Archive for December 2012

Epistle to the Hebrews (8:3-5)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too.If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain” Hebrews 8:3-5

If we take the 5 books of the Old testament, the Pentateuch, we see God giving the people of Israel many laws. According to some rabbis, there’re about 613 laws of which 365 of them are negative commandments. These laws taught people how to respect God and people.

Since the destruction of the second temple, there’re now 271 laws which can be observed of which 77 of them are positive commandments. More than half of the law can no longer be observed by the Jews. If the Mosaic law and its system of worship permitted people to get right with God, why is it that many of them can no longer be observed since the destruction of the temple? Could that mean that they were not indispensable? Did not God give Moses the delicate task of building the tabernacle as a shadow of heaven’s tabernacle? It was a solemn moment when God’s presence came in the newly dedicated temple.  This same temple was destroyed but does that mean God could no longer show His presence? Jesus does not minister in a temple which needs to be rebuilt when destroyed. If God’s dwelling place was still in the temple of Jerusalem, I guess it would have already been destroyed by a neighborhood rocket.

Sacrifices were made because “without blood there is no forgiveness”

In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

The reason for the need of blood is given in Leviticus:

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life” Leviticus 17:11

The sacrifice could not be made anywhere either. If an Israelite sacrificed a lamb or bull anywhere inside or outside the camp, he was as guilty as a murderer. The sacrifice should only be done at the entrance of the tabernacle as an offering visibly dedicated to God(Leviticus 17:3).

Slaughtering the best animal in God’s presence showed the importance of one’s sins. Death, death of an animal, showed the seriousness and consequences of sins. The lies, thefts one did required blood to be shed. The tabernacle in which the Levites ministered was temporary, it was just a man-made imitation of the original tabernacle in heaven. This is why our Good Lord made a whip out of cords and chased those who were selling animals in the temple courts. The Son of God knows the Holiness of the Heavenly tabernacle and this is why He zealously drove these merchants out.

The author asks why did Jesus came as High Priest if there were already priests who were fulfilling the priesthood duties. The reason given is : “They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven

God could not accept forgiveness of sins without doing it the proper way. This is why Moses had to build the temple as directed by God(Exodus 25-29).

When Solomon dedicated the temple, his prayer was : “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” 2 Chr 6:18

Chapter 8 and 9 of the Epistle to the Hebrews give life to the book of Leviticus and Exodus. We’ll go through some details in the next verses.

Advertisements

Obedience   1 comment

Obedience

Obedience

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Phil 2:12

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself as a worker who complains when doing jobs which don’t fit me. Whether it pleases me or not, what matters is obedience to God. God is forming my character but I keep complaining or fail to obey Him. It’s a grace to serve God but I ignored His call for service several times.

What God seeks is obedience even if I feel uncomfortable, don’t see fruits and see myself surrounded by people better than me for the tasks He’s asking me to do.

But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway.Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go.“Which of the two obeyed his father?”They replied, “The first.” Mat 21:28

Sometimes, I see myself like this son who complains and grumble but at the end I’ll just do it though I don’t grasp everything.

If you obey God by doing what He asked you to do even though you know you were not fit for that job, what matters is OBEDIENCE. It is better to obey God than doing something He did not say. If you did the best you can out of obedience to God and still failed to excel, it does not matter. It’s obedience and the attitude of the heart that God looks at. What you’re doing is perhaps just a meaningless and frustrating puzzle in your eyes but remember that God has the big picture in mind.

If I ask a little boy “Son, I’m thirsty, please bring the jar of water ” and he spills most of the water on the way, will I blame him? Did not I know that this jar of water was heavy and was not easy for him to carry in his little hands? But this little boy obeyed. Many times you’ll receive critics even if you obey. Is it a solution to disobey in order to avoid critics? No way, this is cowardice and immaturity.

As per the Oxford dictionary, obedience means “submission to an authority” or “carry out a command/instruction”.

A soldier who died on the field because he obeyed the command of his superior will be honored. Those who disobey or flee are called deserters and cowards.

What do we do when the Lord of hosts commands? Do we close our ears? Do we tell Him “I just bought five pairs of oxen, bought a field or just got married?” Luke 14.

You can do a lot of good things for God without actually doing what He wished. If God asked you to do X why do you do Y? Is it because doing X is disturbing to you and that Y pleases you more?

If the little boy brought a bottle of oil instead without spilling a drop, could that quench my thirst? I would prefer the little water he brought than an unaltered oil volume.

This is what happened to Saul. God told him not to spare Agag and to destroy all the livestock but He disobeyed.

Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.”

His argument was this:

But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

Sounds spiritual to be willing to keep the best of the sheep for sacrifice to Samuel’s God(not his God apparently).

And we know what Samuel said: “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” 1 Sam 15:22

You can go to church, worship God with your beautiful voice and do so many good deeds but still not obeying God. The sacrifice of your lips, the money and time you give can be meaningless if you’re not obeying. It’s still better to do one thing God asks than doing 1000 things He did not ask. This is what we see nowadays in churches. Churches do a lot of good things and they still wonder why God is not blessing. God’s way of healing Namaan was simple:

Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

The bible says that Naaman reasoned as such “Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.”

Often we get angry because we see God’s way of doing things embarrassing and weird. Let me tell you that God is reputed for not doing things our way. 2000 years ago, He proved it again on the cross.

Are not there cleaner rivers elsewhere? Or could not Elisha himself come and wave his hand? There’s also pride which often forbids us to obey. We reason like Naaman and say” Why did he send just a messenger, I am unworthy for his visit? Why should I dip myself in this dirty Jordan river 7 times?”

The officers said: “But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir,if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”

Obedience to what God requires is rooted in trust. When someone knows God, he has the fear of God and will obey even though he knows not God’s plan.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

Do you think Abraham was not weighting the consequences when he left all his possessions and took his family to go in the midst of uncertainty? He lived by faith as a foreigner and in tents. Did he take it lightly when the angel of the Lord stopped him at the last second he was about to kill his son?

This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you.”

Obedience to God here again, proved to be far greater than sacrifice. Christ’s perfect obedience was itself a living sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice started before the cross. During all His life He surrendered His will to the Father. The cross was His glorification, the perfect sacrifice of the one who entirely forfeited His rights. His food was to do the will of His Father He said (John 4:34).

Obedience to God is adoration because by definition you’re submitting yourself to His will. Disobedience and pride are strongly related because when you are prideful you do not want to submit to God’s command and will. Sin is itself disobedience. This was the original sin of Adam and Eve. Obedience always had great value in God’s eyes.

Just look at what the Son did:

Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.” Rom 5:19

Let us be inspired by Jesus to live a life of obedience.

Posted December 25, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

The End of the World   Leave a comment

Maya

Mayan

Oh yeah we made it through dear Mayans. I guess there’s a plausible reason like it has been for the 200+ prophesied doomsday which failed to happen.

We have in the pipe a doomsday in 2013, the next in 2016 followed by a long list of dates.

If there’s a thing I’m sure about, it’s that these days are not going to be the end of the world. If you want to organise a great party, plan it these days.

Why I’m excluding these dates? Simply because Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen“.

Through the media we see the evil making a lot of propaganda. The Day of the Lord is being made a banality. The media has been crying wolf many times and will continue. When the signs will really appear, many people will just ignore them because they have been saturated by past false alerts. By the way, did you believe a word of the Mayans?

Many scoffers will come and say ” Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 2 Peter 3:3

Jesus did not give us the day of His coming and this is what keeps us burning with hope. If Jesus said that He’ll come in 2098, then many Christians living today would not have had a daily fear of God.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.” 2 Pet 3:9

This suspense for the day stirs in us a holy fear as Peter said:

Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames..And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight

Our heart needs to long for “May thy Kingdom come” daily. The first coming of Jesus was the long awaited day for the human race but the Judgement day is the long awaited day for God. This is the Day where God will judge with His Righteousness everyone. Maranatha!

end of world

End of the world

Epistle to the Hebrews (8:1-2)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsHere is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven.There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.”  Hebrews 8:1-2

To summarise chapter 7, the author proclaims that “We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven“. This Jesus is not just anyone. We have seen in previous chapters what it means to be seated in the place of honor. By stating his main point, the author wants to make it unambiguous that Jesus sits in the place of honor. This is a very strong theme in the epistle and one which the author gives massive arguments to support it.

The book of Revelation shows Jesus as the One sitting on God’s throne:

Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13

Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.” Rev 3:21

It’s Jesus who rules in heaven. One day my Good Lord said to the Samaritan woman: “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The Samaritan thought that it was on Gerizim the true place of worship and the Jews thought it was Jerusalem. Yesterday a friend of mine passed away in a tragic accident. My dear friend is now in the true place of worship because of Jesus. How my heart longs to be there also! The true place of worship is where our Savior ministers. There our beloved High Priest stands. There He prepared a place for each of us (John 17). There we can approach God’s throne with assurance. If the holy angels cover themselves because of God’s holiness, how can we dare to open our mouth amidst those holy creatures surrounding God’s throne?
Isaiah said:  “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, ‘See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.‘ “
Don’t think that Isaiah was exaggerating at this instant when he faced certain death. A seraphim had to pick up a coal from the altar to purify his lips. It’s really serious up there, you can’t bypass the sin screening test.
Remember that the Holy God struck in anger Uzzah dead when he had the good intention to keep the ark of the covenant from falling (1 Chr 13:10)? The Israelites feared to come close to mount Sinai because it was God’s holy mountain and if they approached it, they would have been struck to death. God’s presence is fearful is not it? Don’t think that you can get to heaven as easy as getting into a church by hiding your sins. What worship do you think you can give to God if you’re not even worthy to be in His presence? To be eligible to stand in God’s presence and worship Him you must have someone up there who has enough credentials to let you in. Jesus is this someone.
Remember the parable of the Great feast? In this great feast all kind of guests were invited, the good and bad. Sinners were given the wedding clothes.
But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’“For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Without God providence to cover your sins, you’re kicked out of heaven.
But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” ,Jesus said in Matthew 7:14
You might say “Who can get up there then?”. I would say no one – unless you really believe in the power of the High Priest. Oh yeah,  you need to bear in mind that standing in God’s presence should not be taken for granted. It’s not an ordinary place. You really need grace to get there.
We saw earlier that we have such a great salvation and that we should not neglect it. If you die today, bear in mind that you’re going to face a trial and be judged. Without Jesus ministering in the heavenly tabernacle i.e. God’s dwelling place you’re damned. Don’t think heaven is like a church with golden walls. Heaven is not made with imperfect human hands. God is perfect and only perfect and holy people can be in His presence. Impossible to get there huh? Jesus Christ is making His bride perfect for the great feast (Eph 5:26). Jesus Christ the High Priest intercedes for us and because of His perfect sacrifice this fear of getting in God’s presence is removed. It’s all about Jesus. Trust Him. Bow to your knees and worship Jesus for what He did and is doing.
I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God! ”The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Mat 19:24
Jesus the High priest

Jesus our High priest

Posted December 15, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

Tagged with , , , , ,

Epistle to the Hebrews (7:25-28)   1 comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven.Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.” Hebrews 7:25-28

The difference between the priesthood of Jesus and those who preceded Him is clearly portrayed. Jesus is holy, blameless and unstained by sin.  He does not need to offer sacrifice for His own sins before presenting Himself to God to intercede for us.He has the credentials, authority and credibility when He intercedes in our favor when the devil accuses us day and night before God’s throne(Rev 12:9). If it was Aaron our high priest, the devil could have discredited him by saying “Were not you the one who made the golden calf?”

This Jesus is God and is unstained by sin. He is Himself the judge because He is God and also an advocate because He is the perfect man who can plead for us.

In judiciary, one may hire a lawyer to defend him without the guarantee that the advocate will make his best to get him out. The advocate can be dishonest by requiring more money, have bad intentions and not defend well his client. The jury might have a bad opinion of the advocate due to his personal messy life. The advocate is just a man who sin and is imperfect.

Jesus understands us perfectly. He defends us because He is convinced of our innocence. He is convinced of our innocence because it happens that He is also a witness in this trial. His scars on his hands and feet are evidence that we are no longer guilty. The charge laid against you and me are removed because He paid the ransom. God Almighty, the Judge, considers this Advocate as the “One exalted above heaven”. This advocate has credibility. This advocate owns this case, it is as if this trial is against Him,  He is very concern, He is honest, He does not require money from us, He perfectly knows our faults and have the arguments to defend us. He wants all men to be saved and case by case He will stand as advocate and defend with vehemence those who trust in Him.

God in His righteousness Has determined beforehand that sinners should go to hell. He has not changed His mind and will not change His mind. When the devil accuses sinners of their sins, God cannot go against this order He established and He has to judge these sinners as predetermined. God would be unjust and unrighteous if He did not punish sins.

This said, that means we are all destined to hell because we are all sinners. God Almighty has to judge sins and because of that He poured out His wrath on Jesus instead of us. Jesus voluntarily offered Himself for us(John 10:18).

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.We have left God’s paths to follow our own.Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants…for many to be counted righteous…for he will bear all their sin…because he exposed himself to death.He was counted among the rebels.He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.” Isaiah 53

Could anyone come and propose to pay the ransom for our sins? We cannot bargain with God. If  you have been giving food to the poor all of your life and it happens that one day you murdered someone, you will never be able to tell to the judge “Look at all the good stuff I did”. There’s no such thing as a balance between right and wrong. Your good deeds do not cancel bad deeds, it’s an illusion. Man believes that he can repair bad things with good things, but it’s just an illusion. Where there’s grace, there’s no need of penitence.

There’s not even a righteous man who could dare to ask God to spare us from His judgement. But He, Jesus, knew that we were all damned like the fallen angels. We would have also been precipitated to hell like the angels who disobeyed God. No one could have saved us from the wrath of God. No one in heaven and earth was worthy and is worthy to even open the scrolls of God’s judgement. But Jesus spared us.

John said in Revelation 5:

And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?”But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne,has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders… He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

Jesus is the perfect Advocate and High Priest. Jesus is the only One who can spare us from God’s wrath. Only Him has the credentials to defend our case.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” John 14:6

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1,2

Posted December 12, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

Epistle to the Hebrews (7:20-24)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the HebrewsThis new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath,but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:‘You are a priest forever.’Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” Hebrews 7:20-24

It is a new system established by Jesus-Christ. This covenant gives a brand new view to man’s sinful state, to salvation and justification. It’s salvation by grace through faith. This new system came to replace the defective old covenant. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God is Himself God’s perfect sacrifice. No more bulls’ sacrifice, no more need of priests and to follow the levitical system. He cried out on the cross “It is finished!”

God sealed this eternal covenant with an oath. Why does God Almighty need to make an oath? Most probably to give us humans this blessed assurance that our heart can rest and trust in Jesus Christ the High Priest. His priesthood is perfect, stable and endures forever. There’s no fear that Jesus will one day fail to be our representative, intercessor, mediator and High Priest in front of the Holy God of Heaven. After 1000 years that we dwell in heaven, God will not change His mind towards you and me. Jesus guarantees this covenant between you and God Almighty forever.

The levitical system was well established, God clearly explained to Moses how it should operate. It was a prerequisite that those involved in the priesthood duties should be descendants of Aaron. Did God change His mind when He sent His Son to establish something new?

Of course not.  I’ll need some lengthy materials from Paul for explanations:

Dear brothers and sisters,here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. Gal 3:19-25

God’s promises to Abraham was not made to his descendants but to his descendant i.e. Jesus. It is true that the Israelites are the biological descendants of Abraham but the real children of Abraham are those who have faith in Jesus.

In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.” Gal 3:6-9

The law given was temporary, it was like a guardian which tried to make us behave rightly. At the same time it showed us that we sinners would be unable to fulfill all of God’s requirements and standards. We were kept by it in “protective custody” until God’s salvific plan was revealed i.e. trusting Jesus for salvation. The law could not save people from their sins but only show them how sinful they were. When faith in Jesus was revealed to be the way of salvation, the law lost it’s raison-d’etre  since it was superseded by a perfect, supreme and final sacerdotal system.

This said, we can now see a clear distinction between the law and faith. Faith has put an end to ALL sacrificial system. No more sacrifice since Jesus is the ultimate and perfect sacrifice who cleansed perfectly our sins. No more high priests since there’re no more sacrifice and our High Priest lives forever! In most religions there’re sacrifices required and things that need to be done to get right with God. Not so with Christianity, there’s no need to do things to get right with God. Jesus did what was needed. No more rules, laws and regulations! Can you imagine what a burden has been removed on our shoulder? 600+ commandments where contained in the law of Moses. Jesus came and gave only 2 “laws” – Love God and love people.

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Paul said in Romans 13:

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.”

Is not it simpler to love than to follow rules? If you love people you won’t hurt them so why will you need laws? If you love God, you will do what He desires so why would you need laws? Is not it better to accept by faith that only Jesus can save us and that we cannot do any sacrifice to forgive our sins? Is not it of high importance to know that Moses, Abraham and Aaron were servants but Jesus is God?

Jesus lives forever and holds the permanent office of High Priest(Hebrews 7:24). He intercedes for us when the devil accuses Christians night and day (Rev 12:9) before God’s throne. Did you know that you have an enemy who night and day works and accuses you of your sins before God Almighty?

This is why John said : “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12

Without such a perfect Advocate, we would all be damned. It is no longer a man defending our case, but God Himself. If it was a man, the devil would have discredited the human advocate who is also a sinner. Who can thwart or make appeal to God’s verdict of ‘Not guilty’ when Jesus says He paid the whole ransom?

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” Rev 12:10

The old covenant and the new covenant are as distinctive as a stone and a heart.

Posted December 8, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

Tagged with , , , , , ,

The real man   5 comments

Jesus the Man

Jesus the Man

Let me put it clear from the start that I’m aware that this picture above is imperfect. We often see a picture of a sad and weak Jesus on the cross. I don’t think Jesus went on the cross defeated like a criminal but He went there victorious like a King! It’s been quite a while I wanted to write something for Christian men. Yesterday at church there was a man’s gathering and there were many things which could not be addressed due to lack of time.

Who is a real man?

I have been sharing for more than 1 year teachings regarding the divinity of Christ. I’ll use along this post to describe Jesus’ humanity.

Jesus grew up like a little boy, he had to eat, had feelings and also wept when his friend Lazarus died. Jesus was a human being made of  flesh and blood like us. Most probably, he did not have large biceps and a body like Arnold Swarchenegger but this Jesus was a REAL man. Jesus is the One who is making me become a real man. When I look at His life, I say to myself  “Oh what a man!”. I find in Jesus a perfect model of a man.

Many are born males but are not yet men. I would like to be concise, frank and go straight to the point in contrasting a male and a real man below:

  • A male cedes to temptation and lusts. Whatever his flesh desires, he does it. He has vices and is addicted. He is a slave of sin. He thinks that liberty is to be able to do anything he wants. He may have multiple sexual partners because he cannot be satisfied and get engaged to just a woman. A male lives in concubinage and gets easily seduced by a woman.He cannot engage himself to just a woman for the whole of his life because he’s immature. He cannot do what he promised. He can make children but cannot grow them up to become responsible citizens. He is not disciplined, he lives in foolish ways and the words of his mouth are not taken seriously. The male thinks that sex is love. He does not help those in need and is selfish. A male violates the law and do what is defended. A male wants his wife to please him and treats her wrongly. A male is stubborn, does not admit his mistakes, is unteachable, wants others to serve him and wants to rule over. A male is not a hard worker. A male thinks he is in control of his destiny and does not need God.
  • A real man has self-control. He can resist to his evil desires and say “No!” to things he knows are wrong and “Yes” to things he knows is right. He is not a slave of anything. He believes that true liberty is to be able to refuse what is wrong and do what is right. A real manhas only one woman because he is committed to his engagement. A real man believes in marriage and family. His love is not shared but entirely dedicated to one woman. He is faithful to his promises. He grows his children and meticulously looks for what is best to make them become mature and responsible citizens. He is disciplined, lives in an orderly way and he speaks words of wisdom. The man believes that love is a commitment. He cares for the needy and is generous. A man abides to the authorities established and respects the laws. A man wants to please his wife and he treats her right. A man admits his mistakes, is ready to learn and serve others. A man is a hard worker. A man knows he is damned and badly needs God’s help.

The abyss between a male and a man is great. We are all born males but when we assume more responsibilities we gain maturity and become men. Jesus was a perfect man. He never sinned. If we take His life as an example and let Him lead us, He can transform us from a male to a real man. If you want to become a real man, read the bible and see how Jesus lived. He really lived what he taught.

Many times I hear preachers stress upon Jesus’ sufferings to demonstrate the value of his sacrifice. But that’s not a sufficient argument because there were also 2 criminals who were crucified by his sides and suffered. The value of His sacrifice resided in who He was.

This Jesus lived 33 years in perfect obedience to God’s will. Can you do that? Can you live just a single year doing exactly what someone else wants? Jesus humbled himself for a while but that did not make Him an inferior person. Jesus is God and throughout His life he has been serving and helping others. In Gethsemane, this man was anguished but did not flee the cross. He alone made ropes out of chords and chased away the merchants in the temple. He fulfilled His responsibilities from A to Z. He did not fear to stand for the truth alone and rebuke the Pharisees and scribes even if that put His life at stake. This is a man! He did what needed to be done whether people liked it or not.

Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” Mat 28:18

Jesus had all powers, He had God’s authority on Him and could curse with just one word the pharisees insulting Him but He did not. He rather used His power to heal and bless others. He just said a word and the servant of the centurion was healed. He just prayed and demons were cast out. Jesus had character.

Abraham Lincoln said:

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

It seems weak for a man to tell to his wife “Darling, we are both tired with work today, let me wash the dishes

A man is called to lead but not to dictate. Jesus taught his disciples to serve others. Jesus taught servant-leadership. Jesus ministered only for 3 years and after 2000 years, billions of people came to follow His ways. His teachings influenced the lives of many. What a great man He was!

What great man will wash the feet of others? Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples because He loved them all. Jesus was bold and gentle. He had character and was a man who prayed. He did not hesitate to rebuke his good friend Peter even if He earlier commended him. He did not show favoritism when He talked to the Samaritan woman or when He saved and forgave the woman caught in adultery. A real man is a humble guy, he’s not boastful. Even if loving others will make him weak in the eyes of many, he’ll continue to love and serve others. Jesus did not teach violence but love.Isaiah said that Jesus was not a good looking man and that He was not someone who looked strong. Physical appearance and physical abilities do not make someone a man but character does. Christian man, it’s right time to stand up like an army under Christ’s command to influence our family, society and country with righteousness, justice and love.

May Jesus make you become like Him, a real man!

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christand to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:13,24

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death…

 For this reason he had to be made like them,fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-18

Posted December 2, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , ,