Saturday, July 22, 2017

Change: Who Me?

There are two mantras yelled by the people: (1) I will do whatever I want to do, and (2) I won't change for anybody. Even Christians announce these thoughts sometimes in word, but at other times by how they live. There is a crisis in these modern times, much like the crisis God had with His chosen people. Romans 11 was about the Hebrew people being cut off because they bowed to Baal.

Ba'al in Judaism was a title of the One True God Yahweh meaning merely "Lord" just as Adonai was. However, with time, Ba'al became the name specifically for false gods throughout most of the Old Testament. One specific title was BaĘżal Zebub (Beelzebub) who was introduced in II Kings. In Christianity, Beelzebub is king of the demons (aka, Satan). (Wikipdia; "Baal"). Regardless of the use of Ba'al in any form, all false gods are baals. Since Beelzebub could fly, that name means "lord of the flies" or more specifically "lord of the demons".

Let us look at what Jesus says about Beelzebub (Beelsebul):
Matthew 12:25 "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Jesus defined Beelzebub as Satan, and he even knew the thoughts of the people! He asked them a rhetorical question: "By whom do you cast devils out?" As such,  you say you worship me, but who is the object of your affection. Many of those people who followed Jesus, lived like the devil. Paul, grabbing on that false worship, warned the Romans not to be as the Hebrews were:
Romans 12:1 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. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The world (aka called "the people" in Matt 12) knew that the kingdom of God was divided against itself. Just as the Jews seemed to have other gods throughout scripture, so did the Romans. In fact, the pagan Gentiles had a pantheon of false gods, acceptable to them. The early Roman church actually incorporated pagan worship into Christianity to make it more acceptable to the people. One profound comment about Beelzebub: He was "lord of the demons" yet any ba'al is a demon. By whatever name the gentiles had for their gods, it was always Satan who was worshipped as "lord of the demons".

Now back to Romans 12, the Bible passages for today. Paul was pointing out that the people claimed to be Christians, yet they lived as if their god was Satan. Essentially, they were believers who had not changed. Scripture tells us that we can't serve two masters (Matt 6:24) because one will fall. That is the division referred to in Matthew 12:26.

Paul was warning the Christians in Rome, that their own "reasonable service" was to make themselves "a living sacrifice"; becoming "holy, acceptable to God". They were to put away their own baals and fully live for Jesus. They were to quit living for Satan by whatever name, and live for Jesus: Lord of lords.

Other gods don't really exist. They are truly mythology, but people have always worshiped mythological gods. Those gods only exist in the hearts and minds of the people. As such, the problem lies not with Baal, for he is merely the prince of the world, but in the souls of the people. This obscure vessel called "the soul" becomes imbued with evil. When the person is born-again, and truly so, the blood of Jesus cleanses this unrighteousness from the soul for the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit.  As always, like the Hebrews, the people seemed to make room for both Baal and Yahweh in their hearts. The Romans were no different. Paul knew what happened before, and he saw it happening again.

Paul said, basically: you Christians need to change, then he told them how to change:  "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

That is to say: throw away your worldly god - yourself, to prove that you are indeed in the will of God. Then, how to do that was given: become a changed person by renewing your mind.

As Christians, we are to become new creatures in Christ. The evidence for that is a transformed person. For those who are a little slow, that means you are expected to change, and rather than not change for anyone, you are expected to change for God. He says that is your reasonable service, yet stubborn people refuse to change for anyone!

The renewal of your mind is making the transition from doing what you will, to do what God wills: "the perfect will of God." You sacrifice your self-god for God, and put yourself up there on the cross beside Jesus's cross!
Galatians 5:24 "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
We usually think of lusts as sexual. However lusts are the things of the world which are important to you and me. It's those things of the world that are pleasurable to you. These are how the flesh - our idols appease our self-gods.  We must hang that self on that cross by Jesus.

People don't have the assurance of their own salvation because their works don't match their claim to Christ. Baal still influences their life because they continue to serve two masters. That reasonable service is crucifying the Baal within you, by whatever name you call your self-god. God calls them all "selfish" and "prideful"!

Crucifying the self is work - hard work.
Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
This should be frightening to those who profess Christ but live for their own pleasures. "Believing" is trusting, and trust is demonstrated by doing.  We must remember that the Ten Commandments are written in stone for eternity. Jesus didn't come to replace the Law but to fulfill it.
Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

The Ten Commandments are the "how to" love God and others: The Greatest Commandment and the one like unto it.

If one examines the Law of which Jesus speaks, it includes loving God and others. The command is not to love yourself. God knows very well, that you are your own god. He only asks that you love others that much! How much is that? You don't want to perish for eternity, and your love must be so great that you are to wish that none shall perish. That is hanging the self on the cross and becoming a servant to God and others.

As Christians, we all worry about ourselves, but fail to worry about others. Our job assignment as Christians is to tell the world about Jesus. Christians no longer do that! It's still all about me. All about your me. If you have truly transformed your mind, then it's the lost souls of others which you take pleasure in telling about salvation. Christians don't do that. Baal still lives, but by transforming he can die with the old you on Calvary, right alongside Jesus who already has for your Baal.

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