The Holy Law

“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Romans 7:12 (KJB)

There are some who speak and act as though the law of God is bad, evil and of ill intent. That is a wrong accusation coming from a sinful heart and mind.

The law is from God; thus it is holy. God gave the law to reveal our sin. The apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians said,

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:22-25

No longer under the law as a “schoolmaster” because now, redeemed through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus we have a new heart filled with the right ways, the holiness, the law of God, and power and authority to walk in it.

So, let us walk in it.

To Whom It Shall Be Imputed

“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:23-25 (KJB)

For our understanding of the word impute –

“IMPU’TED, pp. Charged to the account of; attributed; ascribed.” WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN ENGLISH (1828)

Abraham believed God, and it was accounted (or imputed) to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). The salvation of Adam’s race has never been any different than it is today.

For the people of the Old Testament period of time imputation of righteousness was on credit waiting for the coming of the Messiah to die for the sins of the people, having all our sins imputed onto Him; while on those who will believe He imputes His righteousness.

For those who believe today it is a debt that has already been paid.  All our sins and trespasses were laid on Him, He died for our sins, was buried, and as the Scripture above says, “…was raised again for our justification”.

Being declared “Just” and “Righteous” by God is His work of grace; and that comes only by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Justification By Faith and The Law

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31 (KJB)

Since people are justified by faith without the law does that void the law? Paul says, “NO!” The law was given to show mankind his condemnation; to cause him to fall on his knees before our righteous and holy God in repentance, calling on Him by faith.

In the work of Jesus Christ on the cross the demands of the law were fulfilled, thus, by faith it is possible for a sinner to be made righteous before God; not on his own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection.

In Christ the holiness and righteousness of God toward sin is intact. His love for His enemies is shown. All who believe Him are declared righteous. That is an amazing salvation.

Actually the law is firmly established. All God desired is accomplished. Sinners; by God’s declaration; become saints.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ the desire of their heart is to be with Him; to be like Him; to serve Him whenever and however possible. We desire to learn more about Him. We desire to be around others who love Him. We grieve over our sins and seek forgiveness quickly and diligently. We grieve over lost sinners who are condemned and pray for them, witness to them, and lead them to personal faith in Jesus. We seek to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. That certainly sounds like the establishment/fulfillment of the law.

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16

Two Went to Pray

“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’
”  Luke 18:9-14  (KJB)

Two men are mentioned who went to pray.  That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.

One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.

The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did.  He saw himself as better than the publican.  The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.

The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector.  He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel.  Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).

It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.

God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart.  It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.

The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2

It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own.  Who then are made just?  Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.

Glory

GLORY: Our Destination
Romans 8:26-30

So many times as we have our struggles with life and living; facing the sicknesses, diseases we wonder, “Is it worth all this to believe? Is it worth the suffering to continue to trust the Lord? Is it worth the doing without, just to remain honest and/or moral?” There are many questions asked in this life. Some we cannot answer. Some we must answer; at least for the peace of our own hearts.

My prayer is that all who will ever read this message, or hear it, will know their eternal destination. It is by knowing the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that we know our eternal destiny.

There are some things we must know and realize about this destiny we have in Jesus:

1.  We do not always know how to pray concerning our path in life, but the Holy Spirit – the person of Christ in you – knows our hearts, sorrows, and infirmities, and intercedes for us; and with “Groanings which cannot be uttered” (v. 26);
2.  It is God who searches the heart and knows the mind of the Spirit, and because of this He prays according to God’s will (v. 27);
3.  If we believe that the Spirit of God is praying through us, then we should realize that then “All things work together for good…”, and God is glorified (v. 28);
4.  We can know that God is sovereign over all things, even His people – in God’s foreknowledge He predestinated those who follow Christ to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and because of this He is placed as ‘firstborn among many brethren’ (v. 29) placing Him as the Heir apparent (this is one who cannot be legally kept from the throne), fulfilling the will and the glory of God;
5.  Those who have been predestined ‘to be conformed to the image of his Son’, “them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (v. 30).

Those who have been called to Jesus’s salvation – the saved, are justified, and the justified, have the promise of God of being glorified. We can rest assured that God will get us to that destination, because His own glory is at stake; and it would not be possible for the glory of God to dim, die, or be disposed of.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Reckoning

Here is the final study for Romans 4.  The last time I only published for verses 1-4.  It is included in this study as well. Be blessed.

The Reckoning

Romans 4:1 – 25

OUTLINE –

I. AN EXAMPLE OF A UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).
II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).
III. THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO WHAT WE HAVE INVESTED OR PUT TO THE ACCOUNT (vv. 9-12).
IV. THIS RECKONING OF JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).
V. IT IS THE RECKONING OF GOD HIMSELF; NO HUMAN WORKS ARE CALLED FOR (vv. 18-25).

It was, and probably still is, a popular belief among Jews of Paul’s day and Jews and non-Jews of our day to believe that Abraham was declared righteous by God due to his obedience. Paul puts the record straight.

How were people of the Old Testament saved? Was it by complete obedience to God’s law? Was it by the sacrifice of bulls, goats, lambs, etc.? What does the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (3:20).

“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6-9).

No one has ever been saved by keeping the law, no one will ever be saved by keeping the law. To see that it is by faith in God alone that saves God gives us ample Scriptures to prove it. For example Psalm 32:1-2; and Hebrews 11.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, David, Solomon, etc. are all evidences of justification by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. They believing what would be; we believing what has been and shall be.

There are three words in this study which stand out as a theme. The first word is ‘Reckoned’ found in verses 4, 9, and 10. The second word is ‘Impute’, is used six times, in verses 6, 8, 11, 22, 23, and 24. The third word is ‘counted’, it is used only twice. They all come from the same Greek word logizomai – log-id’-zom-ahee – of these words are terms for accounting. God’s declaring us righteous, and justified.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNIQUE SAVING FAITH (vv. 1-4).

Salvation by grace through faith is unique – one of a kind. There is nothing like it in religion. Grace is not possible by work. If it is not by faith it is not grace.

Since many of the Jews believed that Abraham was justified by works Paul realized that this fallacy needed correction. If Abraham was justified (declared righteous by God) by his works he would then have a reason to boast. His boasting, of course, would have to be before men. He would not glory before God. God’s glory is a glory of its own. Man’s glory cannot match the glory of God.

God delights in those who believe in Him. Those who realize they are weak and helpless to save themselves. Those who have no one else in which to turn, but Him. Those whose hearts are broken and shattered because they realize there is no other hope by Him. Those who have reached the bottom of the bottom, the lowest low. These realize then, God is my hope, my strength, song, salvation, my very source of peace, life and joy.

“A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17).

When God called Abraham to leave his native land he obeyed, and left. Now understand, Abraham was at that time what the Jews would call a Gentile – there were no Jews. In his culture they worshipped idols, and were despicable in their behavior. Somehow in the midst of all this darkness God shined brightly His light into the life of Abraham, he saw, he heard, and he left this land of despicable sin and shame – the Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:31). He even came out with his father Terah, his nephew Lot, and his wife Sarah as well as others who are unnamed.

If you heard God speak for the first time would you get up and leave your home, friends, ownership of your land, business, etc. to obey God? Many will not do that whose lives they say belong to Him. Abraham did. How did he do it? He believed God, then he put one foot in front of the other; over and over again. Faith is the end of any attempt to gain God’s favor on any personal merit. If you could gain God’s favor by personal merit it would be by works not grace, therefore, if the works ceased, so too would the favor of God.

When a man or woman takes on a job (work) he/she expects to be paid. The employer is indebted to the employee until the employee receives his/her wages. In like fashion if we worked for our salvation God would be indebted to us until the debt was paid. God is indebted to no one. He did not, nor does not even owe us the possibility of salvation. In His grace He paid our sin debt, and then, when we believe He declares us righteous. What wonderful grace. “Wonderful grace of Jesus; greater than all my sin, how can my tongue describe it; where shall my praise begin.”

THE BLESSEDNESS OF A CREDITED ACCOUNT (vv. 5-8).

You are deeply in debt. There is no way out. The banks and loan companies will neither one loan you money. The creditors are calling, writing wanting the money that is due them. You do not have it. You are barely putting food on the table, your house needs repairs, but where are you going to get the money necessary to make them? The only way out is bankruptcy. You do not like it, but you finally admit to yourself, “I can’t do anything else, I am bankrupt.” In despair you tell a friend that you are bankrupt. The friend asks you, “How much do you need to get back on your feet?” You have not got a clue as to what is going on in this friends mind. A few weeks later you get your bank statement, but instead of being overdrawn you have a balance sufficient enough to pay all your debts.

The amazing part about it is you learn your friend sold some properties – prize properties – and deposited the money into your account. What a friend. Your friend gave his very best to help you out of your bondage of debt. He credited your account with his assets.

What happened above is a description of imputing or imputation. The friend above took the responsibility of paying the debt for his bankrupt friend. He took the burden of the bankruptcy himself and, and imputed, reckoned, accounted his riches to his friend.

Guess what, or maybe you do not have to guess. You are the bankrupt friend, and Jesus is the friend who gave up the riches of Heaven to deliver you from your bankruptcy of sin.

The word ‘counted’ or ‘accounted’ used in verse five (5) is the same word as ‘imputeth’ of verse six (6), and ‘impute’ in verse seven (7). It is also the same as ‘reckoned’ in verse ten (10).

David, the ‘Man after God’s own heart’ is also given as an example of a man of faith. Paul quotes from Psalm32:1-2 as an example of David’s faith (vv. 7-8). Iniquities forgiven, sins covered. The man who is forgiven and sins covered is the one the Lord declares righteous. He deserves imputed imputed sin, but rather receives imputed righteousness by the sacrifice of Jesus who paid the sin debt and imputed to the bankrupted account righteousness. The individual who is declared righteous by God is truly a blessed and happy person.

THE CREDITED ACCOUNT IS NOT DUE TO AN ORDINANCE PERFORMED (vv. 9-12).

Abraham was and is the ‘father’ of the nation of Israel, the people called Hebrews or Jews. In much of the life of the nation; especially in Jesus’s time; they prided themselves of their identity with Abraham by circumcision. As long as they had kept the ordinance they were fine with God. Afterall, God had promised Abraham many things and He was obligated to fulfill them.. Only to a nation of those who believed in Him. Only to a nation who had the faith of Abraham. A faith of fear, obedience, love and admiration of God. The afore mentioned ‘fear’ is the fear of God’s wrath on sin, which leads to a desire to be delivered from sin and a personal hatred for all sin.

In looking at the history of Abraham we find that he was declared righteous by God, at least fourteen years before he was circumcised. So we see Abraham was declared righteous by faith in God, not by the keeping of ordinance or law (Gen. 15:6, “And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he [God] counted it to him for righteousness”). When God called Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees he believed God and departed (Gen. 11:31). When God told him he would have a son of promise he believed God (Gen. 15:1-5; 17:19). When God called him to sacrifice Isaac; the promised son; he believed God (Gen. 22:1-14). He did it because he believed that since God had made the promise – “In Isaac will thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12); that God could raise him from the dead (Heb. 11:18-19).

By Abraham’s faith he became the ‘father’ of the circumcised who are in the faith and the uncircumcised in the faith. Faith recognizes our need of grace – God’s sufficient grace – and of God’s desire to give grace.

To Abraham circumcision was only a sign of righteousness given to him by God. As circumcision is the cutting away of flesh, so too is faith in Jesus Christ. Only by faith in Christ Jesus is the flesh of the heart cut away. The power of sin is cut away. Without the finished work of Jesus on the cross, by His death, burial, and resurrection, the cutting away of the flesh of the heart is impossible. Ordinances can only be signs or tokens of the actual event. Ordinance without faith is vain.

THE JUSTIFICATION IS GOOD FOR ALL THROUGH FAITH ALONE (vv. 13-17).

A promise is nothing without faith. Faith in the Promissor is necessary for the promise to have effect.

What good is a promise; particularly an unconditional promise; if you must earn its fulfillment? The promise to Abraham and his descendants was not going to be granted to them by keeping the law, nor was it based on the law. The promise is awarded by faith in God.

The ‘righteousness of faith’ (v. 13) is the only righteousness that is declared by God and upon all who will receive it.

The only promise of the law is wrath. The law declares all to be unrighteous, unworthy of God’s goodness, kindness, mercy, and grace. So the law could not bring in the promise of ‘Heir of the world’; not even to mention the salvation of wicked men.

Grace works only by faith. Remember faith is our quitting the attempt to please God on our own merit, and pleasing Him only through the work of Jesus Christ. Grace would not be grace, if we could earn it. It would be a debt owed us by God. He owes us nothing. Faith gives to God everything He deserves from His highest of all creation. He does not need it, but He deserves it.

Seeing the unseen, knowing the unknowable, believing what seems to be unbelievable – that is the faith of Abraham. When Sarah was 89 and Abraham was 99; God promised them anew, that He would give them a son. They believed. In other words, God brought life from death. O, will you believe God? He does what He says He will do. Justification is good for all through faith alone. No amount of works, nor law kept, no ordinance performed can justify you in God’s sight. Only by His Word are you justified, and that by faith – faith He alone gives. His faith’s object is only Jesus.

IT IS THE POWER OF GOD, NOT HUMAN EFFORT (vv. 18-25).

Did Abraham believe in resurrection power? Did he believe in the power of the resurrection? YES! and YES! again. To he and Sarah the chance of them having a child of promise looked hopeless. Sure Abraham and Sarah made a mistake, slipped into doubt, or really thought they were helping God out, for awhile; but it did not endure. Their faith in God did endure.

“Unbelief” verse 20 is a complete refusal of faith – refusal to believe. It was because of ‘unbelief’ that Israel, led by Moses, did not enter the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea (Num. 13:26 – 14:4; Heb. 3:16 – 4:13). Despite the waiting Abraham believed. At times it probably seemed that God was pushing faith to its limits, but when Abraham realized his physical body and Sarah’s was dead he knew all he had was God’s promise. That is faith.

When you have reached a point in your life where your realize all you have is faith that God will keep His promise; that is when God will work. He did in Abraham and Sarah, and a 100 years old man and a 90 years old woman had a baby boy. That was a miracle birth. There are not very many miracle births. There are only three in the Bible – Isaac, John the Baptist, and Jesus; and possibly four if you counted Samson.

Faith is believing that God is completely able to do what He said. He is able to perform it, bring it to pass – in His way, in His time and through whomsoever He pleases; if He pleases to use a whomsoever. Because of this faith – not human effort – God declares Abraham ‘Righteous’, clean, pure, sinless before God.

Since Abraham was declared righteous by faith so is everyone who believes God. Do you want to walk with God? Then, you have to agree with Him. You have to agree with Him about your sin [your bankruptcy]. You have to agree with Him that there is a wall of separation between you and Him. You must agree with Him about His Son Jesus. You must agree with Him concerning His Word – written and living.

“How can two walk together unless they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)?

Abraham was declared righteous by God, because he agreed with God. That just simply means he believed what God said.  He agreed with God.

Justification is not by human effort or obedience to law, and ordinances, or faith and grace have no merit. Justification is by grace through faith in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and raised from death as evidence of God’s approval upon His life and sacrifice giving us God’s righteousness by faith.

-Tim A. Blankenship

It is About…

…God; not you or me.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10 (KJV)

Do we forget or is it simply ignorance?  Do we forget that God saves us because of His great love, not that He owes us something, or that we are worthy of His salvation?  I hear the phrase sometimes, “God owes everyone a chance for salvation?”  Remember this,  God owes us nothing.  When a soul is saved it is by God’s grace alone.

Something we need to remember too is that there is a threefold work in salvation;  the first is past, the second is present, and the third is future.  The theological terms are Justification, second Sanctification, and the third is glorification.  All a work of God’s wonderful, marvelous grace.  We do nothing to deserve it and can do nothing to earn it.  When a man, woman, boy or girl is justified by God through the cross of Christ that individual is eternally saved, and the work of God will continue in and through that person throughout their lifetime (sanctification), and when their body dies they will be glorified.

God is rich in mercy.  So rich in fact, that He raises us to life, and justifies us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; then through that same death, burial and resurrection He sanctifies us unto Himself as we daily walk through this world and that is His workmanship in us.  One day we have the eternal promise of being with Him through all eternity.

Why is He doing this?  “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches  of His grace in His kindness toward us…”  It is About God.

Wisdom, Education and Children

I am not certain of the exact quotation of the man I heard, and love his preaching.  It was something like this,  “Education without sanctification is an abomination”.  I would add this to it — Education without justification and sanctification is an abomination. And glorification is the glory we receive at the end of life on earth.  Education which does not begin with God, ends in hell.

Hear the Proverbs…

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:1-6 (KJV)

Some thoughts on these verses –

Verses 1- 6 – (1) The value of a good name. (2) The LORD is the maker of all. (3) The sensible have foresight to danger; the simple (Naive) will not see or just ignore it. See Proverbs 14:16 and 27:12. (4) Humility and fear of the LORD are essential to God’s blessings. (5) Troubles for the perverse; avoidance for the one who keeps themselves clean.

Verse 6 – From the Believers Bible Commentary;

“22:6 The usual interpretation of this proverb is that if you train up a child properly (in the way he should go), he will go on well in later life. Of course there are exceptions, but it stands as a general rule. Henry Ward Beecher observes:

It is not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they’re young, but to make them straighten out after you’ve allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of Charles, John, and 15 other children, followed these rules in training them: (1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
The proverb can also be understood as encouraging parents to train their children along the lines of their natural talents, rather than forcing them into professions or trades for which they have no native inclination. Thus Kidner says that the verse teaches respect for the child’s individuality and vocation, though not for his self-will.

And the proverb may be a warning that if you train a child in the way that he himself wants to go, he will continue to be spoiled and self-centered in later life. Jay Adams writes:
The verse stands not as a promise but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively), they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and, when allowed to follow their own wishes, will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest days.”

Verse six note from the ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 22:6 Train up a child. This proverb, founded on the covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen. 18:19), encourages parents to “train” (i.e., to “dedicate” or “initiate”; this is the sense of the word in Deut. 20:5; cf. Ezra 6:16) their children in the way (i.e., the right moral orientation) by pointing to the kinds of conduct that please or displease the Lord, and to the normal outcome of each kind of conduct (on the matter of consequences, see Introduction: Literary Features). The training will include love and instruction as well as “the rod of discipline” (Prov. 22:15).”

Jesus Speaks – Christmas Day One Hundred Ninety and Two

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 (KJV)

To begin; we need to know that a peacemaker is not one who overlooks sin, iniquities, or transgressions in order to be at peace.  That is really a transgression of the term “Peacemaker”.

What do I want for Christmas?

I want all who will read this and hear to know that there is genuine peace with God who created all things; and that you can have a personal relationship with Him, because He has come down to you in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ, and gave His life on a cross, was buried, and bodily came out of that grave three days later; and He ever lives making intercession for you/us.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 5:1

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Before there can be peace with your neighbor, or your enemy; you must have peace with God through Jesus Christ His Son.

Day Two Hundred Eighty and Five

What do I want for Christmas?

I want people to know that there is no peace to the wicked.

There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.” Isaiah 48:22 (KJV)
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 5:1

Liberty at Risk

These are notes,  the main points of a sermon I preached February 14, 2016 at Shiloah Baptist Church of Jenkins, MO.

Liberty At Risk

Galations 3:1-18

Ref  – 2 Corinthians 3:13;  Galations 5:4

  1.  The liberty we have in Jesus Christ through His death, burial and bodily resurrection is denied by those who would add works to grace – it is a bewitched thing.
  2.  The Holy Spirit is given by grace through faith , not by the Law.
  3.   No one has ever been justified by the Law, but we are all condemned by the Law.
  4.   Faith and grace were before the Law (John 3:18).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Praying Always for You

Praying Always For You
Colossians 1:1-8

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION (vv. 1-2).

A. What we do does not make us a saint, nor does an edict by some religious authority figure make us one.
B. We are placed in the position of saint by the pronouncement of God Himself.
C. It is our justification.

*1. Our sin has been placed to Christ’s account, on the cross;
*2. His righteousness was placed on us [to our account], by the pronouncement of God the Father. “…The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
D. Grace and peace are from God.
*1. If you have grace you can have peace;
*2. If you have real peace – peace with God – you have grace; God’s grace.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS AND PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER (v. 3).

A. As a saint we can go directly to the throne of God; “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
B. You or I need no go between who calls himself a priest – except or Great High Priest who is Jesus Himself.

*1. You and I are priests.
C. We, like Paul, are to give thanks, pray, glorify our Lord and Savior.
D. Pray always for one another.

III. SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE (vv. 4-5).

J. Vernon McGee writes, “Here Paul links the trinity of graces for believers” (1) faith – past; (2) love – present; and (3) hope – future” (pg. 121).

A. Paul acknowledges the faith of this people – their faith in God and of Christ.

*1. He also acknowledges their “love” for their brothers and sisters in Christ.
B. The last of those attributes mentioned by Paul is “hope”.

*1. The had hope [the church at Colossae].
*2. This hope is the “Blessed hope” that is mentioned by Paul to Titus in chapter 2 verse 13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13).

IV. SAINTS WORLDWIDE FRUIT (v. 6).

A. In Paul’s day Rome was “All the world”.

*1. By the time Paul had sent these letters by the hands of Epaphras and the others the gospel of Jesus Christ had spread to every area of the Roman Empire.
*2. It is believed by some that it may have even gone as far as into Great Britain.
B. The fruit of a Christian goes forth and bears more fruit.

V. SAINTS, PRAYING ALWAYS, WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD AND THE GOSPEL (vv. 7-8).

A. Paul credits Epaphras – remember he is probably the pastor of the Colossian church.

*1. He would have been the one God used to bring the gospel to Colossae and saw the bearing of much fruit.
*2. Epaphras is recognized as being a “faithful minister’ and, a “fellow servant”
*3. He is also credited for being the source of information for Paul of the church.

a. Learning from this we see that Epaphras brought nothing negative of the people, but we do know that he brought word of a creeping element of a deceiving, demonic teaching which could cause problems later.
B. Paul had heard the good things about the church.

*1. He commends the pastor/leader.
*2. It is a good lesson to learn – we ought to do no less.

SUMMARY –

I. WE ARE SAINTS BY POSITION NOT BY WORKS.

II. AS SAINTS WE GIVE THANKS.

III. WE ARE SAINTS OF FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE.

IV. AS SAINTS WE BRING FORTH WORLDWIDE FRUIT.

V. SAINTS WILL BE COMPLIMENTARY OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL AND PREACH THE WORD OF GOD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

What Do I Want For Christmas? Day 356

What do I want for Christmas?

At Christmas time; from about mid November through December 25th each year we suddenly begin to be generous in our heart toward others.  Christian, that is the way we ought to be 365 days of every year, except when it is leap year; such as 2016; then it is 366 days of the year.

What do I want for Christmas?  I want there to be peace in Jerusalem; and when there is peace, genuine peace in Jerusalem, there will be peace in the Middle East, and the rest of the world.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6 (KJV)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 5:1

Justified and/or Condemned by Our Words

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  ~Jesus (Matthew 12:25-37)

Through the Bible in a Year – 021713

THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR

The Greatest Act of Service

Mark 12 – 16

1. Loving God and loving your neighbor (12:28-34);
2. Preparing others for what will come (13:5-13);
3. Receives the blessing of others who recognize who He is (14:1-11);
4. Gives the ultimate gift – His life for others (15:15-21);
5. Rises victorious over sin, death, hell, the grave; and justifies all who will believe (16:1-8).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Powerful and Great

People love their heroes.  We call our soldiers heroes, and maybe they are well deserving of that title; however they are doing what they have been called and trained to do.  That is essentially risking and at times giving their lives.  I will admit that is heroic.  The same could be said of firefighters, policemen, and others.  We need them to be heroes.  They are, however, only men and women who love their country, their cities, and/or the people they serve, and will risk it all for us.

Heroes for many people have been fictional characters, and maybe Biblical characters.  As a kid growing up in Southwest Missouri I saw Roy Rogers as a hero, and maybe Wyatt Earp.  Later on Superman became my hero, until I realized he was not real, and even now, I still enjoy the story.  Our heroes can lose their zest for us; because they can fail, and fall from their perch. I think every father wants to be their son’s hero; even that hero can fall; the first time Dad cannot attend that sports event, due to something he cannot prevent.

We need more than a hero; we need the GOD who has created us and all things.  We need His grace, His mercy, His strength, and power.  We need Him.  Hear what the Psalmist said of Him,

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5 (KJV)

He is great, distinguished, awesome, glorious, and the pinnacle of greatness; meaning their is no one or nothing greater.  He is the master and Lord over everything He has made.  He made the universe and everything in it.  Our world, the earth, and everything upon it, within it and all around it.  One day every thing will be just as He desires it to be.

There are many things you and I do not understand about God, creation and even us as part of His creation.   To know Him, however, is to know that we have an eternal future with Him.

The understanding of God is never ending, as the Psalmist has written, “His understanding is infinite”.  It is without limits.

You can know the Creator by believing, trusting in His Son Jesus who is the one who holds it all together (Colossians 1:16-17), and by Him we have a way to God.  It is because of the cross of Christ Jesus that our sin debt has been paid, by His burial the guilt and condemnation of our sin has been put away, and by His resurrection we have been justified – made righteous by God’s own decree.

Believe on Him, and be justified today.

“Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.”

-Tim A. Blankenship

B F & M – God’s Purpose of Grace

Here is our SBC Statement of Faith on “God’s purpose of Grace”:

“V. God’s Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.”

There are some who want to tell us that people who were saved in the Old Testament were saved by their works.  That is not so.  They were all saved by faith looking forward to the cross of Jesus Christ.  People today are saved looking back to the cross of Jesus.

It is said of Noah, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:8 (KJV).  The word ‘Grace’ is found more often in the book of Genesis than in all four New Testament Gospels combined (12 times in Genesis; 4 times in Luke and John with 3 of those in John).  Now, would someone tell me that the Old Testament people were saved by their works.  Go figure.

The one New Testament Scripture that stands out as a favorite for all Christians is Ephesians 2:8-10.  That is right I include verse ten.  It is one we too often leave out.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Trust the God of grace.

-T.A.

B F & M – Salvation

Living in this world we  often hear people ask the question, “What do we need salvation from?”  As mentioned in the previous post concerning our Statement of Faith on “Man” we do believe that man is a fallen being; meaning that we have fallen out of fellowship with our Creator, and therefore, we are a condemned race.  We need the salvation which only our Creator can provide us.

Here is our Statement of Faith concerning Salvation:

“IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.”

Let me try and clarify the meaning of “Justification”.  It is the act of God declaring righteousness on the believer.  It is the same as God’s declaring us as “Saints”.  It is certainly undeserved on our part.  It is God’s declaration and the placing of the righteousness of Jesus Christ on us.  Jesus Himself taking our unrighteousness while on the cross and putting it to death at His death.

It is truly a marvelous salvation.

-T.A.

Observations From Deuteronomy – 022811

Reading today from Deuteronomy chapters 23 – 25.

In the reading today we find many different laws.  Some dealing with those who cannot enter the congregation; and matters of holiness concerning possessing of material things which are considered unclean.  We also find laws concerning divorce and remarriage of women.  Matters of usury [interest] from members of the tribes, and family are include; and laws of gleaning crops.  Laws concerning payment of hired servants are to be made at the end of the day, because of the poor and their great need.  Laws concerning  judgment that is to be fair and just for the stranger, orphan and widow.  There is also the law of levirate marriage where a brother was to take his belated brothers wife, if that brother had gone childless, and raise up a child in that brother’s name.

I want us to look at one verse,

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Deuteronomy 24:16 (KJV)

Most people in the world of today would agree with this law.  Why should the parents of a disobedient, rebellious, murdering, raping child be “put to death” for them?  There are many parents who would lie for their murderous, child; and even go to prison for them; and possibly even die for them.  God says that each one is guilty for his/her own sin.  There are not many children who would be willing to die for a parent.

Truth be told this is just and right for all people.

This is further stated in the book of Ezekiel,

“Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”  v. 20

For some reason there are many cruel, and unreasoning people who believe God is only out to get; out to punish; out to be a vicious and cruel lord over all who are against Him; however, if we continue in Ezekiel we read this,

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  Ezekiel 18:23
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  v. 32

The LORD does not delight in the death of the wicked, but that they might turn to Him and live.  He has made it all possible through the death of His Son Jesus Christ; His burial and resurrection.  The Just for the unjust.

God’s wonderful gift of grace.

Read Deuteronomy 23 – 25 for today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Heavenly Vision

“Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”  Acts 26:19.

Looking at the verses previous to this one you find Paul’s testimony of His salvation and calling from the Lord Jesus.  That is found in verses 14-18.  His calling is one of ministry and a witness to the matter of salvation, and the things which Paul has seen and will yet see.  He is called to “Open the eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, and that they may receive forgiveness of sins…” (v. 18).

Paul is, of course, sharing this message with king Agrippa who, along with his wife, had come to salute Festus.  Festus had told the king of Paul who had false charges brought against him, and was wanting the king’s advice and guidance on what to do with Paul.  The apostle had shared this glowing testimony of how he had met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, and that he had not departed from doing as he had been directed.

Would to God, that I could say, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”.  Some might say we had no “Heavenly vision” that caused us to come to Christ.  If we were drawn by God’s Spirit to be saved.  We had that heavenly vision.  That vision is Jesus Christ.  Keep that vision that God has given you in Christ His holy Son.

O Jesus, Savior, holy Son of God; give me YOUR vision for souls. Set a fire in my heart, O LORD for one lost soul today.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God Speaks Through The Apostles

“But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Jude 17 (NKJV).

After having dealt some very hard words concerning those who have attempted, and at times came into some of the churches with their poisonous words, their deceit, their division, and heresy; Jude now comes back to the one’s he is writing this letter to.

The reader, who is the “beloved” of Jude. The “beloved”, of course, are those who know the Lord Jesus Christ. They have heard the words of the Lord Jesus as spoken by the apostles, and written in their letters. The writings of the apostles are indeed the word of the Lord to His Church.

How important is it that we remember the words spoken by the apostles? It is very important if we are to grow strong in the faith of the Lord. It is very important if we are to know the truth. It is of the utmost importance if there is a false teaching which is infiltrating the Church, and leading the people away from Christ, and into false worship, and into immoral living and immoral lifestyles. In short; the writings of the apostles; such as Peter, James, John, and Paul are the very words of our Lord for knowing the Lord Jesus and growing in Him.

With the apostles writings (Letters) we can know the teachings of Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. We can know also the teachings of the sinfulness of mankind, and his eternal destiny. We can know what is true from what is false. We can know that there are many Jesus’es in the world, and the one who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, who rose bodily from the grave, and left us the promise of His coming again is the true one. We can know that the one who said, “I and My Father are one”, and “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”, and “Before Abraham was, I am” is the true Jesus Christ. Any other Jesus is not the true one.

We can know that anyone or any group, angel or church, who teaches any other Jesus is not a true worshipping body of Jesus Christ. We can know that there should be shame on anyone calling themselves “Pastor”, “Teacher”, or “Preacher” who will not expose these false teachers and teachings; and is ashamed of the truth, a coward, and most likely does not know Him.

Do not listen to those who tell you, “We cannot know the absolute truth”. The absolute truth is found in the pages of the Word of God. That is the writings of the apostles and the prophets. The Old and the New Testaments are the Word of God. The prophets wrote of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, and they longed to see His day. We have before us the written Word of God which tells us of a day He will come again, and that we will behold Him face to face.

Hear the Word of God. Trust God and His Word. Believe and act according to His Word and will. Glorify the Lord Jesus.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Eat The Good Of The Land

Prophet’s Possible Perspective

The Holy One so wants to open our minds to reason with Him. It seems to me that His heart must break at the sight of sin in the hearts and lives of His people. I pray that I will never forget that He is the Holy One of Israel.

“Reason” seems to be a forgotten thing with the people of my day. They are more concerned with emotions, feelings, amusements, comforts, entertainment. Anything that requires thought is a nuisance that we can live without in the minds of some of my people.

It is, however, time for God’s people to begin thinking of their spiritual plight. Reason is a good thing. God is telling us to think, to reason with Him. The idea is to see His way of things. It is good, if we are going to walk with God, be godly, that we think His thoughts and not our own.

O, how our sins must be like scarlet to Him. How He longs to forgive and cleanse us, and to make us as white as snow. He desires, longs, to make what is crimson, to be as wool. He is a gracious God. He is the Holy One.

The Holy One desires what is best for His people. He has promised the good of the land to all who are willing and obedient. If we refuse and go our own way there only awaits destruction.

HEAR, O HEAR, THE WORD OF THE LORD –

 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:18-20 (KJV)

Tim A. Blankenship

Cleansed – Clothed in Rich Robes

In the previous verses (3:1-2), Joshua the high priest, and Satan stood beside him, before the angel of the LORD, who is most likely our Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan’s position beside Joshua is the position of accusation. Joshua represents the nation of God’s people. The devil, Satan, is not only the accuser of Israel, but the accuser of the brethren of Jesus Christ – the Church (Revelation 12;10). he was even the accuser of Jesus Christ. He is accusing Jesus in Matthew 4 when he says, “If you are the son of God…”, saying it twice within the event of Christ’s temptation, then, the third temptation questions His loyalty by bidding his worship for himself..

The accusations of the devil may be, and are true of Joshua and of Israel – the one he represents. The “filthy garment” definitely show us that to be true as a picture. The nation has defiled itself and made herself vile and filthy.

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him.’ And to him He said, ‘ See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” Zechariah 3:3-4 (NKJV)

Joshua the high priest standing before the LORD must have felt the shame of the garments, and the accusations of the devil, but the LORD does not condemn him; He gives him a clean garment (v. 5). We first notice that word is given to those who were with the Angel, “Take away the filthy garments…”.

These filthy garments were probably the typical high priestly garments worn by them to conduct their priestly duties. These were filthy, and in this can be seen a likeness to Isaiah’s words, “…and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6). The nation was full of righteousness; the problem was it had nothing to do with the righteousness of God; only self-righteousness. They were filthy due to the pretense and hypocrisy of their attempts at worship and involving their worship to foreign gods; they were idolatrous, backslidden, and this included the prophets, the priests and the people (Isaiah 24:2; Jeremiah 5:30-31); and the prophet Hosea said, “And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings” (Hosea 4:9).

God was not pleased with the priesthood of Israel, nor of the nations as a whole. That is the reasons for their continued captivities, and their recent returning to their promised land. They are still under judgment for their rejection of their Messiah Jesus.

That judgment will be changed, as this filthy garment is taken away and discarded, their iniquities will pass from them, and a new garment is given them. “Take away the filthy garments…” sounds similar to the call of Paul the apostles “Put off…” in Colossians 3:8; “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth…” and “Lie not to one another seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9).

Though the “Take away…” is done by God and is seen as grace and mercy and a total work of God, and probably is a great picture of salvation, deliverance, and the “iniquity” passing from them is purely a work of God; the “change of raiment” (KJV), is a clear act of justification. When there has been the change of life through faith in Jesus Christ; an exchange of our filthy garments for His clean garments – rich robes; we are then given the power and presence of the Spirit within to put off those vile things that interfere with our Christian walk. The old is taken away before the new is applied.

The grace of God is clearly seen in the Old Testament as in the New. There is a picture, type, shadow, a “Scarlet thread of redemption” seen all the way through to the cross of Jesus Christ. From Genesis 1 through Revelation 22 we see Jesus the Christ. Our sins and the accuser is by our side condemning us, but the grace and blood of Christ takes it all away, and He clothes us in His righteousness. Blessed be the name of the LORD.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Perils of Friendship With the World (2)

“Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:24-26 (KJV)

With Lot and what there is of his family safe in Zoar the LORD sends down the rain of fire and brimstone. This brimstone could refer to sulfur which will itself burn, with an unseen flame. It could refer to several different flammable substances. The picture we are given seems to be that of falling substance from the skies. It was in the form of visible flames, and hot, with hard substance as well forming a crushing effect as it hit the cities, and the lands, of the plain. No living person would want to remain in that kind of tragic environment. It would mean certain death.

Some have located the previous area of the cities of Sodom on the Southern end of the Dead Sea. The area is evidently under water. That would actually mean that the judgment was what formed the Dead Sea, or at least a portion of it. According to some archaeological people these cities were destroyed by volcanic eruption or something along that line of thought. It seems that no one wants to acknowledge that God judges sin and rebellion.

The Bible says, and this is our final authority, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom…” When will those who profess the name of Jesus begin to realize that God still judges sin. When we live in a profligate nation, where sin is more a joke than a problem, and we start seeing tragedies of all sorts begin, surely that should make us wonder. It seems that when sin is on the increase, and mocked at, and promoted as being a normal part of life, then earthquakes will increase, wild storms of wind, and rain continue to increase, but the “scientist” will tell us these are only natural phenomena and is due to today’s popular event called “global warming”. Whether we want to admit it or not all these things are due to sin in the first place; from the sin of Adam and Eve to our sins today; we all stand guilty before God. It is only His hand that keeps this world from flying apart, and when these things begin happening; it is due to His hand gradually being removed. Gradually being removed so as to warn us, and turn our hearts toward Him.

There was not much warning for the cities of Sodom, except what Lot provided for his sons-in-law. The people of Sodom and the plains had the testimony of creation, ie., the stars, the sun and the moon, the singing birds, and all flying fowl. As the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1). They had the witness of Lot and his family, though it may have been a weak one; he was still a witness, which can be used against them. Lot was evidently afflicted by the sins of this city, “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:” 2 Peter 2:7. We can see that Lot did have a hatred for the sins of his culture. Remember how he sought to protect the visitors from harm by the people of the city.

God so hated the sins of Sodom and cities of the plain that He destroyed all the inhabitants of those cities. They were polluted by immorality, and they were full of themselves, as we saw in Ezekiel 16:49-50. When people get too full of themselves they have no room for God, and God, according to His Word is a jealous God; no matter what Oprah thinks. Nothing much grows where these cities once stood.

One woman has been immortalized by Jesus in a far different way than anyone would want to be. Her name was lost with Lot and His daughters, because we don’t know it. God had warned Lot, his wife, and their two daughters, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee…”, and it was after they were all safely in Zoar, the city that was protected because of Lot’s plea with the visitors, that the judgment fell upon their city. For whatever reason she “looked back”, and became a “Pillar of salt”. Jesus refers to Lot’s wife in the Gospel of Luke: “Remember Lot’s wife.” (17:32). It is not mentioned why she looked back, and I don’t think we can go far wrong in bringing some things to light concerning her backwards look. First of all, her heart was still in Sodom; maybe it could be daughters who never came with them, the sons-in-law, and maybe grandchildren. Secondly, her heart could have still been there because of the power and popularity she and Lot had in the city, and she just couldn’t leave that behind. A third thing, could have been their wealth; by this time, the years they had spent there they could have achieved much material gains, gold, silver, jewels, precious garments, and the lifestyle they lived was comfortable; she was leaving it all behind. Remember Jesus’s words, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21. Someone has said of Lot’s wife, “She became in death, what she never was in life. Salt.” The warning of Lot’s wife stands for all time to all who will cherish the physical and material over the Word and will of God.

“And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.” Genesis 19:27-29 (KJV)

The morning of Lot’s deliverance, and at about the time of the destruction of the cities, Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood with the LORD probably just the day before, and looked toward the direction of Lot’s location; the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and he saw the smoke billowing up through the air and the sky. I am sure Abraham’s heart must have sped up and skipped, and practically stopped. There were surely tears in his eyes knowing the hundreds, thousands of human lives that were given in judgment that day. Abraham surely believed that Lot and his family, or at least some of them had been spared; he was trusting the LORD for that matter and God would not fail.

Is there anything wrong with godly people grieving over the loss of human life even when it is known to be the judgment of God? It would seem to me to be ungodly not to grieve. Though “God is angry with the wicked everyday” (Psalm 7:11); He does not desire to destroy them but to save them. Hear the prophet Ezekiel: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways and live?” (18:23), and once more, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and and live ye.” (18:32). It seems quite clear that God grieves in the judgment too. We can rejoice in that God is glorified in the judgment of sin. We can rejoice when justice is carried out, and God is glorified. We must remember this world and this life is not about us; it is, however about Almighty God, and His glory.

“And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, et us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.” Genesis 19:30-38 (KJV)

 

Zoar was a city of the plains which was spared from the judgment of God. To those in “science” who would proclaim that “This was just a volcanic eruption” would have a hard time explaining how this city was kept from the judgment, and it is just a short distance from the Southern end of the Dead Sea. God’s grace is truly sufficient.

Why Lot feared dwelling in Zoar we are not told. It does tell us that he was fearful there, so he went and lived in a cave. Maybe he was fearful because the people there thought Lot was responsible for the deaths of so many, or at least he may have thought they were thinking that, and fled for his life. We often do not realize it but fear has a very crippling and disabling affect on us. It causes us to flee when nothing pursues us. The writer of Proverbs wrote, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (28:1). When our hearts are not with God, that is usually when we are fearful. That is our weakest time, and that is when we flee. To what we have no idea, we just must flee, and it is most likely into more fearful surroundings, and into sin.

We would surely mostly admit that a cave would not be as comfortable as a home in a city. There is much evidence of what happens when we start living with fear. The people of the city of Zoar may have despised Lot, thinking that he was responsible for the demise of the other cities, and maybe accusing him of that, and he may have had just a paranoia thinking such things. Even though he was delivered to this city by God he grows in fear. Fear in the heart shouts loudly and clearly that things are not right with you and God. When you are in the Spirit of God, walking with Him, and doing His will there is no fear, but rather “peace, love, joy…”. John the apostle tells us, “Perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18), and we need to know that when we have the proper fear of God, there is no need to fear anything else.

This fear led him to withdraw from the city. Some of the fear may have been that God would destroy this city too. If that be true then Lot’s faith is certainly wavering, and he is gravely in doubt. God had brought him here and saved this city from destruction, why would he now destroy it? He went to a cave with his two daughters. The daughters determined that they needed to have babies, if their race of people were to continue. They devised a plot of getting Lot drunk, getting him in their beds or them into his. Lot may have not noticed the special treatment, the wine, the excess, because he was hurting from the death of his wife, and most of all he was fearful. Fear mixed with sorrow are two of the strongest emotions that can ruin and take control of our thinking. They can get us to the place of amusements; and it would do us good to do a word study here. The word “Muse” means “thought” or “thinking”. When you add the “a” to a word it usually means basically “No”. When you put these two together you have the meaning of “No thinking” or “No thought”. Amusement is usually for the purpose of taking our minds off of problems, and thus that is what has happened to Lot. From Lot we should learn how our fear, our emotions, and our amusements can so easily detract us from the direction and path of holiness, and righteous living in Christ our Lord and Savior.

There is a lot to be said for sobriety, and sober thinking. Without it you end up with fathers having incestual relationships with daughters, mothers having incestual relationships with sons, cars careening out of control killing an innocent family driving down the highway, on their way to grandma’s house. Without sober thinking you will have step fathers raping and killing their step daughters, and /or their sons. There is really no limit to what evil can come from drunkenness. As a result of this debauchery Lot fathers two of his own grandchildren. One of them is Moab which becomes a nation which hates Israel, desires to curse Israel, hires a false prophet to do so, brings immorality into Israel and a plague ensues (Numbers 22-25). The other son/grandson born to Lot by his younger daughter is named Ben-ammi and these are the Ammonites which also hated Israel. But, then, these were only personal choices; no one was hurt by them were they??? Think again.

Moses, in his writing the Pentateuch wrote, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). I think he knew what he was writing.

-Tim A. Blankenship