Sunday, August 4, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How do we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law?

Rom. 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. How is the righteous requirement of the law fulfilled in believers? I believe it is a mistake to believe this passage is referring to the actual performance of believers in keeping God’s law. Since that takes perfection, it is impossible for believers to be successful law keepers and that is why Paul calls it a ministry of death. Seems to me this passage is referring to the fact that Jesus kept the law and it is fulfilled in those who walk according to the Spirit, which describes believers. A chapter earlier Paul said, Rom. 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. 

Therefore, we are released from the law of sin and death and set free by the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2).  The bottom line of this passage is that God sent his son to do what we cannot do and that is to fulfill the righteous requirement of the law for those who, through faith, serve in the new way of the Spirit. To think that this passage is teaching successful law keeping by believers is to miss the point that Jesus Christ successfully kept the law in order that those who are in him through faith might be covered in his righteousness, not ours.

Believers should rejoice in being free in Jesus Christ and following the lead of the Holy Spirit rather than submitting to the Old Covenant yoke of slavery through law keeping.    

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We are only a mist

When I was a senior in college I met and became friends with a graduate student who came to Mississippi State to get his masters degree. After I graduated in May of that year, I lost contact with him.

A few years later in May of 1967 I entered Air Force pilot training at Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma. In the middle of that summer I received a phone call from someone I didn’t know who was a friend of my friend from my college days. She informed me that he had been killed in a commercial plane crash and that his wife, whom I had never met or even knew about, asked her to call and inform me. He would have been about twenty-seven years old and I later learned that he had gotten his PhD degree in engineering and had a very promising career ahead of him. He had been married for about a year and his wife was five months pregnant when he died. A few weeks after that shocking phone call, we had a fatal T-38 crash at Vance that killed a student and instructor pilot.

All of these people had plans and were looking forward to long lives in which to pursue their goals. While there is nothing wrong with making temporal worldly plans, the reality is there are no guarantees that any worldly plans can be realized due to the uncertainty of life itself. The Bible points this out…………

(James 4:13-14 ESV) Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

However, there is one kind of planning for the future that cannot be shipwrecked by death or worldly events. While we are alive in this world we can make solid irrevocable plans for where we spend eternity. These plans are secure no matter what happens in this world of trouble and the Holy Bible gives us instructions on how to make these plans. The bottom line is ………

(Romans 6:23 ESV) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These are the only future plans that a person can count on. Have you made your plans for your future in eternity?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Growth in Sanctification

Where is the best place for Christians to look for knowledge and information on their sanctification? While many point to the TEN COMMANDMENTS as the best place to look, I would say that the New Testament is the best, and Biblical place for Christians to look for guidance and divine instruction on their sanctification and discipleship. The TEN COMMANDMENTS contain only four duties to God and six to our fellow man, while Colossians 3:1-17 alone contains 32 instructions on Christian duty and ethics. Most of these are not covered by the TEN COMMANDMENTS.

The nation of Israel was under Law as expressed in the Mosaic Covenant and their covenant contract, the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Christians since the resurrection are not under law, but under grace (Rom. 6:14). There are ethical and moral principles that Christians under grace are to practice and they are described in a more detailed and comprehensive way in the New Testament. The TEN COMMANDMENTS were given to the Old Covenant nation of Israel and the righteousness of God that they contain are better and more fully described in the New Testament.

The list below contains exhortations for New Covenant Christians to practice that are more detailed than the TEN COMMANDMENTS. This list is from Colossians 3:1-17 only and the New Testament is full of such directives in the gospels as well as the Epistles.

* Seek spiritual things
* Set your mind on spiritual things
* You are a spiritual person in Christ
* Put to death earthly desires: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry
* Also put away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

* Do not lie to one another
* Believers have put off the old self and have put on the new self
* The new self is being renewed in knowledge after the Image of its creator

* There is only one category of Christian and that is in Christ
* As God’s holy and beloved chosen put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience
* Bear with one another and forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven you
* Above all of these put on love which binds together

* Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
* Be thankful
* Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
* Teach and admonish one another in wisdom

* Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
* Do everything in the name of Jesus Christ giving thanks to God through him

Monday, April 8, 2013

Jesus doesn’t evolve

Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

The worldly forces at work today have latched on to the word evolve. Many secular humanists have even suggested that the church needs to evolve on the issue of homosexual marriage. Evolve???? This evolve business is just a way to soften or gloss over changing a doctrine or a core belief.

However, the Bible does not evolve and clearly warns against those who are trying to be accepted and curry favor with the world…… James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Paul in Eph. 5:11 commands Christians to not only reject such involvement with the unfruitful works of darkness, but to also actively oppose them.

If anyone is tempted to reject the teaching of Jesus Christ on marriage (Matthew 19:4-6), they should beware they are evolving themselves into being at enmity with God. Here is the way Jesus put it….. Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Listen to Jesus and not false prophets and teachers who have “evolved” and claim you should to.

It really is a time to take a stand while you still can.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Biblical Covenants

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  (Genesis 9:11 ESV)

God has interacted with man through covenants during human history from the time of Noah through the present day.  The first covenant that appears in Scripture was made with Noah and all living creatures.  The sign of this covenant is the rainbow.

Redemptive history is revealed in the Bible through two major covenants and understanding these covenants is essential to understanding God’s plan of redemption.  The first major covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, was in force for nearly all of the Old Testament beginning with Moses at Mt. Sinai.  This covenant is also referred to in Scripture as the Old Covenant (2 Cor. 3:14), First Covenant (Heb. 8:7, 9:1), or Law (Ex. 34:28).  The Mosaic Covenant was a temporary covenant that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Mt. 5:17) and replaced with the permanent New Covenant (Gal. 3:23-25, Heb. 8:13, 2 Cor. 3:7-11).  Christians celebrate the New Covenant with the Lord’s Supper.  (1 Cor. 11:25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.)  While the Old Covenant was temporary, the New Covenant is permanent with a better mediator in Jesus Christ who can save sinners, which the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant could never do. 

God is one of the parties in all Biblical covenants, and the other party varies depending upon the covenant.  In the Mosaic Covenant the other party was the nation of Israel that was physically delivered from Egypt and their offspring.  Not many of them were spiritually redeemed (Rom. 9:27).  The Old Covenant did not include any of the descendents of Abraham and Jacob that lived prior to the exodus, and it did not include anyone other than the Jews that were delivered from Egypt (Deut. 5:3 Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.). The New Covenant includes only regenerated believers who are in-Christ through faith (Heb. 8:10-12). 

Therefore, the only covenant now in force is the New Covenant.  There are no temporary New Covenant members and there are no covenant members that enter the New Covenant based on being born a Jew or being born to Christian parents (Romans 9:1-18).  Faith in Christ is the only way a person can enter into the New Covenant.  Paul makes it clear that the covenant of promise made with Abraham was for the spiritual descendents of Abraham and not his physical descendents (Rom. 9:6-8, Rom. 2:28-29, Gal. 6:16).

While the Old Testament is very useful for much information concerning God and his plan of redemption, Christians should be careful to follow the exhortations found in the New Testament for their covenant practice.  God’s laws for the New Covenant (Law of Christ 1 Cor. 9:20-21) are found in the New Testament.  Many are the same as in the Old Covenant, many have expired, and many have been strengthened (Matt. 5-7).  The New Covenant blessings found in the New Testament are better (Heb. 7:22, 8:6-7).  So to look to the Old Covenant for our covenant instruction is to literally place a yoke of slavery upon our necks (Acts 15:10, Gal. 5:1).  Believers in the New Covenant era should reject looking to Moses and the Old Covenant yoke of slavery for their covenant responsibilities.   This is the message of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) and Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians