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Posts Tagged ‘the law’

When we are sharing the Gospel we must include the Law in our conversations. Our listeners need to see their guilt, their helplessness, their depth of sin, their opposition to God, and their only solution in Christ Jesus. They also need to know the consequences of their sin, but we will leave that for another post.
 
The Law and it’s Purpose
 
1) GUILT: “The law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” (Romans 3:19)
 
2) HELPLESSNESS: “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20)
 
3) ANTI-GOD: “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.” (1 John 3:4)
 
4) SIN-FILLED: “Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin.”(Romans 7:7a)
 
5) SOLUTION: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24)
 
Do not make the mistake of sharing a squeaky-clean Gospel – merely saying that Jesus died for our sin is not enough. People need to know what sin is, accept their guilt, learn the consequences, recognize their inability to do anything about it, and acknowledge that Jesus is their only solution for their sin problem. I have seen data that shows that when we omit this information, 80% to 90% of people who received Jesus eventually reject Him and return to their sinful ways.

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Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

Recently I had a discussion with a person and was able to share the Good News. Much to my delight she agreed to attend church the following Sunday with me and my family where the pastor confirmed and elaborated upon many of the things we had previously discussed. The pastor gave the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior, but she did not respond to the offer. Later on I asked her why.

One of her reasons was, “Because I am already a good person.”

“No you’re not,” I wanted to say, “you’re a rotten person,” but I bit my tongue. As true as it is, there was no love to be found in that response.

The fact of the matter is that we spent a lot of time talking about the very false doctrine of universalism (her other issue) and never really brought the conversation back around to her (our) perceived goodness.

There is none who does good, no, not one. Romans 3:12b

How to Tell a Nonbeliever That They Are No Good

It’s hard to tell someone they are no good and sound loving at the same time. You can say, “I love you,” all you want, but all they’re going to hear is that you just insulted them. From where they stand, they (and perhaps the world) see themselves as good people heading in the right direction. We on the other hand see them lost and heading in the wrong direction. What’s needed here is a road sign. What will a road sign do? Two things actually—it tells you where you are and it tells you the direction you need to go. The Law is that road sign.

You can easily show a nonbeliever the Ten Commandments and demonstrate how they have broken every single one. From there it is easy to point out that no one can be justified by the deeds of the law (Romans 3:20) because no one aside from Jesus has ever been able to keep the Law. So what’s the Law’s purpose? To show you where you are (in sin) and to point you in the direction you need to go (to Jesus). It really is just that simple.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Here’s the solution. Say, “Jesus, I was just at the road sign and it showed me I was a lost sinner. Thankfully, it pointed me in Your direction. Please cleanse me.” That’s all there is to it.

Remember, the Law was written on tablets of stone, not bars of soap–it cannot clean you.


 

These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” Mark 4:3-8

To Whom is Jesus Talking?

The truth be told, Jesus was addressing a great multitude of people, but the wisdom of this parable was not for everyone–the message was primarily for those who had ears to hear. In other words, it was for His followers. To those who had not yet chosen to believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the parable would make little sense. The fact of the matter is that this parable is a preparatory dictate to His followers; step one as it were towards effective evangelism. Jesus is effectively instructing His disciples, “Before you can plant a single seed, you must prepare the soil.”

The Burden is on the Sower, Not the Soil

Soil by definition is stupid. It doesn’t know it must be prepared. It cannot recognize it must be tilled, turned-over, exposed, and weeded. Soil thinks it’s good just the way it is. Soil thinks it’s good that it shares with the birds; it points to an occasional sprout as positive development. Soil fails to see the big picture—soil does not see its purpose as God sees it.

We have established that soil is stupid, so it stands to reason that it cannot prepare itself; tilling the soil is the sower’s task. Knowing this we need to make a distinction between an earthly farmer and a Christian farmer. We need to do this because they use different tools. A conventional farmer uses a plow to till his soil, but the Christian uses the Law to prepare his. The Law is the only tool that will properly prepare the soil to receive the seed, the Word of God. If a seed fails on stony ground or amongst the thorns, whose fault is it? Is it the soils fault or the sower?

Jesus Loves You

Like it or not, the Good News starts with some bad news. And guess what; the bad news doesn’t start with, “Hey! You’re going to hell!” The bad news is found in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

There are two parts to the bad news: first, ‘all have sinned’ and second, our sin separates us from God. The question that remains is, “How can we establish that every person is a sinner?” The fact is proved by having each sinner gaze into the mirror of the Law—the Ten Commandments. Using the Law as our guide, we can quickly and effectively demonstrate to any person that they have broken every single commandment. By so doing, we have begun the mission of tilling the stony ground. Skip this step and there is a very good chance that the seeds we plant will be gobbled up, withered away, or choked out.

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:9

The Psalmist said it this way, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…” (Psalm 19:7). It’s my testimony that when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior for the first time, I did so because ‘my sower’ told me Jesus loved me and that my life would be better with Him in it—the Law was not utilized. And because the soil was not properly prepared; because I was not brought to a place of godly sorrow leading to sincere repentance, I quickly backslid. I’ll be blunt. If we don’t allow the Law to do its good work [when we share the Gospel], we run the risk of planting a crop of backsliders.

I wonder, “How many of you quickly backslid because your soil was not tilled with the Law before the seed was planted?” Jesus gave His followers this parable so we would not make this critical mistake. Having said that, God was gracious to me and sent me another sower in my back-slidden condition, but know this—as a sower, I have the opportunity to plant the seed correctly the first time. Scattering seed on ill prepared soil is poor stewardship. Break out the Law and let’s till the land!

What say you?


These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands

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Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight Romans 3:20 What is Justification?

In the biblical sense of the word, what does justification mean? My pastor has always liked to say that its meaning is plainly spelled out in the word itself. “Its just-as-if you never sinned, ” he would say. It helps to recognize that it means much more than just having been forgiven of transgression; it’s a declaration of righteousness. Imagine going to court for a speeding ticket and your case is never called. When you make an enquiry, the judge advises, “We have no record whatsoever of you having committed the offense you speak of.” That’s justification.

Justification is Independent of the Law

The opening verse from Romans 3:20 remind us that no person can be justified; that is made righteous, by the law. Perfect adherence to the law is an impossibility for the earth-bound. While it is true man can justify certain behavior, that in know way suggests that the Father does the same. In His perfection, God cannot and will not wink at our offenses.

Justification is by Faith in the Lord

…The righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:22a

There is only one source for justification—Jesus Christ. By faith alone can righteousness be realized.

Justification is For all Mankind

…To all and on all who believe… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:22b-23

The word all in the original Greek language means all–this blessing is for everyone. Why? Because all have sinned and our Father desires that no one should perish. His grace is always there and all a person must do, is by faith take possession of it.

Justification is Exclusively by His Grace
…Being justified freely by His grace Romans3:24a

God has provided one way, not because He is mean or even exclusionary, but because we are, for lack of a better word—stupid. God’s purpose is to keep the formula, the remedy, whatever you want to call it, as simple as possible—one way, two choices—a person either wants salvation or they don’t. The more choices we have, the muddier the water—satan know this and the likely reason there are gazillions of false religions out there. Our loving God is not a God of confusion, but order.

Justification is Free But not Without Cost

Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood. Romans 3:25

God the Father gave to us His Son to pay the price for all the sin of the world, thus solving the divine dilemma: doling out perfect love and perfect justice simultaneously.

Justification is Not an Achievement

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. Romans 3:27

There are no bragging rights for the guy who rides the bench for the entire game when his team wins. So it is with justification. The justified had nothing at all to do with it, therefore the only one to get the glory is the One who afforded it. We are saved and blessed by grace, not by works. Let us never confuse the fact that because God might bless us while we do works, that the work itself is what brings forth blessings.

Justification Validates the Law

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3:31

A road sign is designed to do two things: tell you where you are ~and~ where you aren’t. The Law is such a device—it tells us that we are mired in sin and at the same time points us to the solution in Jesus Christ. The law is not dead to those who are justified, but we are in a sense dead to it. The mere fact that the law brought us to the cross proves its inherent value and establishes its purpose.

 

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So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. Deuteronomy 10:3-4

God and His Word Never ChangeMoses goes up Mount Sinai and returns with the Ten Commandments. Upon his return and in response to Israel’s depravity, Moses smashes the tablets, a stunning representation of what breaking the law truly looks like. And what was God’s response? “Moses, lets try that again.”

You could say that Moses and Israel got a do-over. What we cannot say is that God changed the rules. God did not express the ‘original’ was too tough and therefore needed a rewrite, nor did He adapt it to conform to the worldly culture Israel had become entangled. God’s action affirms that conformity is our burden, not His. And Jesus later tags, “These burdens are light.” (paraphrase mine)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

God could have changed the Law if He wanted to, but He didn’t. That leaves us to ask the question of ourselves, “Where do we get off believing that we can change the Law, or any other part of the Bible for that matter?” The answer is of course we cannot. Oh, we can go ahead and say our behavior is not sinful, but that does not change God’s Word. We can move forward and add requirements to our religion making it burdensome, but that doesn’t change His truth. We can do whatever we want to, but God remains the same.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Our efforts to modify the truth are really nothing more than attempts to placate man. Many Christians have caved-in to a culture that abhors what man has done to religion and therefore have removed the very word religion from the Christian vocabulary. How about we change our hearts instead of our vocabulary. How about we conform to what God wants us to be rather than conform to what the world wants us to be. After all, who are we called to please, God or man? Lest we become spiritual chameleons, we ought to do it all God’s way.


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And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. Exodus 25:16-17I Barely Know Where to Start?

To say that the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant are symbolic illustrations that prophetically lend themselves to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is an understatement of biblical proportion—no pun intended. Every element and every detail point toward and speak directly of Jesus Christ.

Consider the Tent

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

I do not pretend to know why God did the things He did or why He continues to do the things He does, but still I ponder, ‘why a tent?’ I didn’t realize until my Bible study today that man’s conception of a tent transcends time and culture. We can benefit from the fact that the word ‘dwelt’ (from the John 1:14 verse) in the Greek means; to tabernacle, or ‘tent’ with, so in both the Old and the New Testaments we have this depiction of Jesus tenting among us—one prophetic and one fulfilled. But there’s more…

The Tabernacle was an impermanent, wilderness quarters, humble outwardly, but inwardly ornate. It was both God’s dwelling place and meeting place among men. In obvious parallelism Jesus was among us temporarily in this our wasteland, an outwardly unassuming man, yet inwardly perfect. His name literally means, ‘God with us’ and He is the sole intermediary between us and the Father. His Word bears witness to these facts—mull over this biblical anthology:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel… He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him…Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head…let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them… For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…He who walks in a perfect way, He shall serve me… Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 53:2; Matthew 8:20; Exodus 25:8; 1Timothy 2:5; Psalms 101:6b

The Wood

And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. Exodus 25:11

Wood in the Bible often speaks to our flesh; the pulpy part of our existence and gold speaks of deity. If the Ark is a picture of Jesus Christ (and it is), then we have in it a depiction of a man covered in deity—there is only One who fits that description. The fact that the acacia tree has thorns and its sap is used medicinally to heal can only add more detail to the portrait.

The Good News

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. Exodus 25:16-17

The Testimony spoken of here is the Law; the Ten Commandments. God directs Moses to put them inside the Ark. The covering; the ‘Mercy Seat’ is not embellished timber this time, but pure gold. See the picture—the Law is covered by mercy. We are not in the Law, but in Christ. The Law is covered by Jesus and if we are in Him we robed in His righteousness, not by any effort on our part, but by the work He has done.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Isaiah 61:10a and Ephesians 2:8-9

Is there any significance in knowing these things? Absolutely. Once it is understood that the entire Bible, both Old Testament and New, point directly to Jesus Christ, we are better equipped to understand and share that which we believe and in Whom we profess our faith.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39


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Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19It Doesn’t Make Any Sense

The nation of Israel has just beheld the most magnificent, the most incredible, the most extravagant, divine display the world has ever seen and their reaction is bizarre to say the least. “Moses, ” they basically said, “God was cool and all that, but next time we would prefer to speak with you.” What? Did we hear them correctly? We cannot even begin to imagine such a peculiar scenario…Or can we?

I Don’t Wanna Die

Therein lies Israel’s reasoning. It was not God’s audible voice that scared them to death, but rather the things He had to say—God had given them the Law; the Ten Commandments. The very moment it was heard every person was convicted by their sin—the Law had done exactly what it was designed to do. God might as well have held up a huge mirror and said, “Lookie here…this is what a sinner looks like.” In light of that, we can scarcely blame Israel for not wanting to see that reflection; no wonder they would rather speak with Moses than God.

Nothing Has Changed

Our similarity to Israel in this regard is predictable. Too many Christians are attending feel-good churches, led by feel-good pastors, who only talk about a feel-good Jesus, just so they might feel better about themselves. Teachings regarding sin, separation, and hell can only lead to one place inevitably: ‘dying-to-self’ and nobody wants to go there, “lest we die.” Somewhere we have latched onto the false notion that if we hide from God we are somehow hidden from Him—an inane gesture on our part. The truth of the matter is that the ruse is ours alone–God cannot be deceived.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13

The Whole Story

The standard reflected by God’s Law exposes every man for the sinner he truly is and avoiding it or God cannot negate that reality–evasion only prevents us from learning the solution to our sin problem—the solution found in Christ Jesus alone. Ironically, it is in our turning away from God that a person truly dies.

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24


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