Esteemed Among Men, Abomination To God

“And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided Him. And He said unto them,
‘Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.’ ”  Luke 16:14-17

All Things Must Be Fulfilled

“And He said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.’ ” Luke 24:44

Jesus spoke the above words after walking with a couple of His followers to Emmaeus. He has at this point been seen by others who are His followers, and reminds them of the importance of His life, His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection.

When Jesus speaks of the “law of Moses”, “the Prophets”, and “the Psalms” He is speaking of the whole Old Testament, and every prophecy which was written.

There are many prophecies of Jesus that have not been fulfilled. We can rest assured that since the prophecies of the first coming of Messiah are fulfilled, and He died just as the prophets said (consider Isaiah 53), then we can know and be assured that those concerning His coming again will be fulfilled in every detail.

All things must be fulfilled just as it has been spoken.

Jesus, Anger, and the Sabbath

“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand,
‘Stand forth.’
And He saith unto them,
‘Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?’
But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man,
‘Stretch forth thine hand.’
And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”   Mark 3:1-5

The skill and wisdom of Jesus always amazes me. The way He challenges His challengers; the hostile challengers; of His words and life is truly awesome. Just because someone does not like what He says or does, does not deter Him from going ahead and doing what He was going to do in the first place; and He does it with authority and power.

I always take note of verses, also that tell of Jesus having anger, and of those where the word is not used, but also where He displays anger; for instance the two times He drives the money changers out of the Temple with a whip He made Himself. They had defiled His house.

Anger is not always a bad emotion. What makes you angry? That guy or gal that cut you off in traffic? That one in the check-out at Walmart that was rude and nasty to the associated checking them out? Is that really a good anger? Not at all. If it makes us angry to see someone rudely treated, then let’s compliment the one that was just treated that way.

Jesus had earlier in chapter 2 of Mark said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. I suppose that is for all the laws of God. They are given to aid and to help us realize our evil plight in life, not to provide hindrances for good deeds.

When we come to Jesus, trusting Him as our Lord and Savior all the law is fulfilled in Him. We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). It was provided for us by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus, believing that God has raised Him from the dead, and you shall be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

For A Piece Of Bread?

“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: to keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”  Proverbs 6:23-26  (KJB)

The Poor, The Law and The Upright

“He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. 

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. 

Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.”  Proverbs 28:8-10 (KJB)

The Deceit Of Evil

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse.’  My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.”   Proverbs 1:8-19  (KJB)

Leadership, Law, and Judgment

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.”   Proverbs 28:2-5  (KJB)

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

The Law and Faith

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:10-11 (KJB)

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Galatians 3:11…

But that no man is justified,…. There are some that are justified, as all God’s elect are, in his own mind and will from eternity; which will of his to justify them, upon the righteousness of his Son, undertook by him to bring in, is their justification in the court of heaven; and all that believe in Christ are openly and manifestly justified in the court of conscience, under the testimony of the Spirit of God: but no one is justified

by the law; it is in the Greek text, “in the law”; there were many justified before the law was given, as Noah, Job, Abraham, and all the Ante-Mosaic believers; and there were many justified “in”, or under the legal dispensation; but none of them were justified by their obedience to the law, but by the righteousness they believed they had in the Lord: especially no man is justified

in the sight of God; who sees the heart, knows the spring of actions, and whose judgment is according to truth; that is, by the law and the deeds of it, however they may before men:

it is evident; it is a clear case, out of all dispute, as appears from Hab_2:4

for the just shall live by faith; which may be read either, “the just by faith, shall live”: that is, the man who is just by faith, or justified by faith, not by it as a principle or act, or as the cause or matter of his justification, but by the object of his faith, Christ and his righteousness apprehended by faith, and so not just or justified by works; he shall live a life of justification, through that righteousness his faith receives; he shall live comfortably, with much peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, as the result of his being justified by faith; and shall live eternally, and never die the second death: or the “just shall live by faith”; he that is righteous, not by his own works, but by the obedience of Christ, shall live not upon faith, but by it on Christ, and his righteousness, which is revealed from faith to faith; and this makes it a clear point, that he is not justified by the law, for if he was, he would not live by faith on Christ, but in and by the deeds of the law.”

Since the law cannot save, and was never intended to save but rather to be a “school master” to show us our need of a savior. Points us to Jesus Christ as the Savior of all who will call on His name.

The Righteous and Just One became sin for us on the cross that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.

Believing All Things Written in the Law and the Prophets

“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:14-15 (KJB)

The apostle Paul is being tried for his faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified, buried, and risen One who forever lives and reigns as King of all kings, and Lord of all lords.

His beliefs are based on the Old Testament; the Law and the Prophets.  That does not exclude the history or the wisdom books either.  There are many Christians today who want to say and teach that the Old Testament is not needed.  It is the only Bible, the only Scripture that they had.  It is the only Scripture which Jesus knew and read.  It is the only Scripture which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John relied on.  It is the Scripture which John the Baptist preached.

Preach and teach the New Testament Yes; but do not neglect the Old.

I have been spending this year staying with the New Testament.  I felt I needed to get more familiar with the words of Jesus, the apostles, and including the apostle Paul.  I will not shun, neither neglect the Old Testament though.  Without the Old there would be no New.

Someone has said, “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  A great thought.

There is a resurrection of the dead; both of the just and the unjust.  Which resurrection will you be part of?  We are only made just by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Having a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.”  Proverbs 28:1-7  (KJB)

Having a Just Society – Proverbs 28:1-28

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 –   A look at the wicked.   The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor.  1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee.  2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws.  3.)  When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide.  4.)  Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4;  Prov. 19:12;  1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 –  A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers.  1.)  Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation.  2.)  True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc..  3.)  The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment.  4.)  Greed, partiality, will ultimately bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 –  The wicked poor.  1.)  You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life.  2.)  Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16).  3.)  It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 –  The way of righteousness.  1.)  The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world.  2.)  The poor upright are better off, and wise in God.  3.)  The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses.  4.)  There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14).  5.)  Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous.  6.)  A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27)

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

“From where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not from this, of your lusts that war in your members?  You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not.  You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume upon your lusts.
You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?’  But He gives more grace. Wherefore He says, ‘God rejects the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.’
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners; and purify hearts, double minded.  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and joy to heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.  Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaks evil of brother, and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judges the law: but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.
There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you that judges another?
Go to now, you that say, ‘To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:’ you who do not know what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.  For that you ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.’  But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.  Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does not, to him it is sin.” James 4:1-17

REFERENCES: Job 7:7; 22:29; Proverbs 3:34; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Peter 2:1; 5:9; Matthew 7:1; Romans 1:20; 2:1; Acts 18:21; Luke 12:47

Love Does No Wrong to One’s Neighbor

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet;’ and if any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  Romans 13:8-14  (KJB)

References: Galations 3:27, 5:14; Exodus 20:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 5:14

Finding the Knowledge of God

You Shall Find the Knowledge of God – Proverbs 2:1-9

Verses 1 – 5 –  “…If thou wilt receive my words…”  The “ifs” of learning and instruction.  Using the affectionate term “my son” the parent, the teacher continues the instruction.  The “ifs” state a conditional teaching.

“Receive” means to seize, take hold of when they are heard and taught.  It is as though to be taken and applied as it is your very own. “Hide” to hoard them, protect them; meaning do not let anything pervert or change them.  This word is used again in verse 7 as “Layeth up”.

The “commandments” are those things which are being taught; the Law, Ordinances, precepts.

These should be sought as though it was the most excellent treasure; “silver” “hid treasures”.  When these “ifs”; ie. these conditions are met, then you will “find the knowledge of God” (v. 5).

Verse 6 –  “The LORD giveth wisdom”  The source of wisdom and knowledge.  Since it is the LORD who gives wisdom, it must be clear that knowledge and understanding; closely associated with wisdom; then must also be given by the LORD through wisdom.

“…Out of His mouth”  The study note from the MacArthur Study Bible states,

“His mouth. The words of His mouth are contained in Scripture.  It is there that God speaks (cf. Heb. 1:1-2;  2 Pet. 1:20, 21).  Wisdom comes only by revelation.”

Knowledge in our current society is associated with having received an education at a college, university, etc.  The knowledge we read of here is that knowledge which only God Himself gives.

Verse 7 –  “He layeth up sound wisdom”  The Hebrew word for “layeth up” is the same as that for hide as in verse 1.  Sound wisdom is thus stored up by God for the righteous.

It could have much to do with Amos’s words,

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7

and even Jesus’s words to Peter at his confession of Christ (Matthew 16:17).

“He is a buckler” – Buckler is a shield, a form of defense.   The LORD is a defense, our whole defense against the wicked and the peril of the wicked.

Verses 8 – 9 –  “He keepeth the paths..”  The LORD guards and maintains.   From the Pulpit Commentary this note,

“It is God who “keepeth the paths of judgment,” as he alone has the power to do so. He watches over all that walk therein, guides, superintends, and protects them.”  e-Sword edition.

“Preserveth the way of His saints” is as the LORD putting a hedge around to protect the righteous as they walk in Him.

Verse 9 then, tells us that in His keeping and preserving (Hedging us in) we “understand” righteousness, judgment, and equity (which is equality, or fairness).

Our understanding of equality, righteousness, judgment; God’s keeping us, and preserving us must come from the wisdom of God.  When we receive correct instruction we should hide it within our hearts and minds; keeping it for use in life’s situations.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Responsibilities

Christian Responsibilities

Romans 13:8-14

In the last study and in verses 1 – 7 we looked at “The Christian and Government” and could have called it the “Christian’s Responsibility to Government”. We also have responsibilities to others. Those we know and to those we do not know. To those we love, and to those we should love.

The words of verse eight, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” are not against owing money as in a debt for a legitimate financial transaction. It has to do with keeping our debts paid, and especially the debt of love. It is what we owe to all. In loving one another we fulfill the law, and it is a debt that is never paid in full.

God’s love paid in full the debt which we owed Him. That debt of sin was paid by Jesus’s death on the cross, and the evidence of that paid debt was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s declaring by Him, our justification.

In verse nine Paul gives us five of the Ten Commandments; all having to do with human relationships. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”, and “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself “ (Mark 12:30-31).

Paul sums these five laws up in much the same way; “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

One motivation for not committing these sins would be to think about how we would feel if someone committed these sins against us. Asking ourselves the question before we sin against a neighbor: “How would I feel if this was done against me?”

Love does not seek to do harm to neighbors. It rather seeks to do good. To love one’s neighbor seeks better for them than for one’s self. This is the fulness of the law.

Not only do we as Christians have responsibilities with our neighbors, but

WE ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE.

The time which we live requires and urgency due to the nearness of the return of Jesus Christ. We are nearer to the completion of our salvation than we were at the beginning.

It is time to cast off the works and deeds of the flesh, and be clothed in the “armor of His light”

Walking honestly, that all things may be seen, as in the light;

With lives of purity, holiness, and not debauchery, rebellion and sin;

Loving one another as we have been given commandment; approving the good of brothers and sisters in Christ; and promoting them;

Putting on Christ Jesus requires and act of the heart and soul and mind; Walking in the Holy Spirit – “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Unique Saving Faith

This began our study of Romans chapter four.  We covered the first four verses.

Unique – Saving Faith

The Outline is for 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 do the Scriptures say?

“By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 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 worshiped 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?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Law Fulfilled

The Fulfilling Of The Law

Romans 3:21-31

OUTLINE –

I. ALL WHO BELIEVE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH (vv. 21-26).

II. THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN ONE IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

III. THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

IV. THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31)

There are a few words in these eleven verses that are very important Biblical terms. Righteousness, faith, justified, redemption, grace, propitiation, remission. They are all favorable toward the sinner.

These are more than just words. They are a description of God and His love for humankind. Righteousness describes God and His requirements of pure worship. Faith is the only thing a person can do to be declared righteous by God; and God gives the faith too (Eph 2:8-9). Justification [justified] is God’s declaration to the repentant believing sinner that he is righteous. God declares the believer righteous because of faith: he believes God. Justification; the word justified may be easily remembered as God making me “Just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. Redemption is a term related to slave auctions where the purchaser pays the agreed price to set the slave free. The only adequate price to be paid for the slave of sin was/is the death of Jesus on the cross; because the law commands death for sin. Grace of course is God’s unmerited favor toward sinners. Sinners are undeserving of grace. God in His love grants it to all who believe. Propitiation is a word sometimes hared to pronounce, but it is a beautiful word. It describes the work [sacrifice] of Jesus on the cross. It describes the hatred of God for sin, yet the depths He is willing to reach to redeem fallen man. Jesus was our propitiate. He lovingly, and willingly went to the cross to be the sacrifice for our sin. Not only was Jesus the sacrifice, but He was “Made…to be sin for us…” (2 Cor. 5:21). All God’s hatred for sin was poured out upon the sinless Son of God who was now ‘made to be sin for us’.

“In this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died.” MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE note on 2:25; page 1698.

In pagan worship it is the worshipper who must appease the wrath of their offended deity. The only way sinful man can appease the wrath of God is by spending eternity in Hell. The final word is Remission which means forgiveness. God accepted, for the forgiveness of sin; the sacrifices of blood that were offered in faith until the true sacrifice for sin would die for sin. The sacrifice for all sin is paid in full. There is no more sacrifice for sin. God’s forgiveness is available for all who will repent and believe in Jesus.

ALL WHO BELIEVE ARE DECLARED BY GOD TO BE RIGHTEOUS (vv. 21-26).

The ‘righteousness’ unobtainable by the law is revealed by the faith in Jesus Christ. This same righteousness of God is witnessed to by the written revelation of God in the law and the messages of the prophets.

This righteousness is for all who will believe and trust only Jesus for it. The previous verses of chapter 1:18 – 3:20 plainly tell us who is righteous. NONE!!! Now we see that God’s righteousness is available for all – that is the pagan, the moral pagan, the immoral pagan, the moral religious, the immoral religious, the religious; the Jew, moral and immoral. All are included in God’s invitation to His righteousness.

“There is no difference” in the Gentile and the Jew – “For all have sinned and come short” – miss the mark – “of the glory of God”. The glory of God is the place where God desires for us to be . A man just as well try to pick up an automobile and throw it to China from the east coast of the United States of America, as to try to gain God’s favor by keeping the law. We fall short; we miss God’s ‘bull’s eye’.

“Being justified” means being declared righteous by God. It is far superior to be declared righteous by God Himself, than for me to declare myself righteous. God’s declaration is true. Mine only a vain attempt. We might make note of the word “freely”. This wonderful justification is free to us. But that is because God already paid the price. His ‘grace’ – the undeserved favor of God – is the reason it is free. The ‘redemption’ price for our freedom from sin, and its penalty and bondage was paid by God’s Son, Jesus Christ as He willingly laid His life down for our sins.

In truth Jesus became the very object of God’s wrath. On the cross Jesus became sin; my sin and yours. We could not endure God’s wrath because we would only die and spend eternity in Hell. The law commands death for sin. Jesus had no sin, but took the wrath that was ours. Since He had no sin, but bore our sins God struck Him (“…stricken, smitten of God…” Isaiah 53:4), He died – sin was condemned (Rom 8:3), by the flesh of a sinless. The law did require death for sin – He died. YES! He died, but rose again conquering the power of sin and as evidence of who He is (Rom 1:4).

Through the sacrifice [propitiation] of Jesus God declares us righteous; He forgives our sin; and justifies all who believe in Jesus.

THERE IS NO BOASTING WHEN SINNERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (vv. 27-28).

Human beings love to boast of their accomplishments and things which they achieve.

There are many things in which the human ego can be boosted. There is one area however in which there is no room to boast. That is our worship. We fall far short. We have everyone, turned from the true way to our own way (Isaiah 53:6). When we try to worship God in our own way it is evident we have turned from God.

Since true righteousness is a gift from God we have nothing in which to boast; except in the grace of God. We ought to boast loudly and clearly of the goodness, mercy and grace of God who loved His enemies so much He would sacrifice His holy Son to reconcile us to Himself. That is someone in whom to boast.

If anyone could obey the law he would have much to boast about, and would deserve the praise of God; but only God deserves the praise of God (Ps. 110:1), thus God became flesh – “the Word became flesh”. By faith in the work of Jesus Christ – the Word (John 1:1-5, 14) – on the cross we are saved (delivered from the penalty of the demands of God’s law). There is therefore no room for boasting because someone else paid our debt of sin. That Person has the praise of God – He kept; He fulfilled the whole law – and gives to all who believe eternal life.

Reading the book of Romans was the thing that pointed Martin Luther to Christ. He was a catholic priest in Germany, and felt something was missing in his religion. The liturgies, rosary, indulgences, confession, etc.; the whole ritual scheme left him empty. While reading Romans he read 1:17, “The just shall live by faith”. He read 3:28, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law”. In his translation he wrote, “by faith alone…” which is a proper interpretation. To add anything to faith is to nullify faith.

Remember ‘justification’ is the act of God by which He declares the believing sinner righteous. It is the act and declaration of God; not of any man. It is received by faith and God alone is the giver of faith.

THERE IS ONE GOD WHO JUSTIFIES ALL (vv. 29-30).

Just as all mankind is condemned in the law by sin, so too, all who are justified (declared righteous by God) are so by faith.

Te color of one’s skin, their culture, their morality (Moral or immoral), their religion, etc. does not negate the fact of one God who justifies all who believe.

God is not only the God of the Jews, but the God of all – believing and unbelieving – people. He is the God of the Jew and the Gentile whether He is recognized by them or not.

Faith in Jesus Christ and His death for the atoning of sin; His burial for the carrying away of sins dominion; the resurrection of His body from the grave as the evidence of the conquering of sins power, and proof of His deity and Son-ship; and His return [a promise of God yet to be] to totally redeem all who have believed Him and to put an end to sin, and to reign in the hearts and lives of men on earth for all eternity: is the only way of salvation for all mankind. Any who add anything to faith or take away from faith teach a false gospel.

THE LAW IS HONORED THROUGH FAITH (v. 31).

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.

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 to me.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Unending Journey

In the study of the book of Acts you can see that the early Church grew, and continued to grow.  It grew not because of the men who  had given their lives to following Jesus Christ; but it grew due to the power of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit within and upon them.

One of the chief apostles named in the book of Acts is first introduced in the Acts of the Holy Spirit book.  It is God who increases His Church.  It is God who regenerates those who come to Him.  It is God who keeps the Church growing even in 2017.

After Paul had arrived in Rome many Jews (at Paul’s invitation) came to him to question him concerning the charges against him from Jerusalem.  They wanted to hear what he preached and taught…

“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.” Acts 28:23-24 (KJV)

The apostle spoke clearly of the place of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel from the Law and the Prophets all day long.

Paul believed the gospel.  He lived the gospel,  He proclaimed the gospel and God blessed, and gave results.

Sadly, today’s Church is much weaker in stature, faith, and power with God; yet God is still redeeming souls, regenerating them, and bringing us into His kingdom.

The Church today needs the Spirit of God at work; not entertainment, or showmanship from its pastor, music director, or any other director.  That is fire under the altar (1 Kings 17).  Let us call on the fire of God to come down on us.

We must have the power of God for perseverance.  We need to be servants of God first; then willing to serve others as well.  When we are in the will of God through His Spirit, His word, and in prayer then we will have peace.

The Church today needs to understand that all provisions will come from God for His work and ministry to progress.  In the early Church every member was provided for due to persecution (Christians were losing their employment, their homes, etc.), and those who were able made donations for the cause of helping those who suffered.  God provided the need for the apostle Paul to get to Rome.  He also provided encouragement for Paul by giving him friends.

Too many times the Church today, and their preachers do not challenge the opposition of the gospel.  Paul did.  He called them to come and hear what he had to say, and they came.  Some of them “Believed” and some of them did not.  Are we too afraid of being turned down?  When we present the gospel, and it is rejected it is not us who is being rejected; it is in fact Jesus being resisted.

Now, Church, is not the time to stop preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is time to preach it clearly, with the power of the Spirit unlike any other time.  It is time for Christians to rise up and say in public places “I believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, and God the Living Son”, then live like we are children of the King of kings.

The preaching of the gospel must continue, be unending until that day when we see Jesus face to face.  Paul could have said, “I am a prisoner. What can I do”, but he did not he preached the gospel.  His heart was set on Jesus, because Jesus was his treasure (Matthew 6:21).  He preached with confidence; not in his own abilities, but with confidence that God fulfilled every word He has ever spoken, and will continue to do so.  Though in prison Paul was free.

Although the book of Acts is a book of history we can also get the way the Lord would have us operated His Church.  To operate any other way would not be a New Testament Church.

The Lord’s way is 1) Jesus is the Head;  2) The Body submits to His Lordship;  3) We are to operate as one even as Jesus and the Father are One;  4) We are to walk in the Spirit of Christ Jesus.

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

The Word of God at Work

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” Nehemiah 8:5-8 (KJV)

The book Nehemiah speaks of in the verses is the Word of God, the law, the commandments. Of course it was in the form of a scroll. When he opened the book in the sight of the people, they stood to their feet. It was a matter of respect for God and His Word. They were believing it. God had told them through the prophets that they would go into captivity, and then return after 70 years. Thus, they had indeed.

The temple had been rebuilt. The wall around Jerusalem was restored. They would worship, and glorify the LORD.

There is much need today for the people of God to believe the Book; the Word of God. We need for the people of God to respect the Book. We ought to stand when it is read. Even more importantly we need to hear what is read, and apply it to our daily lives. It is the Word of God that gives us life. It is by the Word of God that we are to live.

Notice that the spiritual leaders read “distinctly” = clarify; “gave a sense” = explaining the meaning; and “caused them to understand”. These are matters of responsibility of every pastor and preacher of the Word of the LORD. And to teach the people to do so too.

Hide the word of God in your heart that you might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

Wherever We Go

“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:6-9 (KJV)

Moses was dead, and buried by God. No one knew the burial spot, nor does anyone know to this very day. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because in anger he struck the rock rather than speaking to it as God had spoken (Numbers 20:8-13).

Now Joshua by God’s decree and anointing is the leader to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

We all need encouragement from others at times. It is always great to get encouragement from the Lord’s commands; from the Lord’s word.

We see in the death of Moses what the Law could not do. It could not get them into the place of God’s promise. The name “Joshua” means “Jehovah is salvation”, and the name “Jesus” is the Greek name for Joshua. “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation”.

“For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

When Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land he was fulfilling the Law. When Jesus came he came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17-18).

We have God’s promise through the death, burial and resurrection that we have nothing to fear, and that with Christ living in us He is with us wherever we go.

Condemning Law; Saving Grace

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” Numbers 27:18-23 (KJV)

The verses preceding these tell us of Moses being commanded by God to go onto Mount Abarim from which he would look over into the Promised Land, and see the destination of the children of Israel. Moses would die there, because he had rebelled against the LORD and struck the rock rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-11).

We can see in the reading of the books of the Law that the Law is unable to deliver. It teaches, it convicts, it provides not salvation, except in perfection of keeping it; which no one is able to do. So the Law condemns, and leaves with no hope. The apostle Paul says of the Law,

“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.” Galations 3:24-25

Moses represents the Law, because he is the Lawgiver. Joshua represents the salvation of the LORD which is by grace. Joshua would lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus which means “Jehovah is salvation”.

Jesus Christ is our Victor, not the Law.

The Happy People

“ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.” Psalm 119:1-2 (KJV)

The happiness of the world is fleeting.  Many people go along searching for happiness, and find what they think is “Happiness”, then……. it is gone.  Like a puff of smoke, a gust of wind; and it is done.  The search begins all over again.

The Psalmist has given us 176 verses in Psalm 119.  They all show us the way of the “Blessed” or the truely “Happy” people.

Happy  people walk in the way that is God’s.  They are the undefiled, not by their own decree, but by God’s decree, and that is by the blood of the sacrificed Lamb of God who is Jesus Christ.  These happy people find themselves in possession of the law of the LORD within their hearts, desiring to live for the LORD in all His holiness.

Happy people keep His testimonies, and seek Him with a “whole heart”.  That is a heart that is right with God; a redeemed heart, a clean heart, free from guilt shame, condemnation.

The apostle Paul wrote,

“There is therefor now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1

and he writes also,

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

Happy people have found true happiness through God’s own decree.  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.”  Matthew 17:5   You will not be happy until you do.

Cause of Prayer – Recognizing God’s Judgments

“And He hath confirmed His words, which He spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice.” Daniel 9:12-14 (KJV)

The third point we see is that DANIEL RECOGNIZES GOD’S JUDGMENTS. Daniel realized that the nation of Israel was being judged by God. That was the reason for their captivity.
The Christians of our day are not recognizing the judgments of God. “It’s the weather”, “It’s the way things are”, “It’s just a mad-man leading mad men”, “It’s just the way of the day”. Why are Christians not recognizing the judgments of God on our nation today? They do not know God. It takes personal accountability away. After all, what can we do about what someone else is doing to us. We can do nothing about the weather.

What are some ways God is judging America – the good ole USA? Basically because the USA has accepted marriage as being open to any situation other than between a man and a woman; that is judgment already upon us. Then there is drought, flood, earthquake, tornado, storms that seem to be wreaking vengeance upon those it strikes, this would include Winter storms of excessive snow and ice. Power outages caused by these events. Terrorism from enemies. We were once protected from these things.

Now, ie., in the past ten to twenty five years we have had three noted terrorist attacks one of those was from a fellow citizen of our own country. One in 1993 on the World Trade Center that caused much damage, but not like the last attack on the WTC which completely destroyed it, and killed nearly 3000 people in conjunction with the attack on the Pentagon. According to some, “God is not judging our country”. What about Bengazai, and the Ambassador and people who died there? These people who say such things very much need to WAKE UP from their sleep, and take a good look at God. We are being judged by the influences of sodomy in our country.

Because we have gotten away from God we have become tolerant of all forms of evil. Because of the philosophies of men we have an excuse for every vile affection. We call ‘adultery’ an affair. We call an unborn child ‘a mass of tissue’. We call sodomy ‘an alternative lifestyle’. There are no drunks anymore they are all ‘alcohol dependent’. If a young man murders someone, it is due to their environment in which they were raised. Why can we not quit “mealy mouthin’” around about sin, call it sin, and admit we have sinned, get right with God and get God’s people and His churches back in touch with the One who created us. When God’s people get right, then there will be a much better chance of reaching the rest of the Nation, and the world.
It will begin the healing, growing, and strengthening process with God when we get on our knees and pray fervently concerning our sin, seeking forgiveness, repenting, and seeking God’s power again

Judging Righteous Judgment

“My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill Me?’…
…’I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at Me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  ~Jesus (John 7:16-24)