Big Words of the Christian Life: Illumination (Part 1)

June 20, 2019 at 9:32 am | Posted in big words of the Christian life | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Psalm 119:18

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

I Peter 2:9 (emphasis added)

Every person comes into this world (which is a dark world, spiritually speaking) in a state of spiritual darkness himself. God’s truth is present in the world and it is the only source of light. Jesus is the Light of the World, but the existence of light – alone – does not bring about spiritual vision or the comprehension of truth. In order for light to be effective, there has to be the ability to see. Blind eyes have to be healed and spiritual blindfolds have to be removed. This can not be done by physical force, nor by debate, nor by fleshly enticement. It is part of the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration when it happens – when an unbeliever becomes a believer. When a lost person gets saved – when someone who has been born only once (physically) gets born again (spiritually) – the Holy Spirit opens His eyes to the Truth.

That part of illumination is purely a gift of the Spirit. We do not cooperate with it, any more than a thief who is sneaking around a dark house hiding from the cops cooperates with being exposed once they shine a spotlight right in his face, but there is an aspect of the doctrine of illumination which does involve our cooperation – after we are saved.

Illumination is the Holy Spirit’s work in giving spiritual sight to unbelievers, and thereafter teaching believers the Scriptures, helping us to understand them, and empowering us to apply them to our lives.

I. Illumination Indicts Iniquity

It exposes, and makes us aware of, our own sin.

Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 90:8

We often have trouble seeing our own sin, or understanding the pervasiveness of it. We are like fish who do not understand they are wet because “wetness” is all they have ever known. We are very accustomed to darkness – until we become of aware of how God sees our sin. Nothing is done in secret from His point of view. Once His spirit illuminates our self-awareness, we recognize our guilt and our terrifying position before a righteous Judge.

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

Proverbs 6:23

God’s Word shows us our true condition, and the condition of the world around us. We should be convicted when we read the Bible, but not merely convicted. We should also find hope: reproofs and instruction.

Light helps us see what’s around us, but it also shows us safe paths to take and ways of escape from trouble.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

John 3:19-20

We need the Holy Spirit’s help to come to the light. It hurts our eyes. It shocks us. It throws us into a state of shame or embarrassment. BUT… if we will come to it instead of running away from it, then illumination will expose, and make us aware of, our own sin. It will give us insight into our spiritual nature. It will allow us to discern the sins of others and sin in the world.

II. Illumination Initiates Interest

Evil needs a covering, or an excuse, or a rationalization. People don’t want their deeds exposed along with their motives.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:21

Those who have been illuminated by God, and who come to the light, want their deeds to be manifested – to be made known – but isn’t this a form of pride, of bragging, of showing off? No, it’s a way of glorifying God – because only His light has made it possible to do these types of deeds and it is obvious they are wrought in God. They are His good works, really, merely done THROUGH us. We are not light sources; we are light reflectors. We’re not the electricity running through the wires; we’re the bulbs: the diffusers of God’s glorious light.

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Luke 1:79

God’s light gets us moving – it “motivates” us to make peace, to try to help reconcile people to God. Most people, whether they admit it or not, have a nagging sense that they live under the shadow of death – the awareness that life will end relatively soon and judgment awaits. God’s light puts death in the shadow of God’s glory instead of vice versa.

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

II Corinthians 4:4

A physical blindfold can be removed by force, but mental and spiritual blindness, like physical blindness, requires supernatural intervention.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:5-6

God, in Christ, has illuminated our hearts and minds, but not just for our “enlightenment.” (I prefer the term “illumination” over “enlightenment” because of the baggage and selfishness associated with Eastern mysticism, and to avoid connecting it to the historical period known as the “Age of Enlightenment.”) He has given us His light and placed it in our formerly darkened hearts so that we can shine it into other blind hearts and minds.

Illumination creates in us a desire to read and study God’s Word. Illumination attracts us to God’s Truth.

III. Illumination Implements Instruction

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit’s work of illumination does not stop when a believer receives the gift of salvation.

Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.

Psalm 112:4

Those who are “upright” – who stand before God in Jesus’s imputed righteousness – are given light to know God more and more, in ever-increasing measures. I mentioned earlier that believers participate in it, but it is still a gift of God’s grace and compassion, and it is for the purpose of directing us toward righteousness.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8:20

Illumination is about understanding and applying the Word of God. It is not about feelings, fantasies, or fables. It is not about private personal promptings. The Holy Spirit inspired the same Scripture for everybody to read, and He illuminates it for each person to study on his/her own with a goal of reaching a common, mutual, and CORRECT comprehension of it. The Holy Spirit gives greater understanding to those who obey what they have already been shown.

Next time we will see that illumination imparts insight.

The Problem with Petulant Parenting

October 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , ,

Previously we looked at some of the problems with parents who surrender their God-given authority in order to try to be more popular with their kids. Then we looked at the danger of bribery as a parenting strategy. Now we see that petulant parents make parenting decisions based on their feelings, emotions, or moods.

One of the biggest problems with this type of parenting strategy is that it teaches kids that there are good times and bad times to ask for attention from parents. In other words, it teaches the art of manipulation and the sin of scheming.

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Titus 1:15

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Proverbs 6:16-18

Our children come into this world as fallen sinners, so, while their “purity” is a relative purity, we still, as Christian parents, need to do our best to protect it. The last thing we want to do is coach them in the ways of wicked imagination and mischief.

It can be a daunting and even exhausting task to bring our emotions into check when dealing with our children, and to refrain from responding to their (somewhat excusable) petulance with our own moodiness, but we must spend the time and the effort to do it.

For good or ill, our children, especially when they are very young, will form some of their ideas about God’s character from the way we exercise His ordained authority over them ourselves. When we are cruel or impatient or short with them because we are angry or preoccupied – or when we are too lenient or flattering when we happen to be in a cheery mood – we are accidentally forming in our children’s minds an inaccurate and dangerous picture of God. God is certainly not moody when dealing with us.

Furthermore, allowing our parenting interactions with our kids to be governed by petulance ingrains a defeatist attitude in them concerning prayer. They will be apt to think, “Why should I pray when God might not want to hear me?” Or, “I’ll wait to pray until my obedience makes Him favorably disposed towards me,” as though God could be bribed.

The bottom line is that petulant parents are idolatrous. They are ruled by feelings rather than by Scripture and its Author.

How Many Sermons about Purity Do Boys Need to Hear?

July 7, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve been in or around much church “youth group” type ministry, you’ve probably heard these types of sniveling complaints once or twice from junior high or high school age boys:
I’m tired of hearing about ‘purity’ all the time.
I’m tired of being told that I’m a monster that only thinks about sex.
Why don’t they preach to the girls instead? It’s their fault for being immodest.

So, do they have a point? Is there overkill going on when it comes to preaching about purity? Where would we look in the Bible to find out the right emphasis to place on the issue of avoiding sexual immorality for boys? I think Proverbs Chapters 5 – 7 would be a good place to start. Proverbs 5 starts off with a father imparting wisdom to his son. And what is the very first thing he addresses? The temptation and danger of sexual immorality. In Chapter 6 the father admonishes the son about the trap of laziness (vv.6-11), and stresses the importance of remaining focused on God’s Word (vv.20-23). But focused on God’s Word as a remedy against what? Sexual immorality (vv.24-35)! What about this kid’s self-esteem? What about his pride and honor and dignity? Why does his dad have to keep harping on the danger of sexual lust and temptation? Surely that’s enough! Not quite. Chapter 7 is a detailed and provocative account of the jeopardy that lurks for “youths” and “young men” who are “void of understanding.”

Now, that’s three whole chapters of God’s Word specifically aimed at boys, forcefully and repeatedly telling them what the Bible frequently makes clear:

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

II Timothy 2:22

Now, someone might object and say that the chapters in Proverbs are a father’s instructions to a son, not a youth pastor’s or conference speaker’s sermons to other men’s sons. In response, I would say, if you are a father who Biblically teaches his son in the way outlined in Proverbs, good for you. I’m no huge fan of youth group ministry. Take your boy out of there and take the full responsibility for this type of teaching on yourself. But if you decide you want him in there, he needs to keep his mouth shut when the youth teacher or pastor is instructing the other boys whose fathers aren’t doing such a stellar job.

If you are a youth group aged boy, and you have been taught that immodesty on the part of women and girls is the real source of your sin, you need to go back to the Bible and think again. Nobody in his or right right mind would deny that one of the reasons for modesty among females is to assist men in avoiding temptation, but that is by no means an excuse for your own lust. And if you don’t like being told that – in your flesh, apart from Christ – you are a monster and a sexual deviant at heart, too bad. That’s what the Bible says you are.

I recently saw a post by a boy who complained that he had grown up in church and youth group and had heard untold numbers of sermons about purity. He said there was “one good one” out all those, and that was all he needed. Such a statement highlights the self-centeredness which lurks in the human heart. For how are preachers and Bible teachers, who preach countless messages to countless boys over the years, supposed to discern which one is the “right one” that does the trick? The Bible is where we learn what is to be preached, re-preached, and emphasized. Until you come up with a Bible reason as to why boys should not be told the truth about lust, temptation, and sexual immorality, keep your ears open, your mouth shut, your eyes guarded, and your pants on.

Pride Is Everywhere

July 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Posted in I Corinthians, Social Media Shares and Mass Emails | 21 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pride is ubiquitous in a fallen world inhabited by fallen people. The Bible compares pride to leaven because leaven has a way of secretly working its way into a lump of dough, and affecting the whole thing.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 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 5:6-7

“Glorying” is another word for bragging. Could there be a simpler way to state it? Bragging is not good. Why not? Well, there are a variety of reasons, but, obviously, because God – our Maker and eternal Judge, the Author of life and truth – says it’s not good!

But bragging is what proud people are compelled to do. This phenomenon is especially prevalent on social media outlets such as Facebook. There is a certain (imagined) level of comfortable anonymity that comes from sitting in front of a keyboard or cell phone screen, which we would not necessarily feel standing face to face with an audience. This gives people the boldness to let everyone know just how pleased with ourselves we are, while at the same time giving us a chance to carefully craft our words before hitting “send” or “post” so that we don’t (at least we think we don’t) sound too obnoxious.

So, you get ridiculous statements like these:

“Y’all, I’m the most nonjudgmental person I know!” This statement mixes boasting with hypocrisy. How can you be the “most nonjudgmental” when you’ve just judged everyone else you know as being more judgmental than you?

“I’m one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.” Really? Because you just bragged about your humility in front of everyone.

“I can honestly say that I don’t care what anyone thinks about me!” Except for everyone who reads this, right?

Then, there is the whole “role-reversal” of pride, where we have somehow redefined it to be a good thing. So we get folks who are proud of their country, proud of their kids, proud of the U.S. Soccer team, proud of their family or last name. And then we get upset when the blatant God-haters have a “Gay Pride” parade. At least they’re being honest about how their sins are related!

If you claim to be a Christian, try to think like a Christian for a minute. Christians are supposed to think Biblically, remember? God does not just frown upon pride or categorize it as “less than the best.” He actively hates it.

The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Proverbs 8:13

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 29:23

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue…

Proverbs 6:16-17

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden there has been something in our human hearts that wants to take credit away from God in order to give it to ourselves. We invent ways to glorify ourselves, and we disguise our boasting with cunning words, or we just say what we have heard, and we think it’s okay because it’s what everyone else says. God hates this, and we will give an account for idle words one day. The solution is to remember the truth that we have nothing at all to brag about it, if we really think about it.

For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

I Corinthians 4:7

Let’s slaughter our pride on the altar of God’s glory, and stop speaking like fools.

The Why behind the What and the How

May 2, 2014 at 9:56 am | Posted in Exodus | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Exodus Chapter 13 gives the ordinances for observing the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread.

That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.

Exodus 13:12

The firstborn would belong to the Lord – both men and beasts – as a reminder of the stewardship principle of returning to the Lord our first and best, as well as the final judgment/plague that delivered them from Egypt.

And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.

Exodus 13:13

Donkeys were unclean and therefore unacceptable to God. The work of unclean donkeys is unacceptable to God, but it is still owed to God. This is a reminder to us that, as unclean sinners, our work “for God” is unacceptable in the sense of meriting His favor, but it is still owed to Him, and it is our obligation to perform it.

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Luke 17:7-10

Under the Law, unclean donkeys could be redeemed by a substitute, but unredeemed donkeys had to die. In the same way, apart from a Redeemer to take our place, as unclean, unacceptable, and unredeemed sinners, we would have to “die” spiritually and eternally.

And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:

Exodus 13:14

The looking-forward to a sinless sacrifice should have been a constant thought among all the Jews, so that they should have been able to recognize the Messiah as the fulfillment of these types. The idea was to teach their children not just what to do and how to do it, but what it meant. Parents must teach their children the “whys” of Christianity, and the idea of the faith behind it. They must understand that we do the things we do because we believe the Word of God.

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:16

Later on the rabbis probably went too far in taking these “phylacteries” literally.

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Proverbs 6:20-21

But there are good reasons for keeping God’s laws and commandments always before our eyes, and we may imitate the principle if not the practice. We keep them “upon our hands” in the sense that we need to be open and obvious about our faith. We keep them “between our eyes” in the sense that we stay focused on God’s Word. We keep them “around our necks” in the sense that we remember them to keep us from swiveling our head at every worldly attraction that passes by. Christians aren’t free from service. We are free to serve in truth. The Israelites had served Pharaoh, and they were still serving. Only now, they were serving the right God.

Guarding the Top of the Wall in Marriage

March 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As we seek to guard against the temptation of sexual infidelity, we have imagined our marriages as walled cities under attack by Satan. In the last lesson, I discussed the way he attempts to send “exalted” thoughts and ideas up and over the walls. Remember, these “assailants” are false statements that are esteemed in our culture as being valid. They are statements that boldly exalt themselves against the revealed Word of God.

First assailant: Flirting is not cheating.

Or to put it another way: You can look and not touch (applies more to men, in general). Or to put it yet another way: You can share intimate thoughts and feelings with another person on the internet or the phone and it’s not cheating (applies more to women, in general.)

Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

Proverbs 6:25 (emphasis added)

Notice that the prohibition is not against lusting after this beautiful person in your hands, on your lips, or even in your loins! (Although, those would certainly be prohibited, too.) The prohibition is against lusting in the heart (which includes your thought life). There is nothing wrong with admiring beauty. However, when a married man says, “I can admire a beautiful woman if I want,” the only right response is, “Yes, you can, sir, as long as she’s your wife.” From a man’s perspective, women are beautiful and they are exciting to look at. Young boys need to be told that truth. But as they grow into young men, they also need to be told to get a job, to get a home, to get a car, to get it insured, to first become a man – then, to get a wife and look at her all they want.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

Matthew 5:27

There is an elliptical thought between Matthew 5:27 and 28 that implies – even in the time of Jesus’s earthly life – there were those who believed it was wrong to commit adultery, but not to think about committing adultery.

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Matthew 5:28

Why did Jesus equate lusting in the heart with the actual commission of adultery? Certainly the person who looks but doesn’t touch does not break up a family or cause an unwanted pregnancy or crush the feelings of his or her own spouse. Jesus’s point was not that lusting in the heart does as much damage as physically committing adultery. His point was that the God Who made us is so holy that He condemns not only the accomplishment of the sin but anything that tends toward the sin.

Second assailant: Sex is physical and it is not mixed up with spirituality.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18

The fact that a spouse may commit fornication without having any spiritual “feelings” for the object of his or her lust, thereby making it a “physical sin,” does not excuse the spiritual implications. If you are a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Will you pretend that you can defile His temple without bringing disgrace to Him? Lying can cause terrible pain and trouble. Violence can inflict terrible pain. But fornication defiles not only the people affected by it outwardly, but, in a sense, it defiles that which is most closely related to God’s presence. In the Old Testament, the worshiping of Baal in the temple of God was considered one of the most egregious of all offenses against God. How much more the commission of fornication where God’s very Spirit resides in the body of a believer? The consideration of such a sin must be brought captive and cast down.

Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

I Corinthians 6:15-16

Satan would exalt the idea that sexual immorality causes the Holy Spirit to temporarily leave a believer long enough for him or her to fornicate with impunity. That wicked lie must be knocked off the top of the wall of your marriage before it gets over.

Third assailant: A mature Christian does not need safeguards.

Satan whispers: “You can handle it. If you can’t take a little flirting, a little proximity to the opposite sex, you must be some immature, baby Christian.” If not trusting my flesh enough to avoid temptation makes me a baby, then pass me a bottle of milk and change my diaper! The truth is, I don’t need to prove whether I can withstand it or not. The Bible (remember, these are “imaginations” of Satanic influence which must be exposed to Scripture) already tells me the score on what I can and can’t handle.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

I Corinthians 6:18 (emphasis added)

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

II Timothy 2:22 (emphasis added)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 (emphasis added)

The devil says, “Look, you’re a Christian. God does not want you to be all angry, like some puritanical prude – what do you mean you won’t even ride in a car with a woman you’re not married to..? You’re a ‘legalist.’ Christianity is about love not anger – chill out. And God hasn’t given you a spirit of fear. He even told you to stand up and fight against me – now you’re going to run away from temptation?” When you find yourself thinking this way, beware. That’s a “high thought” exalting itself against the mind of God as revealed in His Word. It needs to be torn down from the top of the wall around your marriage.

The Trap of Listening to Lies

March 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Traps of Lawless Living | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Samson was not a man to be trifled with. At times he could explode in a fit of anger and lash out at those who had crossed him. The superhuman strength he possessed by the power of God’s Holy Spirit allowed him, at times like these, to wipe out vast numbers of men (Judges 14:19; 15:7-8; 15:15). It’s too bad, though, that he was not as quick to access the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, as he was His strength.

Part of the problem seems to have been Samson’s gullibility, especially when it came to women. After ignoring the sound advice of his parents, who had warned him against taking a Philistine wife, Samson made a wager based on a riddle, and challenged the men at the wedding party to solve it.

And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: if ye can certainly declare it me within the seven days of the feast, and find [it] out, then I will give you thirty sheets and thirty change of garments: But if ye cannot declare [it] me, then shall ye give me thirty sheets and thirty change of garments. And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it.

Judges 14:12-13

After three days’ worth of guesses, the would-be riddle-solvers decided to cheat, and they extorted Samson’s new bride into finding out the answer for them. Her method for getting the answer from Samson, while perhaps understandable given her circumstances, was extremely disingenuous.

And Samson’s wife wept before him, and said, Thou dost but hate me, and lovest me not: thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my people, and hast not told [it] me. And he said unto her, Behold, I have not told [it] my father nor my mother, and shall I tell [it] thee? And she wept before him the seven days, while their feast lasted: and it came to pass on the seventh day, that he told her, because she lay sore upon him: and she told the riddle to the children of her people.

Judges 14:16-17

Certainly the continual guilt-tripping and nagging of his wife played a part in Samson’s capitulation, but, even though the betrayal cost him dearly, it was not the last time he would fall for this same ploy.

Perhaps Samson’s most well-known escapade had to do with the deceptive trap set by his final female consort, the infamous Delilah, who managed to get Samson to reveal what he believed to be the source of his supernatural strength (his uncut hair), so that she could hand him over to his Philistine enemies.

And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart [is] not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength [lieth]. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, [so] that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I [have been] a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any [other] man.

Judges 16:15-17

It seems that Samson had a real propensity for ignoring the truth and believing lies, and it is a propensity which has been shared by mankind since the beginning. The Bible warns us that there is great danger in rejecting truth, and that we must beware because lies can be very seductive. The solution for avoiding this trap takes resolve, yet it is very simple: Keep your mind renewed in the absolute truth of the Word of God, and keep its principles and precepts continually before your eyes.

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and [when] thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

Proverbs 6:20-24

Six Thoughts which Remind Us that We Cannot Achieve Righteousness on Our Own

September 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Romans | 9 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

R.espect: With God there is no respect of persons. (Romans 2:11)

O.utward appearance: We think we will be judged on our outward appearance. (Romans 2:28)

M.en: We seek the praise of men, rather than the praise of God. (Romans 2:29)

A.ccuse: We accuse each other of things we do ourselves. (Romans 2:1; 16)

N.onsense: When our actions don’t match our words, we preach and teach nonsense. (Psalm 149:1; Romans 2:21-22)

S.ecrets: We think we can keep secrets from God. (Romans 2:16)

In Romans Chapter One the Holy Spirit had Paul introduce himself to his readers, and had him show his care and concern for them. When the preaching part of the epistle begins he takes the gentiles as his subject.

Chapter 2 starts off with the verdict that someone is guilty: “thou art inexcusable, O man” (Romans 2:1). Jews and gentiles are both guilty before God, but the Jews had been very specific in knowing God’s laws and judging others for breaking them.

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

Romans 2:17

The Holy Spirit does a great job of laying out the facts, using rhetorical devices, asking questions before they are raised by His opponents, and proving His case.

The Holy Spirit proves in Romans 2 that we can not achieve righteousness on our own.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Romans 2:1

Cain asked God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God might ask us today, “Are you your brother’s – or sister’s – accuser?” Satan is the foremost accuser of your brethren.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Revelation 12:10

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Romans 2:13-15

The Jews were not more righteous than the Gentiles just because of their lineage. This would have been a shocking statement to the Jews. We won’t be judged on what our ethnicity or nationality or heritage is, and we won’t be judged on what it looked like we were doing. We need to be careful of appearing to be something we are not.

Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

Psalm 149:1

The vocal expression of many modern church congregants during an enthusiastic time of worshiping in song might be, “I worship You with all my might. You are my everything. All I want is You…” While the reality is, “All I want is You… right after hunting and fishing and football, and making sure my yard work is done… maybe a nap, a snack, and a cold drink… then all I want is You.” The “new song” is referring to worshiping God intelligently, and it is pointing to the new person – the new man, the new woman you are – when old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

Romans 2:21-22

For the Jews circumcision was of the utmost importance, but outward appearance will not serve as righteousness.

For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:28

Circumcision of the heart – of the spirit – comes when we seek the praise of God (not God praising us, but seeking to cause others to give God praise.)

But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Romans 2:29

Circumcision involves a sharp cutting instrument. If we are to have our heart circumcised (spiritually), we’re going to need something sharper than a scalpel. The Word of God is sharper than any scalpel. “Circumcision” comes from two words. The second part (“cision”), obviously, means “to cut.” “Circum” means “around.” “Circumspect,” means to “look around,” to make sure everything’s okay, or nobody is looking, before we do something. We should bind the Word of God around our hearts the way that Old Testament Jewish leaders sometimes bound actual passages of Scripture around their necks.

Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

Proverbs 6:21

We should bind Romans Chapter 2 around our hearts and remember that there we are guilty before God, and that we can’t use our heritage, our religious rituals, how we look, or anything outward, to achieve righteousness before God.


Entries and comments feeds.