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Friday, October 28, 2016

God's Law: The standard of Righteousness

There are a lot of well-meaning Christians who believe the law revealed in the Holy Scriptures is no longer in force. Unfortunately this misguided belief has resulted in all sorts of uncertainty, volatility and unpredictability in how Christians live their lives, which when measured by our generation, is woeful.

Some may argue that Jesus is the standard of righteousness and not the law, and that of course is true. That said, the law was nothing more or less than a reflection of the very character of God Himself, and so while Jesus was the righteous one, it was because He in fact did obey all points of the law, which made Him the unblemished Lamb of God.

What we need to do as believers in our day and generations to come, is to go back to the law of God and start to first, read what they are, and from there work on ways to implement it in our own lives, and eventually to have it be embedded in our legal code. That means Christians and non-Christians alike are to be subject unto the law.

The challenge we have is we must diligently seek out first, what laws are still in force in the post-resurrection world, and whether or not the penalties of the law as revealed in the scriptures are still applicable. This is not as simple as it sounds, and it wouldn't surprise if it took many years before we get a solid handle on it.

After all, if there are penalties applied to those breaking the law, if we get it wrong people could be put to death for crimes where the death penalty is no longer in force. The very lives of people are at stake when looking at the penal section of God's laws, and for that reason we can't be flippant or lazy in searching them out before making them part of the conviction and implementation of the sentencing portion of any trial.

Even when looking at penalties in regard to lesser sentences, we can't be sloppy in our understanding there either.

The point isn't that we become paralyzed over some of these things, but to be sure we get it right. For example, how is a thief to pay back someone he stole from in our day if we don't know how to translate that from an agricultural society to a industrialized and information-based society? Those things have to be worked through, or at least the principle laid down for judges to be able to adapt to unique circumstances.

What would be the penalty for the theft of intellectual property, and how is it multiplied in a similar way it was recorded in the Scriptures for the theft of animals? There are numerous other scenarios that could be raised that have to be thought through, again, as to principle. We don't want to start figuring out every single thing that could possibly happen in the world and include in our law. In my opinion we need to find an observable and easily understood way of applying the penal section of various laws so they can be implemented across a variety of different ways, in the case of theft for instance, that it can happen.

In other words, if someone stole a dog from someone, how would that be penalized against someone that stole some money, broke a window, or any of a number of potential ways of stealing. What about the Federal Reserve and its money policies, where the value of a currency is debased, as it has been done in the U.S. from about 1913, where it is now worth less than 95 percent of what it was at that time. You get the point.

There has been some preliminary work done on the laws of God, but we definitely need a lot more voices from different backgrounds to give a full examination of the law and how it can be applied today and in the future.

The essential thing we need to work through with the law of God in all aspects is what has continued on after the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and what has been discontinued.

Beyond the ceremonial laws, it's not as clear and obvious as to what still remains in effect - both as to the laws themselves, and to how the penalties for breaking them should be applied, and in the case of capital punishment, whether or not they're still in effect.

In our age of moral depravity and seeming lack of guidelines on how we are to live in this world in relationship to God and others, this is probably the most important thing we can now give ourselves to.

To make myself clear, the law has nothing to do with being saved, as that's by faith in Jesus Christ. But it does have everything to do with how we live out our lives individually toward others, and also in how we are to live in corporate settings like the church, family, business, government, and many other areas of life. 

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Christians and the Sin of Tolerance

Ephesians 5:10-12

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

1 John 2:15-16

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Leviticus 20:23-25

23 And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.

24 But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.

25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.


Probably one of the greatest manipulative lies circulating today, that is accepted by Christians, is that we are to be tolerant of everyone and the way they live. The idea of rejecting and challenging sin and people living in sin, is in itself, considered to be one of the ultimate "sins" by our corrupt culture, as tolerance has been put forth as the only acceptable response to almost anything that people do. To not be tolerant is now considered to be evil, even if that which we oppose is itself evil.

As the Bible teaches, woe to those that call good evil and evil good. The very essence of Jesus Christ and by extension Christianity, is we're not of this world, and those things of this world are to be not only rejected, but opposed as well.

For that reason the idea of tolerance in regard to that which stands up in opposition and rejection of Jesus Christ and the commands of the Bible, is a sin itself. We are to stand on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ in all things, and those opposing Him and His teachings need to be opposed vigorously themselves.

The call for tolerance today is nothing more than an attack on Christianity and Christians, as it's an attempt to remove the laws and commands of God from public awareness or acceptance, under the guise of being accepting of others, and replace it with something that will be more intolerant than most of us have seen in our lifetimes - at least those born in the U.S. or some other Western countries.

The truth is God has separated us from other peoples, and we are to be a peculiar people that are totally different in how we believe and live. There is no point of contact in the sense of having anything in common with this world. It is the enemy of God, and we are not called to tolerate it in any way.

Not only did the Old Testament prophets thunder against Israel, and yes, numerous foreign nations, but in the New Testament what many consider one of the most important parts - the Great Commission, we are admonished to go and command the nations to obey everything Jesus taught them, including the commands or laws. 

This command from Jesus is one that demands no tolerance for that which opposes the teachings of Jesus Christ and God the Father as revealed from Genesis to Revelation.

Even though the days we live in are dark, I see a great light ahead of us because we have been under assault and on the defensive for a long time, but we are starting to see rumblings of Godly resistance, and when we rise up as one in meaningful resistance to the evil in the world, it's my belief we'll see the tide turn and the glory of God start to fill the earth, as the Scriptures tell us some day it will.

One of the first things we need to do is cast off the manipulative suggestions we're required to be tolerant of sin and that which rises up against Jesus Christ. Until we do, we'll be confused and anemic in regard to providing an alternative for the people of this world to see.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Taking dominion of planet earth

Christians are to take dominion

Understanding we are to take dominion on the earth, Christians can get overwhelmed by the prospects, as we see the seemingly overwhelming effect of evil on all parts of life, and find it difficult or impossible (in our eyes) to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the truth is it's not difficult in any way to understand, yet it's not easy to put into practice what it is God commanded and expects of us in this area.

The first thing to look at to get a clear view of what we are to do, is to read Ecclesiates 12:13,14. It says this"

Ecclesiastes 12:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

It doesn't get any clearer than that. This is very easy to understand, although hard to put into practice. The most important thing is to see that we are to fear God, and if we do truly fear God, the end result will be we grow into understanding and obedience to His commands through our walk with the Lord during our lifetimes.

The fear side is we are to know every thing we think, say or do will be brought into the judgment of God. That should provide us a healthy check and balance in how we live, as we rely upon the Holy Spirit to help us to increase in our obedience to God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

There is another extremely important part of the dominion equation for man, and it's revealed in the father of the faith: Abraham.

Genesis 18:

17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Training children the commands of God and to obey them is part of taking dominion

What's very important in this passage of Scripture is the reference to Abraham commanding his children to keep the way of the Lord. Not only does it bring understanding of what God is doing, but it is a crucial part of the nations being blessed in Abraham through Jesus Christ.

That's another way of saying in regard to taking dominion. Being a blessing to all the nations of the earth is to take dominion. A key part of that is to teach the laws of God to our children and command them to obey them.

Deuteronomy gives some more insight into the issue of raising children to know and obey God's laws.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

Deuteronomy 32:46-47

46 And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.

47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

Living as examples of obedience

The first step in obedience is to ensure we have the commands and laws of God in our hearts. If they dwell within us, we will not have to work to share them with our children. It'll be an extension of who we are because they're within us.

That's essentially what Deuteronomy 6 is talking about. We are to make an effort to spend time with our children, and during those times we're to look for opportunities to apply the word and laws of God to their lives. It can of course be a special time of teaching while they're expected to listen, but also a natural part of interacting with them in various circumstances of life.

I believe that's what is referred to here in Deuteronomy 6. Children will learn as we spend time with them and spontaneously share the ways of God and His expectations with them. Along with direct teaching, telling stories with the laws of God in them is a good way for children to understand and ultimately to obey His commands.

God promises in Deuteronomy 32:46-47 that if we command our children to obey the words of the law, we will enjoy long life on this earth. Interestingly, in another part of the Scriptures the children are promised long life for obeying parents, which is a direct reference to being obedient to the word of God.

This works its way into the New Testament as well, as 2 Timothy 2:2 says this:

2 Timothy 2:2

2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

It extends beyond the family to spiritual men, who are defined as those that are faithful and will teach others. This is a big part of dominion. It's the teaching and passing on the understanding of the law, and communicating the expectation God has for us to obey all of it.

Finally, this goes beyond individuals and families to the body of Christ as a whole.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Everything that contradicts or stands in opposition to the revealed will of God in the Bible is to be cast down. We are to bring all our thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

The end result is when we do reach the fullness of our obedience to Christ, we will then fully enter into dominion and go on the offensive against all disobedience to the revealed will of God. This is the goal of dominion on the earth, and the people of God in Christ are called to engage in it.

This is a quick synopsis of taking dominion on the earth, and it's easy to see we are to hold the word of God in our hearts and train our children to know and obey the laws of God. Not only that, spiritual leaders are to train others so they may also teach the word of God in a faithful manner.

The idea is to build a continuity over generations, where those believing in Jesus Christ train their children to obey God, the leaders in the church train men to pass on the faith to others, and finally when the church in in obedience to the laws of God, it will rise across the world at a local level and teach the nations to do the same.

All of this is connected to the simple revelation in Ecclesiastes that we are to fear God and keep His commandments.

Taking dominion is nothing more or less than being faithful in this and passing it on to the next generation. This is ultimately what dominion looks like, and if there is another big move of God, the only way it'll have long-term legs is if these basic but full concepts are embraced and adhered to.

Of course we have to do a lot more research on how the word of God applies to all the areas of life, but it's not hard in the generation we live in to obey what knowledge we do have, as we work to learn more of what God has for us.

The promised blessings of God are directly related to honoring the covenant He made with us. That includes obeying His commands and taking dominion over this world. That is the heritage of the followers of Jesus Christ.

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