Tag Archives: understand

WITHOUT EXCUSE

WITHOUT EXCUSE

“But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: ‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.’

“And again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, ‘I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’

“And Isaiah boldly says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’

“But concerning Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.'” Romans 10:18-21.

So that’s it! Why did God turn away from His own people and open the door of faith to a people who were not in a covenant relationship with Him? As much as God’s people hated the Gentiles, from a human perspective, they only had themselves to blame for rejecting their Messiah and opening the way for the Gentiles to become part of God’s family of believers.

In their zeal for God, the Jews believed that their way of attaining righteousness through observing the law was the right way. They refused God’s invitation to receive the righteousness of Christ by faith as a gift, and forfeited their place in God’s family. Instead of simply believing the message about Christ, which is the way in which faith comes and grows, they stubbornly persisted in trying to do it their way.

There was no lack of opportunity to hear the message – it was proclaimed all day and all around them, but God’s judgment was on them because they were obstinate and disobedient. God does not arbitrarily condemn anyone without giving him an opportunity to believe in Him at the level at what they can see, hear and understand. Even if they never hear the words about Jesus, creation itself speaks of His power and deity to anyone who will listen.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress that truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”  Romans 1:18-20.

However, God is determined to have a family. Since the Jews both refused to obey Him and refused to be His messengers to the Gentiles about Him, He opened the door to the Gentiles anyway, every though they did not purposely seek Him. Such is the love and mercy of God that He offers His free gift of grace to anyone who will receive it. He does not force Himself on those who do not want Him. The message is clear, even in the world around, but if people choose to believe that the universe just happened, or that it was produced by some hypothetical explosion caused by who knows what, then it’s up to them to believe the lies and take the consequences.

Truth can neither be altered nor destroyed. Truth is truth, whatever humans may say. People may decide that the Bible was corrupted or that it is myth or fable or untrue or whatever else they may think about it, but they cannot change the fact that it is the Word of God and that those who believe it are transformed by what they read.

God has mercy and grace for everyone who hears the message and receives Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13.

Acknowledgement

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

Without Excuse

WITHOUT EXCUSE

“But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: ‘Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the end of the world.’

“And again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, ‘I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.’

“And Isaiah boldly says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’

“But concerning Israel he says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.'” Romans 10:18-21.

So that’s it! Why did God turn away from His own people and open the door of faith to a people who were not in a covenant relationship with Him? As much as they hated the Gentiles, from a human perspective, they only had themselves to blame for rejecting their Messiah and opening the way for the Gentiles to become part of God’s family of believers.

In their zeal for God, the Jews believed that their way of attaining righteousness through observing the law was the right way. They refused God’s invitation to receive the righteousness of Christ by faith as a gift, and forfeited their place in God’s family. Instead of simply believing the message about Christ, which is the way in which faith comes and grows, they stubbornly persisted in trying to do it their way.

There was no lack of opportunity to hear the message – it was proclaimed all day and all around them, but God’s judgment was on them because they were obstinate and disobedient. God does not arbitrarily condemn anyone without giving him an opportunity to believe in Him at the level at what they can see, hear and understand. Even if they never hear the words about Jesus, creation itself speaks of His power and deity to anyone who will listen.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress that truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”  Romans 1:18-20.

But God is determined to have a family. Since the Jews both refused to obey Him and refused to be His messengers to the Gentiles about Him, He opened the door to the Gentiles anyway, every though they did not purposely seek Him. Such is the love and mercy of God that He offers His free gift of grace to anyone who will receive it. He does not force Himself on those who do not want Him. The message is clear, even in the world around, but if people choose to believe that the universe just happened, or that it was produced by some hypothetical explosion caused by who knows what, then it’s up to them to believe the lies and take the consequences.

Truth can neither be altered nor destroyed. Truth is truth, whatever humans may say. People may decide that the Bible was corrupted or that it is myth or fable or untrue or whatever else they may think about it, but they cannot change the fact that it is the Word of God and that those who believe it are transformed by what they read.

God has mercy and grace for everyone who hears the message and receives Jesus Christ as Messiah and God. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13.

Acknowledgement

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

 

A True Son

A TRUE SON 

“‘Who are you?’ they asked.’Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,’ Jesus replied.’I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent me is trustworthy, and what I heard from Him I tell the world.’ They did not understand that He was telling them about the Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.'” John 8:25-29 (NIV).

Another outrageous claim if it were not true! “I always do what pleases Him.”

This was the hallmark of the Son of God. He always did what pleased the Father. Have you ever wondered what that was? What do you think it is that pleases the Father more than anything? We can speculate and find many answers to this question. He was generous and merciful just like the Father — that would be a good answer and it would be true. He glorified that Father in everything He did — that would also be true.

But what is it that surpasses everything else that pleases the Father? To find the answer we have to go back to the beginning. At the beginning of human history God gave Adam one instruction in the Garden of Eden, ‘Leave that one tree alone.’ If that one tree was going to be an issue between man and God, Satan made sure that man would focus on it until it became so important to him that it would become the reason for their disobedience.

The history of God’s ancient people was a history of disobedience, focusing especially on God’s instruction, ‘Do not worship idols.’ They worshipped the idols of the surrounding nations until they became vile, like the thing they loved (Hosea 9:10). Disobedience took them to Babylon and eventually to crucifying their Messiah.

God had a different verdict on David, their model king, the man who followed their first king, Saul, who was rejected because of his disobedience. “After removing Saul, He made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'” Acts 13:22b (NIV).

Books have been written about David, the only man in the Bible of whom God said, ‘A man after my own heart’, giving many reasons for God’s approval, yet it is recorded plainly in the Word that God was pleased with him because ‘He will do everything I want him to do.’ David may have slipped up on more than one occasion but the drift of his life was that he ‘inquired of the Lord,’ and then followed through on God’s instruction.

Compare him with his predecessor, King Saul; Saul failed to carry out the two instructions we read about in Scripture.  Because of that God could not trust him to be the leader of His people. Saul had a dangerous self-consciousness that made him a people-pleaser and he disqualified himself from being the first of a dynasty of kings.

Jesus could claim, without a qualm, that He was the true Son of God. His obedience to the Father was absolute and unquestioning. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He wrestled with the horror of the cross until the blood ran, He still submitted to the Father’s will and endured everything without resistance. “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23 (NIV).

Is it not true that God is more interested in our obedience than in our achievements? It is our obedience that makes our achievements of significance to God because obedience gets the job done. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him…” Hebrews 5:8, 9, (NIV). Obedience is best learned by obeying!

Obedience presupposes that one knows what God’s requirements are and that presupposes that one spends time with the Father and in His Word. We have the pattern of the Son, perfect in every way. And we can’t say that of the Pharisees!

Don’t you also want to please the Father? Then find out what He wants of you and do it!