TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Take Christ's heat

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? Are ye so foolish?” (Gal. 3:1,3). This used to take me away from Jesus and rob me of trust in Him. Is the Spirit of God so uncaring of my battered soul as to treat me like so many abusive people already have?

One day I drove through the poor side of town and passed a sign permanently painted high up on the side of a old cornerstore, in big, bold letters, as if etched into the cement block wall, there for all to read, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” (Lk. 12:20). I grimaced and ducked, lest anyone believe me to be a Bible-believing Christian. The owner of that business must have felt perfectly justified in his method of evangelism; although maybe not in his method of running a store and growing a customer base.

Paul said, “The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds....” (Phil. 1:16).

But Christ said other similar statements. “And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?” (Matt. 15:16,17).

And another, “Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” (Matt. 16:8,9).

Yet another, “Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to Me.” (Matt. 17:17).

And, “Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?” (Matt. 23:17).

Seventy five times Solomon calls out the “fool” and derides such a person. Would the church ethics committee consider this harsh language and blot these verses from the Bible?

I admit, I have taken it to heart and not appreciated God for these attacks on my intelligence, or its resurrection of my past thoughtlessness and unthinking actions. I have made a lot of mistakes and have paid dearly for them. Must the Bible add salt to my still open and bleeding wounds? Quite possibly, the written word has created many an agnostic. And skeptic. Maybe it’s why the fallen Church got rid of the Bible extremely early in the Dark Ages.

Taken individually, these compounding accusations of our foolhardiness are so condemning and appear so egregious that any proud, arrogant, self-centered reader would quickly become offended. But when the desperate sinner needs God’s acceptance, he investigates the strong allegations and finds out the true mind of God toward us sinners.

One version of the Galatians3:1 actually reads, “You stupid Galatians!” (CEV and God’s word translation). And another, “O you dear idiots of Galatia!” (J.B. Phillips New Testament).

Now these are fightin’words! Was that what Paul meant? Actually, understood correctly, it is what he meant! Although his tone was not aggravated or even condescending. Paul earnestly appealed to their hearts and minds. It wasn’t an attack on their intelligence, rather on their new pathetic spirituality. He was crying out, “Stupefied Galatians! Please wake up! Some satanic, false doctrine has robbed you of the Holy Spirit!”

They had allowed the intoxicating philosophies of Judaism to filter into the gospel and they had fallen into a stupor. “Who hath bewitched you” to move away from the cross? To accept the Law of God without the crucifixion of Christ was no better than trying to obey the law of Moses without faith in the blood of the future Messiah seen in the dying lambs and kids. Both cases lead to spiritual death and both turn people into fools and dumb animals.

Faith as the key to obedience must remain the center of Christianity, or the church fills up with superstitions and fables. The people lose the knowledge of God and become ignorant of what genuine holiness and purity are. We become as Jesus said it, “fools and blind.”

We become “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4:14). We become “ignorant of [Satan’s] devices.” (2Cor. 2:11).

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the Law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hos. 4:6). “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:22).

So the testy language of God’s word really shows His concern for His children. He knows the cunning of the devil and He fears for His children that they might accept the conniving delusions of Satan. Listen to the pathos in of the writer to the Hebrews.

“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb. 5:11-14). What we hear in this servant is God’s fatherly yearning for the church.

So read again Christ’s statements to His disciples and listen to His words of care and love.

“Which when Jesus perceived, He said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?” (Matt. 16:8-11).

“Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
But He answered and said, Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.
Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Declare unto us this parable.
And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” (Matt. 15:12-20).

“And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.
And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.
And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, He said unto His disciples,
Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.
But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask Him of that saying.” (Lk. 9:41-45). Yet all of Christ’s rebukes to His students was interposed with much positive conversation and instruction. See Matt. 16:13-20;17:1-13;18:1-5.

Christ’s apparent harshness didn’t come from a condescending attitude or any self-exaltation in Him. His words expressed the brevity of time in which to prepare His precious twelve to take the reigns of the church following His departure; and time was getting short, but they kept being distracted by the spell cast upon them by the traditional reverence for relgious leaders who paraded themselves as obedient to God, but who worked for the devil. Judas didn’t help matters either as he worked to undo the deep lesson Jesus sought to instill truth in His disciples.

Because they loved Him He kept them close and stayed with them. Love would be a sufficient teacher during His crucifixion. Everything He had foretold would come back to their minds in those compelling days. But they must catch the spiritual principle of His kingdom.

If we are to love God with all our minds and souls, and bodies, we must mature, gather our wits about us and gain self-possession, having overcome. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2Tim. 2:22). “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.” (Ecc. 11:9,10).

“My son, forget not My law; but let thine heart keep My commandments:
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction:
For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; even as a father the son in whom He delighteth.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens.
By His knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.” (Prov. 3:1-22).


“Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
And this will we do, if God permit.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” (Heb. 5:11-6:9).

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