Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Exodus

Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8

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Joshua had BIG shoes to fill – Joshua 1:1-8 – 07/12/2016

Today’s devotion looks at Joshua and we have all had the situation where we have had to follow someone who was influential, imagine you are following the guy that the LORD gave the tablets of the law to, the guy who followed the LORD into leading the exodus of people out of slavery in Egypt. Let us look at the commission of Joshua in the book of Joshua…

Joshua 1:1 (ESV) After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Those of you who know me will know I love the book of Joshua and also I have big feet and therefore BIG shoes. (US size 13) The book of Joshua has everything that you would want in a modern day novel; it has spy stories, epic battles spiritual lessons and reliance on God as well as the consequences for going against God. When my local Calvary Chapel in Porterville started studying Joshua on a Tuesday night I don’t think I missed many of the lessons such as my admiration for the book.

Moses was blessed that even despite his rebellion (Numbers 20) the LORD let him see the Promised Land, (Deuteronomy 34) he had been told prior that he would not set foot in it but he was blessed in that he was able to at least see the fruit of his labor prior to his death.

Just as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses were given promises from God; Jacob was also made a promise from God. Can you imagine the comfort that is to Joshua because as stated at the top of the article, he had BIG shoes to fill? He was replacing the man who had led the children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. The first thing that strikes me about this passage of scripture is that God keeps his promises, let is look at what God promised…

  • Arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. (V2-4) – God gave instruction to GO! When God directs your steps and has chosen you for a mission that he is allowing you to do then you best do it! This was no vague promise; he even told Joshua the area in which he was entitled to go. This may upset some who want to take away land from Israel but God drew the boundary long before many of these arguments were thought up.
  • No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (V5) – Have you ever uttered the words “If my God is for me then who can be against me”? This is exactly what God was telling Joshua.
  • Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them (V6-7) – There is a difference between being strong and courageous in our own might and being strong in the LORD and He was telling him to be courageous but he was also saying that he had to do it according to the Law. He had to have no fear but lean on the LORD and his statutes.
  • This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (V8) – Lastly we have confirmation that the mighty leader with big shoes to fill had to be in the scriptures both day and night, they had to be a priority in that man’s life if he was going to lead God’s way. A good question to ask in application would be regardless of the extent of leadership you have been given, whether you are a Pastor, a small group leader, Sunday school or children’s leader, husband, or even a single man it is imperative that you are in the scriptures and it is a priority for you.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
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The Devil (didn’t) make me do it – Matthew 4:1-11

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The Devil (didn’t) make me do it – Matthew 4:1-11 – 03/29/2016

Matthew 4:1 (ESV) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse one of chapter four.

V1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

We go straight from God being very pleased at Jesus and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove to Jesus being tempted by the very adversary of God. (The Devil) I entitled this the way I did to try and poke fun at the idea that is somewhat popular that when we sin we say “The Devil made me do it” and often times we give the Devil way to much credit, I would put it no higher than our sinful nature made us do it.

Jesus volunteered for this mission so he knew at some point he was going to have to face the rebellious one and when he did it would have to be mano a mano, one on one. Jesus went from those soothing cool waters in the Jordan to the wasteland of the Middle Eastern desert which is described as wilderness, so no-one goes there and it is not regularly tended or farmed.

He goes from being blessed by the Father to being attacked by the tempter and I love this passage of scripture as Jesus did not have to do this because he was sinless, however he chose this to identify with the temptations that man would go through. There is some discussion among bible skeptics whether this verse is contradictory to a verse in James so let’s look at that…

James 1:12 (ESV) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The verse that is often questioned is verse 13, but even looking at it in context with the rest of the verses it is quite easy to see what James is referring to. Jesus was not being tempted by God, but the Holy Spirit was leading to a place that temptation could occur. Paul states that Jesus overcame these temptations to identify with man. Let’s look at two verses…

Hebrews 2:17 (ESV) Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

And also

Hebrews 4:14 (ESV) Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How awesome is that! We have a great high priest that has suffered when tempted (or tested) directly from the Devil, the dark side brought out their biggest guns against him but yet Jesus emerged victorious. How much more does that strengthen your faith that greater is he that is in you than the one who tempts you?

V2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Talk about testing someone to their limits? How would you be after forty days and forty nights with no-one but the devil for company? He was beyond simple hunger pains and was at the end of what a human body could handle. If the devil was ever going to get him then it would be now.

The idea of a forty day fast is not an unusual one in the Bible. Both Moses and Isaiah fasted in the Old Testament…

Exodus 34:27 (ESV) And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments

and also

1st Kings 19:4 (ESV) But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

This was not done for personal pride or just to show that the person going through the fast could in fact do that, it was done as a period of drawing closer to God the Father and learning dependence on him. Much like the modern day festival of “Lent” was supposed to be like but if the heart is not correct then it can just be a ritual. (Learn more about that in this blog article) Jesus overcame everything that was put in front of him because he WAS God. All others who did this had to rely on or come closer to God.

V3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Thus comes the first temptation, the Devil knew his body was weak so he attempted to show him what the flesh cried out for and that is often times how the Devil will try to tempt us. Some translations have the words “When the tempter came” and it is important to remember it is not a case of if the tempter will come but when. He desires nothing more than to seek and destroy and cause doubt in the heart of even the strongest believer. He desires to tear ministries down by using people’s weak spots and will do what it takes to push people’s hot buttons to entice them into sin.

We have to be careful most often when we have our “mountaintop experiences” because we can be sure that the Devil is trying his upmost to tunnel under us and bring us down. Personally, I have had some of my hardest times as a Christian just after some of my greatest spiritual victories and I caution ALL believers to be watchful during those times that we do not believe the hype about ourselves as humility is often a lesson learned after the fact!

Jesus answers him, not just simply palms him off or slightly disagrees but actually answers himself with the following scripture…

Deuteromony 8:3 (ESV) And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

Jesus used the word of God correctly and in context to do battle with the Devil. The Devil might have known the word but Jesus was the correct application of the Word. He was “the Word became flesh” (John 1:1) and this was not going to work with Jesus as he was sinless and could resist the devil and everything he was about to offer and as we see in the next few verses that the Devil kept upping the ante to see if the Holy One could be corrupted…

V5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Make no mistake about it, the Devil can quote scripture until the cows come home and he can manipulate and twist the very holy words of God to suit his own ends. This time he buffeted Jesus to see if “the pride of life” was in him at all.

He suggested that Jesus throw himself off the tallest building in the region and speculated that God would save Jesus if he was to do such a public show of God’s power. He stated that in scripture “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” To suit his own ends he misquotes Psalm 91 which reads…

Psalms 91:9 (ESV) Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge — 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

There is no mention of the end of the sentence in verse 11 and as you can read the whole verse is said in a manner to prove a point it was never intended to. That is often the case when scripture is used to stretch a point. Jesus responds with …

Deuteronomy 6:16 (ESV) “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

Jesus correctly applies this scripture against Him. Satan continues one last time…

V8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”

He decides to test the loyalty of Jesus to the Father by trying to go for the tri-unity of God, this is his big pitch and he knows that if this is successful this is a game changer. He waits until the last test and offers his all that he can for the patronage and worship of Jesus. I am sure he understands why Jesus is there and it shows something of the arrogance and pride of Satan that he thinks that this will be successful.

You will notice that Jesus does not dispute ownership of all the kingdoms of the world. Satan proposed a swap, Jesus worship for the world to be returned because in the psyche of Satan he desires to be worshipped as God is. And if the Son of God, who is God himself was to worship him…That would be off the charts for him! Of course Jesus is the Son of God and part of the tri-une God and he sends him away stating the basic tenants of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:1 (ESV) And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Jesus was not going to miss the cross to bow down to Satan, yes he would have redeemed the world but he stuck to God the Fathers plan for his mission and he handled temptation and gave us a great example how to deal with temptation because we see in the last verse of the passage that we are studying how Satan reacted after being denied by Jesus and using all that he had against him.

For me the real sobering thought was the thought about how my actions mirrored either Jesus and the devil and I think of ways that the devil could have “knobbled me” and it is certainly points that require prayer. I pray that it does likewise for you dear reader.

V11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Jesus was more than up to the task, we only read of those three temptations but Jesus stayed pure and fulfilled those forty days and forty nights being attacked by the devil Jesus fulfilled what is written in the book of James when it is written…

James 4:7 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

And as true as the word of God is, that is what happened, Jesus knew that the devil would use manipulation, lies and deception to try and turn him from God’s plan for his life and as his followers we can expect nothing less from the “father of lies” and I know that the further I stick my neck out for God the larger the target on my back becomes. We should use the same weapons that Jesus used against Him, God’s word rightly divided. That is the only truth that can stand against his lies.

God sends the angels promised in Psalm 91 but only after Jesus had defeated the devil. Angels came and supplied the needs that Jesus required; they are there as messengers as opposed to any other application of ministered. Jesus dealt with the devil with no outside help and it makes me think of the final battle in Revelation where we will watch Jesus take on all comers and defeat them all. What a day that will be!

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will start in verses twelve through seventeen of chapter four studying the beginning of the adult ministry of Jesus. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Genesis Two – Day Seven – The Seventh Day, God Rests – Genesis 2:1-3

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Genesis Two – Day Seven – The Seventh Day, God Rests – Genesis 2:1-3 – 02/23/2016

Genesis 2:1 (ESV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter two verse one…

V1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

This is the day where a line was drawn in the sand. This verse shows that creation was a one off event and that God had finished creating it all. When he created the earth, the plants and even the humans, he created them fully grown and we read that the plants were blooming, the trees were bearing fruit and the man was fully grown. We read in the biblical accounts that there were no babies until the days of Cain and Abel.

V2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

The interesting thing about this account is that God is so big that he did not have to rest, he could have gone on creating for an indefinite amount of time if he wished, however the seven day example that God set out was an example for us as humans. He rested as an example that the creating work was done and we need to look at our own lives and make sure we are taking time for rest.

I say this because I am as guilty as the next man of taking on tasks or jobs that I have no business taking on. I do over-schedule, sometimes I do under-deliver and I do not take enough rest and God, who knows what is best for us designed the week for us to have a rest. It is good for our physical, our emotional and obviously our mental health.

God knew what was best for us and this was even in the days before electronic devices that consume our lives and take us almost like a prisoner. (Perhaps that is why they are called “cell phones”) and I saw good evidence of that this week when I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Every exhibit that I went to I found myself almost being rude and guarding my own little section of the glass where my family were trying to see the exhibits due to the “selfie culture” where folks would barge in front of you to try to get a picture or video of the animals rather than actually view them with the beautiful eyes that God gave them. I actually watched one of the keeper talks through someone else’s cell phone because the lady did just what I said earlier.

I am not against electronic devices and I own a cell phone, PC and a tablet but I do feel that we do need to take a Sabbath rest from these devices because we are becoming a culture of artificialness. I will give you an example where I am the butt of the joke if you will…
On Sunday I went to Calvary Monterey where I got up early and opened my tablet to google maps to map out my journey, I took the same tablet to church in lieu of a notepad and bible and for most of the next two hours I relied on an electronic device to guide my way, read the bible and to take notes based on the sermon text.

We need to unplug ourselves and rest but not for the sake of being lazy, we are supposed to remember God on our day of rest because it is a gift from God. God is not a tyrant or benevolent dictator, yes we are on God’s cycle of seven days but we are to realize that the seven day week is a foreshadow to the rest that we have in our messiah Jesus Christ, you see that even from the dawn of creation God had made a plan for a redeemer. Let’s look at verse three…

V3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

We see the Sabbath mentioned again in Exodus 20…

Exodus 20: 8 (ESV) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

In the Law given to the children of Israel there was a provision made for the Sabbath, again God was looking out for the children of Israel as they had just come from the worst slavery imaginable in the country of Egypt under the Pharaoh where they literally worked from dust till dawn making bricks out of straw, often having to forage for their own building materials building the great cities of the Egyptian empire, is it any wonder that the God who loved them so much had told them to literally “take a day off”.

Certain churches that are Sabbath keepers will have the Sabbath as holy as the teachings of Jesus but fail to realize the rest we are supposed to have in Jesus. There is a whole side issue of whether you should take a Sabbath, what day should it be? And that for me is a secondary issue. Paul makes this clear in the book of Colossians chapter 2…

Colossians 2:16 (ESV) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

And who is to argue with the Apostle Paul, there truly are better things to focus our attention on and can we not address the sins in our lives with the same vigor and zeal that we rush into arguments like this? Let’s look at what Paul wrote to the Galatian church…

Galatians 4:8 (ESV) Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.


We have to be careful to not make the sacrament holier than it actually is. It is an observance and if you are convicted by God to keep a certain day over others then great. I know many pastors that take Monday as a day off because as you would expect they work on a Sunday. Lastly let’s look at what is written to the Hebrew church…

Hebrews 4:9 (ESV) So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We have that Sabbath rest; remember I said that before – in our messiah Jesus. I put it to you that every day should be set apart for God and we should be living in that great commission to go out, evangelize, tell people the good news and allow the Holy Spirit to convict hearts and be an example that changes people’s lives. We are to go make disciples and show them who we are in our messiah Jesus Christ, who is in?

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we look at the creation of man and woman as we continue in chapter two in Genesis starting at verse four going through to verse nine. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The Righteousness of God Through Faith – Romans 3:21-26

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The Righteousness of God Through Faith – Romans 3:21-26 – 02/21/2016

Romans 3:21 (ESV) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 21 of chapter 3…

V21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—

Paul continues in the letter to the Roman church by discussing the revelation of righteousness, Paul finishes talking about the judgment of God in verse twenty to the coming justification in verse twenty one. Even the words used are beautiful. Paul starts by saying “but now” talks about the change between the Law and the New Covenant. Paul ties the new work in Jesus Christ with the work that began in the beginning from God as a continuing work that was shown through the Law and the prophets.

The two works are not separate but the new Covenant built upon the work that the Law and Prophets began, which is why they bear witness to it. As stated in the last article, the law has no ability to save us but it does illuminate God’s perfect standard to show the righteousness that God has as his standard and how attainable it is for us to do on our own.

Which is why we required the saving work of the cross of Jesus Christ, we needed that to bridge the gap between man and God. Paul goes on to say…

V22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

And this is the point of what Paul is saying is that the righteousness of God is only through faith in Jesus Christ for those who believe. We get this through faith as opposed by faith. It is not something that can be earned it is something that is received freely and abundantly by a benevolent God and he makes it available to all those who believe, we have to have faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins and made a way for us to go to heaven. Pal states there is no distinction because although we have righteousness not earned by works but given by grace, it is still righteousness and it came from God.

This is in stark contrast to the last article that stated that “no-one was righteous” and if we were to end Paul’s message there then the message of Christianity would be no less true because of what Paul is about to state in verse 23…

V23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

…However that is not the end of the story, yes we are guilty under God’s perfect standard, even if it is just in thought Jesus calls us guilty, let’s look at what Jesus says about your thought life…

Matthew 5:21 (ESV) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

So if it is in your thought life, if you look upon a woman with lust in your heart and keep that in your heart and ponder after it until you are having a thought life affair then you are in sin? What if you don’t actually “do the crime?” I say that according to the word of God – absolutely!

We are all starting off from the same sinful state; we have a hereditary sinful nature that was passed down all the way from Adam. Just as universal and as all-encompassing is that statement the remedy is the same. We all start off from the position of separation from God and we all have the same opportunity to reconcile with God. This is a sobering thought that we all start from that same position regardless of the severity of our sin, we are at the same position as the murderer, the rapist, the multiple felon, the man on death row and should we not choose to take that free gift of salvation we will end up in exactly the same place, regardless of how moral we are down here.

We are justified freely by his grace as a gift and many “health, wealth and prosperity” preachers teach they end it there, they fail to observe the second part of the sentence “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” and that is the reason for the free gift is that it was paid for us by the next part “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Jesus is the reason for the faith, he is the centerpiece in all that we do and we know that we are redeemed through his sacrifice on the Cross where he volunteered to come to earth to bridge that gap between man and God. Let’s look at what Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians regarding this…

1st Corinthians 6:19 (ESV) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We were bought with a price and that price was Jesus death which he gladly paid and if you were the only one who was ever going to accept him as their messiah he would still have done the same. We were redeemed and that price was Him. God passes over all of our past sins because of His blood and God shows his perfect forbearance that he was righteous.

V26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

To sum up what Paul is saying is that Jesus was a sacrifice (propitiation) instead of us, he was judged in our place to allow God the Father to remain righteous in making a judgment against sin and allowing him to judge those who rejected his “Get out of Hell free” card (quoting a Monopoly analogy. He made the atonement, punishment for our sins because we could not pay the debt on our own. He was the ultimate Passover lamb (Exodus 12) who instead of saving the firstborn of a house be was there to save the people of the world from their sins.

As stated in verse 23, we all deserve judgment, and God would be no less just had he consigned all of mankind to die in their sins, however God loves his creation and set in motion the Jewish temporary system of atonement by animal sacrifice until the messiah came and gave a permanent sacrifice when he went to die at Calvary and satisfied the desire for justice to be served and mercy to be shown because of the ultimate sacrifice.

Lord willing, in our next article in Romans we will continue to look at chapter 3 verses 27-31 where we look at whether we are justified by the Law of works or whether we are justified by faith. We also look at where the Gentiles fit in and whether God is God of the Jews only … I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Psalms Saturday #6 – Psalms 15 – Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

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Psalms Saturday #6 – Psalms 15 – Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill? – 01/16/2016

Psalm 15:1 (ESV) O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

This is a Psalm of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

What a question asked by David… who can sojourn (or abide) in your tent? It is a tremendous theological question and really shows the heart of David, the desire to be in step with God, step by step and day by day shows a great desire in the heart of David to be close to his God.

Israel had a “church and state” kind of deal also where in the tent went the Levites and the priests who were the servants of the Lord and as King he was entitled to many things but he was not entitled to offer sacrifices to God. (The Tabernacle was spoken of in Exodus 25-31 and was a temporary meeting place while the Exodus from Egypt was happening.

David examines the heart of the one who wishes to dwell with God in the next few verses, interestingly the first time in the tent it is more of a guest, when he speaks of the “holy hill” it is more of a dwelling, a living there as if it is as home to the person as it is God.

V2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Here are the attributes of this man of God…

• Walks blamelessly – What business does God have with one who is disobedient and refuses to walk according to his ways? (See Leviticus 26 & Deuteronomy 28 for ideas on blessings and curses for disobedience)

In the Christian life we see that conversion is only the first step on a journey with our redeemer and we have certain attributes that we will display as a child of God and follower of Jesus Christ, whilst we all fall short of the glory of God, we have to have our heart right when we do mess up, true repentance is key to walking blamelessly with God.
• Does what is right – David goes further and states that this man of God will do the right things in actions and show by is actions evidence of his faith. Although we are not saved by works, we will have fruit of the spirit as evidence of a changed life in Jesus.
• Speaks the truth in his heart and does not slander with his tongue – Amen and I wish this was more common in today’s church where we spoke the truth and do not slander. Having been in teaching ministry I have to confess that we would have much less drama and much less division if we were more careful with how we use our tongues. Jesus himself stated that the tongue is a good indicator of where you are in your heart in the Gospel of Matthew 12:34 when he said “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”
• Does no evil to his neighbor – Basic Ten Commandment stuff here where he does not seek to do harm to his neighbor, perhaps not one who he has strong affinity for but certainly one who he has a sphere of influence in and can observe how “authentic” his relationship with God is.
• Does not take up reproach against his friend – Someone who he has let in as a friend and not just a friend in name, he is commanded to be a good friend, to have that friends back to be that true friend, in both this category and the last we see this also taught in the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 when we are commanded to “love both our friend and enemy”
• Despises vileness & honors those who fear the LORD – This has been misinterpreted a lot and is used by Christians as a stick to beat others who haven’t quite given up all of their vices but starting off in the Christian life. It is true that in order to stand for good we have to oppose evil however we are to oppose those who are living in open rebellion to God. Ones who are open and unrepentant in their wickedness. We have to respect those who fear the LORD, it does not say those who are perfect, or those who are blameless but those who fear the LORD.
• Swears to his own hurt and does not change – What a man huh? He does not change even though it may hurt him or he may not gain and most probably lose out of the interaction. That is true steadfastness and to be honored.
• Does not extort/lends money for profit – On the flip side that he does not do transactions for gain, extort or con others for profit. So if a brother gets knowledge that another brother has to sell things on the cheap, he does not take advantage and low ball offer him, he gives a fair price for what he is buying.
• Does not take a bribe/perjure the innocent – Again another Ten Commandment basic instruction, he does not take money to defame someone’s name, he does not lie or spread false witness against someone. This of course is a foreshadow of what happened to Jesus in his trial. Why would any of his followers want to do to someone what happened to their Messiah?

What a list huh? David states that “He who does these things shall never be moved” he shall be steadfast; he will be secure in the Lord. We are not called to love the world or the things of the world, we read this confirmed lastly in 1st John 2:15…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

I swear to God!

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I swear to God!

Occasionally I get questions posed to me by different people from time to time to ask what the bible says about certain aspects of modern day life, this blog article is designed to give a longer answer to the question I was asked. I was asked by a lady who attends my Sunday evening bible study called “Agape” (I will not name her here but she will be aware of this articles presence) the following question…

What does the bible say about the use of “I swear to God”? (To give you a background the lady was uneasy as people she loved used the term and not her)

Are you taking the LORD’s name in vain?

Well there were two places in the New Testament part of the bible that I felt dealt with this rather well, but let us first look at a deeper issue. The deeper issue here from a doctrinal standpoint is, are they using the name of God in a flippant or vain way? Are they respecting the name of the living God? If they are using God’s name to justify a flimsy position that would seem shaky in an argument without it then I would suggest that they are. Or secondly, if they seem to be telling something that does not appear to be accurate and they move their argument towards truthfulness by using God’s name as a standard (because even if you do not believe in God, God’s name is associated with truth) but not meaning the reverence in their hearts to the very holy name of God then that is also problematic.

Where do I find biblical evidence for this problem?

In the Ten Commandments we are warned against this very thing. Let’s look at Exodus chapter 20…

Exodus 20:7 (ESV) “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Heavy stuff huh? In the third commandment you will be held guiltless by the one true God and only just judge of the world! The name of God is holy, and in some Jewish and Hebrew circles they do not spell the name of God in case they misspell it (replacing it with G_d in many cases) such is the reverence for God’s name.

So I think we have established that it is a no-no from the 10 Commandments!

Is there anything in the New Testament? I want to follow that too!

Remember I said there were two places in the New Testament that dealt with this rather well, let’s look at these. As this blog is called “Taking the Epistle” let us first look at the Epistle of James chapter 5…

James 5:12 (ESV) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

James commends us not to invoke the name of God in our arguments, he commends us to be men and women of our word, he said “let your yes be yes and your no be no!” let us not use words flippantly like “I believe that may be true” (when we know it is not) and we justify in our minds that we are not “technically” lying. He does not want us to be losing an argument or having a discussion and attach God’s name to something it has no business being in.

And lastly Jesus Christ himself said not too

Jesus said in the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 5…

Matthew 5:33 (ESV) “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

And he goes a little further than James said and said “anything added unto this comes from evil” and do you believe that God wants his name attached to something that is attributed to evil? God is a righteous and just God. He does not lie; he is truth, light and the epicenter of all that is good. His name is worthy of praise and honor, not derision and defaming. This is the beginning of a slippery slope that will end in blasphemy and that is a road you do not wish to travel dear Christian.

Conclusion

There are many things in the bible that are unclear or could be left up for interpretation, but in my view and my belief in the holy scriptures is that if we are warned against doing something three times and told that it is a no-no in a clear fashion, (not something that can be twisted or really debated without perverting the meaning behind the scriptures) then perhaps God is telling you, this is important to me, please do not do it.

I hope that I stated the case well of why it is problematic from a biblical point of view to “swear to God” and if this is an issue in your life then please seek clarification from the scriptures and pray about it, always check out what the teacher is saying and I look forward to you sharing, liking and commenting on this article here or elsewhere on social media as the LORD leads you to. I pray this was a blessing!
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – January 27th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January twenty seventh.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Exodus 38-40

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BIAY – Bible in a year – January 26th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January twenty sixth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Exodus 35-37

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BIAY – Bible in a year – January 25th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January twenty fifth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Exodus 31-34

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BIAY – Bible in a year – January 24th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for January check out our January page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for January twenty fourth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Exodus 28-30

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
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