Sunday, October 30, 2016

Gftt Vs. Wage

I enjoy helping out those who are less fortunate than I am. It makes me feel good because charity is a sign that I am able to love.  There is a rule, though: we are to help widows and orphans (James 1:27). The assumption here is not only to visit, but to aid. In essence, we are to help others who help themselves.

By being generous to others we are giving a gift. We give to others out of love, not because we expect something, other than appreciation. Of course appreciation is demonstrated when those who are helped love the giver. The intention can't be to buy love, but only to give. Love is merely the normal human response to charity.

On the other hand, we can help those who are able as well. Sometimes, they are less fortunate than we are for various understandable reasons: long-term sickness, large families, a poor economy, etc. If they are already working, then we still give to them. If they are not working, but able to, we give them help through wages. Providing a job to those able to work is also an act of love.

If the worker works productively and is a good employee, his paycheck is a reward for doing right things well. If the worker is careless and lazy then rather than a pay check, the payment is a pink slip.

Therefore, there are rewards and punishments. Both are wages. The righteous master rewards the worker with what he deserves. His desire is to reward with good things, but only for right things done. Rewarding bad behavior or laziness is positive reinforcement, but creates negative behavior. People use that technique, but it makes mischievous children worse.  On the other hand fear of negative consequences is positive punishment in operant conditioning. It seems to be an oxymoron, but it's the threat of punishment to create right behaviors.

Now let's look at a passage in scripture:
Romans 6:23  "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
First off, this was written by the apostle Paul to the faithful saints in Rome (Romans 1:7-8).  Paul is presenting the dilemma "to sin or not to sin" to Christians. After expounding on grace versus law, or freedom v. slavery, as it can be called; Paul offers the outcome of choosing wrong. Note two things: 1) Both of these possible outcomes are for faithful saints, and 2) "death" means the absence of eternal life, or spiritual death.

For the Calvinists out there, be sure that your unpardoned sins will at some time catch up with you! Romans 3:25 indicates that past sins are propitiated by his blood, meaning that future sins are atoned for, but must be repented of. Being a faithful saint is not living in prolonged sin without regard to the tears which God cries for us, not to mention the blood he shed in our place! This last statement should induce repentance in those who have sins not repented in their lives.

God offers two things as an outcome to behavior. Just like we mold our children's behavior through operant conditioning, God molds us! Why take the trouble? Because as a good parent he loves his children!

Positive reinforcement is used: the gift of God (for not sinning - called righteousness) is eternal life, and incidentally that's through the giver of live, Jesus the Christ.

Positive punishment is threatened as: the wages of sin is death. Remember that he is counseling faithful saints on how to live right, or in the will of God. As a just God he promises reward (gift of eternal life) for those Christians who are righteous, or eternal death for those who sin. His goal is not to make his children rebel, but to submit to his authority. He shows fairness in his expectations because he doesn't owe the gift, but it being available is grace.

Within that operant conditioning lies justice. Jesus is the giver of eternal life. However, he is the judge as well. The punishment is fair. It's the same for everyone. We get to choose our own punishment for rebellion. We don't like to think that Jesus, the author of love, will allow us to be punished, but he must to motivate right behavior (Matthew 25:31-46).

A wise parent offers reward and punishment. He not only is the bearer of rewards, but punishment as well. That must be in order for the parent to be effective and respected. It would be horrendous if the father rewarded, but then get another to punish. That's what dictators do!

Paul wrote this so that Roman Christians, in the citadel of sin, would stay away from the temptations there. They needed to know that there are consequences to sin! He also wanted to remind them that if they stay away from sin, it's worth it, for a gift lies ahead; what he often called "the hope of salvation" which leads to salvation. In effect this is the Abrahamic Covenant repeated in the dispensation of grace.

Shorthand for the Abrahamic Covenant is: be righteous and you shall be rewarded, sin and you shall be punished. Not that with the Jews God was faithful and gave them thousands of chances to change. However, after they did what was right in their own eyes over the years, God punished them with dispersion and death.

We don't worship two Gods. Jesus and the Father are just because they are one. God is the giver of gifts and the punisher.  Jesus cries for us, but yet he must be just. Just as an innocent Adam chose sin and was punished, an innocent Christian who chooses sin over God, must not test God's patience. It's not like he's standing there with a whip just waiting for a chance to use it, but that he mourns as we bury ourselves in sin.

His desire is that we obey him out of love (the gift we don't deserve is the reinforcement) rather than the fear of eternal death (positive punishment), but if it takes that to keep us from turning to Satan he will certainly use it! That's just.

Personally, I came to trust Jesus, not because I loved him, but because I feared eternal death. Jesus offered eternal life so I took the gift that was offered, and it was free on top of it!  Because he gave me the gift, I love him for it, and as such I endeavor to live right to please him out of gratitude. It helps me to please him if I know in advance that salvation is not a ticket to sin, but freedom from the bondage of sin. I am still allowed to sin. That's my choice, but there is a danger in living for sin. By offering just consequences, he actually helps me to not kill my own spiritual self!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Church and Who It Is and Is Not

It's not my church and it is not your church. It is not even our church. Some believe it's Peter's church, and indeed he is buried under St. Peter's Basilica, the church of the Vatican in Rome, the city-state ruled by the Roman Catholic Pope. It is Christ's Church!

The Church belongs to Jesus as scripture says.
Ephesians 2:19  "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord..."
The construction of the church is not constructed of material things, but of the heart:
 Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands..."
The Church (capitalized because it is God's Church, not the building), is the Lord's holy temple (Ephesians 2:21).

Let's look at the Church. Look right through the bricks and mortar, and through the gypsum and what do you see? A vast array of people. Some who sit there are saints. They sit among others who are not. What you're looking at is a small part of the Church. The Church is the few among the pews who have faith in Jesus Christ and trust him for salvation. They are those born-again with a new nature given to them by the Holy Ghost.

In a typical church (small "c") those are few. However, all over the world whether sitting in a building or not, are millions of others who are born again and have a new nature. All those folks combined are the Church. You each are fellow citizens with the saints. Citizens of what realm? The kingdom of God. God's kingdom is made of all the saints in the world who have the Holy Ghost in their hearts.
1 Corinthians 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
So the Church is of three components: 1) Jesus is the Cornerstone, 2) the apostles and prophets are the foundation and that includes Peter, and 3) citizens of the kingdom of God which are the saints. All this is from Ephesians 2:19-20. Each of these are framed together and made the Church (Ephesians 2:21).

In order for the stones to build a solid building there must be mortar. The mortar of the church is love! It's what holds the spiritual building blocks firmly in place. That love is the mortar called "accord" in the following passage: 
Acts 2:1 "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place."
The Holy Ghost comes unto each saint, and he arrives when love is in the air. Accord is the demonstration of that love. When discord is there, all these temples, each of the saints, are spiritually tearing down the church. All the saints who are temples of the Holy Ghost, when they are in harmony, then accord is the atmosphere in which the Church is built. Right after the saints were of one accord, the Holy Ghost came upon them and the Church was built! Where was Jesus? It was his "Ghost" which was the Cornerstone. The apostles at Jerusalem were the foundation and the disciples were the building blocks, each of their individual temples in unity bonded by love!

Soon after that it was announced:
Acts 11:26 "And when he (Barnabas) had found him (Saul), he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
In this passage the Church was finally built. All those who followed Jesus and were temples themselves became the Temple of the Lord. There was no building, but the spiritual framework were the Christians, as they were first called here. Thus, the entire body of Christians are the Church.

For those who pride themselves in being of the modern Christian Church or the Churches of Christ, shame on you for excluding other saints from your churches. It's noble that those Christians there endeavor to be like the New Testament Church, but many have removed millions of the bricks from their mortar. All who are born again and are temples of the Holy Spirit are bricks in the true spiritual Church.

1 Corinthians 1:11 "For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
The Christian and Church of Christ denominations have divided the church! Yes, they too are denominations because they divide the spiritual building by removing some of the bricks, They help crumble the mortar and allow the church to fall apart. However, you folks are no more guilty than are the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox Catholics, or even the Baptists! All those divided from the Church are contentious and prideful and erode the mortar of love which is the accord that binds the Church together. We can't play games with non-denominational sounding names. We all are equally guilty. My own church is included!

As long as the assembly of believers teach Christ and him crucified,  are those who are born again and trust Jesus as their Savior, then they are the Church. They come from all denominations and also from those who claim not to be denominational.

Roman Catholics are prideful that they are the apostolic church. They are not any more than Baptists are not! The catholics (small "c"; the universal church) which existed in the apostolic age are those called Christians at Antioch. The only organization they had were that they were disciples of Jesus Christ. From those few Christians the Church was born, then Satan began to divide!

The first division among the Church was the separation of Roman Catholics from the Orthodox and Coptics. It was because of discord. The bond of love weakened the spiritual mortar.  The Roman Catholics began to place too much emphasis on the apostles and off Jesus Christ. Their focus became works and off grace. Papa became more important than the Father. From there Mary became a human goddess to help out Jesus. Later, saints were bestowed with powers reserved for God. Finally, the Pope became essential for forgiveness and salvation.

We owe much to the Roman Catholic Church because we were all once part of their parent church, the true universal (catholic) Church of God.

Martin Luther spelled out 95 Thesis where the Roman Catholic Church was in error to scripture.  His intent was to correct the errors of his church, not to divide into a new denomination! If the Pope and Cardinals had tested his theses the errors would have been corrected, but that was not the case. A new denomination was formed and the Church was further divided.

As time went on the disagreements continued and denominations were built. The Church was torn down by discord, but it was still there in spirit. Within each of these denominations lies saints who are part of the true church. Their qualifications are being temples of the Holy Ghost and as such have a new nature. They are few among many! Even my own church has bricks without straw and so does yours. Much of the time even the reverend is the least reverent and his (or her) brick is the most hardened and prone to breakage!

If you're a Baptist you come from discord. You separated from the Anglicans. If you're the Church of Christ, you are a product of discord. You separated from the Presbyterians and Baptists. If you're Methodist you are from discord as well! There is one Church and we all are products of discord.

Many who sit in their pew this Sunday will never admit it, but their belief is that their church is the Church, and that those in other churches are confused or heretical. Some churches have doctrine closer to the Church than others, and that is admirable. However, no church and no denomination is without error! I've never seen a perfect doctrine which is in full accord with Jesus's teachings.

It may be doctrine or it may mean apathy. It may be mean-spirited and prideful. It may mean that people are unloving and not compassionate. It may mean that some are not even friendly. That love which is called accord, is not there in many churches. People hate each other and hate other churches. There is even unhealthy competition among churches of the same denomination and splits within the church. Right now there are people in your church who hate you. There are people who hate me! It's not that they despise one another for hate is just lack of love.

The Pharisees had destructive doctrine. Jesus called them vipers because they were of the serpent. They added regulations to the Law which were impossible to keep and enslaving to the people. Rather than believers being led out of bondage, they were ensnared within bondage.

Even today churches have added rules to scripture to further enslave. Many are carryovers from Roman Catholicism. Even some Baptists take pride in Landmarkism, that they are from a direct line from John the Baptist. Truly, that is very Roman Catholic of them since they claim the same from Peter. The Church (saints) is built on the foundation of ALL the apostles and disciples, not just one, and Jesus is the Cornerstone!

If it's not scriptural it's a millstone; it will sink the church and the church is sinking fast! As you sit there in your pew, you can do your part for the true Church. It starts with love and compassion and includes obedience and meekness. As each person loves another, the chinks in the walls of the Church are pointed with accord. Love bonds the bricks of the temple into a spiritual Church on a New Testament foundation!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Christians: Comfortable With Others Going to Hell

An unidentified atheist said something to the effect, "If Christians were serious they couldn't sleep at night because the unsaved are going to hell."

Here I am in the middle of the night, worrying about whether I care enough about lost souls. Like you I'm certainly too comfortable with others going to hell. That's why we are to share the gospel. The epitome of love is telling others about the hope of salvation! Not sharing the faith is a sign of weak faith. If Christians truly trust in Jesus, they are assured of their salvation and want others, not only to live for eternity, but to live in hope right here!

Let's consider for instance, the "gay" person. I don't like the term and never use it in conversation because the very word is a slight of hand by Satan.

First off, if you don't believe in Satan, you're in denial, for you can feel him urging you on to sin. Of course only he and his dark angels can only urge, but those who listen to falsehoods allow themselves to be damned.

A better word than "gay" is "reprobate", assuming that the homosexual is "out of the closet" because at that point they are not ashamed of their sin. Reprobation is when one no longer feels guilt for transgressions. That seems to occur when they are proud of their sin, deny their sin or don't care what God or others think about their sin. Of course that applies to other sins, but scripture lists homosexuality as one of them.

Romans 1:25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever... 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient..."
Being reprobate is of such a rebellious mind that the sinner no longer heeds the rebuke of God through his Holy Spirit. In effect the sinner is so apathetic to the will of God that God ceases to call them to repentance, and hence, they damn themselves to an eternity in hell.

Of course right now those reprobate will say, "There is no hell," or "A loving God would never allow a person to suffer hell." If you think that way, you are delusional. There is divine justice!

I am not comfortable with homosexuals going to hell. Why? Because God loves them and I do too; to the extent that I do not want them to suffer in hell.

It is our job as Christians to tend to God's garden. That is our job assignment given back there as Adam was created. God's garden is his creation; those neighbors we are to love. Whatever we do we are to climb that tree, take that sword and cut the serpent down from his lookout point on that branch of the forbidden tree. Our motto should be "I'd rather offend than condemn," because failing to rebuke is condemnation. Obedience is what God desires, not tolerance!

Some care about sinners in their own church. That's noble and a start, but we're to go out unto the world, as the Great Commission tells us to do. That's really tending the garden! Some rationalize, "That's not my responsibility. They don't go to my church." That's apathetic and prideful!

(Note that "Church" is the invisible universal group of believers and "church" are those who come to the building).

First off, it's not YOUR church. It's God's. It may be the building you visit or the denomination you attend, but it is not the Church. The Church is the kingdom of God and it's anywhere there are believers. In fact I would suggest that your church may be far from the Church, because the true Church obeys the edict to bring the world unto God's kingdom. We are to go out unto the world to fish for men and women to grow the Church.

You worry needlessly! They may be great sinners and you recognize that, but you are to use scripture to admonish, reprove and rebuke. Paul did that. You can too! Tending to God's garden is convincing the world that they need Jesus. They must stand under the Tree of Life. Failure to tell them about Jesus is a sin of omission. We think, "They are too sinful to be saved," and as such damn them so Satan won't have to do his job.

Right now, most of you, even preachers, are content with sharing the word in merely your own church. That's easy because most people there profess Christianity even though they may not live for Christ. True Christians go out into the world and bring sinners to any house of God. Your church isn't important in God's scheme of things, but his Church is!

I'm awake right now because I'm worried about the mission of the church. I see it as making people comfortable being apathetic, not even caring that the world is going to hell and we are eating our pitch-in dinners and laughing about being overweight, while sinners are going to hell because no one cares enough to take the time to tell them about Jesus.

I write this because I'm sharing with the world right now. If you're reading this you may not be aware that I have readers in Russia, China, the Ukraine and far away places. I want you folks to read my commentary because my desire is for you to know the truth about Jesus! I can't sleep because many of you are going to hell and I'm uncomfortable with that!

Come to my church! It's not in Salmons, Kentucky. It's not of brick and mortar. The leader is not my preacher. My Church is wherever Christians of any color or denomination claims Jesus as the only way to salvation, and the only doctrine necessary is Jesus and him crucified for our sins.

A preacher and theologian this week professed on Facebook that he is "gay". By doing that he is proud that he is in rebellion to God. In effect he is thumbing his nose at God, and rather than being "gay" he is "reprobate". Christians cannot serve two masters. Our Master has said that homosexuality is an abomination. False Christians in effect, create their own god. They do what's right on their own eyes.

We are to use scripture in all decision-making. We are not to add to it, even with good intentions. When the Jews wrote the Talmud they included not ten, but 613 commandments. They had good intentions. They wanted to force people to be good. That's not salvation by grace.

Preachers preach against being Pharisee-like, then create their own regulations and add to the word. It may be their own principles, but it isn't God's will unless it is in his word.

The goal of us all, and all Christians are of the Royal Priesthood, is to convince sinners to be Christians. In order to do that we must all go to them wherever they are. As a general rule sinners don't come to a place where they are uncomfortable, so the rest of us need to get out of our place of comfort and go to them! We must go to them!

Test your faith this week. Show that you are doing your job this week. Go out into the world and tell others about Jesus. Whatever the inconvenience, whatever the cost, it's worth saving fellow human beings from eternal damnation. Knock down those brick walls of your church and go to Church in the world. That building and that creed won't be on the walls in Paradise, but love and compassion will be!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Love is Compassion on Display

It's easy to teach about love; much easier than actually loving! I have a problem - you do too! None of us love enough. 

Love is the universal emotional language. Ultimate love is the love God has for his creation. We can never love that much. The difference between God's great love and our own ability to love is the range we call "hate". Much of our hate is directed toward others because they interfere with self-worship; or our own stance of being divinely correct.

Love is operationalized by the Ten Commandments. They actually measure the degree of hate that we have for God and others. If one steals from another they are showing a degree of hatred for that person by taking what is theirs. If they fail to honor the Sabbath, they are loathing God because he says to honor it.

By taking care not to offend people is showing compassion, which is the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Nobody wants stolen property. Nobody wants hurt feelings. Everyone wants fair treatment. Nobody wants to die! The opposing ameliorating actions are compassion.

Compassion is being aware of others distress, feeling badly for them and willing to help remove their agony.

I get disappointed in others. If it's because they have wronged me, it's being selfish, and self-pity isn't compassion. When others feelings are scarred and I want to alleviate their pain, that is compassion.

First off, if I offend anyone, I am to reconcile. That's compassion in action.

If someone else offends another they are to be rebuked. Our own personalities are never a good reason to slight another person.

The greatest slight possible is jeopardizing their salvation. The second greatest slight is robbing them of their joy.  As such we carry a huge responsibility to think before we act, and then act toward the surest positive outcome. That outcome is to do everything in our power to ensure that another person is led to the Lord and instructed in righteousness!

What if we were the ones seeking truth and those who teach it failed to? It's obvious that teaching truth to those seeking it is paramount to anything. Failure to teach truth to another who is seeking it, is an omission, essentially hateful, remembering that hate is the mere absence of love.

For instance if one fails to teach others about Jesus and the way to salvation, then the one who fails his duty is killing the seeker... forever! It's condemning them to a second death which is eternal and torturous! In this case the sin of omission is worse than murder because scripture says that hate, which is the absence of love, is murder.

Have you murdered anyone recently? If you have failed to tell them about the blood of Jesus as an antidote to death, you have killed them. They will surely die unless another does for them what you should have done.

It is sinful to neglect another soul. That's not compassionate. What if no one had ever told you about Jesus? Where would your hope lie? The most profound act of compassion is sharing the gospel with those who seek it, and admonish those who even are not!

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Atmosphere of Love

Right now the air we breath is primarily O2 blended with other gases. Although we can't see it, air is contaminated with the by-products of life such as CO2. The plants need that, but we don't. However, they have it because they depend on us for their own livelihood. There are other things in the air which are inert, and even other gases which kill, mainly CO (carbon monoxide).

When the CO2 is great, as we all exhale, it can suffocate because the O2 is diluted. Plants would grow extremely well in the air of a crowded room.  If a fire was burned in a crowded room without proper ventilation, the carbon monoxide would kill everybody therein.

All these components in the air are classified as matter. Matter are things which take up space and has mass. Matter is what fills space. As you see our space is filled with good things (oxygen) and things which can insidiously harm (carbon dioxide). Then there are killers unseen and without odor, namely carbon monoxide. These are the things of the world.

All is well as long as humans breath pure clean air even though they contaminate it with their own breathing as they convert oxygen into carbon dioxide. It's when fuel is burned without enough air that the killer carbon monoxide is produced.

Now, let an analogy be made.

Without others we can breath pure air and produce only small amounts of carbon dioxide. Humans contaminate all that they come into contact. Without mankind the air is akin to love because it's good.

Psalm 33:5 "He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."
Without mankind all was right and without need for judgement. As such the earth was full of goodness of the Lord. In the beginning the earth was all about love. Even the love which we breathed was good for the plants because mankind tended to the garden as they were assigned to do. As Adam walked alone he was breathing God's love and producing love for the plants as carbon dioxide was expelled.  In essence he was sharing a little love with his garden.

Then Eve was created. At first they both breathed pure love! They were of the same world and that world was full of goodness. Their atmosphere was pure love, the love of each combining with the love of God for harmony. In that initial atmosphere was philia love and agape love combined with storge love.

Agape love was the base atmosphere supplied by God. Love is all about him! In the beginning as now, all God ever wanted, because he loved mankind so much, is that we love him back. That is the Greatest Commandment! The atmosphere in the garden was full of agape. It was breathed and was life.

Then God created Adam. He and God were alone with each other and the animals. God loved Adam and Adam loved God, but an additional type of love was a by-product of breathing this pure love. As Adam bonded with the animals storge love was added. That's the kinship between family members and even the animals. As dogs are now man's best friend, with Adam all the animals were his friends, and each had affection for the other! You dog lovers know that kind of love! Adam didn't have one of his kind as the animals did, but God, out of agape, created a woman for Adam.

When Adam looked upon the woman, agape love was still there. He still loved God, but also loved this woman. He loved God as his own self, and Eve in the same degree. The atmosphere was still pure and full of love.

Eve was Adam's sister! They were both made from the same matter and God was their Father. Don't think of that as incestuous because eros love was not part of the atmosphere. Eros is sexual love. God immediately told them to multiply, but it was for reproduction, not enjoyment, so it was not erotic in nature.

As sister and brother their type of love was philia. They had not lost their first love, God, nor their godly love for each other (agape), nor their love of the fellow beings (storge), but gained philia or brotherly love. Philia and storge were both by-products of agape. So far they breathed and exhaled love! All the air is love and the atmosphere is righteous.

Then a third entity entered the picture. Angels can take on any form. Lucifer appeared as a serpent. If anyone has walked through the woods they know that some poisonous snakes have a stench about them. As long as it's over there, wherever there is, the stench is insignificant because love abounds. However, the serpent presented his tree and the stench went undetected because of the beauty and pleasure it offered. Eve breathed it first! The appearance of the good fruit was attractive, but it was without aroma.

However, this fruit was carbon monoxide in this previously pure atmosphere. The world of Adam and Eve right there in the garden collided with supra-natural worlds. Whereas the air they breathed had been one of love, now dirty fatal gases were released into the air. Rebellion was the valve and pride was it's gauge. With one bite of the fruit, hate filled the air and it became contaminated. Adam and Eve, once immortal, began to die right at that moment because hate was released.

We think of hate as being mean-spirited, but hate is merely failure to love with agape.  No longer did godly love temper storge, and philia love, the three in one. Another type of love filled the air. It was eros. Thereafter, rather than multiplication being all about storge, it was now erotica. This is revealed by the covering of the flesh with fig leaves.

Worlds collided that day. The putrid stench from the realm of darkness invaded paradise. Erotica filled the air and all manner of things came about. Pride and licentiousness came on Adam and Eve as their spiritual flesh decayed. The aroma of hate that comes from rebellion filled the air. Ludus love came on their children. Even infants played erotically since has all humankind thereafter. As each came into contact, their interests became more selfish. Rather than Eve pleasing Adam by being his help-mate, now pleasure was all about her! Philautia, or self love, came on each of them. Now love was off God and on each other, but more about self. Each of us have that type of ungodly love from birth. Love of self is hate of God because it's failure for God to have his rightful and due love.

Philautia love displaced agape love, and then philia and storge love were poisoned. Eros and ludus came to be all about self. It was then that Adam and Eve became other gods before God and their flesh became their idol. Pure love was replaced by self-love and hate contaminated the pure air.

Men and women still have colliding worlds with Satan, but he does it with stealth. The world of one person collides with the world of another, both seeking philautia. It's not without odor now as carbon dioxide is, but has the foul odor of sulfur dioxide, the aroma of hate manifested. As each person clings to their love of self, corrosion occurs and the putrid air of two self-worlds intermingle and explode. Pride ignites the toxic gases and anger is the explosion.

People don't get along because love is not in the air. We say that we love God, but then allow our world's to collide. Jesus said to love thy neighbor. Doing that is philia love, but can be done only through agape love. With love of others, air become pure because God changes discord to accord! Love is breathed again, overpowering the stench of the oxide of hate.

Praga, or longstanding love comes about with deep understanding of each other. Long married couples exhibit this. Their air becomes pure as their world's cease to collide. Friends can do that too as they begin to understand each other. However, praga can only be in the atmosphere of agape because God is the author of this type of love!

As such mature Christians love without condition because they realize how the devil silently operates. He poisons even holy air and Christians flail about as if fanning away the ripples of hate penetrating the air. As one world collides with the other, only one person smiles; that is Satan. Those with praga love understand what's happening and don't let it happen. World's need not collide. Satan need not have pride in his destruction.

We shall always have hatred and colliding worlds in this atmosphere. It has already been tainted, but as we enter the kingdom of God, as we're born again, the Christian allows God to freshen the air. Meekness is the air freshener which is used and love is its aroma.

Christians, if they allow him, have an invisible shield around their world keeping it from colliding with other worlds. It's a hedge which God provides and is his invisible armor. It contains the hate and allows love to be breathed by all who will breath of it. How do Christians inhale the pure air of love? It's by reconciliation because only through accord can one experience the love of God! Let God take care of the carbon monoxide. All we need to do is breath what's his with a meek spirit.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ticket to Sin or Freed from Jail

Romans 6:1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Calvinism is purely sola gratia (by grace alone). This is true in that even our birth, life, nourishment and faith is by the grace of God, but also by grace God gave mankind abilities. In the Garden Adam was given dominion over all the animals and he was to tend the garden, which was essentially to worship God who stood in the center of the Garden. Those were Adam's abilities. God was to take care of everything else, but he left a decision which Adam was free to make. God bestowed on our forbears the ability of free choice when he commanded, "Do not eat of that one tree!"

If that had been anything other than a free choice, eating of it would be out of the question. God could have put the fruit beyond reach or blocked by stones. He didn't. He wanted Eve and Adam to choose for themselves what their desires were!  Free choice is the ability to choose between available options.

Because we are Adam's (mankind) as well, we too have free choice. God doesn't want us to be forced to serve, but seeks it of our own volition. Like all other human attributes free choices are God-given abilities and by it's his grace we have abilities at all!

Because he created us with all that we have and need we must be appreciative. He expects our love in return, contrary to what Dr. David Jeremiah says. That's why we were even created and given a second chance (grace).

So technically everything in life is sola gratia! Even our faith, which is a work, is a gift of God:
1 Thessalonians 1:3 "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith..."
 Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
Which is it; a gift or work? It is both because God gave us the ability to work and because of that we are to exercise that ability. It is the "tending to the Garden" ability he endowed Adam with in the beginning. So the ability is the gift and the tending is the faith. Tending is the work of faith!

Christians are at liberty to sin. There are consequences of sinning, but God wants us to obey so that we are not imprisoned. It's Satan who enslaves, but God who frees! We can sin all that we want! (Romans 6:1) (Please do not stop reading here.) However, as Christians our "wants" our changed (Romans 6:6). Paul discusses this liberty further in Galatians 5:1.

This is the same liberty which Adam had in tending the Garden. God's desire was  to be attended because he was the focal point of the Garden as the root of the Tree of Life. His desire was that Adam kneel there and eat of the twelve fruits of  the legal tree, but he still gave Adam the liberty to eat of other fruits. That is grace and was a free gift.

Faith must be induced being freely available. Adam listened to the Voice and was guided in what would please God and displease him. With that gift, Adam put his faith in action. He was to work to please God. When the Voice said "Don't eat of the forbidden tree" in essence he was saying "Love me and me alone!" That was his expectation. Love is not an emotion which binds, but a work which frees. In loving God Adam was doing his job assignment, and because love is a command, "the greatest one", then it is a work.

Salvation has always been by grace, but it was always accepted out of faith. The coupling is "the gift results in works"! Paul reinforced that in Romans 6 above. Christians are to present themselves a living sacrifice and bury the sinful life. Our old man, if salvation had efficacy, meant that our flesh was crucified with Christ. What would keep that from happening? Not trusting Jesus enough to make the sacrifice of our selves. That was having faith!

Calvinists are too comfortable in their sola gratia.  Because of grace we were released from the bondage of sin, but because we cut off the flesh and were crucified with Christ, our sins were taken on the back of Jesus (he became sin for us), and our own yoke was removed. Sin is still available and we still sin at times, but we must have steadfast faith to finish the race. When doing right is no longer important to the Christian, they blaspheme God, and like Jesus who cannot be crucified a second time, neither can we!

Our changed heart means that our flesh still has the liberty to sin, but our spirit protects us from it. As Satan and his dark angels go to and fro, it's our work of faith which is the armor which protects us. If we are not serious (sober) and responsive to the Word, then Satan can deceive even the elect to return to bondage just as some of the saved Jews desired a return to bondage in Egypt.

Why? Because sin is pleasurable and the sinning Christian has kept part of the flesh as a souvenir to look back on, and conjure at will. As sin is repeated conjured, Satan takes his son or daughter back into the fold, never to return again! That's not with a sin or sins, but that's with those reprobate... without God having any significance in their lives.

The doctrine of sola gratia, as applied by Calvinists, is damning in that we never ever get a ticket to sin. Indeed we Christians have a reprieve from temptation with the safety of God's armor, our Jobian hedge, to remove the desire which sin offers.  We never get a ticket to sin, but if we're faithful, we get freed from bondage. Even the Greatest Command "love God" and the one like unto it, "love others" are done in freedom. They are emotions which we must have and do, and are therefore works.

God, just as with Adam, whom he never forced, never forces us to love him or others. It's what we do when the flesh is buried and crucified with Christ. It's our refreshed spirit doing new good things because we tend to the Tree of Life (Jesus) to please him!

Monday, October 17, 2016

I'm Sorry: The Words Less Spoken

It's so simple to say, "I'm sorry," but so difficult to feel! What is it that makes that so hard to say and even harder to feel. Can it be that it can't be said because it's not felt?

Being "sorry" is feeling regret, or in effect "mourning" because of things a person had done.

Feeling is not one of the five senses because those are physical. Feeling is state which only humans can have, but because we are human. It's easier to have pleasurable feelings than those of sorrow. The difference lies in that word "pleasure". It corrupts our humanity and taints our spirituality.

Regret (aka mourning) is not pleasurable. In fact, sometimes it's unbearable! Sorrow is the emotion which leads to repentance. Before one can even feel sorrow, the person must be convicted that what has been done is wrong. That's the most difficult, and  is where the battle is waged!

Being sorry is not said because of pride and the desire for pleasure blots it out.  When the serpent said "You shall not surely die," to Eve, that's what Eve wanted to hear! She wanted pleasure from the tree and an excuse not to feel guilty for having the pleasure.

There seems to be confusion between conviction and guilt. Conviction is the decree from the Holy Spirit that a person is in violation of the will of God. Sometimes it's after the wrong and at other times before. Eve knew that she was about to sin, but did it anyway! It is no different for us!

George Constanza, in the sitcom Seinfeld, had sexual intercourse with the janitor woman on an episode. It was laughable, but so true. When his boss asked him if he did,  his first attempt was deception: "Who told you that?" When the boss said "She did," George moved on to the excuse mode, "Is that wrong? If someone had told me I certainly would have known not to do it!"

Silly as it seems, that's how our own minds work when we sin knowing full well that we're about to sin!

In a movie a farmer and a woman, as they entangled themselves in lust, said "God, forgive us for what we're about to do," and then they proceeded to copulate.

Again, most people do the same! When Eve said "And God said neither shall you touch it," she was making a defense. First off, God didn't tell Eve anything, and secondly she had no business standing under the forbidden tree.

I believe that the Holy Spirit convicted Eve before she disobeyed. She ate knowing full well that she was guilty!   The lure of pleasure superseded the thoughts of dying.  When we sin, there is the same trade-off. We think "This sin will be pleasurable enough that it's worth taking the chance that God will save me from eternal punishment." As such we play games with God's grace and take it for granted.

One sin can certainly kill us depending on the nature of that sin and at what time the sin occurs. Even one sin will make us die eternally providing it's when we, unlike George's claim, understand what sin can do and if not children of God.

Eve was not innocent even before she sinned. She deluded herself for the pleasure of it all. She flirted with sin from afar as she walked toward that tree when the serpent beckoned. That's walking into temptation.
2 Peter 2:9a "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations..."
Temptation is the path to sin. We are not to go there! If we intentionally enter the place of temptation, it's a sin. Eve knew that standing under the other tree was entering into temptation, but she walked there regardless. Like George's excuse "If someone had only told me," but thousands of excuses are not one valid reason! Adam had told her, but for her own pleasure, Eve distorted the command. That makes commands easier to violate.

"Oh, it was unclear. I thought you didn't want me to touch it," neglecting that God said that it was not to be eaten! "If I had only known what you meant, God!"

Confusing the issue is a barrier to sorrow. As long as their is a defense, sorrow is not forthcoming. Truly the first step toward sorrow is admitting guilt.

Conviction is when the Holy Spirit successfully tears down Satan's excuses.
Genesis 3:11 "And he (God)  said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"
Note that Adam and Eve had already been convicted and were ashamed when God asked this. Note that it was not the serpent who made them feel guilt. Unsaid, is that the Holy Spirit convinced them that they disappointed God. Conviction is the cause which emotes the effect and affect of guilt.

Ask, "Why did Adam and Eve cover their nakedness with fig leaves?"

Answer: Because they were ashamed!

Why were they ashamed?

Answer: Because they knew they had sinned.

How did they know they sinned?

Answer: The Holy Spirit led them to that admission. That's when they were convicted.

Do you see the process? Conviction is the step that allowed them to feel guilt. Inside they mourned because they disappointed God.

Did Adam or Eve ever say "I'm sorry"? Never. They blamed, one the serpent and the other his mate!

Did they feel sorry? Yes, they did because they were ashamed as indicated by their guilt.

The fig leaves were symbolic of saying "I'm sorry God for disobeying you," and their hiding in the garden was an indication of their guilt. The serpent never gave them that guilt. God made them feel guilty. Guilt is from God so as to allow the sinner to be shamed into seeking forgiveness.

Even as they made excuses they knew they were without excuse. Just as George just relented and took his punishment for the office sex, Adam and Eve got their punishment. They never cursed God because they knew they deserved the consequences of sin.

The process so far had been: 1) temptation, 2) allowing oneself to enter into temptation, 3) sinning, 4) pleasure, 5) conviction, 6) guilt and then 7) sorrow.  Afterward  comes 8) confession, 9) repentance and then 10) forgiveness!

Adam and Eve repented when they did something about their guilt. They hid and covered their nakedness. Their fig leaves were their repentance. They tried to cover their own sins, but didn't do it so well!

Physically, the foliage was still able to reveal their genitals even with care. It was impossible to ever ensure that their flesh was always covered. Without going into detail, just think on that impossibility. But with the skin of an innocent animal which lost it's life, God covered their guiltiness! The skin was uniform and was able to totally hide their nakedness. God saved them from their shame by his grace. They tried to do that themselves, but failed with the veil with which their shame was only disguised. God was able to cover their shame entirely!

Right then as they hid themselves in the garden they knew that there was no way that they could save themselves from the penalty of death, and accepted the sacrifice of an innocent death as they admitted, "Only God  can save me!" That moment of enlightenment was when Adam and Eve were ever truly born! Unlike them we can be "born again" with the same enlightenment!

Redemption was when Adam and Eve accepted God's grace. His grace was when he provided the animal for the sacrifice, just as he did for Abraham and he did with Jesus. In fact it was Jesus who provided the sacrifice in all cases because he was there! He was the one speaking to Adam and Eve for he is the Word!

Did Adam and Eve ever feel sorry? They truly did. That was revealed when they hid themselves from God. Did they ever say that they are sorry? Yes, but not in words. It was their way of saying "I'm sorry, God" was when they covered themselves. That wasn't enough to save them, but it was enough of an apology for God to save them!

Unlike George Constanza who was kicked out of the office and was forgotten, Adam and Eve suffered the consequences, but were never forgotten! Grace continued until their death and grace continues for their seed. Grace is free, and it's always there! However, to get it you must say those hard words, "I'm sorry, God!"

That's only the last step though. Before God accepts our apology we are to apologize to others. Adam and Eve should have apologized to each other for they brought each other to shame. I believe that concealing their flesh from each other was their apology. That's the only recourse they had to make things right with each other.

Our first step in showing love for God is showing love for others. As such reconciliation is necessary as a result of guilt. We must say "I'm sorry," to those we offend. Before we are reconciled with God we are told to reconcile with each other or our offering will be rejected. Adam and Eve must have done that because that's the rule! (Matthew 18:15-17).

Love is having to say that you're sorry, both to others and to God! Who keeps you from that? Satan. By failing to say "I'm sorry," it is Satan to whom you obey. Saying "I'm sorry" are the words less spoken. Speak them more and mean it. Saying it is a reflection from feeling the guilt which you must feel.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sin: Spiritual Leprosy

When  commentary is about sin readership drops appreciably! Why? There is a fear of discussing  sin. That's because we all have that for as scripture says:
Romans 3:12 "They are all one out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
The lack of doing good is sin. As Jesus told the Pharisees (Matthew 19:17), only God is good. That's because only God is without sin. Does that mean that Jesus was sinful? Not at all. Jesus is God incarnate! In this case Jesus was staking claim to his Lordship.

A pre-requisite to being born-again is the admission, like everyone else, that you are a sinner as am I too. Some Christians (sic) skip this step. It's because pride gets in their way. "Love is not having to say that you're sorry," is foolishness. Love is being sorry and that's what sinners must be...  and tell God as they confess their sins.

There is within Mosaic Law what's called the Law of the leper:
Leviticus 14:1 "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 
2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing..."
Thereafter, the ceremonial cleansings are described and the trespass and sin offerings made for the leper to be made clean. Because cleanliness is associated with godliness in the scripture, leprosy was looked upon as sinful. It is not contagious by sexual contact, but it is by nasal mucous. Therefore, it is likely that the priests considered that the lepers were immoral because of the close contact it took to transmit the living death.

As anyone familiar with leprosy knows, it is a living death because the tissues of the body loses feeling and eventually dies when not treated. The ceremonial cleansing in scripture surely was more to protect the Jews than to cleanse the leper, but the leper could be cured!

There is a parallel between a leper and a sinner because as a leper suffers a living death, so does the sinner. In fact, those in sin without spiritual cleansing are the walking dead. Scripture advises us to avoid those who walk in sin.
 2 Corinthians 6:14  "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
Christians are not to get too close to sinners. Why? Because, like leprosy, sin is contagious! Unless Christians are ministering to sinners as Jesus did, we are to be separate. It's not they who are put in the leper colony, but us who are to be isolated from the spiritual lepers. You see, it's not the condition of the skin which makes men unclean, but the condition of the flesh.

The flesh is enjoying the pleasures of the world. It's those things which titillate the body and mind and cause the soul to filled with all manner of corruption.

Jesus ate with lepers, but it was to save their flesh, not their skin!  Because leprosy is not transmitted by talking, but by close proximity, Jesus was not risking his skin to save the lepers. His concern was on their flesh, not in the world, but in the hereafter.

As such, sinners are spiritual lepers. They know that they are the living dead, but don't want to recognize their spiritual condition. Mankind has convinced itself that if thoughts of death are avoided, life can be prolonged. However, the only way to prolong life is to confess: "I am a spiritual leper."

Strangely, most of the world are spiritual lepers and Christians consort with them and each other in their colony.   We go there and risk infection, and as such, we may allow ourselves to contract that dreaded disease even after spiritual cleansing. That's how Satan seeks to kill the living.

Even Christians hate the talk of sin because we are still vulnerable to the infection. We prefer to think, "I have immunity," but know that we don't! We do have protection as God still isolates us from it's influence, but we must cooperate. He puts us outside the colony in the kingdom of God, but if we venture into the colony, we endanger our spiritual lives. Sanctification is the most certain way to avoid spiritual leprosy. We are set apart from the leper colony and live in cleanliness. We are not to have too close of contact with those in sin.

Christians who sin are afraid. They have spiritual leprosy and fear that their rotting flesh will be found out. They fear that it is incurable and by avoidance of the recognition of their exposure to sin, it will have no consequence on their flesh. Denial is the enemy of righteousness. Before a leper can be healed, he must know that he is a leper. Sometimes the symptoms are dormant for twenty years or so, then the dead flesh reveals itself and it's almost too late!

Likewise, those with spiritual leprosy may go years without realizing that they are dead in the flesh. They fail to examine their flesh to see if it's healthy. Just as doctors can detect leprosy in the early stages, sinners can't detect their dead flesh early on unless they examine the condition of their hearts!

If they are engaged to the world because of the desires of the flesh, they are the walking dead. Guess what? We all have spiritual leprosy until we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, but out of pride and the pleasures of the flesh, sinners, even Christians, are in denial!

Denial is why people can't admit sin. They hate to admit that they are not isolated from the world by sanctification. They don't want to hear it or talk about it because they know in their hearts that they have spiritual leprosy.

Joel Osteen doesn't preach on sin because he realizes that spiritual leprosy will scare the sinner. If sin is spoken of, they all know that they have it, but don't choose to face it. They will just go to another preacher who doesn't talk about their spiritual infection. They will in essence get a second opinion, If it's preached about and falsely believed that if it's not spoken of, they don't have it!

Now for admonishment. All you sinners have spiritual leprosy. I have it too, but it's contained. God has isolated me and I am spiritually clean. He made the trespass and sin offerings for me! He took my sins (and yours) on his own back and died for our trespasses against God.

Until one faces their spiritual condition and confesses to it with sorrow, cleansing will not take place. The blood is only for those who accept the cure by admitting they have the disease.

Now quit flinching when your own spiritual leprosy is pointed out. You must sit there and listen to the doctor when he tells of your fate if you neglect the healing. What will happen to those who are not set apart for God?
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
You don't want to hear about sin and are in denial because unconfessed sin means death! You are going to die! Admit it.

However, the first death, although dreaded, is much less feared than the second death which is eternal. Take the cure before you die twice! Accept the blood sacrifice which Jesus provided! Be rebuked and recognize that without Christ you are indeed a spiritual leper.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Nature of Sin

I've always heard that sin is "a willful transgression of God's Law". In effect that's things people do on purpose which God commands not to do. Even formal definitions define it as "an immoral act". Again, the definition points toward things done with aforethought.

Neither of these are true. There are willful transgressions. Those indeed are things people do. Also, are sins of omission which are things people fail to do. Even accidental infractions are sinful, because men are called to do things with sobriety.

With the latter, for instance, if men are rough-housing and one severely hurts the other, it's an accidental sin because those fighting should have considered the potential for harm in scuffling.

Therefore sin is more than willful acts contrary to God's commands, but sin is failure to be righteous. That raises the question, "What is righteousness?" It's doing God's will for right reasons. Valid reasons are for honoring and magnifying God, not to satisfy oneself. In other words righteousness is minimizing "the you" in the eternal scheme of things Therefore sin is being what's right in your own eyes, rather than God's will.

Why? Because each of us are the "other gods". Not that we worship instead of God, but in addition to him! Even devout Christians struggle with self-satisfaction whether it is prideful, sexual, dishonesty or even gluttonous! Each of these things are to magnify or pleasure the self in place of God.

The greatest sin is a sin of omission. We are to love God! We all fail on that ;point because we are to love him immensely, not just perfunctorily. People say "I love Jesus!", but do they really? If they love him so much, why do they continue to disobey. To show our love, we are told to obey his commandments. The second greatest sin is failing to love others. Sure, we may love them, but it's obvious that nearly all love themselves more!

Again the failure is not that we don't love others, but love ourselves more. Witness that with our response when things displease us. Rather than love the other, we protect the self from distress. The self is loved more than others. That is a major sin!

Right this instant if there are those to whom you have antipathy, it's hate that is emoted! It's accidental. You are merely protecting yourself, but accidental sins are still sinful! For many who delight in dissension, that's a sin of omission even though it's willful. It's the inborn nature of people to get even by failure to love!

If by your actions others feelings are hurt or their enthusiasm for righteousness is dampened, it's sinful. They are sins of omission. They are the worst!

For example, blasphemy is the unpardonable sin. It's not what is done, but remains undone. The Holy Spirit calls everyone to salvation, but for those who fail to heed the call, it is sinful. Their antipathy damns them for eternity. It's not an act, but inaction which damns.

We are a sorry lot. We say that we love God, yet hurt other people because they infringe on our own comfort. Us sinners must always be spiritually comfortable. That's what Satan wants us to be. Part of the pleasure he gives is false comfort, whereas it's the Holy Ghost is the real Comforter!

Are you comfortable right now? If you are perhaps you're in Satan's corner. He smiles when we unwittingly stand under his tree! It's not willful, but passive. We think, "It's of no harm!" even as Jesus sheds his tears. You see, the reason we are to abandon sin is to cease the hurt toward Jesus. He has suffered enough on the cross. Why compound the hurt?

What is it that we all need to do? Change! That new person who emerged from the baptismal waters must be changed or Jesus was crucified in vain!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What Hinders?

Acts 8:36 "And as they (Philip and the eunuch) went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"
 Always... always... what hinders is always other people!  There was water, there was a preacher and there was a believer. What could possibly hinder?

The water wasn't polluted. The eunuch confessed belief. There was a preacher there. What could go wrong? What could hinder? Ideally and scripturally nada, nichts and nothing!

Baptism is a testimony. By the ordinance of immersion the Christian says "I am buried with Christ!" That's a good thing! How could anyone provide an obstacle to a Christian testimony.

The eunuch asked that immediately upon believing. He was anxious to let the world know that he was a new person. The old had been buried and up from the water came a new person who was proud to claim Christ as Savior!

He was enthused as a new creature. His desire was to make a public profession of faith so that others who knew him would see the spiritual change as the flesh has died and new desires have taken their place.

What if Philip had said "I'm not going to do it!" What would happen to this enthused Christian's enthusiasm? It would be dampened. Philip is the only person who could have hindered since the water had no choice, but to wash what is immersed!

Did Philip disappoint the eunuch? No! did Philip shirk his responsibilities? No! Did Philip disappoint God? No!

Philip never knew the eunuch previous to this so there was no preconception nor bias. He proceeded to do what was right to do. It is never right to discourage a Christian. That's the devil's job.

Never hinder an enthused Christian. Nothing should ever hinder a convert when the convert is desirous to obey.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Buried Alive

Romans 6:3 (NIV) "...don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his."
When people die, they materially perish. Jews allowed the flesh to decay then preserved the bones in an ossuary. There they are kept for millennia, hopefully near Jerusalem where they are bound to be raised from the dead.

Spiritually speaking, those who die to sin, are buried alive with Jesus Christ. Whereas, Jesus arose and is alive, those who have died to the world await the resurrection! Therefore, we are buried alive because our flesh is separated from our bones and await glorification. No, not our real flesh nor our real bones, but our enjoyment of pleasure separated from our basic needs!

Because those who are baptized unto Jesus have made the living sacrifice, they are prepared for a new life as they are born again.
Romans 12:1 (KJV) "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
The problem with Christians being not being buried with Jesus is that their flesh still lives. To join Jesus in eternal life requires the shedding of that old skin, leaving bare bones alone in their ossuary.

Think of the new person who sacrifices their flesh. It's the things of the world which they give up. It's pleasure, power, prestige and wealth which is left behind and what remains is protected until Jesus comes while we wait in our spiritual ossuary. Think of that ossuary as a hedge God puts around the new person whose old flesh is gone to protect it from the wiles of Satan. Once the General Resurrection comes, the mere skeleton of those who were buried with Christ is raised from entombment, given a new skin and is glorified. Dying to sin is the first step in being buried with Christ.

Jesus died for each of us, himself becoming a living sacrifice for us. After he tasted death for us he was placed for a time in a tomb until the resurrection.

Think on our own death... giving up the flesh, a reasonable sacrifice because Jesus did that! We are stripped to the bare bones and placed in a tomb, the ossuary, where we too remain for a spell. It's until Jesus comes to take us to our new home - a mansion with a room especially for our new flesh - a new room for a new person! We are taken from our burial place (buried alive) to be raised glorified!

The problem with Christians is that we merely believe. That's crucial, but hidden in that word is "trust". If we trust God we shall do his will, not because we have to, but to demonstrate our love for him.

Love is essential while we are protected in our burial place; alive in our ossuary. Love is what keeps the new creation without the flesh fresh until the time is ripe. Love is a the essential oil God uses on us to keep us smelling good. Love is God's myrrh which sweetens our soul to smell like him. Frankincense, given to Jesus at his birth as well, is his ointment to keep us until his return. Because we are buried with Jesus he uses himself to preserve us until the hope of salvation comes!

Obedience is how we demonstrate to God that we love him. Obedience keeps our ossuary concealed from the world waiting for the time when Jesus comes. Obedience is the lock that keeps sin from decaying those who wait on Jesus' return.

Christians decay because they are not buried with Christ. Rather than waiting in their ossuary protected by the divine essence of God, they continue to walk around in the flesh.

That flesh grows more disgusting as time goes on! Babes in Christ walk around in the flesh for a spell, but if they aren't buried with Christ, the virus of sin makes them zombies in effect. They act as if they're alive, but they are dead and not buried. They refuse to be buried with Christ and would rather walk with Satan. This spiritual dying can only last awhile before they must bury that rotting flesh with Christ and let him be their protection.

Baptism is the time when those born again are buried with Christ! The sooner the burial the better before the evil one holds onto the person to keep them from their ossuary where they are safe until Jesus comes!

Those who are buried with Christ quit living for the flesh of their own volition. Jesus doesn't force one's burial even though that's the law. We are buried of our own free will so as to please God who died for us. That's a show of gratitude to the one who loves us so much that he died so that we may live!

Let me be plain - to be buried with Christ is to quit sinning. Obedience to the Word  keeps us safe and demonstrates that we have indeed sacrificed ourselves to be buried alive with Christ!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Trumped by Lust: Casting Your Stone

The issue at hand this instant are the sins of Donald Trump. There are two issues which are tantamount: 1) His lust and  crudeness about it,  and 2) his lack of respect for women.

What Trump said was crude. I never ever use the language he used! However, those thoughts and words are commonplace in the privacy of places men gather, and now women as well! Yes, I hear the sexual comments women say about men. Most are as crude as the men!

Because it's common doesn't make it right! As Trump admitted; he offended people. Yes, any off-color language is offensive to me because it's unrighteous and offensive to God. We are to put filthy language out of our vocabulary!

The language is wrong! - And the thoughts are lustful. Just as Jimmy Carter admitted; he sometimes lusts. He said that in a  religious and honest context, and he was elected President.  Donald Trump, notwithstanding his marriage. said things about his lust. It's not right, but many married men fantasize, whether overtly or covertly. Trump's main sin was bragging. Most of the time those who brag are the last to do it!

In my own early life, my conscience would never allow me to do provocative things... and still won't. However, at that time I bragged on my fantastical conquests, all imaginary! I out-trumped Trump so to speak. The Lord delivered me from that type of behavior, but as with all people, my mind still wonders in places where it should not be! Any man or woman who denies that is a liar because lust is common for all mankind! That's our inheritance from Adam and Eve!

Sex was designed for pro-creation to populate the earth. It was (before the fall) not for recreation. As the fruit was eaten man and woman made pleasure of their differences. Women were designed for men and men for women. Dreaming about that pleasure is lust. Lust can never be quenched, but only controlled. Trump's sin is that his lust was made known in a rather crude way! His attitude was one of a braggadocios schoolboy. His level of lust was in 2005 outside acceptable restraint.

Many men are at this level! Few admit it.  Personally, only because I'm a Christian, I endeavor to keep my desires for my wife alone. With the advent of women's liberation, that's difficult. Women, at the behest of the designers, make self-control difficult for men. Women often dress to tantalize, get compliments or whatever, but in the process cause men to lust. Of course most men will lust regardless of the women's dress, but immodesty certainly doesn't help! Both sexes are in the wrong.

My big disappointment is in those people who throw the first stone. None are without sin and come short of the glory of God, but even conservative Republicans lined up to cast their stones first. They lose my respect! Trump admitted that he is wrong! It would be foolish to deny that. Hillary never admits her wrong, but cast the first stone. She, like those hypocrite Republicans who never ever lust, cast stones for Trump doing what they do!

You women are as guilty! Those sexy romance books and movies that you watch;  you are lusting. Admit it as Trump did and I shall not cast any stones!

Trump will never get the vote of the "self-righteous" demographic. If he was running for High Priest he wouldn't get mine either. However, we are voting for a government of the country, not the souls of mankind. Jesus supported Caesar even though Caesar was corrupt, incestuous and a murdered, as well was a self-proclaimed god. Why? Because order and regulation is necessary.

Look at the outcome and the differences between Hillary and Trump. Hillary is a liar and fraud who fails to admit it. Trump admitted his weakness which even the reader is afraid to do!

Lives depend on this crooked stick of a man. David's sin was much worse and God anointed him to do his will. David, an adulterer and a murderer, did what was right in God's eyes. Now it's your turn to cease the self-righteousness and vote for the one candidate who is pro-life and pro-Christianity. God uses crooked sticks for his will, and Trump certainly is! Even I am a crooked stick who tries to do his will, but fail him often.

Never let the media and public opinion shield your eyes from grace. We are to forgive and love and never harshly condemn unless the one in sin refuses to be contrite.

Trump can't make America great again, but God can. Just as David couldn't make Israel great, God did! Now get off your collective self-righteous horses and strike Goliath in the forehead with the stone of your vote. Erase the 666 on the evil one's forehead and allow God to make America great again without the corruption of the Clintons!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Killing God by Killing Me!

1 John 3:15  "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
 Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "hate" in this manner: "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury... or extreme dislike or antipathy ."
The following verse defines hate this way: 
John 3:20 "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."
 Let us see if the secular definition agrees with the theological.

Scripture equivocates light and truth. (John 3:21). Furthermore God is light (1 John 1:5).

Therefore John 3:20 indicates that those who do evil hate God! Those who love God are to obey his commandments (John 14:15). There are two commands: 1) love God and 2) love others (Matthew 22:36-40).

Loving others is God's will for us. We demonstrate to God our love by loving others. We can't be selective. We must even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

So from John 3:20, hate is failure to do God's will since evil is to neglect God. Even those apathetic to God do evil and hate God.  Since hate is failure to please God, then hate is the mere absence of love. There need not be intense feelings nor antipathy, but even apathy toward God and others is hate.

When Christians neglect telling others about God and his hope, it's apathy. Because apathy is not loving, there are no in-betweens. Apathy is "hate" because lost souls are damned forever. Their very soul is murdered!  In order to love we must care about the eternal well-being of others! Neglecting even the souls of so-called loved ones, is hate, because the epitome of evil is sacrificing another human being to eternal damnation.

Hate is too often associated with hostility, aversion, dislike and antipathy. Hate is in fact failure to do God's will; to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).

I have Christian brothers and sisters who fail to love me, let alone as they do themselves! This lack of love, although it is antipathy, is evil because it's not God's will. Their apathy toward me is hateful and as such I am murdered by those who claim to love God, but don't bother loving this brother, let alone their enemies.

Fellow Christians who are merely cordial to me are haters because of their lack of love. Even those who care little for me are apathetic, and as such are haters in God's eyes!

If one hates a brother (that's me) they are a murderer and as such can never be rewarded with eternal life. Haters go to hell because that's where murderers belong.

I used me as an example because I know of some fellow Christians who merely tolerate my presence. This applies to you as well because I am not special in any manner. If you are a Christian there are brothers who hate you through failure to be friends. As such you are murdered by your fellow Christians.

When feuds continue in the church, antipathy causes discord. The Holy Ghost won't be present when there is discord because discord fails to demonstrate love and lack of love is hateful. When discord is in the church those in the pews are likened unto murders. They kill their fellow Christians because of self-pride. Rather than sacrificing their own pride they sacrifice others. That's hateful!

People don't get blessed at church because when hate is there, the Spirit is not! The Spirit of Jesus chooses not to associate with murderers who fail to love others. Just as loving others is the second greatest commandment, failing to love others is the second greatest sin. Failure to love others results in the greatest sin; hating God. Therefore, when one hates his neighbor and refuses to obey God, he is evil and as such hates God. Because of that disobedience the brother or sister in effect murders God!

I can face fellow Christians who kill me, but those who murder me, are attempting to kill God.

You see, hate is not necessarily despising, but not caring enough to befriend! He who is no friend of mine is no friend of God. Those who murder me by their hate in essence attempt to murder God. They can kill me, but God is eternal. Punishment for attempting to kill God is eternal as well!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Eden: Pangea

Here's what Pangea looks like mapped with modern political borders
PANGEA  (300 Instances Ago)

Jerusalem is the center of the world and The Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock Mosque of the Islamic Religion is the focus of the center. It's where some believe that Adam is buried (including the Muslims), the Mt. Moriah where Abraham was tested to sacrifice his son, David bought the threshing floor there from Araunah, and Christ was crucified there on Golgotha, according to Jewish writings "the place of the skull of Adam". In Islamic writings it is claimed that Mohammad ascended from the Temple Mount and went bodily to heaven. (That's easy to claim, but hard to believe because he's still entombed.)

If one looks at all the empires which ever existed, Jerusalem was indeed the center of the world. Kings, Pharoahs and Caesars looked upon the Temple Mount with different ideas in mind. It David's time it became Mt. Zion. There for instance the Roman General, later Caesar, built a temple to Jupiter and erected a statue of his own God, himself, in front of Jupiter's Temple. As each world empire grew, Jerusalem, even when utterly destroyed, became the center of the empire (or the civilized world). Why then could not this be the location of the Garden in Eden?

Scripture was very specific as to the location of the Garden. It was at the headwaters of four rivers: The  Pison (around Havilah), the Gihon (around Ethipia), the Hiddekel (east of Assyria, which is the Tigris), and lastly, the Euphrates.

There is one problem: All four of these rivers don't run from a common head, In fact normally rivers flow into a common head. The solution to this enigma is that the world has changed. Continental drift is the term used to describe the pulling apart of the continents from one to what is there today. Experts look for the Garden on the globe of today. However, when Eden was created, the world was much different!
Psalm 65:9 "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it."

Revelation 22:1 "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every m onth: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
 It is clear that the river of God is the water created by God when he visited the earth. It was and is the "pure water of life". We can readily see from both verses that the river of God was the waters that he made in the beginning.

Genesis 1:6 "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters."

What is described here is a big island in the midst of the waters of the of the earth. This island had all the land that would be . Of course since this is ante-diluvian, either more or less of the land mass would be above the waters. At any rate it was huge because the "firmament" is an "expanse", suggesting that it was more a continent than and island.

Now refer to the map above. This is Pangea, what scientists have named the configuration of early earth. Of course they claim that the continents separated over 300 million years ago, and that is a big problem! It would be silly to imply that Moses knew the events so long ago, but of course he was inspired by God. If God can inspire wisdom such as this, he is indeed omniscient. He very well is because he created it! To be Creator God must be omnipotent. He is indeed Almighty God. With these two attributes God has the power to create mature things as easily as to incubate them to maturity. Adam was created mature. So was the earth!

We have been taught that to God one day is as a thousand years and vice-versa. (2 Peter 3:8).  That is not an equation. It's rhetorical speech for "God is not bound by time!" That's true. He is the beginning and he divided the night from the day when he created the solar system's clock; the sun! (Genesis 1:5). Before sun time, it was God's time.

That solves the 300 million years dilemma! In one instant (one divine day) God thought and it happened. On the earth Eden was created. Eden wasn't an area nor a country. It was all the mass of land in the midst of the waters. That would imply that the river of God flowed from the oceans up into the east of Eden where the Garden was located. (Genesis 2:8).

God made the expanse (Eden) surrounded by water (the expanse of waters below) and the skies which gave moisture (the expanse of waters above). This partially validates that water was created in the east of Eden (the continent) and the Garden of God.

If one looks at the map of Pangea this may be a close representation of Eden, or the land surface of the newly created world. If one looks closely at "the east" the Mediterranean means "middle of the earth". That adds to the notion that indeed Jerusalem is at the center of it all, not because it is the center of the land mass, but on the Mediterranean, "the river of God" according to my theory.

Back to the map above. The Mediterranean was more of a river than a sea in Pangea. It was also in the east of the land mass, of Pangea or Adam's Eden. What rivers may have flowed in or out of (depending on ante-deluvian water tables) are the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Nile (from Ethiopia) and the sea of Arabia which then was a river. Of course the above Tigris and Euphrates aren't showed flowing that direction then, but they do now. Who knows how they flowed then?

But does the Bible mention the Continental Drift? Possibly so:
Genesis 10:25 "And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth  divided; and his brother's name was Joktan."
Of course theologians say that the land was divided into the nations of peoples when the tower of Babylon was destroyed, but this can also be taken at face value for God means things when he says things! Also, during the days of Noah the land was already divided by peoples.  
Genesis 10:32 "These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood."
In the case of Noah the nations were divided after the flood. Although "earth divided" is more precise than "nations divided", the flood and it's mark could easily be responsible for continental drift since upheavals came from the bowels of the earth. This is reinforced by recent scientific theories that beneath the surface 400 miles deep with water reserves thrice what our oceans hold. In theory the drift may have started with the flood and ended with Peleg.

From the scientific viewpoint  Pangea drifted apart over time into todays' world. From God Eden drifted apart in about 2250 BC. Jesus was born ca 3760. Hence from the Creation to Peleg was approximately 1500 years. If this assumption is true then the Continental Drift occurred not in 300,000,000 years, but fifteen-hundred or so. That's 200, 000 times as fast!  If we considered the comparison in 2 Peter 3:8 to be an equation, then the ratio is 365,000 days to one-thousand years, of similar magnitude of the estimated time between the Creation and Peleg, not even considering the time for the early part of Creation since Adam came last.

In other words continental drift makes sense using God's time and the time of Peleg. Continental drift also points toward the Garden being in Jerusalem as many millions of people believe! It all makes sense since Jerusalem is the Center of the earth from a spiritual, cultural and civic standpoint and Eden was too!

It also explains why The Temple Mount may be the place of the skull of Adam!