To the Hypocrite, Religious Leaders

“Serpents, generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33

These words spoken by Jesus is from the heart of the God-Man Jesus Christ.  They are spoken through most of the twenty third chapter of Matthew.  He calls them, serpents, vipers, hypocrites at least nine times.  Now He tells them they speak poisonous words.  They bind people in legalism, and make their converts more a child of hell than themselves (v. 15).

O how we as pastors and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  O how all of those who are born again need to realize that in Christ Jesus we have been made free from the demands of the law, because the law is within our hearts and minds to do it.

From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:33…

“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννηìματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist’s denunciation (Mat_3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth” (Joh_8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φυìγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on “can” in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment.
The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Mat_5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). “Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!” (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.”

May hypocrisy be cast out of my heart. May hypocrisy be the enemy of my heart, my mind, and my life.  May hypocrisy be cast out and trod under our feet.

Day 81 – The Power of the Cross of Christ

There have been some wonderful photo shots of lightening of late.  There is a whole lot of power in each one of those bolts of light.  The  one’s who know those things could tell you how much, but I am coming up without any trivia on that except to know there is so much power that just one bolt can kill a man with one quick flash.  I know that because I had a cousin who was killed by lightening many years ago.

I am fascinated by lightening, and its power; yet I know at least  one greater Power.  He is the One who formed the Universe, and placed everything in unison, and precision.  This post is not about lightening however, it is about the power of the cross of Christ.

My reading this morning was 2 Corinthians 7 through Galations 6.

The apostle Paul had written this letter as an encouragement for their agreement with him concerning the sin of the young man of 1 Corinthians 5; his correction of the matter, and the young man’s coming around to repent, and now Paul has told them to receive the man back again into the fellowship.  He then, however, addresses another issue.

It seems that they are gullible for any persuasive teacher who might come to them with a different message –

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”  2 Corinthians 11:1-4 (KJV)

He warns them of the deception of Satan who works through false apostles and teachers (11:13-15).  It seems to me that we live in the midst of many professing Christians who are believing and falling for anything in our day; and neglecting the power of the cross of Christ.  In the final chapter of Second Corinthians the apostle exhorts them to “Examine yourselves…” –

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  13:5

Where Paul was concerned about the Corinthian church’s possibility of being deceived; we find that the Galatian church had fallen for the deception of the Jewish legalists. From May 18, 2011 through April 11, 2012 we studied the book of Galations at Carr Lane Baptist Church. Follow this link to the study notes for that Wednesday evening study.   Hear what the apostle says to the Galation church –

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'” Galations 1:6-9 (KJV)

The Judaizers [legalists] had come in and were convincing the Gentile converts that they needed to practice Jewish law; especially the law of circumcision; or they could not be saved.  Paul is correcting this false teaching, this deceiving lie; and expressing with great conviction the power of the cross of Christ.  It is by the cross of Christ Jews and Gentiles are born again.  There is no law one needs to keep, no sacrament, no ordinance, one must keep in order to be saved.  By the cross of Christ you are saved.

The apostle has written,

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  2:20

and also we read,

 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Galations 6:14-16 (KJV)

For anyone who adds a sacrament, an ordinance, a law, unto grace; it ceases to become grace, and becomes a debt which God owes.  God owes no man anything.  He has purchased us with the blood of His own Son.  That is the power of the cross of Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Born Again

The title is a term which has been heard and used by many in various ways.  If a man falls down a steep cliff and lives he says, “It is like I have been born again.”, but there is no change in the way he lives his life.  One former President of the USA, made the term known, or better known by using it in his campaign in the seventies.

Peter the apostle writes:

 “…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,…”  1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV).

He previously wrote of having purified souls, which are connected with obeying the truth of God’s Word.  There can be no true love for God or others except by the Spirit of God and His Word.

We are enabled, empowered to love and obey because we have been “Born again”.  Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”.  This is a spiritual birth.  When we are physically born into this world we are spiritually dead, and separated from God.  Our eternal destination of torment  is not God’s plan for us.  He made us eternal beings to spend eternity with Him, but that was shattered by sin.  There would be found no place for fallen man (Revelation 20:11).

The new birth comes about by the supernatural power of God.  It is not by the will of the flesh; for John has written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  (John 1:12-13).

The seed of man is corrupt by sin.  The seed of God is incorruptible, and by the Word of God the seed of God comes and quickens the spirit of man, giving New Birth.  The Word of God is alive and lives forever.  The Psalmist has written, “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89).   When the word is forever settled in heaven it is forever sure in the heart made alive by the Spirit of God.

There may be trials and tribulations in this life, but those made alive by the Spirit of God, and His living Word are overcomers, and have the assurance of glory in God, and living forever in His presence.  Trials?  Tribulations?  In this world?  Yes!  Jesus said, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”.

-T.A.

Born Twice

Someone has said, “If you are born once; you die twice.  If you are born twice; you will die once.”

The title is a term which has been heard and used by many in various ways. If a man falls down a steep cliff and lives he says, “It is like I have been born again.”, but there is no change in the way he lives his life. One former President of the USA, made the term known, or better known by using it in his campaign in the seventies.

Peter the apostle writes:

“…Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,…” 1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV).

He previously wrote of having purified souls, which are connected with obeying the truth of God’s Word. There can be no true love for God or others except by the Spirit of God and His Word.

We are enabled, empowered to love and obey because we have been “Born again”. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again”. This is a spiritual birth. When we are physically born into this world we are spiritually dead, and separated from God. Our eternal destination is not God’s plan for us. He made us eternal beings to spend eternity with Him, but that was shattered by sin. There would be found no place for fallen man (Revelation 20:11).

The new birth comes about by the supernatural power of God. It is not by the will of the flesh; for John has written, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).

The seed of man is corrupt by sin. The seed of God is incorruptible, and by the Word of God the seed of God comes and quickens the spirit of man, giving New Birth. The Word of God is alive and lives forever. The Psalmist has written, “Forever, O LORD, Thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89). When the word is forever settled in heaven it is forever sure in the heart made alive by the Spirit of God.

There may be trials and tribulations in this life, but those made alive by the Spirit of God, and His living Word are overcomers, and have the assurance of glory in God, and living forever in His presence. Trials? Tribulations? In this world? Yes! Jesus said, “But be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”.

-Tim A. Blankenship