Tag Archives: commandment

CAUGHT IN THE SPIDER’S WEB!

CAUGHT IN THE SPIDER’S WEB!

“Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognised as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:13-17.

The path of understanding how helpless we are without the Lord Jesus Christ is quite a tortuous one. Paul was obviously aware of his own spiritual journey from thinking that his law-keeping efforts were quite successful to realising that he fell very far short of God’s standards when he was honest enough to evaluate himself against the inward requirements of the law.

Paul came to realise that the law of God was only a measure, like a ruler, which accurately measured us against God’s holy standards. Therefore, the law had no power to do anything else but show him whether his life measured up or not. Therefore ,the law had no power to kill him. It only showed him whether he was worthy of death or not.

Sin is a factor of human life, but different religions define sin in different ways. For most, sin is defined by the values people attribute to their gods. If we keep in mind that people who reject the one true God create gods in their own image, the character and requirements of their gods depends on how they want to live their lives…which, of course, accurately reflects Adam’s rejection of his Creator in the beginning.

Satan offered him the alternative; you don’t have to obey God because He is short-changing you, keeping you from partaking of the fruit of that one tree. If you listen to me, you can make your own rules. However, Satan did not tell him to read the small print, the part that said, “If you follow my way, you will be my slave. You won’t really be free because you will be in my power and I will see to it that you utterly destroy yourself!” So, Adam fell for the devil’s little scheme and lost the freedom he had, to become a slave of sin.

God’s standard did not change. What changed was Adam’s ability to live up to it because his Helper, the Holy Spirit, had left him. He was on his own and helpless, like an insect caught in a spider’s web. The more he struggled, the more he became entangled in its death grip. He knew what was right because God’s law was written within his conscience, but he could not do anything about it.

All the law could do was to show him how far away from God’s ways he really was. Like the insect in the spider’s web, he could see the big wide world out there but he was powerless to get out of the web and fly free as he was created to do. Release from the silk’s sticky grip could only come if someone intervened and set him free.

A battle raged within him. He knew what was right because his conscience spoke loud and clear, but he could not do what was right because his natural bent towards sin was too strong. Like a bowling wood, he always veered off the straight path towards satisfying the demands of his selfish nature. He could neither silence his conscience by defending himself, nor appease it by living the right way. The very fact that his conscience accused him was an indication that he knew and agreed with what was right.

Guilt and self-loathing tormented him. But most of all, he was in despair because no amount of law-keeping could undo his past or give him hope for his future. Like the insect, he could only wait to be devoured. The same law that showed him how holy God is, would judge him and condemn him to eternal death. His problem was on the inside and no amount of trying to do good things would change his heart.

That’s the problem with man-made religions. Every ritual people perform, every regulation they adhere to cannot change their hearts. Washing their bodies, wearing special garments, eating or not eating certain foods, offering animal sacrifices, putting food in front of idols, bowing down to wood or stone, being nice to animals – are all in vain because none of these things can pay the debt of sin or change the heart.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – HOW CAN WE LOVE GOD?

HOW CAN WE LOVE GOD?

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

The preamble to their question seems to suggest that this man was more sincere than the rest. It isn’t clear whether this was another trick question or whether he really wanted an answer. He questioned Jesus about the greatest commandment and Jesus, as a fully-trained rabbi, responded with the Shema which He would have learned at His mother’s breast.

Those who deny the Trinity have lost the significance of the statement, “the Lord is one”. ECHAD is not a numeral but an expression of unity, of loving submission and interaction between beings, a unity of essence, vision and purpose, a team expressing unity in diversity, and this cannot happen outside of a plurality. Even if there were twenty beings in the Godhead, they could still be one if we understand the meaning of ECHAD.

The response God yearns for from His sons is the love that He has for His offspring, the human beings He has created voluntarily to receive and return the love He has for us. In The Message, Peterson uses the expression “passion and prayer, intelligence and energy”, which conveys the idea of action rather than thought and emotion. Love, correctly understood, is an action word. It has an emotional content but, without the active response, it is without meaning and power.

The way love is expressed to God is by directing that love toward our fellow human beings. If we love God’s children, and that includes those whom we consider “outsiders”, we have an outlet for our love for God which God Himself has chosen and approves. Outside of that, loving God has no expression and loses its energy and outcome.

Every other commandment is a practical way of showing and expressing our love for God. Like God’s love, our love does not need to take into account the worthiness of its object. Love is an expression of who we are, not the worth of who we love.

How is this love possible from people who have an inborn selfishness which does not respond to mere will power? The Old Covenant provided the prescription but not the power. Only faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus can transform us from selfish to loving people because we are made new by the power of the Holy Spirit.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11

A New Command

Dear Family

This edition of “Chronicles” has several articles referring to Pastor Colin and Judy and deservedly so! We shall greatly miss them and their amazing personalities. Our lives were immeasurably enriched just because we knew them and for that we are grateful to our loving Heavenly Father. We do not idolize them, but we do as the scripture calls upon in Romans 13:7 “Give everyone what you owe him: …if honour, then honour.”

I was just thinking about some of the things that I learned from Pastor Colin and one thing really stuck out for me. He would often remind me that we should be careful to tell people how much they mean to us while they are still alive. He would say that it’s pretty useless to wait for a funeral to hear how much people appreciate you. He would then proceed to tell me what I meant to him and I would then reciprocate. A little ritual we held every now and then!

But how true this is! I’m sure all of us have been to funerals where there is either so much syrup flowing from the eulogies that we do not recognize the person, or where we sit in regret that we did not say what we could have said while the person was still with us.

Of the more than 1000 commands found in the New Testament, there is only one which an author claims as “new”. The Apostle John records Jesus as saying: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34,35
The concept of loving one another has its roots in Jesus, our example giver. This was different to any other explanation, this was about the example that Jesus himself modelled for us. Totally un-deserving, totally unselfish, totally without reciprocity and very, very specific—one another. The spin off is obvious—the world will know!

How sad it is when we instead live in a world where Christian chews Christian and spits him out without a thought. A world in which the church spends a fortune in courts of law fighting against the church for their denominational or other rights. We are the laughing stock of the earth and will be until we decide to heed Christ’s new command. And it starts with appreciating one another.

Will you join me in 2016 in finding ways to value the people in our lives?

Caught In The Spider’s Web!

CAUGHT IN THE SPIDER’S WEB! 

“Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognised as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. We know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” Romans 7:13-17.

The path of understanding how helpless we are without the Lord Jesus Christ is quite a tortuous one. Paul was obviously aware of his own spiritual journey from thinking that his law-keeping efforts were quite successful to realising that he fell very far short of God’s standards when he was honest enough to evaluate himself against the inward requirements of the law.

Paul came to realise that the law of God was only a measure, like a ruler, which accurately measured God’s holy standards. Therefore the law had no power to do anything else but show him whether his life measured up or not. Therefore the law had no power to kill him. It only showed him whether he was worthy of death or not.

Sin is a factor of human life, but different religions define sin in different ways. For most, sin is defined by the values people attribute to their gods. If we keep in mind that people who reject the one true God create gods in their own image, the character and requirements of their gods depends on how they want to live their lives…which, of course, accurately reflects Adam’s rejection of his Creator in the beginning.

Satan offered him the alternative – you don’t have to obey God because He is short-changing you, keeping you from partaking of the fruit of that one tree. If you listen to me, you can make your own rules. But Satan did not tell him to read the small print, the part that said, “If you follow my way, you will be my slave. You won’t really be free because you will be in my power and I will see to it that you utterly destroy yourself!” So Adam fell for the devil’s little scheme and lost the freedom he had, to become a slave of sin.

God’s standard did not change. What changed was Adam’s ability to live up to it because his Helper, the Holy Spirit, had left. He was on his own and helpless, like an insect caught in a spider’s web. The more he struggled, the more he became entangled in its death grip. He knew what was right because God’s law was written within his conscience, but he could not do anything about it.

All the law could do was to show him how far away from God’s ways he really was. Like the insect in the spider’s web, he could see the big wide world out there but he was powerless to get out of the web and fly free as he was created to do. Release from the silk’s sticky grip could only come if someone intervened and set him free.

A battle raged within him. He knew what was right because his conscience spoke loud and clear, but he could not do what was right because his natural bent towards sin was too strong. Like a bowling wood, he always veered off the straight path towards satisfying the demands of his selfish nature. He could neither silence his conscience by defending himself, nor appease it by living the right way. The very fact that his conscience accused him was an indication that he knew and agreed with what was right.

Guilt and self-loathing tormented him. But most of all, he was in despair because no amount of law-keeping could undo his past or give him hope for his future. Like the insect, he could only wait to be devoured. The same law that showed him how holy God is, would judge him and condemn him to eternal death. His problem was on the inside and no amount of trying to do good things would change his heart.

That’s the problem with man-made religions. Every ritual people perform, every regulation they adhere to cannot change their hearts. Washing their bodies, wearing special garments, eating or not eating certain foods, offering animal sacrifices, putting food in front of idols, bowing down to wood or stone, being nice to animals – are all in vain because none of these things can pay the debt of sin or change the heart.

Acknowledgement

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.