2nd Corinthians 7
2Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Links to my sites here and the bottom of every post- https://ccoutreach87.com/links-to-my-sites-updated-10-2018/
2nd Cor. 7 videos-
.What is biblical separation?
.In the world- but not of it
.Christian recovery from addiction
.To be established- you must walk in righteousness
.Did Paul regret that he was so hard on the Corinthians?
.I think he did- then was glad for their response
.How did Titus comfort Paul?
.Christian correction - done in love- but needs to be done at times
.Interesting notes from John Calvin on this chapter [From the Geneva bible]
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
[These are links and parts of my past teachings that relate in some way to today’s post- verses below]
1ST CORINTHIANS 7:1-15 Paul addresses divorce. It is interesting that Jesus himself actually raised the bar from the Old Covenant practice to the New. In most other areas he emphasized grace as opposed to law ‘the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ but in this area Jesus said ‘Moses made an exception under the law for divorce, but from the beginning this was not Gods plan’ and Jesus restricted divorce to the cause of adultery [fornication- actually the word for pornography] only. Here Paul gives some direction. First, you shouldn’t divorce. You also shouldn’t be married to an unbeliever. Well, what should happen to those who were unbelievers when they married, but now one is a believer? Paul says if the unbeliever is ‘pleased’ to stay in the union, then that’s fine. Well what does ‘pleased’ mean? If the unbeliever is physically abusing his spouse, then that doesn’t seem ‘pleasing’ to me. Paul will say if the unbeliever departs, let them go. The believer should not feel condemned by this. He/she had no control in this case. But if there is a divorce, let the one who left remain unmarried. So what happens if you were forced into it, can you re marry? Paul does not specifically say. He does say to the one who left the marriage, they should not remarry. Divorce is a tricky issue. When attending the fundamental Baptist church they taught that if one were divorced they could never be ‘a Pastor’ [even though no one was ‘a pastor’ in this way in the first century church!]. Many teach that Paul’s instructions on Bishops/Elders said a divorced person should not be an overseer. Paul actually said ‘they should be the husband of one wife’. This most certainly could simply be saying they shouldn’t be in a plural marriage. This was common in the first century, so you could take it this way. Overall I find it strange that someone could have been a murderer [Paul] or any other type of sinner, but the divorcee’ seems to be the only sinner that is excluded. The other problem is how much of ‘a believer’ were you at the time of your divorce. There have been well known preachers who initiated the divorce from their wives, they remarried and later wanted this to be treated as any other sin, just forgive and forget. The problem is if you were wise enough in the lord to have known better, then true repentance would entail making things right. Whether that’s reconciliation or simply remaining single, but it sure seems like these types of brothers who went into the whole remarriage thing with their eyes wide open, they should be held to a higher standard. Overall, we should not be in bondage to things that were out of our control. Those who were victimized and the partner left you, you should not be condemned for something that was out of your control. Believers who initiate the divorce from someone who was willing to stay in the marriage, they should not remarry. There have been too many cases where believers divorce other believers, without biblical grounds, and then remarry someone from the church. These situations are not permitted. If the believing spouse was simply ‘difficult to live with’ then that doesn’t cut it. In situations where there was actual physical abuse, well I don’t believe the Lord wants you to stay in the house under these circumstances. But the only biblical excuse for divorce, according to Jesus, is adultery. In all of these gray areas, wisdom must be applied. The high profile ministers who have initiated their divorces and remarried, without the proper biblical grounds, should not be simply ‘forgiven’ and permitted to continue in their public role in ministry. True forgiveness and restoration would entail some sort of repentance and a public change in the situation. Like Paul says ‘to the rest speak I, not the Lord’. I am giving you my opinion on some of this stuff, but I too think I have the Spirit of Christ.
(962)1ST CORINTHIANS 7:16-24 ‘Were you circumcised when you were called into the Christian life? Then don’t become uncircumcised’ [that would be quite a feat!] ‘Were you uncircumcised when called? Don’t get circumcised’. What’s Paul saying? Basically he is keeping the decrees that were made at the Jerusalem council [Acts 15]. He is stressing the importance of Christ’s spiritual kingdom. To the Jew, he is not saying ‘keep trying to become justified by the law and sacrifices’ but he is saying ‘I am not trying to wipe out your culture and heritage, I am trying to bring you into the fullness of what the Prophets have foretold’. This is Paul’s ongoing defense in the book of Acts ‘I stand condemned because I believe that what the prophets said would happen, did!’. Paul says the thing that matters is ‘the doing of Gods commandments’. When we studied Romans I showed how Paul did say ‘the hearers of the law are not justified, but the doers shall be’. Here again Paul stresses the importance of the Christian life being one of true conversion. Those who believe are changed and become doers of Gods law by nature. The mechanism of conversion is Faith, the outworking of that conversion is obedience. So even though Paul is not putting the law on the gentile converts, yet he does teach that they will by nature keep the law [Romans again]. Now he says ‘were you a slave when called? Seek not to become free. Were you free? Don’t become a slave’ and ‘be not the servants/slaves of men’. We actually have hit on this a few times in recent months. Once again Paul says ‘don’t see this new faith as an opportunity to mount a civil disobedience campaign’ but at the same time he makes it clear ‘don’t put yourself under servitude either!’ The New Testament does not justify the institution of slavery or racism! The basic ethos of this new kingdom is freedom from bondage, it was only a matter of time before this new movement would shake the foundations of society and uproot this evil. Make no mistake about it, the anti-slavery movement was instigated by the people of God [William Wilberforce, Charles Finney and many others].
(963)1ST CORINTHIANS 7: 25-40 let’s be a little unconventional today. This passage deals with Paul’s counsel on celibacy and marriage. The historic church has had a bad rap on this issue. It is common today to say the church devalued marriage [and sex] and therefore we should exalt it. Sometimes this attempt at trying to correct the perceived imbalance puts a stumbling block in the way of those who are truly called to live the single life. Though marriage is an honorable thing, a true gift from God, yet living the celibate life can also be considered a very noble thing. It is rare in contemporary evangelicalism to leave this option open. Paul does say this option is not only available, but a noteworthy calling! He also makes it clear that only those who are called to this single lifestyle should attempt it. The church should not force celibacy on people. Now, do our catholic brothers force it upon the Priests? In a way, yes. But don’t forget that no one is ‘forced’ into the priesthood. Some feel like the scandals of catholic priests who abused children can be blamed on forced celibacy. The problem with this idea is many protestant ministers have also fallen sexually, and they were not celibate! The point being we need to be careful when we brand any Christian denomination with an accusation. Now, Paul also makes an interesting statement that we need to look at. He says ‘for the present distress I give these guidelines’. Is it possible that Paul’s seeming harshness on marriage was due to the fact of some type of distress that he saw coming? Possibly the Neronic persecutions? If so, Paul could be saying ‘because of the upcoming severe persecution I recommend everyone just laying low for the time, if married, seek not to be single and vice a versa’. This is possible, we need to keep this in mind when reading this section of scripture. But most of all I think the modern evangelical church needs to retool her message in this area. Marriage and sex are good, God ordained these things in their proper place. But living single and celibate is also considered a very noble calling, we do not normally reflect this balance in the present atmosphere. Also as an aside, a few years back it was common to teach ‘the world/public schools have taken sex and taught it to our kids. They have usurped the job of the family/church’ while there is some truth to this, the problem was some well known TV evangelists began to discuss sex in the Sunday morning setting that was improper in a way [If you local Pastors who read this have done this, be assured I am not talking about you!]. I remember watching a national minister speak openly, with grandma’s and children in the service, and say ‘now speaking about sexual climax’ Yikes!! Just because the family/church dropped the ball on these issues, this doesn’t mean there are no barriers at all while dealing with these issues. Those who do this type of stuff seem to be saying ‘sex is not a dirty thing, therefore we need to bring it out into the open’ while this is true to a degree, there are also age appropriate subjects that should be taught in a private setting. If the church feels the need to delve into these subjects, we need to be careful that we are not crossing boundaries when doing it.
· MORE PROOF FOR GOD- Okay, what’s up with ‘dark matter’? In the 20th century the amazing breakthroughs in science showed us that what we thought was a limited universe, was actually a growing universe that was expanding at a faster rate every day. The further out you got, the faster it was expanding. This discovery [Hubble] worked in harmony with Einstein’s theories. This discovery also created a problem. If the universe is so much more vast than previously thought to be, then the amount of known matter needed in the universe in order to maintain the proper gravitational force was not there. Basically you need so much matter to exist in order for this newly discovered expanding universe to hold together and function right. The problem is that the matter is not there![some say it is still not detected]. So the theory of ‘dark matter’ [unseen, undetected matter] has been floated. This invisible matter is supposedly the single greatest matter in existence, though we have no proof that even one tiny particle exists! Ahh, when stuff like this happens, we need to pay close attention. Why? Well some who defend the young earth theory of creation use this to back up their claim of a young universe. It’s kinda technical stuff, but this ‘dark matter’ has to be there to defend the old age theory [for some!]. Another problem is we have absolutely no proof that this dark matter exists. It is simply believed in because the naturalistic explanation demands it! Sort of like coming to a part in a puzzle where a piece doesn’t fit, so you simply make something fit. Now, the bible does teach that the vast universe is held together [a key role of so called dark matter] by Christ’s absolute power. The other explanation for how the vast universe is able to function smoothly, without the needed matter to create the huge amount of gravity, is that God himself is holding all things together by his omnipotence. In essence, we need God for this puzzle to fit. I am not saying the idea of dark matter is totally false, but as far as we know today, there is no proof that it exists. We as believers should not take an anti scientific stance on everything, to the contrary, true science always backs up the Christian world view [in general] but we also need to be suspicious when science floats an idea that can be explained by the existence of a creator. If the idea is simply out there, with no proof at all [the multi-verse] then we certainly have the right to challenge whether the whole thing is a bunch of ‘dark [invisible] matter’!
I quoted from Galatians 6 on the video [2nd Cor. 7] Here’s my complete study-
https://ccoutreach87.com/christian-recovery-from-addiction-long-version/ [Talked about this on the video]
2nd Corinthians- Links
2nd Cor. 6
)ROMANS 9: 1-8 Paul returns to an earlier theme ‘Christ came, as pertaining to the flesh, in response to the covenants that God made with Israel’ [my paraphrase!] Paul says that natural Israel played a very important role in the coming of Messiah. He was [is] the fulfillment of the prophecies that came as a result of Gods interaction with ‘the commonwealth of Israel’. Now Paul again says ‘they are not all Israel, which are of Israel, but “in Isaac shall thy seed be called’”. Understand something here, Paul is not teaching ‘another’ natural lineage to Christ. The mistake of the worldwide church of God [Herbert Armstrong] which teaches British Israelism, trying to trace the natural lineage of Europeans and saying ‘these are the lost tribes’. Paul is simply saying ‘those who are of the Law, the natural tribe of Israel [Jews] are not automatically counted as ‘the seed’ [children] but those who ‘are of promise’. Paul also uses this in Galatians 3 and 4. ‘Of promise’ is simply saying ‘those who have been born of Gods Spirit [Jew or Gentile] are the children that God promised to Abraham’ he is the father of ‘many nations’. All who would believe. These themes are building upon Paul’s earlier theology in this letter. This letter [Romans] has a little more ‘weight’ than say a pastoral epistle [Timothy, Titus]. Now, I am not saying it is ‘more inspired’ but I want you to see that even in the book of Acts you see Paul place special emphasis on ‘I must make it to Rome’! Paul fully realizes that this letter will be read among the believers and Jews at Rome. Rome is the capitol city of the Empire. He wants the early believers to understand the role and purpose of God for Israel. Paul’s efforts are being seen by some Jewish believers [Jerusalem] as antagonistic. Paul wants to make it clear that he was not trying to start some type of movement that rejected natural Israel. At the same time he wants natural Israel ‘my kinsman according to the flesh’ to receive their Messiah! So in this context Romans is a theological treatise saying ‘God wants to bring both Jew and Gentile together as one new man in Christ [Ephesians]’. When he argues ‘they that are the children of the flesh ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD[verse 8] but the children of the promise are counted for the seed’ he is simply saying ‘all people, both Jews and Gentiles [which includes all races that are ‘non Jews’ even Arabs!] can partake of this free gift by grace’. The promise is to all who ‘will believe’.
(849)ROMANS 9:9-23 now we get into predestination. Paul uses the example of Jacob and Esau [I spoke on this in the Genesis study, see chapter 25], he says God chose Jacob over Esau before they were born. He also uses the story of Pharaoh and says God was the one who hardened his heart. Paul says these things show us that God’s mercy and choice are a sovereign act. He specifically says ‘God chose Jacob, not on the basis of any thing he did [or would do!] but because of his own sovereign choice’. Now, this is another one of those arguments where Paul says ‘you will then say to me, how can God find fault? If everyone is simply doing the things he preordained, fulfilling destiny, then how can God justly hold people accountable’? First, I want you to see that this statement, that Paul is putting into the mouths of his opponents, only makes sense from the classic position of predestination. Second, if predestination only spoke of Gods foreknowledge of the choices that people were going to make [like asking Jesus into their heart!] then the obvious response to the argument would be ‘Oh, God chose Jacob because he knew what a good boy he was going to be’. Not only would this be wrong, Jacob [the supplanter] was not a ‘good boy’, but Paul does not use this defense in arguing his case. He simply says ‘who are we to question God? Can the thing formed say to him that formed it “why have you made me like this”? It seems as if Paul’s understanding of predestination was in the Augustinian/Calvinistic Tradition. A few years back a popular author on the west coast, Dave Hunt, wrote a book called ‘what kind of love is this’? He took on the Reformed Faiths understanding of predestination. Dave was a little out of his league in the book. He seemed to not fully grasp the historic understanding of the doctrine. He quoted some stuff from Charles Spurgeon that made it sound like he was not a believer in predestination. Spurgeon did make strong statements against certain ideas that were [are] prevalent in classic Calvinism. Some taught that Christ’s Blood was shed only for the elect. This is called ‘particular redemption’ or from the famous ‘Tulip’ example ‘limited atonement’. Spurgeon did not embrace the idea that Christ’s Blood was not sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world. The problem with Hunt using this true example from Spurgeon, is that he overlooked the other obvious statements from Spurgeon that place him squarely in the Calvinistic camp. Some refer to this as ‘4 point Calvinism’. I myself agree with Spurgeon on this point. The reason I mention this whole thing is to show you that major Christian figures have dealt with these texts and have struggled with the obvious difficulties involved. I think Paul does a little ‘speculative theology’ himself in this chapter. He says ‘what if God willing to show his mercy and wrath permitted certain things’. He gives possible reasons for the seeming ‘unfairness’ of this doctrine. The point I want to stress is Paul never tries to defend it from the classic Arminian understanding, that says ‘God knew the way people were going to choose, and he simply ‘foreordained’ those who would choose right’. To be honest, this argument does answer the question in the minds of many believers, I simply don’t see it to be accurate.
(851)ROMANS 9:24-29 Paul quotes Hosea and Isaiah to show that God has a purpose for both Jew and Gentile. He uses a few verses from Isaiah 10 and 13 to say ‘except the lord had left us a remnant, no one would be left’. Now, once again we come up against the mindset of always reading ‘saved’ as meaning ‘born again’. In context, God ‘saving’ a remnant simply means ‘he spared them from ruin and total destruction’. There is a verse in Revelation that says ‘the nations of them which are saved shall enjoy the new heavens and earth’. Some commentators will show you how some versions leave out ‘which are saved’ which would leave the text as saying ‘the nations [that are left, remain!] shall walk in it’. This is the context here. Paul is saying God always had a few from Israel that remained, he didn’t utterly wipe them out. Now, this of course fits in with ‘having sins forgiven’, being ‘saved’ or redeemed. There are prophets who say ‘the Lord will turn away ungodliness from Jacob’ [delivered from sin] and ‘the lord comes to those who have turned away from their sin’ speaking of Israel. So I want you to grasp the biblical concept of God saving [sparing] a remnant. The word ‘remnant’ actually speaks of the part of cloth/ material that is ‘left over’ from the whole piece. Jesus also said ‘unless those days were shortened, their would no flesh “be saved”’. Once again meaning ‘no human would survive unless God cut short his wrath’. Paul also uses this language here ‘the lord will do a quick work on the earth and cut it short [shortened!] in righteousness’.
(853)ROMANS 9: 30-33 ‘What shall we say then? That the Gentiles which followed not after the law of righteousness have attained it, even by faith’. Paul concludes the chapter by summing up his ‘righteousness by faith’ argument. Natural Israel, who sought to become righteous by law, who were always striving for perfection thru the keeping of the law. They did not attain that which they sought after. Why? Because they sought it ‘not by faith, but by law’. No law could ever make a man righteous. The Gentiles, which were not even looking! They got it. Why? Because they simply believed in the Messiah, it was the best message they ever heard. They were told their whole lives ‘you are separated from Gods promises. You are not included in the commonwealth of Israel’. They never dreamed that the Jewish Messiah would say ‘neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more’. They received Gods righteousness by faith. Israel ‘stumbled’ at the stumbling stone. Jesus is called a precious stone and also a rock of offence. To those who believe, he is great, precious. To those who don’t believe he is this tremendous obstacle. The unbelieving world doesn’t know what to do with him. I was watching Ravi Zacharias the other night. He is a good Christian apologist. He was telling the story of being in Russia and speaking to a large group of Atheists. During his talk they were really aggressive, making motions with their hands and all. He was told ahead of time to be prepared. At the question and answer time a Russian Atheist asked ‘what are you talking about when you say God? I have no idea what you mean by this false concept’. Ravi asked him ‘sir, are you an Atheist?’ He replied yes. ‘What is an Atheist’? Ravi asked. The man responded ‘someone who denies God’. Ravi said ‘what exactly is it that you are denying’? The unbeliever has come up against this ‘rock of offence’. He tries to get around it, to develop all types of systems and philosophies to deny it. The rock is there, you can either ‘fall on it’. That is admit he is who he claims to be. Submit and be ‘broken’. Or it will eventually ‘grind you to powder’. You will pass from the scene and the next crop of Atheists will rise and face the same dilemma. This rock ‘aint going away’.
(854)ROMANS 10: 1-13 Many years ago I referenced all the back up scriptures for this chapter [and book!]. The study was intense because I saw a fundamental ‘fault line’ that ran thru many in the Evangelical church [the revivalist tradition]. The ‘fault line’ was reading this chapter as in if it were saying ‘ask Jesus into your heart, or you won’t be saved’. Now, I have no problem with those who trace their conversion to an experience like this. But I want to give you my understanding of this chapter, based on the exhaustive study I did years ago. Also, I will probably quote some verses and you will have to find them later [I forget where they all are]. Paul begins with his desire for ‘all Israel to be saved’. I taught in chapter one how come the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Because all who believe ‘become righteous’. After 9 chapters of Romans, we have seen that when Paul refers to ‘justification by faith’ this is synonymous with ‘believing with the heart unto righteousness’. Here Paul’s desire is for Israel to experience ‘all facets of salvation’ [present and future] to ‘be saved’. Now, he will say ‘Christ is the end of the law to all who believe’ Israel did not attain unto ‘righteousness’ because they sought after it by trying to keep the law. But it comes only by faith. Then Paul quotes a kind of obscure verse from Deuteronomy saying ‘Moses says the righteousness which is by faith’ [note- this whole description that follows is describing ‘the righteousness that comes by faith’] and says ‘the word is near thee, in thy mouth and heart’. Paul then says ‘whoever calls on the Lord will be saved, with the heart a man believes and becomes righteous [which according to Paul means ‘justified’] and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation’. In this text, Paul once again is ‘dividing’ the common understanding of ‘salvation’ meaning ‘getting initially saved’- which is ‘believing and being justified’. And simply saying ‘believers will inevitably call and be saved’ [in a generic sense]. Why would he do this? In the context of his argument, he is simply showing the ‘righteousness which is from the law’ [the man under the law is described as ‘doing something’ continuing under the load and strain of law] versus the ‘righteousness which is by faith’ [described as a person who believes and speaks, as opposed to ‘does stuff’]. It is not inconsistent for Paul to use the term ‘confessing and being saved’ as speaking of something different than meaning ‘accepting Christ into your heart’. Paul is simply giving a description of those who believe ‘all who believe will call’. And yes, they will and do experience ‘salvation’. It’s just in this example Paul is not saying ‘they are saved initially upon confession, calling’. At least not ‘saved’ in the sense of ‘getting justified by faith’. Why? Because the rest of the chapter doesn’t make a whole lotta sense if he were saying this. ‘How can they call on him in whom they have not believed’? He already showed us that ‘believers are justified’. The very argument Paul makes distinguishes between ‘believing unto righteousness, and calling unto salvation’. You can see it like this, there is a verse I stumbled across years ago. It is in one of the prophets [Old Testament] and it says ‘Gods wrath will come upon all them WHO HAVE NOT CALLED UPON HIM’. In this context Paul can be saying ‘whoever calls upon God will never enter judgment/wrath’ [a description of a particular lifestyle, remember Paul said Gods Spirit makes us cry ‘Abba Father’] in this light Paul can be saying ‘all who call [both Jew and Gentile- simply making an argument for inclusion. God accepts ‘all who call’] will not come under future [or present!] wrath’. This would be in keeping with Peters scathing sermon in Act’s where he quotes the Prophet Joel and says ‘whosoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved’. If you go back and read Joel you will see that in context he is saying ‘at the future time of God’s revealed judgment, those who cry for deliverance will be spared’. Peter quotes it in this context as well. He shows Gods future time of judgment and ends with ‘all who call will be saved’. How do we know that Peter was not quoting Joel for some type of ‘sinner’s prayer’ thing? Because after the Jews say ‘what should we do’? He doesn’t lead them in a sinners Prayer! I don’t want to be picky, I simply want you to see context. Paul has already established multiple times thru out this letter how righteousness comes to those who believe. One of the descriptions of ‘those who believe’ are they ‘call upon God’. They even call upon God ‘to save them’. In this chapter the reason Paul uses ‘whosoever calls upon the lord will be saved’ is to simply show God will deliver both Jews and Gentiles. His promise of salvation is ‘to all’. When he uses ‘believing and being made righteous’ along with ‘calling and being saved’ he obviously can not be speaking about the same thing! He even states it this way in his argument. ‘How can they call unless they already believe’? He was simply giving a description of ‘those who believe’. This ‘calling for salvation’ that ‘all who believe’ partake of can speak both of a ‘present tense’ being saved, that is from any and all types of bad things, and a ‘future tense’ deliverance from wrath. Even when Paul quoted David in Roman’s 4, he is ‘describing the blessedness of the man unto whom God will not impute sin’ [Psalms 32] if you go back and read that psalm David says ‘for this shall EVERY ONE THAT IS GODLY PRAY UNTO THEE’. David uses this in the context of his confession of his sin. So the ‘everyone that is Godly’ describes ‘the righteous’ and they WILL CALL! Also in 2nd Corinthians Paul quotes Isaiah ‘now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation’ in the context of ‘God heard you and saved you’. Why would Paul use this in 2nd Corinthians? They need not be told ‘pray and get saved’. In context he used it to encourage them to return back into full communion and fellowship after their restoration and reproof he gave them in the first letter. He is saying ‘I rebuked you guys harshly, you repented and asked for forgiveness. God ‘heard you’ in his acceptable time, now get over it and ‘be restored’. Salvation to them came by ‘calling’ but it was not describing an initial conversion experience. Well, I didn’t realize I would go so long, but this is a good example of having a ‘holistic view’ of scripture. You try and take all the quotes the writers are using, put them in context of the broad themes of scripture. Add that to the immediate context of the letter [Romans] and then come to a deeper understanding of truth. I am not against those who see this chapter thru an evangelistic lens, I just think the way I taught it is more faithful to the text. [NOTE- Thru out this site I have taught the doctrine of ‘the salvation of the righteous’. I mentioned it earlier in Romans and have spoken on it before. If you can find these entries they will add some insight to this chapter. NOTE- verse 20 actually has Paul quoting Isaiah ‘I was found by them who did not ask for me’. This would sure seem strange to say in the same chapter that taught a concept of ‘all who ask for me will enter the kingdom’. It is quite possible to ask and pray and confess everything ‘just right’ and still not find him. And according to this verse, the ones who did ‘find him’ [Gentiles] did not ask! After years of coming to the above understanding I read a church council [Council of Orange?] and I was surprised to see how they actually dealt with the issue of believing versus ‘calling upon God’. They quoted some of these texts to show that before a person could call upon the Lord, he first needed faith. They used this example to show Gods sovereignty in salvation. I though it interesting that they came to the very same conclusions that I did. They even used the same examples! This shows you how the corporate mind of the church is manifestly expressed thru out the ages. I think the council was in the 8th or 9th century?
(855)ROMANS 10:14-21 [Just a note for the previous entry. In the conversions recorded in scripture [Acts] do you know how many times there is a reference to ‘calling upon the Lord’ during the conversion? Surprisingly one time. The conversion of Saul [Paul]! During one of the ‘re-tellings’ of his own story he says ‘I was told to arise, and be baptized. Washing away my sins while calling upon the Lord’. Wow, could we have arguments over this one! Do you identify the ‘washing away of sins’ with baptism or the ‘prayer’? I actually previously taught [somewhere on this long blog!] how in the 1st century Jewish mindset ‘washing from uncleanness’ and water were related. I taught it in a way that did not teach ‘baptismal regeneration’ but more along the lines of ‘discipleship’ you might find the entry under ‘my statement of faith’. The point I want to make here is Paul spent 3 days after the Lord appeared to him before he actually got baptized and made an open confession of faith. Paul’s reputation was so bad [he killed Christians!] that his conversion and confession needed to have all the weight possible. Others needed to know that he now ‘confessed Christ’. Most commentators will look to the appearance of Jesus to Paul on the Damascus road as his conversion. The point I want to make is in the book of Acts, the main ‘altar call’ was actually baptism. This was the normal means to identify with the believing community. We also see the fact that once people believed, they then were baptized. The same distinction can be made with ‘confessing’. Neither can take place until one believes. I would assume that Paul said something like this at his baptism ‘O Jesus, please forgive me for what I have done. I killed your people and have committed a terrible crime’. There obviously were some serious things he needed to confess! But the overall view of conversion in Acts does not show a ‘sinner’s prayer’ type conversion.] Paul indicts Israel ‘The word did come to you, you didn’t believe’. He also quotes Moses ‘God said he would provoke you to jealousy by a nation who were “no people”’. We are beginning a portion of Romans where Paul will try and explain the dynamic of Gods purpose for Israel, and his ‘use’ of the Gentile nations to ‘make them jealous’. When we studied the parables we saw this dynamic at work. Israel was offended that God [Messiah] was offering equal access to the promises of Israel thru Jesus. Israel was jealous of this free grace. Paul shows them that Moses prophesied that this day would come. You also see this in Stephens sermon in Acts chapter 7 ‘Moses said the Lord would raise up a prophet like me [Jesus!]’ and then Stephen shows how Israel also did not recognize that Moses was the intended deliverer of the people. So likewise 1st century Israel also did not recognize their Messiah [the first time around!]. God’s acceptance of the Gentiles was difficult for Israel to embrace. It took a divine vision for Peter, and he still ‘fell back’ into a caste system mentality. God is not finished with these dealings [Paul will say in the next few chapters] and he will make every effort to show both Jews and Gentiles that they are both important pieces to this ‘divine puzzle’. He will even warn the Gentiles ‘don’t get proud, if God cut off the true branches to graft you in, watch out! He might do the same with you.’ Paul is striving for both Jew and Gentile to live in harmony as much as possible, he did not want to come off as a defender of the Gentiles only. He was ‘defending the gospel’.
(857)ROMANS- Let me overview a little. This entry goes along with the last one [#856- those of you reading this straight from the Romans study will need to find it under one of the ‘teaching’ sections]. Paul deals with the issue of ‘being provoked by/to jealousy’. Many times believers remain divided because of pride and jealousy. We often do not want to accept the fact that God actually is working thru other camps, groups of Christians who are ‘not like us’. It challenges our very identity at times! We feel like ‘well, my whole experience with God has been one of coming out of [name the group- for many it’s Catholicism] and I KNOW that I have found and experienced God by leaving mistaken concepts about God. Therefore any other ‘defender’ of Catholics is challenging my core experience’. I myself attribute my conversion to ‘leaving religious ideas’ and reading the bible for the first time. Though I had various believers witnessing to me, it was the actual reading of Johns gospel [and the whole New Testament] that clinched it for me. The reality of ‘whoever believes’ as opposed to religion. But my own experience should not limit [in my mind] the reality of others who also embraced the Cross without ‘leaving’ their former church. It is quite possible that other ‘Catholics’ arrived at a serious level of commitment to the Cross, while remaining faithful to their church. Now I realize this in itself can become an issue of contention, all I want to show you is we should not limit the power of the gospel to our own personal experience. During the recent controversy  over certain Pentecostal expressions of ‘revival’ some old time churches simply made a case against all the Charisms [gifts] of the Spirit. The fact is most theologians accept the gifts of the Spirit as being for all ages of the church. Sure, there have been problems with them, even early on [the Montanists] but the fact is there has always been some type of Charismatic expression of Christianity thru out the church age. But the more Reformed brother’s sound [and are often!] more ‘biblical’ than some of the crazy stuff that happens under the banner of ‘Pentecostal/Charismatic’. So the divisions exist. In this chapter [Romans 11] Paul is dealing with a very real dynamic that says ‘I find my whole identity in the way God has worked with me for centuries [Judaism]. The fact that he began a new thing with other groups who I detest [Gentiles] has offended me to the point where I can’t even experience God any more’. Israel could not see past her own experience with God. The fact that God was ‘being experienced’ by other groups in ways that seemed highly ‘unorthodox’ did not mean that their former experience was illegitimate. It simply meant that Gods experience with them was always intended to ‘break out’ into the broader community of mankind. They lost this original intent and used their ‘orthodoxy’ as a means of self identification. An ‘elite’ religious class, if you will. I find many of these same dynamics being present in the modern church. We should stand strong for orthodoxy, we also need to expose and correct error when it gets to a point where many believers are being led astray. But we also need to be able to see God at work in other groups, we should not use our own experience with God [no matter how legitimate it is!] as the criterion of what’s right or wrong.
CHAPTER 11: [see commentary on Acts 21]
‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, FOR BY IT THE ELDERS OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT [JUSTIFIED]’ This is the key verse to the chapter. Paul will go on to prove that all the Old Testament figures that ‘pleased God’ did it by faith, and not by works! ‘Through faith WE UNDERSTAND that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear’ Faith is not ‘blind’. It informs and gives understanding. This understanding is real! Let me show you what I mean. All of the universe and creation had a beginning point. Science did not always know or believe this. Today science teaches this. It is called ‘the point of singularity/density’. Science has traced back the origins of all things and has found scientific evidence to prove that all things had a ‘beginning point’. Now if you were to ask science ‘what did you have right before the beginning point’? They are stumped. Some of course believe in God and will boldly proclaim him at this point. To the others they can not answer this question. Why? Because they realize, thru science, that matter is not infinite.
Some have theorized that either all things always existed [which science has now disproved] or that at one point nothing existed [which science also teaches that if this were true then you would have nothing today. You can not get something from nothing!] So all true science has gone back to this ‘point of singularity’ and can not see what is right before ‘the point’. The Christian ‘sees’ God at this point! He ‘understands’ that by necessity there has to have been something that existed before creation, science teaches this. This something can not have been created also, because then where did the ‘being’ who created ‘it’ come from? So science teaches us that whoever got the ball rolling [Saint Thomas Aquinas calls this the ‘prime mover’] had to have been preexistent/ self existent in order to have done it. And we know that creation couldn’t have done it by itself, so therefore all reasoning and understanding leave us at the philosophical point of ‘there had to have been something/someone who existed forever in order for anything to be today’. So now you see how ‘by faith we understand that all things that now exist were brought into existence by someone who we can not see’. FAITH UNDERSTANDS!
As we go thru the rest of this chapter I want you to focus in on all the references of justification by faith. You will be surprised [I think?] on how many examples Paul gives to Israel from their own history [his too!] on God justifying people by faith. I will also try and show you [if I remember] how this chapter links the division between Paul’s epistles to the gentiles [Romans, Galatians] with James letter to the Jews. James was one of the lead Apostles at Jerusalem [Acts 15] and the Judaizers who were always accusing Paul of preaching grace in a way that justified sin, they came out of Jerusalem. James and Paul were rivals in a sense. James had the difficult job of overseeing the Church at Jerusalem, who had all the Pharisees who believed, while Paul was preaching this radical message of grace. This is why James’s letter [book of James] focused so much on faith and works. James was seeing the Genesis 22 account of Abraham’s justification when he offered Isaac on the altar. James will say ‘see how Abraham was justified by his works’. While in Paul’s letters he focuses on the Genesis 15 account of Abraham believing God and being made righteous. James was not contradicting Paul; he was showing the actual outcome of the life of a person who was previously justified by faith. James was saying ‘When God made Abraham righteous [Gen 15] he later actually became what God made him!’ [Gen. 22].
Now when Abraham would later do righteous things, he only did them because he previously had faith in Gods promise. But the fact still remains that when Abraham did a righteous act, God still justified him [in a sense, God has the prerogative to say ‘good job son, I am pleased with you’ so this can be described as an act/function of justification]. Well, now that I already showed you all this, I guess I wont have to remember telling it to you later. The point is in this chapter Paul will go down and show all these examples of Jewish leaders acting by faith and doing righteous deeds. This sort of bridges the gap between the strong emphasis on faith in Paul’s letters, with the strong emphasis on works in James letter. Paul is telling Israel ‘yes, all the old saints did do good works that pleased God, but they did them by faith!’ ‘Faith without works is dead’ [James]. So in a sense this single chapter bridges one of the key divisions in the early church between Jerusalem and Antioch [Acts 13 and 15]. Note; I believe all the chapter references above are correct, I write all this from memory so you might want to go back and double check the references. I know all the stories are right.
‘By FAITH Able offered …by which he obtained witness that he was RIGHTEOUS…by FAITH Enoch was translated…he had this testimony that he PLEASED GOD…without FAITH it is impossible to PLEASE HIM [all these ‘please him’ references are like saying ‘being justified’ when a person is justified by God, God sees him as acceptable, pleasing. ‘Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well PLEASED’ God to Jesus!] By faith Noah… prepared an ark to the SAVING of his house…and became heir to the RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH [wow, he makes this one real plain] By faith Abraham…went out into a strange land…and sojourned’ interesting, both the aspect of ‘going out to a new land’ and ‘staying in it when you get there’ are both functions of faith. Let me throw in some practical stuff here. Over the years of ‘doing ministry’ I have seen and been a partaker of both of these experiences. Sometimes it takes an act of faith to uproot us from familiar territory and move on to the next level. And do you know what can happen next? The enemy will try to intimidate you once you get in the land of promise, and tell you ‘you cant stay here, look at all the people who hate you. Look at all the mistakes you made’ and it often takes an act of faith to STAY IN THE LAND. Don’t leave the land of your destiny; all true leaders will go thru both of these dealings.
‘For he looked for a city which hath foundations [Jesus is the foundation of this city!] whose builder and maker is God’ All of these great heroes of the faith were looking forward towards a future promise of being in Gods true church, the ‘City of God’ the Bride, the Lambs wife. Paul shows Israel that this 1st century appearing of Messiah was for the purpose of Israel coming into the ‘new land’ the Body of Christ. It is important to see this. There are many preachers today who are treating natural Israel as in if everything is just fine. It isn’t! They need Christ as much as the Muslim does. God was telling Israel ‘come into this new city’ [New Jerusalem versus Old Jerusalem] he wasn’t appealing for them to stay in ‘old Jerusalem’ and be a ‘completed Jew’. [I know this sounds harsh, but I want to emphasize to all my evangelical friends that Jews need Jesus, they play a special role in Gods plan, but ultimately they need Christ!]
‘Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed’ it takes faith to produce spiritual offspring! It might look impossible, but with God all things are possible. ‘Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky and the sand by the shore’ sometimes God will allow you to bring forth one ‘seed’ [person or act of ministry] and you will be surprised how much fruit can come forth from this singular effort. This is why it’s so important to simply hear and obey God. Often times in ministry we do tons of ‘leg work’ which is OK. But when God gives you an idea or mode of function that you weren’t even thinking of, go with it. These are usually the ‘little seeds’ that produce the great harvest! ‘THESE ALL DIED IN FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES’ I want to emphasize here that it is possible to live your whole life in faith without actually seeing the fulfillment of all that God has told you.
Now faith does obtain promises [verse 33] but sometimes we also see things many years down the road and we must realize that the measurement of faith is not whether or not you are currently getting the actual promise. In the above [and below] verse’s we see Abraham and Sara being told that their offspring would number in the millions. They believed these promises, but it is obvious that they didn’t live to see it fulfilled, but they sure knew that after they were gone it would come to pass. So I want to exhort you to believe to see certain things fulfilled in your life time, but have some greater goals that you initiate while here on earth, knowing that after you depart they will be fulfilled. ‘And truly if they had been MINDFUL of the country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned’ what is Paul saying here? The greatest threat to the gospel taking root in the Hebrew community was the desire to go back to old law and culture. How many believers ‘revert’ back to an older form of church simply because they missed the old culture and ‘feelings’ that they had when they were younger? Many of the Jews would not go all the way with the gospel because they were ‘mindful’ of the good old days of law and sacrifice.
I just watched a show the other day that told how even some gentile believers began celebrating certain feasts of Israel with their Jewish neighbors. While it is good to understand and see the significance of the feasts, yet we know Paul wrote the early believers and said ‘you observe days and times and feasts, and I am concerned about it’. So when we [or 1st century Israel] are ‘mindful’ of the ‘good old days’ then there is always a danger of going back! ‘By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…of whom it was said in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure’ Abraham exhibited characteristics of the Father [God] as well as Isaac being a type of the Son [Jesus]. It’s interesting that these verses show that Abraham knew for a fact that God was going to give Isaac millions of children, Abraham also knew the voice of God so well that when he ‘thought’ he heard God say ‘offer up this boy’ that in the mind of Abraham, the only way these 2 things could be reconciled, is he came to the conclusion ‘I guess God will have to raise him up, being he has told me this boy will have millions of children, plus he is telling me to kill him’. Most of us would not have come to this conclusion! We would have doubted either the original promise, or said ‘surely this can’t be God telling me to offer Isaac’ [most likely we would have doubted the latter!].
There is a real important reason for Abraham to have been a real man of faith. God wanted this ‘picture’ of the offering up of Isaac for a type of the Cross and Resurrection. The only way he could have shown this example was to have had someone so radically filled with faith, that he would have come to this conclusion of ‘well, I guess God will just raise him’. It was necessary for the figure to have been truly fulfilled. It took Abraham many years of hearing and believing God before he would get to this stage. The part of Abraham’s mind that said ‘God will just have to raise him up’ was important for the figure to truly work. God knew he could only bring someone to this conclusion by arranging the whole scenario around a person of faith. It truly took a real person of faith to have come to the conclusion of resurrection as being inevitable! [For Abraham to fulfill the type of God, he had to have been convinced beyond all doubt that after he offered up his son, that he would be raised again. This is exactly what the Father [God] believed and knew about his own Sons death. So not only did Isaac fulfill the type of Jesus in this story, but Abraham also fulfilled a type of God!] [NOTE; Today is September 22, 2007. Israel’s Day of Atonement. I just heard a brother preach on the feasts of the Lord [I have done this also] but he preached it in a way that said ‘because God said you were to observe these feasts perpetually, therefore all gentile believers need to start observing these days’ he added ‘I know Paul taught the law passed and all, but these feasts are supposed to be forever because God said so’.
How are the feasts ‘perpetual’? Thru the fulfilling of them in Christ! Paul makes this plain all thru the New Testament [as well as this letter!] I was surprised to hear the brother preach that the first 2 feasts [out of the 3 main ones] were fulfilled and memorialized, but the 3rd one [Atonement/tabernacles] has yet to be fulfilled! What? Jesus fulfilled Passover and Pentecost for sure, and they are still being ‘fulfilled’ God is still bringing people in thru the blood of Christ and the Spirit is continually being poured out on people, and of course the ultimate reality of our atonement thru our high priest is a daily reality [he ever lives to make intercession] that is ‘fulfilled’ all the time[ I understand what the brother meant, that both Passover and Pentecost were fulfilled at the Cross and the day of Pentecost, and Tabernacles still has a future fulfillment. That Jesus will ‘ingather’ all peoples to himself at the end. The way he said it was in a way that he said Atonement, the beginning of Tabernacles/booths, still has to be fulfilled. It really came out badly!] I just thought it worth noting that today is natural Israel’s feast day, and we hold this feast in reality 24/7!]
‘By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of pharaohs daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward…by faith the harlot Rahab perished not…’ I want you to see that faith in Moses situation caused him to forsake great riches and leave a successful future. This is in keeping with all the times Jesus called people in the Gospels ‘forsake all and follow me’ mentality. We too often equate the ‘treasures of Egypt’ with following Jesus; the scripture puts a different spin on it! Also Rahab ‘perished not’ because she ‘believed’. Paul teaches in Corinthians that those who believe are ‘being saved’ and those who don’t believe are ‘perishing’. I want you to see that Paul is really making a theological argument for ‘being saved by faith’ in this chapter. Even a harlot can be saved! Wow. The law seemed to have no mercy on someone like that!
‘Who thru faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions…women received their dead raised to life…others were TORTURED not accepting deliverance…others had mocking and scourging and bonds and imprisonment, they were stoned, cut in half, were slain with the sword… being destitute, afflicted, tormented…they wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth, ALL THESE [both the ones who shut the mouths of lions as well as the one’s who were tortured without deliverance] OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT THRU FAITH, AND RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE’ Faith does not always cause you to be better off in this life. I am very familiar with all the verses of God blessing us and providing for us ‘the blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow to it’. I believe and claim these verses just like the next guy. I also don’t want to tell people ‘give your life to Christ and all will go well’ did it go well for the ones who were tortured not getting delivered? Sure did. It went well the moment they saw the face of God. The same for those who were cut in half. It also went well for the women who received their dead raised to life. The point is ‘going well’ is not always defined by your outward circumstance.
We must see the overall biblical worldview of all things here being temporary, while all true spiritual riches are eternal. Moses actually was ‘less rich’ by the choice to follow Christ. But he was ‘more rich’ in that he fulfilled Gods purpose. It is important to see that many of these great heroes of the faith died without fully seeing the promise in this life. Now the last verse does say ‘that they without us should not be made perfect’ and this does show that the promise is now fulfilled thru Christ. We have all become recipients of eternal salvation thru Christ. The Old Testament patriarchs have ‘found that city’ in that we are all now members of the great ‘City that comes down from God out of heaven’ we are all in Christ today, even our Old Testament brothers who had faith. The point is don’t always measure a persons faith by their outward wealth and condition. James rebuked this idea in his epistle, he taught us not to show partiality to people who were rich while despising the poor.
When believers see faith only from the standpoint of outward things, they are missing the true riches. Jesus taught that all these outward things were not the true riches; I am surprised how many believers spend so much time hoarding and storing things that will all pass away some day. Let’s close this chapter on a good note. Paul has offered Israel all of their Old Testament heroes as an example of being justified by faith. He is saying ‘look, all the great fathers of the faith pleased God, just like you have said and taught for ages. I am declaring unto you they were all ‘justified/pleasing to God’ by faith, not law’. Therefore if you want to follow the example of Abraham and Moses and all the other wonderful fathers, then you too MUST BELIEVE!
‘Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [all the heroes of the last chapter!] let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us’ a few practical things. Paul compares the journey to a marathon, not a sprint! The patient runner who paces himself will receive a reward. The sprinter will look good at the start, but you never see him again! I have been blessed by so many gifted people over the years. Some who were on radio, or were doing some type of ministry for the Lord. The gifts and callings were truly on these people. A few years would go by and they were no where to be found. Where did they go? Some of them jumped on the latest ‘Christian movement’ [I am not against movements from God, I just feel we get enamored by them and give up on the main thing the Lord has called us to] some walked away from the Lord.
I have come to realize that God will put certain things in you from the early days, things that he predestined for you to fulfill before you were born. These are the things that you should be faithful to. Don’t abandon the original calling, it’s still there! You can spend your whole life leaving one ‘track’ and ‘sprinting’ in another. But God wants you to stay on the original course and run it with patience. It might not seem as glamorous or exciting as the newest race in town, but at the end you will receive a reward. ‘Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him ENDURED the cross, despising the shame and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that ENDURED such contradiction of sinners…and ye have forgotten the exhortation that speaketh to you as children [remember what we said about this type of privileged language in Hebrews? It is speaking to Israel] my son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art REBUKED of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If you endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons’.
Now, for many years I read this just like you. That God was telling Christians that he disciplines them. True enough. But in context what is Paul saying here? He spent 11 chapters ‘reproving’ Israel. He told them that all the sacrifices and wonderful holidays and family traditions are no more. That Messiah has fulfilled it and you can’t keep doing it. Now, how would you feel if some know it all preacher came along and totally dismantled your whole way of worship? And you knew in your heart he was right! You would take offence. You would feel like you just got ‘chastened’ up and down and all over. Your initial reaction would be ‘this is too much correction in one letter, I am tired of reading it!’ so Paul is telling Israel ‘Don’t take all this reproof the wrong way, Gods intent is to get you to move on with the program. He loves you guys; don’t forget that scripture [Old Testament] says ‘who God loves he chastens’ hey, God is just dealing with you as children who he loves’ get it? ‘We have had fathers of the flesh that corrected us…shall we not much rather be in subjection to the father of spirits and live?’ Paul is saying ‘you guys want to live [eternal life] then you need to submit to the correction the father is giving you’.
‘For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness’ Now, God does chasten believers for the purpose of holiness. Scripture says ‘those who have suffered in the flesh have ceased from sin, that they should no longer spend the rest of their days in the flesh pursuing the desires of the flesh, but the will of God’ ‘before I was afflicted I went astray, but after I kept thy word’ ‘thou in faithfulness hath afflicted me’ ‘though he were a son yet learned he obedience from the things he suffered’ ‘the captain of our salvation was made perfect thru suffering’ [the last 2 are in this letter, the others are some where in scripture, I just quoted them off the top of my head. As you can see I have some familiarity with this subject! Ouch] In context Paul is saying to Israel ‘you have tried to attain holiness thru legalistic means, by keeping the law [Romans 9-the last few verses] but until you submit to Gods chastening, and have faith in God, you will not truly have his ‘holiness’ [righteousness].
So God is disciplining them thru this letter so they will ‘believe and become righteous’ as opposed to staying in the old system of law. ‘Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous [old brother Paul, he sure knew how to understate things!] nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of RIGHTEOUSNESS to them that are exercised [or exorcised! Just kidding, but it can feel like this at times] thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down…and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame [broken] be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed’ David said ‘restore to me the joy of your salvation that the bones which YOU HAVE BROKEN may rejoice’ The danger of chastening [both for Christians and Israel] is that we get so broken that we never fully recover. Paul is telling Israel ‘I know it’s been hard on you guys to hear so much rebuke. Don’t walk away totally discouraged. There is a danger that you might respond to Gods correction the wrong way. Lift up your hands, shake off the depression, and let yourselves be healed. God wants to restore you!’
‘Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for HE FOUND NO PLACE OF REPENTANCE though he sought it carefully with tears’. This is another reason why reading Hebrews in context is important. One of the themes of this letter is ‘if you miss out on it now, you can’t repent later!’[Chapter 6]. We know that Pauls other letters to the churches leave open future repentance for those who have sinned. In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians we see this being done. But in Hebrews the idea is ‘if you pass on the Cross, you can not find repentance thru any other means. There is no other place for repentance’. So this is the reason why Hebrews has this theme of ‘no future repentance’ thru out the letter. Paul is certainly not telling Israel that if they decide to repent and accept Christ at a future date, they can’t! But he is saying ‘if you pass over this sacrifice of Christ, all the other ‘sacrifices’ and means of repentance that are contained in the law will have no future effect, remember Esau!’
‘For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched…but ye are come to Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [the church]…and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Able’ Here Paul comes back to a ‘scarlet thread’ that runs thru out this letter. He says ‘hey, you think the first covenant was a fearful thing, watch out! If you disregard this covenant [Jesus blood] then you have gone against something that is much greater than the law’. Also the ‘blood of Able’ cried out from the ground for vengeance, the blood of Jesus cries out from heaven for mercy and forgiveness! It ‘speaks’ better things than that of Able! ‘See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth [Moses and the law] much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him which speaketh from heaven’ again Paul repeats themes he hit on earlier in this letter. He says ‘Moses spoke Gods Word [law] to you from an earthly mountain and place, you are come to a heavenly mountain [Sion-spiritual Jerusalem] and Jesus is speaking to you from heaven. This is much more strict than he who spoke from earth’.
‘Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom that can not be moved, let us HAVE GRACE, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire’ Though Paul doesn’t say it [I think he should have!] but this alludes to the ‘God’ of Moses day, who did not consume the burning bush, compared to the ‘God’ of today [new covenant] who will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire! This fits in with the theme of a harsher punishment for those who reject the covenant of grace as opposed to those who rejected the covenant of law. I know these themes are not popular, but this is clearly the way Paul is presenting them. I also am not saying the ‘God’ of the Old Testament is different from the ‘God’ of the new [this is the heresy of Marcion! I think that was his name. He was an early Christian heretic who comprised the first canon of scripture for a ‘new testament’ it included basically Paul’s letters, and he taught that The God of the new testament was different from the God in the old] but Paul is presenting the new covenant in a way that says ‘don’t neglect this new way of salvation, those who do will receive a harsher judgment than those who rejected the law’.
VERSES [These are the verses I either quoted or taught from on today’s post- Links to all my sites below]
2Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2Corinthians 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.
2Corinthians 7:3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you.
2Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
2Corinthians 7:5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.
2Corinthians 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2Corinthians 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
2Corinthians 7:8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
2Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
2Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
2Corinthians 7:12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
2Corinthians 7:13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
2Corinthians 7:14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.
2Corinthians 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.
2Corinthians 7:16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
Hebrews 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Hebrews 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Hebrews 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
Hebrews 12:20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
Hebrews 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things that that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
Hebrews 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
Is. 54: 2-3
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