God’s Rescue of Man (Part 2)

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“…the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might rescue us out of this present evil age….”

(Part One may be found at the end of this blog.)

Has the devil ever taken you “in tow”?  This is what the picture represents. Your love for God being “towed” away.  Read on to find out what in the world I am talking about.

Apostle Paul says Jesus came to be the substitutionary atonement for our sins. He took our guilt and the penalty the guilt required.  One reason He did this was to rescue us from this present pernicious age.  Because it is pernicious, this age has a corrupting influence upon the born again believer. Apostle Peter tells us in II Peter 1:4 that God has given to born again believers everything we need to live a godly life and become partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”

The corruption (phthora)  that we need to  escape is defined in the English dictionary as “to degrade with unsound principles or moral values” and “to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions”.  The Greek word means “a bringing or being brought into an inferior or worse condition, a destruction or corruption” (Vines).  Some authors refer to the effect of corruption as “inward decay and rottenness”. 

In other words, if we are not being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the corrupting influence of this age will cause our love for God (expressed in obedience to Him) to become infected with evil passionate cravings resulting in disobedience (sin). Our good morals or Christ likeness begins to rot or decay.  Another way to say it, is that our love for God is corrupted by a worldly love that considers something in the world more precious than God.

The effect of the  pernicious, corrupting influence of the age is to “carry away” or, as the original language says, “taken in tow”,  the believer from his steadfast love for God by “enticing him with his own lust” .  This is what James is saying in chapter 1:14:

“But each one is being solicited to sin when he is taken in tow and enticed by his own craving.” 
(Wuest)

Satan uses the things of this evil, pernicious age to “carry us away” or “take us in tow”.  The first thing he does is to get us distracted from God and focused on something  in his kingdom (the world) and he hooks us up to his Enticement Wagon, so to speak, so he can “tow” us further down the Road of Distraction where he entices you with things that you crave, i.e. attention, money, fame, power, liquor, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, drugs, rebellion, your way, freedom, etc.  And:

“Then when the aforementioned craving has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and this sin when it is full grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

It is “conceived” when we give our “will” over to do the enticement. When we say “Yes” to it. Satan knows what our passionate cravings were before we were saved and he will use the same passionate carvings to “entice” us to sin.  Plus new ones. I was never a drug user; therefore, he does not tempt me with illegal drugs but he tempts me with other  things that were in my life prior to salvation. Let us therefore, if possible, steer clear of areas of the world where we know our past and present temptations exist. Be wise as a serpent but as harmless as a dove.

In Mark 9:50 the Lord Jesus warns the twelve disciples “Have salt in yourselves…”  This is an important commandment and we will discuss salt and how it relates to this present evil age in the next blog. Hope you will join me.

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Don’t be taken in “tow” by Satan.  “…be keeping one’s self unspotted from the world” it says in James 1:27.  Stay free from the corruption of this age and stay steadfast in your love for God. Let us keep our minds full of the Word of God and our eyes fixed on His purposes in the earth.  Let us be led daily by the indwelling, powerful Holy Spirit who He has so graciously made to dwell in us!

Let us pay close attention to ourselves for the purpose of holiness.

Carl

 

 

 

 

God’s Rescue of Man (Part One)

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If you have been reading this blog, you probably know that “lust” in the Greek New Testament means either good or evil “passionate cravings”. Today we are starting a four  part blog on God rescuing us from this present evil age. I thought this picture was appropriate since the Pernicious One (Satan) and our flesh (old sinful nature) want us to follow our evil passionate cravings resulting in enslavement and destruction, ruining our Christian testimony and robbing us of God’s blessings.  May this study be a blessing and warning to you as it was to me.    Carl

“… Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…”  Galatians 1:4

The Lord Jesus willingly gave Himself on the Cross for our sins. This scripture states that the purpose  was to “rescue” us “from this present evil age”.  The word translated “rescue” means “to pluck out, to draw out, to rescue, to deliver”.  In 1522 Martin Luther referred to this in the preface of the first German language New Testament:

This gospel of God or New Testament is a great message, good news, sounded forth into all the world by the apostles, telling of a true David who strove with sin, death, and the devil, and overcame them, and thereby RESCUED all those who were captive in sin, afflicted with death, and overpowered by the devil. Without any merit of their own he made them righteous, gave them life, and saved them, so that they were given peace and brought back to God.” (Emphasis mine)

As we will see, the gospel is truly emancipation from bondage.  Our opening scripture says He came to rescue us from the ethical characteristics of the present age.

“Age” (aion) is defined as a “period of time” and is sometimes translated “world” in the NT.  Here it is defined by its moral characteristics. Trench says the following about it:

“All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.”

Notice that it is called an “evil” age. The Greek word for this evil is poneros as opposed to kakos.  A kakos man is satisfied to perish in his own corruption but a poneros man “is not content unless he is corrupting others as well, and drawing them into the same destruction with himself.” (Wuest).  The English word best describing poneros is the word pernicious,   “causing great harm or damage often in a way that is not easily seen or noticed”.  A perfect description of Satan’ activity.  He is known as The Pernicious One. Let us praise God The Father for sending the Lord Jesus to destroy the works of Satan in our lives, setting us free from the dominion of darkness positionally and experientially (I John 3:8 & Col.1:13).

This ends Part I of God’s Rescue of Man.  Part 2 will discuss the pernicious influence of the age and the Lord Jesus’ command to “Have salt within yourselves…” .

Thank you for your time and God bless you and your family.

Carl

 

 

Is It Accidental?

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“A true and faithful Christian does not make holy living an accidental thing. It is his great concern. As the business of the soldier is to fight, so the business of the Christian is to be like Christ.

__Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758, American revivalist preacher, identified with first Great Awakening in America, author of “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God”)

From Berean Call (thebereancall.org)

 

Everyone Seems Normal

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I saw this sign in a BBQ restaurant several days ago. It reminded me that everyone in the Body of Christ, including myself, has sins, faults and shortcomings.  That is why the Apostle Peter tells us:

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

“Above all” could be translated “before all in order of importance” and speaks to the fact that love is the prerequisite to all exercises of Christian duty.   Somewhere in Scripture is a word picture that shows love as a coat that binds all the other pieces (spiritual gifts) of a wardrobe together and completes them.  What Peter is telling us then is very, very important.

The word “love” here is “agape”, God’s type of love that is produced in our hearts by the Holy Spirit at salvation.  Romans 5:5 says “…the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”.  It is a love that considers the object of it’s affection to be precious.

The reason for this exhortation to keep “fervent” or “stretched out” in love for one another is that love covers a multitude of sins. If we truly consider our fellow Christians precious to God and; therefore, precious to us, we will not talk about their failings/sins, but keep them to our self and cover them with our love; knowing we have our own sins to gain the victory over.

How much sinful gossip would be eliminated in the Church if we truly “agape” each other.

Walk in Love,

Carl

“…led by the Spirit of God…”

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“For as many as are being constantly led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14)

I recently heard of a Christian brother in a local church, who during a discussion on the Holy Spirit, expressed his fear of the Spirit.  Due to erroneous teaching he had received over the years and things he had seen, he had become afraid of the One who indwells him as a believer; the very Helper Jesus sent to him when he believed.

The Apostle Paul told us in Romans that we are to be constantly led by the Spirit of God.  The word “led” is the Greek word “ago” and according to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words it means “to bear, bring, carry, lead,” and is translated by the verb “to lead”.  An example would be the act of leading about an animal at the end of a rope.  Rick Renner in his Sparkling Gems From The Greek says this about “ago”:

“An animal’s owner would wrap a rope around its neck and then “tug” or “pull” until the animal started to follow him.

“Pay careful attention to the “tugging” and “pulling” of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you’ll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently “lead” you exactly where He wants you to go with your life.” (Emphasis mine)

Have you developed this sensitivity to the Helper?  If not, we pray that you will.

Our scripture goes on to say that those who are led by the Spirit, these are sons of God. In Galatians Paul says that while Israel was under the law of the Old Testament, they were considered “nepios”, an immature person who needed a guardian to look after them. The guardian was the law of the Old Testament.  But in Romans 8:14, Paul uses “huios” which signifies someone of full age; a mature person having outgrown the need for his former guardian.

In conclusion, we are living under God’s wonderful, unbelievable grace as born again children of God.  We have no need for the law because we have the Spirit of God living in us, vastly more powerful and effective than the law.  If you will, He is our guardian now. He is our source of godly desires and the power to do the will of God. He is grieved by our sins and wanderings. He is faithful to convict us of our sins and bring us to repentance. He will  never leave us or forsake us. Let us develop a sensitivity to his “tugs” and “pulling” so he can lead us in the way we should go. What wonderful provision God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ has made for those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Pay Close Attention To Yourself and The Holy Spirit

Carl

 

 

 

Knowing God

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Field and forest, vale and mountain,

Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,

Chanting bird and flowing fountain

Call us to rejoice in Thee.

—Genevan Psalter

All mankind has a desire to worship. History shows that man in every age and time, in every location on earth, has worshiped some form of a god.  Deep down inside each person is the desire to worship something. As created beings, we intuitively know that we should be worshiping something greater than ourselves.   The beautiful creation we live in reveals that we are not alone.

“Because that which is knowable concerning God is plainly evident in them, for God made it clear to them; for the things concerning Him which are invisible since the creation of the universe are clearly seen, being understood by means of the things that are made, namely, His eternal power and divine Being, resulting in their being without a defense.   (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1:19-20)

His creation testifies of His eternal power and His divine Being to all of mankind,  but it did not matter.  Man’s evil heart prevailed.  Romans 1 continues to say:

“Because, knowing God, not as God did they glorify Him, nor were they grateful, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their stupid heart was darkened. Asserting themselves to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for a likeness of an image of corruptible man and of birds and of quadrupeds and of snakes.” (Wuest Expanded Translation Romans 1: 21-23)

And if you continue to read in Romans, mankind’s situation continued to spiral downward until they called darkness, light.

Though man can know that there is a god by the creation, man can only truly know God The Father through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord said:

“…no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”  (NASB John 14:6)

And after we come to Jesus in repentance and faith in His Gospel, Romans 5:1-2 says:

“….Lord Jesus Christ, though whom also we obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand…”

To help us understand this wonderful statement about what Christ has done for us, I want to share with you Wuest’s article on “entree” which could be perfectly substituted for “introduction” (“access” in KJV) in this verse:

“In Romans 5:2, Paul speaks of the fact that we have access through our Lord into the grace in which we stand. The word “access” is from a Greek word which refers to the act of one who secures for another an interview with a sovereign.

“In the first place, the person thus acting must be close to the king himself. Our Lord dwells in the bosom of the Father. He occupies the place closest to the Father’s affections. He is therefore fitted for His task.

“In the second place, the one for whom this entree has been gained, and the French word most happily gives the meaning of the Greek, must be rendered acceptable to the king. This our Lord did through the blood of His Cross whereby He put away the guilt and penalty of our sin and bestowed upon us a righteousness, even His own standing before the Throne, and thus we are “accepted in the Beloved.” As I Peter 2:7 says, “Unto you therefore that believe is the preciousness.” The preciousness of Jesus in the eyes of God the Father has been imputed to us, as His righteous standing has been imputed. God therefore looks upon us with all the favor with which He looks upon His own well-beloved Son.”

“Then again, the one presented at the High Court of Heaven must be correctly attired. Our Lord clothes us with His own beauty, for He is made unto us sanctification, Paul says. The Father sees us in His Son, not apart from Him.  And the glorious radiance of the One Altogether Lovely shines upon us.”

“Finally, when we have been brought by Him into the place where we have entree into the presence of God, we find that we are standing in His unlimited favor, in unlimited grace. No demand made upon that grace can exhaust it. For time and eternity we are the objects of the Father’s supreme affection, the recipients of His boundless mercies, the favored ones of His matchless grace. “

“Hallelujah! Praise the Lord “by whom we have our permanent entree by faith into this grace in which we stand.””
(Kenneth Wuest)

Not only can we know that there is a God through the witness of creation, but the Lord Jesus Christ, after salvation, brings us into this permanent grace and into the very Throne Room of Heaven where He makes it possible for us to be introduced, or have access, to our new Father.  As Paul said “…and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

Let the true worship begin! 

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in the time of need.”   (NASB Hebrews 4:16)

Carl

 

 

 

 

“…for the will of God.”

 

Apostle Peter tells us the reason God freed us from our indwelling sinful nature when we were born again in I Peter 4:2:

“….so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God.”

A translation that gives a fuller wording of the original Greek scripture says:

“…with a view to his not living the rest of his time while in his physical body in the sphere of the cravings of men, but in the sphere of the will of God.

In other words, from the point we are born  again until we leave this earth, God wants us to live in His will (obey Him) and not be conformed to our former lusts which were ours when we did not know Him.  So for us to be able to do this, He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross and to be resurrected. He also sent His Holy Spirit to us which imparts a divine nature in us and gives us the desire and power to be free from the indwelling sin nature which is still in us.

Today when we use the word “lust” we think of “immoral sexual desire” but in the original Greek letters of the NT, the word “lust” meant “any strong craving” or “passionate desire”.  It did not necessarily mean something evil but the content in which it was used determined whether it was evil or good.  In our scripture today it is used in a sinful sense.

As we know, these sinful, strong cravings and passionate desires can encompass a multitude of things in our life.  For example, James warns us if we have bitter jealously and selfish ambition (strife) in our heart, this wisdom is not from God but is earthly (vs heavenly), natural (vs spiritual), and demonic (James 3:14-18). In chapter 4,  he speaks of lust, murder (can be just hate in our heart), being envious, fighting, quarreling, prayers from a wrong motive, and being a friend of the world (i.e. an enemy of God).  Remember, our hearts are deceitfully wicked and we need the Lord to shine His light into the dark areas of our hearts to reveal what is there.  We have walked in some of these strong cravings or passionate desires so long we do not even recognize them for what they are, not pleasing to God.

Paul told Timothy, concerning becoming more Christ like, “Pay close attention to yourself…” (I Timothy 4:16).  Let us do the same and turn our hearts to forsake any of these strong cravings or passionate desires that cause us to disobey God and practice sin.  Agree with God and exercise your free will to say no to these desires and Jesus Christ will bring victory over these passionate desires in your life.  God has enough grace to deal with anything He reveals in your heart.

“Pay close attention to yourself….”

Carl