Tags: Adam, Bible catechism, children's catechism, death, federal headship, Genesis 2, guilt, James 2, Romans 5, sin
Question 5: What went wrong with everything God created?
Answer: Sin brought the curse of death into the world.
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:
It is important to teach the relationship of sin to death. This is also a good opportunity to explore the question, “Why are we paying the price for what Adam did?” In response to this question we can discuss the idea of “federal headship,” and explain that, while it was Adam’s sin that is the origin of our sinful condition, he was an accurate representative for our race, in that all of us have sinned (and do sin often and regularly) of our own volition.
This is also a good opportunity to explain what God was working out in allowing one man’s sin to bring death, and one “Man’s” (the Lord Jesus Christ, the “God-man”) obedience and sacrifice to bring life and salvation for all who would believe.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God sent the curse, but He is not the author of sin. He gave Adam and Eve fair warning, and He keeps His word.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.
God is not determining “guilt” on a sliding scale. One sin is one sin too many, and God is righteous and just in condemning every single sin and every single sinner – which is why everyone needs a perfect Savior!
Tags: crime and punishment, deterrents, Gospel preaching, Law of God, lawful society, Old Testament Law, restrictions, Romans 1, second use of the law, the Law
Last time we examined:
1. The Revelatory Purpose of the Ten Commandments
Now we will see:
2. The Restrictive Purpose of the Ten Commandments
This may sound contradictory, because in the previous lesson I said that the Commandments were freeing, and now I’m saying they’re restrictive, but we have to remember that God’s laws are not just for Christians. They are for everyone – even the people that don’t love Him and the people who don’t want to know Him. The Ten Commandments do not have the power to stop anyone from breaking them, but they do remind sinners that there are rules – and that there are consequences for breaking those rules.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Sinners break God’s law, but they break it less when it is there to restrain them. This purpose is sometimes called the “restraining” purpose of the Commandments, because, if they are upheld by society, they help to restrain unbelievers from hindering the Gospel.
Most crimes occur under the influence of the flesh or the devil, but some crimes are deterred because of the threat of punishment, and there must be clear commands against wrong-doing if punishment is to be prescribed for the breaking of those commands. If a society bases it’s laws on the Ten Commandments, that society will not be holy, because society is made up of sinners. But that society will have a government where it is safer to preach the Gospel.
Next time we will look at the reflective purpose of the Ten Commandments.
Tags: 1 John 5, didactic, first use of the Law, freedom, imago dei, John 14, Law of God, Old Testament Law, Psalm 119, the Law
Lord, I say with the psalmist, I love Your law. We should meditate upon it every day and every night. We know that it is better than our own thoughts. We know that it is absolute truth. We know that those who love Your law will have great peace. Help us to see the correct uses for Your law, and especially Your Ten Commandments. In the name of the Lord Jesus I pray. Amen.
The Ten Commandments are a part of the “Law of God” – specifically, the Old Testament Law. They are normally thought of as something that children need to learn, or that we need to teach them to help them behave better, or that need to be posted in public, so people can see what Christians think of as “right and wrong.”
Do you believe in the Commandments of God? Most Christians would say yes. Do you know the Commandments of God? Some Christians would say yes. Do you teach the Commandments of God? Most Christians would say a hearty “yes” (or at least agree that they should be taught). But this is a different question: Do you love the commandments of God?
Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
The Old Testament believers were supposed to love the commandments of God – to “love His law” – but in the New Testament we are “under grace” not “law.” So should we love the Commandments?
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
God’s commandments are not cosmic laws that God discovered and decided to adopt to keep order in His universe. They are not rules He made up to keep Himself entertained as He watched over His creation. They are simply an expression of Who God is – which leads us to the first of three purposes which are revealed in Scripture to tell us some of the reasons for God giving us the Ten Commandments and His moral law. (These are not the only three reasons. There are more, but these are three big ones.)
1. The Revelatory Purpose of the Ten Commandments
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
“Revelatory” just means something that “reveals” something – something that lets us know what something else is like. If you love God, you must love what God loves. The Ten Commandments reveal to us what sort of being God is. We know that He is the only true God, because the 1st Commandment tells us that there are no other gods before Him. We know that He is holy and is righteously jealous, because the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Commandments tell us that we are not to make anything that is supposed to look like Him, we are not to mess with His Name, and that we are to have special days set aside just for worshiping Him. We know that He is a God that ordains authority and submission and obedience because of the 5th Commandment, and that obedience and submission are how He prefers love to be expressed. We know that He loves life, because He condemns murder. We know that He loves and promotes marriage, because he condemns adultery. We know that He loves truth, because He condemns lying and stealing. We know that He is omniscient – that He knows everything – including what’s best in every circumstance, because He condemns covetousness, which is dissatisfaction with what He’s given us.
Some people call the “revelatory” use of the law the “teaching” use, so this purpose for the Commandments is also known as the “didactic” purpose. The Holy Spirit uses the law of God to teach us how to live in a way that’s pleasing to our God after we have trusted Christ unto salvation.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
I John 5:3
Do you see again the connection between loving God and loving His commandments? The lie of Satan and the lie of this world and the lie of our flesh is that rules and laws and commandments restrict our freedom – that they are “grievous” – that they are given to be a burden to us. But God says that this philosophy has it backwards. The worst type of slavery – the worst type of imprisonment – is “freedom” from God’s commandments. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you “get free” from God. Like a stray dog – a person who is “free” from God has himself for a master – and a man with himself for a master has a terrible master. Stray dogs get run over, they get sent to the pound, they get shot, they get killed by bigger and meaner dogs, they get rabies, they die alone and scared and miserable. Dogs are meant to be dominated by a master, and you and I are meant to be dominated by our loving Heavenly Father.
When you love God’s commandments and keep God’s commandments, that’s when you find true freedom. That’s when you become what God originally intended for you and I to be: His image-bearers – His good and obedient and loved and blessed children. That’s real freedom.
Next time, we’ll take a look at a second reason for the Ten Commandments.
Tags: Cinco de Mayo, Cinco de Mayo Bible lessons, Cinco de Mayo devotions, clean hands, delayed obedience, missed opportunities, myrrh, perfume, Song of Solomon 5
The bridegroom in Song of Solomon Chapter 5 comes to his bride’s home at night. He desires a visit, but she is already sleeping. Hearing him at the door, she is reluctant to get up. She has already washed her feet and got undressed for bed. Suddenly though, at the sound or sight of his hand by the hole of the door, she has a change of heart and gets up to greet him.
I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
Song of Solomon 5:5
Sadly, she had waited too long. He was gone by the time she got to the door. Some commentators think that the smell of myrrh (an expensive perfume in Bible times) had been left there by the bridegroom as a token of his visit – sort of a calling card – and that when the bride touched the lock to slide back the bolt, she got the myrrh on her hands. It seems more likely, though, that the myrrh which dropped from her hands and fingers onto the handles of the lock was the result of her own preparations as she tarried in opening the door to her beloved.
If you are a Christian (part of the “bride” of Christ), has there been a time when Christ the Lord (your “Bridegroom”) knocked on the door of your heart or conscience in order to call you to some holy service, only to find you so slow to respond that the opportunity was past before you made up your mind?
When Jesus presents us with an opportunity to do His bidding our common sense might be tempted to do an analysis of the situation and decide that our hands are too dirty with sin to respond right away. “My hands reek of iniquity,” we think. “I must anoint them with the sweet-smelling scent of my own righteousness before I can attempt to do His will.” This can prove to be a costly mistake.
While it is true that only those with clean hands and a pure heart can ascend to the hill of the Lord, it is also true that “doubting” is one of the things that prevents us from lifting up our hands to His service. There is no amount of myrrh or self-righteousness that can make our hands acceptable to the Lord. Only His shed blood can do that, and once we are regenerated and justified by His grace through faith, we receive His imputed righteousness as a free gift. This means we must never delay – night or day, regardless of the condition of our body – to respond to His knock of opportunity.
Tags: Edmund Spenser, Edmund Spenser quotes, laziness, Luke 12, Proverbs 24, slothful, slothfulness, swimming quotes, The Faerie Queene
Who shall him rew, that swimming in the maine,
Will die for thirst, and water doth refuse?
Refuse such fruitlesse toile, and present pleasures chuse.
The Faerie Queene, Book II, Canto VI
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
Tags: 2 Timothy 3, devices of Satan, Great White Throne, lies, real vs. fake, reality, Romans 2, Satan, Satanic traps, truth
There is a type of “knowledge” which is empty. It’s not “real” knowledge. It’s like a mirage. It looks interesting, but there’s nothing really there.
An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
Beware of things which have a “form” but are empty. Satan teaches that outward appearances are everything. God teaches that outward appearances should be the result of real knowledge on the inside. Don’t let Satan squeeze you into this world’s mold. Get something substantial from God, from the Bible, and be changed on the inside – transformed, not conformed.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
II Timothy 3:1
Let’s see if it sounds like we’re in the “last days:”
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
II Timothy 3:2
Do you love yourself more than God and more than others? Do you wish God would have given to you what He has in fact given to someone else? (covetous) Do you desire to be looked up to, and to be told how “great” you are? (proud) Do you really believe that you are great? (boasters) Do you treat God’s name as an exclamation or an interjection? (“OMG”) Would you be satisfied if you had woken up this morning with only the things for which you had thanked God yesterday? (unthankful)
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. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
II Timothy 3:3-7
Appearing to learn something, while actually learning nothing, will not lead you to the truth, because Satan doesn’t have any real knowledge. He hates it. He only has fake knowledge, which is another name for “lies.”
Did you know you have to have knowledge to go Heaven?
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
I Timothy 2:3-5
I said to Heaven, not to God. Everyone is going to meet God, with or without genuine knowledge. In fact, all roads lead to God. It’s just that there will be an enforced U-turn when you get there, unless you are in Christ Jesus. This is what Satan hates and what he doesn’t want you to know. Jesus is the only Mediator – the only One Who can make peace between you and God so that you can be in His presence and live. The presence of God will be absolute bliss for all eternity if you have believed the Gospel and trusted Christ, but the presence of God will be unbearable torment without the Mediator.
If you don’t go into the ocean you’ll never have to worry about a great white shark. But if you’ve never been born again through saving faith in Christ, you had better worry about the Great White Throne. It is from there that God will throw unbelievers into the lake of fire.
Tags: bribes, Cinco de Mayo Bible lessons, Cinco de Mayo devotions, commentary on Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes 5, promises, rash promises, Sunday School lessons on Ecclesiastes, vows
Have you ever found yourself in a great deal of unexpected trouble? At times like these, when the pressure is on, and our options seem limited to the frying pan versus the fire, we may be tempted to try to bribe our way out of trouble.
For example, there may have been times in the middle of an ill-conceived and horrifying roller coaster ride when I made some promises to God about changing my ways if He would cause the ride to stop (at the bottom!) so I could safely escape.
Or, perhaps, sitting outside the principal’s office as an elementary school student, I might have been tempted to propose a bargain concerning my future behavioral issues, if the Lord would somehow arrange it so that my parents didn’t find out about my (recent!) past behavioral issues.
The Bible warns against making these types of rash, or foolhardy, vows:
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
The Lord God Almighty is not someone with whom we should trifle. Vows and promises made before Him or to Him are serious matters. While we are encouraged and commanded to call upon the Lord in prayer whenever we are in trouble, we should be extremely cautious of trying to bribe Him with promises we have no intention of keeping, or even with ones that we might lack the ability to keep.
Tags: Book of Micah, commentary on Micah, covetousness, greed, highlights from Micah, idolatry, Micah, northern kingdom, Sunday School lessons on Micah, the prophet Micah
Idolatry and greed are two sins that often go hand in hand. Human beings are prone to find their security in things that we can see and handle. The first two of the 10 Commandments were very strong prohibitions against worshiping, fashioning, or ascribing “need-meeting” power to anything other than the One True God. In the prophet Micah’s day these commandments were violated with reckless abandon as the Northern Kingdom fell under the curse that befalls all who forsake the real God for little man-made substitutes. It is a curse that entails oppression of the poor, the forsaking of mercy, and debased unrighteousness. Micah warned the people that God would not let such things go unnoticed nor unpunished.
Below is a list of links to lessons on the Book of Micah:
1. When God Makes Fun of Your Name
2. The Raptor and the Captor
3. False Prophecy and Disappointment
4. Condemning the Princes, Prophets, and Priests
5. That Man Was Certifiable! *
6. One Sin Lighter
7. Cut-Outs, Cut-Ups, or Cut-Offs
8. Our Own Worst Enemy
9. What Does God Want from Me?
10. Opportunities / Obstacles
11. The Breathtaking Wonder of God
* most-viewed post in category
Tags: commentary on Exodus, Exodus 12, Genesis 22, John 1, Paschal Lamb, Passover, Revelation 21, Revelation 22, Revelation 6, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, the Passover lamb
The Passover lamb was a foreshadowing “type” of Christ. It continued the Bible’s theme of a sacrificial lamb, which had already shown up in Genesis.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
We know from the New Testament that the Abraham and Isaac account is a clear foreshadowing of the death of Christ, so when the lamb becomes relevant in Exodus we can keep that same connection.
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
Most gentiles do not observe the Passover – and neither should Jews really any more – but it is still a crucial subject to study, because its significance helps us to understand the Gospel more clearly.
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
I Corinthians 5:7
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
I Peter 1:18-19
The title “Lamb” is so significant that Jesus will keep that title even in eternity.
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Other similarities worth noting about the Passover lamb as a picture of Christ:
1. The Lamb was examined – just as Christ was examined – and found to be without blemish. There was no other reason for the Jews in Egypt to kill their best lamb – except that God had commanded it and had attached His promise to it.
2. The Lamb was slain “between the evenings.”
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
This may mean around twilight – the same time that Jesus laid down His life on the Cross.
3. The lamb’s blood was applied.
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
It is not simply the fact of Christ’s death that saves us. It is the application of that blood to each individual personally – which is done by faith.
4. The lamb was consumed.
In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
The Passover lambs were not boiled, but roasted. They were kept whole, with no bones broken, to help make the preparation and the meal go more quickly, but also to complete the type of Christ.
We can also note that bitter herbs were a part of the meal.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
This reminded the people of their suffering and tears, and it pointed to Jesus, the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
Tags: benevolence of God, creation, Deuteronomy 32, Genesis 1, Matthew 19, Psalm 145, Psalm 18, regeneration, Romans 11
Question 4: How was everything when God created it?
Answer: It was very good.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
This question is likely to cause a child to inquire, “Why do bad things happen now?” or “If God made it good, why isn’t it still good?” These are excellent lead-ins to the next question, but this will also be a great opportunity to explain that Jesus has promised to one day make everything new again – to make it the way it was before sin entered the world.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Other verses to consider:
[He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.
[As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him.
The LORD [is] righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.