8).

3. The man’s heart loved wealth
All this reaches it’s climax as Jesus goes outside of these 6 commandments to the heart of the man, as Jesus tells him to sell everything he has, give it to the poor and then he would have eternal life. The man’s response? “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions”. The man loved his wealth so much so, that he desired it above the eternal life he came seeking. It’s amazing how this man could have so much obedience, but fail to see an area of sin that he had not accounted for. He loved wealth more than He loved God!

This begs questions to us as believers – are we perhaps experiencing spiritual blindness today? Have we arrived at a place where we think we are ‘good’? Is our comparison Christian men and woman or is it God Himself? Let’s go to Jesus today and ask Him to open our eyes so that we may see.

Hint: This portion of scripture particularly Mark 10:23 goes on to debunk the ‘prosperity gospel’

An Alternative to Inherited Sin

Religion resized

Original sin is defined as “that sin and it’s guilt that we all possess in God’s eyes as a direct result of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden”. Original sin basically is the sin passed on from Adam’s fall to us, seeping in the very nature of who we are, and as some often say, our ‘sin nature’. Thus when we are born, we are born sinners, set on a path to sin – a path of destruction.

Now there are different perspectives and extents to which original sin is applied, from the Armenian perspective to that of the Calvinist. In fact, it is quite common for Baptist churches to teach it, as I myself was taught by the leaders at my church (strong and mighty men of God). But there is problems with this doctrine, this belief, this idea. And despite the many problems it brings, it’s not the impact of it’s belief (that is the questions it brings or the doctrines it supports), but rather that it veers away from the simplicity and truth of scripture.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a fundamental to split a church over or even biblically separate from others, but it has huge consequence and impact in the personal life of a Christian, how they see themselves in relationship to God, and more so, who God is.

Re-statement of Problem:

So just to be clear, original sin is that sin passed on from Adam, as a result of the fall, and it’s impact is felt in these thoughts:
We are born in sin (at conception, in the womb we are in sin).
We thus have a sin nature (thus our tendency by design would be to sin)
Inadvertently then, if we are born in sin, and have a sin nature, how did we get it? From Adam? Really? Adam’s sin had to be super-naturally passed on by God for it to become a part of each of us.

It also beg’s other questions like:
When babies die where do they go?
When Jesus was born, was He not born in sin? He’s father may not have been Adam, but He still was descended from a ‘human’. It only takes care of the half the problem – his mother was Mary.
If we are born in sin, have a sin nature are we truly to blame to our failures and choices? Are we not products of our design?

Approach:

The list of questions can go on, but the fundamental principle we care about is, Does the bible teach that we have inherited sin from Adam’s fall? Remembering prior to Adam’s fall he was made perfect, so we cannot argue that it was part of his design and thus ours. So again the key question; Does the bible teach that we inherited sin from Adam’s sin in the garden?

So let’s go to scripture, and find the answer we looking for in Romans 5.

Context of Romans 5:

Romans 5 is about two primary things, the blessings of justification in Christ, and the basis for that justification (the explanation). We come to this portion of scripture 5:12-21 because it is perhaps the strongest argument for original sin. In fact if you reference John MacArthur and Warren W Wiersbe commentaries you will find that both address ‘original sin’ and MacArthur goes as far as to call this portion of scripture the “Imputation of SIN”.

This portion when read with the perspective of original sin seems to tie in quite nicely and hence the doctrine is believed today, and held by great men of faith. Not that they should be looked down upon, but only that our eyes would be opened to see the truth, and have our lives changed for the Glory of God.

For further context, this portion of scripture is a contrast of Christ and his justification with Adam and his fall. You will continuously read ‘as by one man’. That is a key term to which we need to ask which man – Christ or Adam.

Expository (detailing the counter position):

12, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Part(a): The Misinterpretation

This is one of the great supporting verses for original sin, but sadly misinterpreted and ever so literally. It is often quoted to clearly indicate “as by one man sin entered in the world” to mean sin fell upon men. But notice it doesn’t say that, it just says – in a world where there was no sin, there now was sin. Perhaps the “world” is all men, ah, but read on.

The Word of God then goes on to state what ‘passed upon all men’ (not the world) – “and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men”. Note the simplicity of the verse, and quite the obvious. Sin entered into the world, and that sin resulted in death, which was the judgement upon all men. So if the question in your mind is, if we don’t hold to a position of original sin, then what did pass onto men instead, it’s as we just read – “death”.

An Account of What Took Place In the Garden:

Let us remember in Genesis we saw God promise them, that if they eat of the tree of good and evil, that they would surely die. So prior to that they were living with eternal life. How do we know? After their sin they were removed from the garden and prevented from eating the tree of life, which as we know and see even in Revelation was used for healing the nations. The bible doesn’t given enough evidence as to whether the “tree of life” actually provided eternal life to Adam and Eve, but one thing is clear – that their lives after the fall, were now numbered.

Spiritual death vs. Physical Death argument:

So many men and women steer immediately at this point to the figurative instead of the literal, by making this “death” not be a physical dying of the body, but spiritual death. If that were the case, how God would have given them command (not to eat from a tree – a physical don’t do) and then made the punishment metaphysical, that is ‘spiritual death’. If you run the 300+ references on death, the majority of it’s usage revolves around physically dying, mortality.

As we know the easiest way to misinterpret the bible is to take something figurative instead of literally. So yes, there was judgement, and that judgement unto all men was DEATH. For further affirmation one only need read Genesis 5, with the remarkable repetition and emphasis from God, it’s the chapter of death, as it goes on to accord the descendants of Adam, but repeatedly mentioned “he died” (8 times to be precise).

This portion of scripture says it clearly – and so “death” passed upon all men. From that day, the human race would toil, and face age-ing and ultimately the end of their mortality.

Part (b) Would God really pass down sin to us all?

The next part of the verse “for that all have sinned:”, lends itself to original sin, because “all have sinned”, meaning because Adam sinned, God now has imputed that all men have “sinned”. How can we have sinned, we were not even born yet? Does it sound like our just and glorious God to pass down “sin” to all his creation? To ascribe to sin to us as a race, as individuals seems a far stretch. Sure condemning the human race with ‘physical death’ is one thing, that’s just since we all face it, but condemning human nature to a sin nature, and then judging them for it, sounds truly unfair, and smells like Calvinism.

So how do we explain this part of the verse “for that all have sinned”?
Adam and Eve sinned, and God by way of judgement applied “death to them”. But not only to them, but to every human that was to follow them. Nowhere in this portion of scripture or even in the verse does it say, sin was passed as judgement to all men, but rather “death” in the literal.

Why did God apply “death to us all” – Foreknowledge and perfect environment

Why did God apply “death” to us all, why not to just Adam and Eve? Because God in his foreknowledge is able to foretell that even in a perfect environment – where man has but one command, he is unable to adhere to it when tempted. And so God passed judgement unto us all, that death would fall on us all.

God put us in the same lot as Adam and Eve, that of “sinner”

And so too here, God passed the judgement of death unto all of man to come, and for that, he put us in the same lot as Adam and Eve, and treated us the same, and that of “sinner”. For God knew we would all sin – and for that reason “all have sinned”.

Analogy: Time in South Africa where was no roads or rules of the road (RESIDENTIAL)

Perhaps, it’s still boggling the mind, but consider a time in South Africa where there was no roads or rules of the road, and imagine that construction just started across a single province, the Western Cape. Now assume as more and more roads were being built particularly in residential areas accidents started occurring, and serious ones too, were others were killed innocently due to the negligence of others speeding. More and more cases were brought to court, for culpable homicide – until the government the decided to lay down a legislature, a rule, a judgement that states, that 60 km/h is the maximum speed limit in a residential area, and if not adhered to, a person will be fined, or prosecuted to the full extent of the law when causing harm to others as a result.

The injustice to those who do drive safely

Now the citizens that do drive safely shout and complain that while they were being courteous and driving safely, they are now under a “blanket ruling” to which they have to abide too. But for the road to be safe, a ruling has to applied to all, and all treated the same within that law. And that is what happened here; God saw that Adam sinned, in a perfect environment, and to prevent us from living eternal lives (sinning and sinning), God past a universal judgement onto us all, and for that reason, we are treated as sinners, lumped in with Adam, and all face mortal life.

The punctuation is key, a “colon” – context ADAM to MOSES

Further more, let us not miss the obvious. There is a colon at the end of this second part of the verse, which means what is to follow is the definition, explanation of what was just said. This “for all have sinned”, has a context and that is from Adam to Moses. Let’s read on.

13, (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Context: Adam to Moses, but sin was not ‘imputed’

“For until the law sin was in the world;” – this is basically saying that from the beginning up to the law (Exodus 20 – Moses) – sin was in the world, and bringing the second verse, but was not imputed, ascribed to men. That’s weird, how can sin not be ‘ascribed to men’.

Definition of “Imputed” (example. Going to buy something from shop, imputed tax)

Firstly let’s understand ‘imputed’. Imputed means to ‘ascribe’ as you would have heard me say. But for anything to be ascribed, accounted to you, your first have to do something that accredits it to you. For example; when you go to the shop and you pay for something, tax is imputed; ascribed automatically. But if you don’t go the shop and buy something, no tax is imputed.

Did they not sin? (example. Highways not built)

So what are we saying here then, that men did not sin up until the law? Of course they did, part (a) of the verse says so “sin was in the world”. The later part simply means that because there was no clear law, men and women were unable to define what sin was/is. Using the previous example of a time in our country when there is no known visible road law. Highways are now being built, but there no signposts on the road to dictate speed limit of 90, and automatic jail sentence. The law has not been communicated. There you are driving down the road of this country, sticking to what you believe to be a valid speed limit of 120, and then suddenly you are pulled off the road by a cop, arrest and taken to prison. Unless the law is visible to men, there is no absolute truth, and thus you cannot label “sin” nor label something sin. You need the law, and you need someone to transgress it. Don’t get me wrong, God judged the people prior to the law, but individually and by different measure.

Running the verses on “imputed” (only applies when there is transgression)

An important point before we depart to the next verse, “imputed” only applies when there is transgression. If you run the references for “impute” or “imputed” you will see, that there was a direction action taken by some party that resulted in something being imputed, ascribed and accounted to them.

14, Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Again we see scripture being more than clear, “death reigned from Adam to Moses”, not sin. Not inherited sin. No God passing judgement onto humanity in the form of “sin”. Note this verse follows on even further how we were lumped in as sinners with Adam ( by way of judgement), because some had not sinned in the same manner as Adam, but death fell on them too.

15, But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

* (free gift is not an offence, like Him who was to come)

The beautiful contrast of Adam and Jesus

Again we see scripture being more than clear, by the offence of one many be dead. The bible interchangeably at times uses “many” to mean “all”. The beauty of the contrast here friends is simple, while Adam brought condemnation to humanity, Jesus brought salvation.

The balanced scale of action prior to imputation

It’s interesting to note, that as we know that were there is no law, sin cannot be transgressed. So to with salvation in Jesus Christ, as much as salvation is free and Christ has died as the atonement for the world, that atonement is only available through faith in Him. So in following with this biblical contrast of the “free gift” of salvation which requires an action (not a work), and action on the part of the person. How then can we even consider for the moment that God would give us a “sin nature” without the individual transgressing the law???

16, And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

The First Sin, and then the washing away (beautiful verse)

This verse is simply beautiful, we clearly see here that God is saying, that the sinning of Adam labelled us all sinners, and brought the judgement of death. That is one transgression, one specific sin of not heeding God’s word in the garden and eating from the Tree of Good and Evil. That sin condemned us. But how amazing is the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the stark contrast to Adam, whose justification through the cross, not only resolved the ‘original sin’ but also justified every sin, every offence that followed to them that “believe”. There’s power in the blood!

17, For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

Again, without blowing the horn, scripture again says, “death reigned by one” – not sin, not inheritance of sin, not the original sin, death.

18, Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness6 of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

A look at the word ‘judgement’ and ‘condemnation’

In verse 18, we get even more clarification, that the single offence brought “judgement” upon all men to “condemnation”. The judgement being “death”, and the condemnation is a mortal life. How can one even apply that to “imputed or inherited sin”. Imputing sin throughout all humanity is not a “JUDGEMENT”, and does not meet the definition in vs.18. Even if it were true, then it would be a cruel and unjust god who would have to do it.

Is it not unfair that we all received ‘death’? God did it for us.

So why was death passed, is that not unfair? No, “for all have sinned”. That is God in His foreknowledge knows we all would sin, and passed a judgement to protect us, to protect us from each other.

19, For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Righteousness was not imputed, how can sin be?

Again we see the balance of the scales, disobedience of one man led to death, obedience by another man leads to righteousness. But on both accounts, for one to be disobedient, you have to disobey something. For one to be righteous, one has to believe Jesus Christ by faith. Righteousness is not imputed here! So how can we then consider that sin is too when Adam fell?

20, Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Cannot label it sin, until we have a law to apply it too, and for there to be a transgression of that law

This feeds back to the earlier point that until the law was revealed, there was no visible way to understand the offence of Adam, SIN and it’s implications to all.

21, That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Note again the clear emphasis of scripture, sin through Adam hath brought death, but grace through Christ hath brought eternal life. This is the last verse, and it says it clearly.

Conclusion: Application for Us

I believe scripture is very clear the inherited sin is a misnomer, and hopefully this message has helped you either draw closer to that truth. There is quite a lot of chew on here, and some takes time to process and understand. Hopefully it has helped you.

But what does this mean for you the Christian?

1. Knowing that we don’t have ‘inherited sin’, that we don’t have a “sin nature”, allows us:
2. To understand that our choices to sin, are off our own free volition, not because that’s they way we are designed.
3. Yes our flesh desires ease, comfort and a host of lusts, it’s the mechanics of physical bodies (not our spiritual souls). But in Christ, the power of the flesh (not our nature, our souls, our inner men) is overcome through spiritual circumcision and the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Read Romans 6)
4. It also refutes Calvinism. With Calvinism all 5 points are inter-linked, knock down one point and all the dominoes fall of TULIP. Original sin uplifts election! Believing that “death was passed as sin” uplifts free will and the Holiness of God.
5. It helps us navigate life better, knowing that we are not the product of our design, but the product of our free will.

PS. Too state the obvious – I don’t believe the bible teaches ‘sinless perfection’, that is someone can walk this earth without falling into sin. If you would like further detail, please leave a comment.

Can I be of use to God?

Hope For Tommorrow

 

The immediate answer to the question without any further reading is YES!

In our lives in general, there is a broader question – do I provide value? That is, am I valued by others by the contributions I make. This may be indiscreet or subtle, but at the heart of it, that is innately each and every person’s desire. Because if there is no purpose, if there is no value add, then why LIVE? That sounds cruel, but that is not the scenario, particularly for a born-again Christian.

Understanding our motives, leads to the next part, and that of maturity. That is walking circumspectly on this earth, not to the effect that we can be valued or recognised or given glory, but rather through us, Christ is reflected and revealed to which He get’s the glory. That’s true purpose – that’s effectual, permanent and eternal. Yet often times as Christians in our local churches or by reading books of missionaries or even some good-old bible preaching at a church meeting, we find ourselves overwhelmed or even paralysed as to how WE, or how I, or how you can be effectual for Christ our God in relation to these aforementioned things. The burden becomes to large to bear. Why? Because the natural aspirations and accomplishments of so-called ‘more noble’ men and women call us to a higher way, a narrower road and so it should. But these things should never prompt us to be “SOMEONE ELSE”, it should never prompt us to live like “SOMEONE ELSE”, it should never force us to run the Christian race as “SOMEONE ELSE”. No! It should only show us, how great God is, and what can be accomplished by a surrendered vessel. A vessel pretending to imitate another vessel is not surrendered, merely confused.

Through this short article, we will gain some insight as to how God values us, and can use us DESPITE – whatever placeholder you want to put here!

 So the immediate question should be but where is your evidence biblically?

Let us consider Adam? The first man, created by God’s very literal own hand – yet, this man so richly blessed and divinely made would sin and alter God’s intent for him and his wife. Given so much power and dominion yet would fall and heed the words of the imperfect and created god satan. Adam nonetheless was not killed by God (though punishment did fall upon him), but still lived out his God intended purpose to be fruitful and multiply. Perhaps that is not worth considering as fulfilling one’s purpose, but one only need understand ‘free will’,  Cain chose to kill Abel, Lot slept with his daughters and so it goes on. Adam could have ‘freely’ chosen to reject God now knowing ‘good and evil’. He had a choice despite his failing, and it was still God (Genesis 3, 1 Tim 2:14). Lesson: God can still use you despite your worst FAILURE

Another man worthy of consideration is Moses. Born in the home of mighty Pharaoh became nothing but a murderer. In fact for forty years he was sent to the backside of the desert to farm and live life as a nobody. Not only was he a murderer and rejected by Pharaoh but had a speech impediment. Yet this was the very man that God would call (flawed, meek,murderer) to set his people free from the tyranny of Egypt and be the voice of God. I repeat there was a period of stillness in his life, while he was in the backside of the desert for 40 years where he wasn’t living out his initial call to set God’s people free. But God has his timing with men, his moulding and his purposes (Exodus). Lesson: God will use you even though you appear to be in the desert and without any purpose. Don’t let today, dictate the opportunity that may come tomorrow.  

Lastly, and there are so many examples in scripture, but let us consider David. Considered to be the man after God’s own heart. That’s not a light statement (Acts 13:22) but we need only consider David’s life, how he had an affair with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), and then killing her husband to secure her. How sick and how ruthless! This by a man who God hand picked to take the role of King of Israel. This man who was blessed with so much, yet here he is committing such a heinous act. That’s one of many, he also disobeyed God by numbering the people when he was not supposed too (2 Samuel 24). Lesson: Other’s may say you out, but a repentant heart find’s a loving God. God decides who He uses, not MEN, despite their pomp, rank or title!   

The summation of it all friends, is that God uses men and women, in different times, in different ways, despite their failings and despite what others may or may not think. We fail as Christians, as servants, as children to our Father, when we perceive our inabilities as hindrances, when we interpret our past sins as stumbling blocks and when we heed others direction as to how, where, when God should use us!

By the grace of God,

Dane



Separated unto the gospel of God (Romans 1:1)

Religion

As we continue the series on Romans, running keywords in each verse, I stumbled on perhaps an interesting word and that of “separated” in Romans 1:1. God says in His word –  “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”. But what does ‘separation’ mean? And what was Paul separated from? Today I would like us to understand this better and what it means and how important these words are for us today.

Firstly, the definition of separation is probably very familiar to us as we consider portions of scripture regarding biblical separation, separating from sin, separating from the world. Webster’s dictionary defines it as disconnect, disunited and parted. 

But obviously if something is to part, or disconnect it must be from something. For example, in Genesis 13:11 we see Lot separating from Abraham – “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.”  In Deuteronomy 10:8, we see God clearly separating a people, the Tribe of Levi from Israel, “At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.” So clearly we can see when separation takes place in the Bible, it’s from one thing to something else.

So the next question, what was Paul separated from in Romans 1:1? Now that’s an entirely intriguing question given in the immediate context of the statement (Romans 1), it doesn’t give you “from what”, it merely states the “to”, or in this case the unto – “separated unto the gospel of God”.So we know directly from the reading that Paul was separated, divided, parted and disconnected from something to be put aside for the Gospel of God (to preach, teach and give his life for it’s dissemination). What a blessed mission granted to Him by God (Acts 9 for more details).

But back to the “from”, so what was He separated from? The commentary in my bible says this was holy biblical separation, that is from the world, or perhaps from all things sinful. I would partially agree with that but I believe there is a much stronger answer if we divide correctly the word of God. Looking up cross references on the word “separated” leads us to, Galatians 1:15, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,”. Here in Galatians Paul is giving some accreditation to who he is, his mission and how he was called, and we see here, that from the time he was in his mother’s womb, God had set him apart unto “grace”. This is starting to paint a picture. Could this be our answer? No but it paints an important picture of the flesh, law and grace. Let’s reference another verse, Galatians 1:23, “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.” This is Paul, emphasizing the great scholar taught by Gamaliel, this is Paul the great zealot of Israel who persecuted the church of God, but now there is a change in him, and now he is preaching and teaching the faith he was prior trying to destroy. So what’s the answer then, what was Paul separated from, and unto the Gospel? Quite simply from “religion”. Paul was a zealot of the law, and fervent in it’s traditions and practices, that is, he was religious.

What makes ‘biblical christianity’ different from all the world religions (including Judaism), is relationship, not religion. No more is one bound to do because it is required, no more is one bound to behave in a certain manner, no more is one asked to live in a certain manner, no, Jesus Christ died, reconciled us to Him, by His own life being our payment (our substitution) for our sin, and thus we are not constrained by commandment, but by love! That is a huge mind shift and change when you are ‘saved’. Sadly the modern day church is not only to separate from the “world”, but also the fancies and delusions of “religion”. This “form”, this religion is living their lives conforming to a set of practices as merit for self. This is that religion that Paul was separated from, that great delusion of service to God, but nothing more than hot air. God only desires we relate to Him, love Him, desire Him and honour Him in our thoughts and decisions. And when we love Him, we will fulfil the law of God! 

May we be granted the wisdom to identify “religion” and know that we not separating from the world alone, but also that which appears moral, appears holy, appears true, appears noble and appears God-led.

In Christ, For Christ

Dane