Hypocrites

Hypocrite –  a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions misrepresent stated beliefs.

2.a person who fakes some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements misrepresent his or her public statements.

The word is derived from the Greek term for “actor”—literally, “one who wears a mask”—in other words, someone who pretends to be what he is not.

Greek hypokritḗs a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not.

We act just like the world when we are around them to try and impress them but they look at us as fools .

Have you ever heard the excuse I can’t go to Church there are too many hypocrites there?

Unfortunately the words “sinner” and “hypocrite” are being confused. The confusion is one found between what one is and what one does. Sinner is the generic term of what “one is.” Scripture says all people are found in this category, both in and outside the Church. Everyone falls short of the perfection of God which makes them a sinner. Being a Hypocrite is specifically what one does. Since hypocrisy is a sin, we can say, All hypocrites are sinners. But not all sinners are hypocrites. Those who dislike the church and its explanation of mans predicament bring this confusion by the statement “The church is full of sinners so all sinners are hypocrites. Therefore the church is full of hypocrites.

The church is full of sinners, murderers are sinners therefore the church is full of murderers. This would be very unfair and inaccurate to say. In the same way jail has murderers therefore all who are in jail are murderers. Another example is certain cars go very fast, so and so was caught speeding in his car. Therefore everyone who buys this certain car will speed and break the law.

James 1:22-25(HCSB) But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does. 

The Bible calls hypocrisy a sin. There are two forms hypocrisy can take: that of professing belief in something and then acting in a manner contrary to that belief, and that of looking down on others when we ourselves are flawed.

The prophet Isaiah condemned the hypocrisy of his day: Isaiah 29:13(HCSB)13 The Lord said: Because these people approach Me with their mouths to honor Me with lip-service— yet their hearts are far from Me, and their worship consists of man-made rules learned by rote—.(mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned. synonyms: mechanically, automatically, unthinkingly, mindlessly)

 

Centuries later, Jesus quoted this verse, aiming the same condemnation at the religious leaders of His day. Matthew 15:8-9(HCSB)These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9  They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.” John the Baptist did not give hypocrites a pass, he told them to produce “fruits consistent with repentance”. Luke 3:8(HCSB)8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t start saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!. Jesus took a constant and devoted stand against hypocrisy he gave seven “woes” to the hypocrites in Matthew 23—He called the pharisees hypocrites “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15(HCSB)15 “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.  “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27(HCSB)27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity., “snakes,” and “brood of vipers”.
Matthew 23:33(HCSB)33 “Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell?

Jesus addressed the other form of hypocrisy in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 7:3-5(HCSB)3 Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? 5 Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Jesus is not teaching against discernment or helping others overcome sin; He is telling us not be so prideful and convinced of our own self proclaimed holiness that we criticize others from a position of self-righteousness. We should do some introspection first and correct our own sins before we go after the “specks” in others. Romans 2:1(HCSB)Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.

During Jesus’ time on this earth, He had many run-ins with the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law. However, in adhering to the letter of the Law, they actively sought loopholes that allowed them to violate the spirit of the Law. Also, they displayed a lack of compassion toward their fellow man and were often overly demonstrative of their so-called spirituality in order to garner praise (Matthew 23:5–7(HCSB)5 They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

Luke 18:11(HCSB)11 The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people —greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. Jesus called out their behavior, pointing out that “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are more important than pursuing a perfection based on faulty standards Matthew 23:23(HCSB)23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Jesus made it clear that the problem was not with the Law but the way in which the Pharisees implemented it (Matthew 23:2-3(HCSB)2 “The scribes and the Pharisees are seated in the chair of Moses. 3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach.People use the the word pharisee out of context, it has become synonymous with hypocrite and also used when people don’t like when pastors uphold biblical standards and let people know the standards of holiness, they are quick to use “Well, you are being a pharisee and Jesus came to correct the pharisees and abolish the law.”

Hypocrisy is not the same as taking a stand against sin and trying to uphold holiness. It is not hypocrisy to teach that drunkenness is a sin, unless the one teaching against drunkenness gets drunk every weekend—that would be hypocrisy. However it is hypocrisy to blab on Facebook about the problems in t eh church or with pastors if a. you are not a pastor, b. you have never served in a legitimate leadership position, c. you do not perform the basics of being a believer, pray, read and give.

As children of God, we are called to strive for holiness (1 Peter 1:16(HCSB)16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.. We are to “hate what is evil” and “cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9(HCSB)9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. We should never imply an acceptance of sin, especially in our own lives. All we do should be consistent with what we believe and who we are in Christ. Acting is meant for the stage, not for real life. Remember this heretical saying  “Fake it till you make it”? That phrase encourages hypocrisy. How can a person ever overcome their sin  and grow in sanctification if he/she is not real first with themselves and then with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? The more a person wears the mask of hypocrisy the harder it becomes to take off. Those chains that wrap around your head to keep the mask on eventually grows tighter and tighter till it becomes your actual face.

What we learn in God’s house is supposed to be brought out into our own house, in our own temple(We are the temple of the Holy Spirit). I think the worst part is when you get outside the church’s walls and interact with believers and nonbelievers in the same sphere. Can you really tell a difference? If you didn’t recognize their faces from church, would you know from their actions and lifestyle that they were followers of Jesus?

If it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?

This may be a silly illustration, but if I told you I had an encounter with God where He entered my body and gave me a supernatural ability to play basketball, wouldn’t you expect to see an amazing improvement in my jump shot, my defense, and my speed on the court? After all, this is God we’re talking about. And if you saw no change in my athleticism, wouldn’t you question the validity of my encounter?

Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered

them. They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death, and serve the church. Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life. We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning. Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God. And can you blame them?

There is much more to God and following in the Way of Jesus than getting a bunch of talented people together to hold a church service.

Our job is to show people the King and teach people about the Kingdom. We cannot reach the world by acting like the world.

God has to be Lord over our life not an ornaments we show off when we in the company of other Christians.

The key is understanding that Jesus is already Lord of your life. We do not make Jesus Lord. Jesus is Lord. What we are supposed to do is submit to His lordship. Another word for our response to Jesus’ Lordship is “submission.” To submit is to yield to the will and control of another, and, with reference to Christians, it is yielding to the will and control of Jesus Christ.

It should be understood that submission, or obedience to the commands of God, is related to Christian growth and maturity, and is not related to becoming a Christian. A person becomes a Christian by faith alone in Christ apart from works

To sum up the idea of the Lordship of Christ, it does not consist of one act of obedience but rather is measured by the sum of our obedience, and it cannot be accomplished in our own strength or power, but by the power available to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are strongest when we are relying on Him.

In all the New Testament incidences where the word submit occurs, the word is translated from the Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” This word and a root of it is also translated by the words subject and subjection. The word’s full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” This word is a wonderful definition of what it means to “submit” to God. It means to arrange oneself under the command of divine viewpoint rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human viewpoint. It is a process surrendering our own will to that of our Father’s.

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Spiritual Warfare Pt6 Shield of Faith

The shield of faith is part of the armor of God in Ephesians 6:16(HCSB)16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with, nor is faith a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Ephesians 2:8-9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. this makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. It is not obtained by our power or our free will. Faith is simply given to us by God, along with His grace and mercy, according to His holy plan and purpose, and because of that, He gets all the glory.

The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (In Latin meaning “tortoise shell”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

2 Timothy 2:3-4(HCSB)3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter.

As soon as we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are drawn into a spiritual battle. It is a battle where eternal death or eternal life is at stake. It is a battle with one who is 100% committed to drawing us away from God. It is a battle that calls us to make the spiritually lost a priority as we stand in unity with Jesus. Is this the battle that we are winning? Are we truly concerned that there are real people that will die and go to Hell? Are we concerned with it? Do we know that we are in a battle, even though it is invisible and spiritual it is real and it is eternal.

Hebrews 11:1 (HCSB)Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.

Hebrews 1:6(HCSB)6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. This verse stresses the importance of faith: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God.You start asking yourself, “Did God really say? Can I really trust God? Isn’t that just your interpretation?” Faith prompts us to believe God.

There is a saying and even a song that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” It may be a nice sentiment, but it’s bad theology. The truth is, “God said it, and that settles it — whether I believe it or not.” God’s truth isn’t based on whether you believe it or not. It’s still true even if you don’t believe it, because God can’t lie.

You need that kind of certainty in difficult days. With the Shield of Faith, you have certainty that God’s promises are true even when they don’t appear to be true in your life. God comes to the Garden of Eden, creates a perfect environment, creates a perfect man and perfect woman – perfect in the sense of sinlessness, not in the sense of an accomplished perfection.  And there they are, and here comes Satan, and what does he say?  “Has God really said?”  And then he says, “You know, God doesn’t want you to know good and evil because you’ll be like Him, and He doesn’t like competition.  You can’t trust God He has ulterior motives.  You can’t always believe exactly what He says.”  Satan was tempting them to doubt God and believe him.  Eve was a sucker, Eve was a fool, she believed the devil, and you know what happened.  Every temptation that ever came to you came on the tack of “believe me, not God.”

Watch this, Christ has been fasting forty days and forty nights, led into the wilderness by the Spirit of God as God prepared Him for His ministry.  At the end of that time, Satan comes to Him to tempt Him.  And how does he tempt Him? He tempts Him to not believe God – same old deal.  “Don’t believe God, believe me.”
Matthew 4:1-11(HCSB)Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He was hungry. 3 Then the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”5 Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand 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 give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”7 Jesus told him, “It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.”8 Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.”11 Then the Devil left Him, and immediately angels came and began to serve Him.

We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. It’s seducing temptations, that’s all. Satan fires arrows of impurity, arrows of selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, lust, greed, vanity, covetousness – it all comes down to this: 1 John 2:16(HCSB) For everything that belongs to[a] the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Christians have always been, and will always be, lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because his methods continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh—sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the ones which Paul warned the Galatians about, Galatians 5:19-21(ESV)“sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these”. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross (an instrument of death) and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom. The pride of life “comes not from the Father, but from the world.” And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptation of the pride of life do the will of God, and 1 John 2:17(HCSB)17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

In other words the arrows are, “Don’t believe God, He doesn’t keep His word, He didn’t give You the whole picture, He didn’t tell You the truth.  Believe me, do it my way.”  And that’s the way every temptation comes to every believer every time.  Satan comes along and says, “Oh yeah, I know the Bible says you’re not supposed to have sexual relationships with somebody outside of marriage, but it’s fun.” Who do you believe when you sin?  You believe the devil.  It’s the bottom line, people; it’s so simple.  When you sin, you believe Satan; when you obey, you believe God.  That’s the bottom line.  And the shield is the double protection.  “I will believe God,” said Christ.  “Get away, Satan.  God will feed Me when He’s ready, and God will anoint Me as Messiah when He’s ready, and God will give Me the kingdoms of the world when He’s ready, on His terms.  I will not believe you.”
Titus 1:1-2(HCSB)Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

God isn’t lying.  And yet every time you sin, you’re dumb enough to believe Satan, and so am I; we’ve been suckered again.  “Oh, I know that I ought to give this to the Lord, this is what I ought to give the Lord, but oh boy, I want to buy this, I want to do this, I want to save this.”  And so we do what we think we’re going to win by doing; we’re going to do it and we’re going just sort of shove God in a corner, it’ll all work out, you know.  And all we’ve done is cheat ourselves, see?  We just cheat ourselves.  God stands there with His hands open, and He says, “If you ask Me for bread, will I give you a stone?”  No.  “Do I want to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessing, so much you can’t contain it?  Do I want to give it back to you pressed down, shaken together, and running over?  “Do I want to bless you with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies?  Do I want to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think?  Do I want to give you every good and perfect thing that comes down from the Father of lights, in whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning?  Do I want to unload all of this substance of heaven all over you for as long as you live?  Yes, I do.  And will you believe Me and obey Me so I can?”  Satan comes along and says, “Do it my way, and you’ll like it.” It’ll be fun. It’ll fulfill you. You’ll gain what you desire” – it’s a lie. He is a liar, John 8:44(HCSB)44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.

Whenever you sin, you’re saying, “I really don’t believe God knows best, Satan knows best.” We say, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches and glory” and we all say, “Amen, brother, preach it.  Yes, He’ll supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, no question about it.”  And then when we lose a job, “Ohh, God what are You doing to me? Why did you do this – see?  There’s Satan “The Lord has forsaken you,” see?

Matthew 6:33(HCSB)33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  And we run through life seeking all the things that should be added and missing the Kingdom of God.  You see, you can’t just go around saying, “I believe God, I have faith in God, the just shall live by faith,” and then grab everything you can grab that is worldly.

So the only way to extinguish the arrows of Satan is to believe God.  The Bible says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.”  Who do you believe?  Abraham believed God.  Who do you believe?  Do you believe God?
In other words, what God said is true.  If you believe it and obey it, it’ll be a shield; if you mess with it, you’ll suffer, see?  Satan comes along and says, “Oh well, I know God said that, but let me add this.”  No.  No, “He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

Psalm 12:6(HCSB)The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.

He literally bombards the believer with the arrows, the fiery darts of seductive temptation, to elicit out of us ungodly, non-Christlike, evil responses.  And the only defense we have at this point, Paul says, is the shield of faith, because sometimes it just rains temptation. We live in a world where it really does rain temptation, all around us, and we must have the shield of faith. Faith reminds us that, though the fulfillment of God’s promises may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation. Romans 8:1(HCSB) Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus,

Romans 8:34(HCSB)Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

The term “faith” means believing God, and that is the bottom line of the Christian faith. That is the bottom line of everything we believe, everything we hold to, everything we have our confidence in. The whole of Christianity is an act of believing that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.  Believing that He wrote the Bible, believing that Christ is God, believing that He died, believing that He rose, believing that He’s coming, believing that by believing we can enter into His Kingdom – the whole thing.  That’s why in Habakkuk 2:4 (HCSB)Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.

Romans 1:17(HCSB)“17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

Galatians 3:11(HCSB)11 Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith.

Hebrews 10:36-38(HCSB)36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.37  For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. 38 But My righteous one will live by faith;and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him.39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

Faith is our life; it is a matter of believing God.  Now, everybody lives by something, everybody has faith in something.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts, and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God.

Ephesians 2:8–9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. It is because we have been justified through faith that we belong to God and have peace with Him. Romans 5:1(HCSB)Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is the doorway to hope in God.

Romans 5:2(HCSB)2 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it.
Romans 5:3–5(HCSB)3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise:1 John 5:4(HCSB)4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

1 Peter 5:8-9(HCSB)8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.

We win when we believe God, we win when we trust God.  You may go through doubts, and anxieties, and fears, and worries, and concerns, and problems, and struggles, and trials, and tribulations, and persecution.  As long as you believe God, as you believe His sustenance, you believe His Word, you believe His power, you believe His promise, that doesn’t have to be a point of loss; it can be a point of strengthening, a point of gain.

The shield of faith is the consistent application of what we believe about God to the issues of life.  Now, if you don’t trust Him then you don’t know Him well enough, right – because if you really knew Him, you’d trust Him.  Oh, the more you know God, the deeper you get into the heart of God, the more you know about His truth, and the Word of God, and the more you meditate upon His person in your prayers and meditating times, the more you know God, the greater you’ll trust God, and the greater you trust God, the less likely you will be to not believe Him.

And so it all goes back, as everything does in the Christian life, to your relationship to God.  It’s there; it’s down deep in the heart.  If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, if you believe that God is who He claimed to be, if you believe all that God’s promises that He gave to you are really true, then you’re not going to sin, because you’re going to stand in the place of the greatest blessing.  Everybody wants to be blessed, everybody wants the best.  God says, “I’ll give it to you if you do it My way.”  If you do it Satan’s way, you just disbelieved God.  But the more you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him, the more you’ll believe Him.

Spiritual Warfare Pt5 Shoes Gospel of Peace

Ephesians 6:11–17(HCSB) instructs believers in Christ to “put on the whole armor of God” as a defense against Satan’s attacks. This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace,the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:15(HCSB)and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. The New Living Translation words it: Ephesians 6:15(NLT)“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.” The gospel of peace is the message that Jesus gave to those who trust in Him.
John 14:27(HCSB)27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.
Romans 10:15(HCSB)
15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!  It comes with the assurance from God that we are His children and nothing can snatch us out of His hands. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no exception here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life. Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand. Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 5:13(HCSB)13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?

The most powerful argument for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. This passage outlines clearly what is the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:1–6(HCSB)Now brothers, I want to clarify for you the gospel I proclaimed to you; you received it and have taken your stand on it. 2 You are also saved by it, if you hold to the message I proclaimed to you—unless you believed for no purpose.3 For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 6 Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time; most of them are still alive, but some have fallen asleep.

Any other message is a false gospel.

Firstly we should have a clear understanding of the gospel of peace if we are to appreciate the material of which these shoes are made. By now the saint is dressed with a belt made of truth and a breastplate made of righteousness.

Before we focus on the word “readiness” and its place in the armor of God, we have to learn about the gospel of peace. The gospel that we have for the world—for our lost mom,dad,brother,sister,neighbor or unreached people group—the gospel that we have is the good news that God purchased peace by the death of his Son and offers it to sinners who believe in Jesus. We have the good news that God’s omnipotent wrath against sinners has been taken away through the death of Jesus for sin. And everyone who believes is reconciled to him freely by grace. And in the place of hostility and war comes peace. And there is nothing sweeter in all the world than to be at peace with God.

Ephesians 2:13-18(HCSB)13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In His flesh, 15 He made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that He might create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16 He did this so that He might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by it. 17 When the Messiah came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father

The good news of peace is that when Christ died and shed his blood for sin, two kinds of hostility or animosity were overcome. The war between God and repentant sinners was brought to an end. And the war between races and factions in Christ was brought to an end. So Christ became our peace. That is the gospel of peace. Shoes made from the preparation of the gospel of peace are our third piece of vital armor. The gospel of peace is good news. God forgives and then He gives. What could be greater? The gospel takes a hopeless being and fills him or her with an eternity of glory. Even the afflictions of this world are too thin of a veil to darken the joy of the good news of Jesus.

Imagine a fully armed soldier. He has his sword, his shield, his helmet, his breastplate and his belt…but his feet are completely bare. The picture probably seems strange, and it should! Just by thinking about it, we can tell something is missing. But the problem goes beyond just looking odd. A shoeless soldier could run into real trouble in the heat of battle. Unless he is fighting on carpet, he is going to encounter some debris. It may be nothing more than twigs and pebbles, but to a bare foot that can cause serious pain—and one of the last things you want to deal with in the middle of a fight is worrying about where you step. Parents you know what I mean…. lego…. ever stepped on a lego barefoot?

Shoes allow us to step freely and without fear while we turn our full attention to the battle at hand.

The sandals of the Roman soldier “often were fitted with nails, or armed with spikes, to make the hold firm in the ground” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). God’s good news and our mission—our marching orders—to preach it serve as our firm foundation. When we truly allow ourselves to take comfort in the good news promised by God, there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid. Christ has overcome the world and so we have nothing to fear from it. John 16:33(HCSB)33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Just as shoes allow us to walk on otherwise painful terrain without fear, so the preparation of the gospel of peace allows us to travel across the otherwise painful trials and tribulations of life without fear, knowing that what awaits is greater than anything we could possibly suffer in this world.
Romans 8:18(HCSB)18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

How long can anyone walk a hard and stony road without a decent pair of shoes? Not far if the right shoes are not on. Many have gone into battle without a proper preparation. This kind of preparation comes only from the gospel. Again, just like we saw with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, there are two aspects to the shoes we wear. The soles that keep us going over hard ground, and the soles which equip us with something to offer to the needy souls along the way.

The word readiness indicates we must be constantly awake and aware. A victorious soldier had to be prepared for battle. He had to have studied his enemy’s strategy, be confident in his own strategy, and have his feet firmly planted so that he could hold his ground when the attacks came. A soldier’s battle shoes were studded with nails or spikes, like cleats, to help him keep his balance in combat. He knew that, if he lost his footing and went down, it wouldn’t matter how great the rest of his armor was; the enemy had him. When we are ready with the gospel of peace, we live with the understanding that we are continually under attack from Satan.

All Life Is War From the cradle to the grave, life is war. Your soul, your mind, your body, your family, your career, are all fields of conflict. Until Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire, our peace with God will have to be a vigilant peace. Because Satan will certainly give us no peace if we are at peace with God.

The “peace shoes” that God supplies His soldiers have two purposes: defensive and offensive. In order to defend ourselves against the “flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16), we must have confidence of our position in Christ. We must stand firm in the truth of God’s Word, regardless of how terrifying the circumstances may be. We must understand grace without abusing it (Romans 6:1–6), remember that our position in Christ is not based on our own abilities or worthiness Titus 3:5(HCSB)He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit., and keep our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness securely fastened.

Romans 8:37-39(HCSB)37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, 39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

The foot is to the body what the will is to the spirit. We go wherever our will takes us. We are a Trichotomy(a division into three categories). Just as we serve a Triune God(Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
1. Spirit – Justified – Saved

2. Soul (Mind Will and Emotions) Sanctified – Being Saved

3. Body – Glorified – Will be saved

Preparation, the Christian’s spiritual readiness, is our feet laced up with the gospel of peace. The gospel sets the will of the Christian. It gives us a purpose and a focus. It presents us with a message and a task. It gives meaning to life and nothing else seems to matter.

There is no calling without the gospel. Romans 10:13-15(HCSB)13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!There is no sacrifice without an understanding. A barefooted man shrinks when his feet touch the hot sand and shrieks when he stumbles on a sharp stone. But when the will and heart are prepared and ready to serve the Lord, the Christian feet is prepared and equipped to face any trouble he must go through to complete the task ahead. 1 Corinthians 10:13(HCSB)13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.

In addition to standing our ground, shoes are also for moving. God expects us to go on the offensive and take the gospel of peace to others. Sharing our faith is one of the best ways to maintain our own sure footing. God knows that, when we are active in speaking about Him to others, we not only charge into Satan’s territory, but we dig our shoes more deeply into truth and will be much harder to dislodge. When we have 2 Timothy 2:15(HCSB)15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth, we are ready to stand firm in the gospel of peace no matter what the enemy brings against us.

We need to remind ourselves the reason for the battle we are engaged in. Christ has brought you out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:13-14(HCSB)13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.

1Peter 2:9(HCSB)But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession,so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.He has put His spirit in you that you might work the works of GOD. Satan hates a witness for Christ, therefore is the reason for the battle. We should never forget the message, the gospel, we are to proclaim. What is the gospel? Make sure you understand the message we are to take to the world. Whether you are a singer, writer or teacher it makes no difference. We all have one message and focus, and that is to spread the love of Christ. Here is something you have to do. Prepare your self. As the scripture says 2 Timothy 4:2(HCSB)Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.

The Gospel is laid out plainly in;

Romans 5:6-11(HCSB)For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.

The gospel gives us a message. Let your life radiate this message. If satan can get you from being a testimony in word, works and deed he has taken away a great weapon. No matter our callings or gifting the purpose is always the same. To make Christ known. God intends us all to be walking vessels of his goodness. Spreading the love of Christ to others. As we get more familiar with the gospel we will discover a message worth living for. Prepare yourself to follow the Lord no matter what.

It’s almost certain that Paul has in mind here the words of Isaiah 52:7(ESV)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Here we have a picture of the feet of people who are running to bring good news, and the good news is good news of peace. Surely this is where Paul got his imagery. And if so, then the “readiness of the gospel of peace” is surely a readiness to move with the gospel, a readiness to tell the good news,to publish peace and say “God reigns!”

In Ephesians 6 that the passage on spiritual warfare comes right after the passage on husbands and wives, children and parents, and masters and slaves. If you turn to Colossians 3, near the end you see that the same three pairs are dealt with—wives and husbands (3:18–19), children and parents (3:20–21), and masters and slaves (3:22–4:1). But then instead of a paragraph on spiritual armor Paul calls for vigilant prayer (Colossians 4:2–4), and look what he says in verses Colossians 4:5–6(HCSB),Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

Here in a context much like the one in Ephesians is an exhortation to be alert to how you can be the salt of the earth, to answer unbelievers’ questions, and to make the most of the time for the sake of Christ. I think Paul means by the readiness of the gospel of peace is Being prepared,being alert and ready to talk about the gospel.

In 1 Peter 3:15(HCSB) the very word “ready” is used in the same kind of exhortation. 15 but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. A ready offense is an essential part of a successful defense. Giving the gospel away is one of the best ways of experiencing its power in your own life. The best way to taste the power of God for your own soul is to venture something on it. It’s the great old truth of the Lord himself when he said, “He who loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” The more ready we are to move with the gospel, the more life and power and joy and security we will know in the gospel.

Jesus is Savior

Jesus is the Christ

1 Timothy 1:15(HCSB)15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.

“The title Christ is so often used in conjunction with the name of Jesus that it has virtually become His name. One does not normally refer to Jesus as “Jesus bar Joseph” or even as “Jesus of Nazareth.” Rather, His full name is considered to be “Jesus Christ.” Because the term Christ is perceived to be a name, the full significance of it may be lost. Actually, Jesus is a name but Christ is a title. It is used more often than any other title for Jesus in the New Testament.

Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which means “anointed.” It corresponds to the Hebrew word translated “messiah.” When Jesus is called “Christ,” He is being called “the Messiah.” If we were to translate the name and the title directly into English, we would say “Jesus Messiah.” With this title, we are making a confession of faith that Jesus is the long-awaited anointed one of Israel, the Savior who would redeem His people.”

Excerpt From: R.C. Sproul  “Who Is Jesus?.”

Romans 6:10-11(HCSB)6 For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! 9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.

Jesus as Savior

There are other titles of note ascribed to Jesus. He is the Rabbi, the second Adam, the Mediator. But no title captures His work more completely than Savior. The believers of the early church bore witness to this when they used the sign of the fish as their cryptic signal of identification. The acrostic formed by the letters of the Greek word for “fish” stands for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

God Himself named Jesus as an infant. Jesus means “the Lord saves” or “the one through whom the Lord saves.” Thus, Jesus’ own name carries within it the idea of savior. His titles—Logos, Messiah, Son of Man—all indicate Jesus’ qualifications to be the Savior of men. He alone has the credentials to offer atonement, to triumph over death, to reconcile people to God.
2 Corinthians 5:19(HCSB)19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

Romans 5:10(HCSB)10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

Notice it says while we were still sinners, not after we became good, not after we decided to follow Him, not after we got our act together, but while we were at our worst.
Romans 3:10-11(HCSB)10 as it is written:There is no one righteous, not even one.11 There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. We are separated from God. Sin caused man’s separation from God, however God Loves us so much, that He provides the Way back into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. His steadfast loving kindness leads us to repentance, His grace, and mercy, forgives us of all our sins, even though none of us deserves it. No one can earn forgiveness, and reconciliation to God, it is a free gift, to those who believe, and accept it by Faith.

The original sin of Adam and Eve brought devastation to all mankind and separation from God. All men and women are born with the same sin nature in their spirit. We all have impure spirits and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Isaiah 59:2(HCSB) But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.
Romans 5:8(HCSB) 8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

BUT GOD: in spite of our ignorance and rebellion, He is RICH in mercy, and His GREAT love! Think about this… When we were at our worst God reached down and saved us from His wrath!! He loved us so much that HE made a way for us.

We were “adopted” into the family. First adoption is “from Him”—from God. “In love he predestined us for adoption.”Ephesians 1:4-5(HCSB)4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,
When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation. What is more, we can add nothing to Grace. Before we were saved, we had nothing to contribute to the process

Ephesians 2:8-9(HCSB)8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life.

Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.

There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation.

Here is where the relevance of Jesus crashes into our lives, bringing crisis.

John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

Why did Christ have to die for us? Because Scripture declares all men to be sinful. Greek – Hamartia means not hitting the target; to miss the mark. The Bible declares  Romans 3:23(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, our sin separates us from God who is perfect holiness (righteousness and justice) and God must therefore judge sinful man. Sin entered in through the fall of Adam,Romans 5:12(HCSB)Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.
The doctrine of total depravity is an acknowledgement that the Bible teaches as a result of the fall of man (Genesis 3:6) every part of man—his mind, will, emotions and flesh—have been corrupted by sin. In other words, sin affects all areas of our being including who we are and what we do. It penetrates to the very core of our being so that everything is tainted by sin and “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). It acknowledges that the Bible teaches that we sin because we are sinners by nature.
Salvation is deliverance from danger or suffering; to save from consequences of sin.
What are we saved from? In the doctrine of salvation, we are saved from God’s wrath, that is, from God’s judgment of sin Romans 5:9(HCSB)9 Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 

Our sin has separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death

Romans 6:23(NLT) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. He will return again from the heavens and will judge the world and all people” Acts 1:11(HCSB)11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.”. Yet, at the same time, He is still divine, Colossians 2:9(HCSB)9 For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,

Jesus never did anything wrong. He performed many miracles such as healing, casting out demons, walking on water, calming a storm with the command, raising people from the dead, and rising from the dead Himself. Though there have been many great teachers throughout history, none of them have performed such miracles and claimed to be divine as Jesus claimed. This is why we can believe Him when He says, John 14:6 (HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

We trust what Jesus said.

The only way to be saved by grace is by putting your trust in what Jesus did on the cross. He never sinned, and He bore our sin in His body. He paid the price. He satisfied the penalty of the law by dying on the cross, Because our righteous deeds are filthy rags before God, then we have nothing that is pure to offer God. Therefore, the only thing left for us to do is to trust what Christ has done on the cross by faith. That is why the Bible tells us that we are made right before God by faith. Therefore, to be saved by grace means to be safe from the righteous judgment of God by the unmerited favor found only in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Jesus + Nothing = Salvation. Period!

Who is Jesus pt3 Son of God

 

One of the most important questions you will ever ask and answer in your life is: “Who is Jesus?” Do you question whether Jesus is, in fact, God, the second person of the Holy Trinity and the savior of the world? And did his death on the cross actually pay for the sins of all people for all time? Why is it so important that we get the deity of Christ correct? Why is it so important that we understand who Jesus is? Because Jesus said

John 8:24(HCSB)24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

If we get the deity of Christ wrong everything else is null and void.

The Son of God

The New Testament recounts few instances when God was heard speaking from heaven. When He did, it was normally to announce something startling. God was zealous to announce that Jesus Christ was His Son. At Jesus’ baptism, the heavens opened and God’s voice was heard, saying,
Matthew 3:17(HCSB)17 And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!  Elsewhere, the Father declared from heaven, Mark 9:7(HCSB)7 A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: This is My beloved Son; listen to Him! Thus, the title conferred from on high to Jesus is Son of God.”

Jesus is not God’s Son in the sense of a human father and a son. God did not get married and have a son. God did not mate with Mary and, together with her, produce a son. But what exactly does “Son of God” mean? We know it cannot be literal, for that would mean that the “Father” procreated him by a woman or a goddess (as the pagan religions, which had such human activities among the gods). These ideas are foreign to the true faith of the Bible. There is no heavenly consort; God has no wife; there is no goddess. Jesus is God’s Son in the sense that He is God made manifest in human form John 1:1-2(HCSB)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
John 1:14(HCSB) The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
Jesus is God’s Son in that He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:35 (HCSB)declares, “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”

In reference to Jesus, the term, “Son of God,” does not mean that Jesus is the literal offspring of God as if God had some form of sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus. God is spirit John 4:24(HCSB)24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” and spirit does not have flesh and bones Luke 24:37-43(HCSB)37 But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 “Why are you troubled?” He asked them. “And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.” 40 Having said this, He showed them His hands and feet. 41 But while they still were amazed and unbelieving because of their joy, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, 43 and He took it and ate in their presence., so God the Father is not the literal father of Jesus as in terms of how a man and a woman have children. Is that would indicate that Jesus was not the second person of the trinity but a created being.

During His trial before the Jewish leaders, the High Priest demanded of Jesus, Matthew 26:63-66(HCSB)63 But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”64 “You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Look, now you’ve heard the blasphemy! 66 What is your decision?” They answered, “He deserves death!”

The Jewish leaders responded by accusing Jesus of blasphemy. Later, before Pontius Pilate, John 19:7(HCSB)7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”

Why would His claiming to be the Son of God be considered blasphemy and be worthy of a death sentence? The Jewish leaders understood exactly what Jesus meant by the phrase “Son of God.” To be the Son of God is to be of the same nature as God. The Son of God is “of God.” The claim to be of the same nature as God—to in fact be God—was blasphemy to the Jewish leaders; therefore, they demanded Jesus’ death, in keeping with Leviticus 24:16(HCSB)16 Whoever blasphemes the name of Yahweh is to be put to death; It is expressed very clearly, Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.”

Another example can be found in where Judas is described as the “son of destruction.” John 17:12(HCSB)While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. John 6:71(HCSB)71 He was referring to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son,one of the Twelve, because he was going to betray Him. This tells us that Judas was the son of Simon. What does John 17:12 mean by describing Judas as the “son of destruction”? The greek word apoleia means “destruction, ruin, waste.” Judas was not the literal son of “ruin, destruction, and waste,” but those things were the identity of Judas’ life. Judas was a manifestation of apoleia. In this same way, Jesus is the Son of God. The Son of God is God.

In some translations Jesus is referred to as the “Only begotten son of God” False teachers have latched onto this phrase to try to prove their false teaching that Jesus Christ isn’t God; i.e., that Jesus isn’t equal in essence to God as the Second Person of the Trinity. They see the word “begotten” and say that Jesus is a created being because only someone who had a beginning in time can be “begotten.” What this fails to note is that “begotten” is an English translation of a Greek word. As such, we have to look at the original meaning of the Greek word, not transfer English meanings into the text.

The Greek term translated “only begotten” is monogenes, a word used nine times in the New Testament that can mean one of a kind or unique. For example, Luke uses the term three times to refer to an only child (Luke 7:12; 8:42; 9:38). The writer of Hebrews uses the term to refer to Isaac, the only son of Abraham and Sarah, the son of the promise Hebrews 11:17(HCSB)17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He received the promises and he was offering his unique son,. Modern translations generally translate monogenes in John 3:16 as “one and only Son” or “only Son” to reflect this definition. John 3:16(HCSB)16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

But does this mean Jesus was somehow born or created by God the Father? It does not. Instead, the emphasis is on Jesus as one in unique relationship with the Father. The Bible often uses Father and Son with God and Jesus to explain their relationship in terms we can better understand as humans, but this does not mean Jesus was created by God the Father. The bottom line is that terms such as “Father” and “Son,” descriptive of God and Jesus, are human terms that help us understand the relationship between the different Persons of the Trinity. If you can understand the relationship between a human father and a human son, then you can understand, in part, the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity. The analogy breaks down if you try to take it too far and teach, as some Christian cults (such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses), that Jesus was literally “begotten” as in “produced” or “created” by God the Father.

Other passages in the Bible make this very clear. For example, John 1:1-3(HCSB) states, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3  All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.

The use of monogenes in John 3:16 is similar to what is seen in other passages of Scripture to refer to Jesus as unique. For example, John 1:14(HCSB) shares, The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:18(HCSB) includes, No one has ever seen God. The One and Only Son— the One who is at the Father’s side— He has revealed Him. John 3:18(HCSB) adds, 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.
1John 4:9 notes, 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

The understanding that Jesus is completely unique, yet not a created being, was so important in the early church that it was emphasized in one of the earliest creeds, the Nicene Creed: “I believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.” This statement sought to make clear that Jesus is both eternal and is the one and only Son of God sent to offer salvation to the world.

Jesus is the Son of God in that He is the manifestation of God in flesh John 1:1(HCSB)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14(HCSB)4 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Jesus was as much human as you or I, but He was also a completely different type of human, because unlike us, He was without sin. Like other humans, He was born of a woman, but His conception was completely different, having been conceived in the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35(HCSB)35 The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. by the Holy Spirit that He should not ‘inherit’ the imputation of Adam’s sin.

As the Son of God, Jesus was the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, but His glory was veiled by His humanity Hebrews 1:3(HCSB)3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. One day all of mankind will see the Son of God coming in power and glory and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus, the Son of God, is Lord Philippians 2:10-11(HCSB)so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If Jesus is not the divine, eternal Son of God, of one substance with the Father, then all Christian worship of him is idolatrous. But if he is the true and living Lord, then all worship must be in Christ Jesus, for no one comes to the Father except by the Son

Who is Jesus Pt 2 Second Person of the Trinity

Who is Jesus Christ? Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important?

Jesus was and is God

Why is it so important that we get the deity of Christ correct? Why is it so important that we understand who Jesus is? Because Jesus said 

John 8:24(HCSB)24 Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

If we get the deity of Christ wrong everything else is null and void.
If you’re believing in a false Jesus, you’re damned. You preach any other Christ than the true Christ, you’re damned, that’s Galatians 1:6-10(HCSB)6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news[c] about the Messiah. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! 10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.
If you fail to love the true Lord Jesus Christ, you’re cursed. 1 Corinthians 16:22(HCSB)22 If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. Marana tha that is, Lord, come! We have to be loving and believing in the true Christ, not a false Christ, not a Christ of our own imagination, not some sentimental Jesus, not the Jesus of liberalism, not the Jesus of false theology, not the Jesus of Mormonism, not the Jesus of Islam, not the Jesus of Oneness Pentecostalism.

Now, all false religions—listen–all false religions reject the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. They all do. That’s what constitutes them as false religions to start with. From Oneness Pentecostals to Islam to Mormonism, if you want to go from something that is non-Christian to something that calls itself Christian, they all reject the true Christ. But, they all honor a false Christ.

By contrast this is what I mean. We tell the truth about false teachers. We say Muhammad was a demon-possessed man, an agent of hell to unleash lies, perversion, and slaughter on the world. We give no credibility, no honor to Muhammad. But, the Muslims honor Jesus. They call Him a prophet, a true prophet.

Why is that? Because that’s the subtlety of Satan, to go against Christ by misrepresentation. For example, the Christ of Mormonism, the Jesus of Mormonism, is a created being who is the spirit brother of Adam and Lucifer. Created by a god who was created by another god. Jesus of Mormonism is not the true Jesus, he is a false Jesus, while Mormons affirm that they believe in the Jesus that we believe in. It has always been Satan’s antichrist strategy to affirm the wrong Jesus and to subtly deceive people by redefining Jesus and it has been very effective.

Jews say Jesus was not a prophet, he was a false messiah, modern rabbi’s say he was a failed messiah. Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging, of all false messiahs. So yes Jews fall into the same camp as false religions.
Oneness Pentecostals say it is all about Jesus and totally deny the trinity. Oneness theology teaches that God is a single person who was “manifested as Father in creation and as the Father of the Son, in the Son for our redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in our regeneration.” We(Christians) believe that only faith in Jesus Christ and repentance from sin are essential elements for salvation, while Oneness Pentecostalism defines salvation as repentance, baptism (in Jesus’ name) and receipt of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. They teach Jesus Christ is the manifestation, human personification, or incarnation of the one God. Oneness Pentecostals generally argue that the Godhead is in Jesus, yet Jesus is not in the Godhead. In the person of Jesus, one sees the last, best, and complete manifestation of God.

Ninety percent of the charismatic/pentecostal people in the world, ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s not my statistics; that’s their own. Ninety percent of them are part of the Word/Faith Movement. That’s the health, wealth, prosperity, word, faith, name-it-and-claim-it movement. This is what their leaders say.

One is a man named Creflo Dollar, He says this, quote: “If Jesus came as God, then why did God have to anoint Him? Jesus came as man; that’s why it’s legal to anoint Him. God doesn’t need anointing; He is anointing. Jesus came as man and at age thirty God gave us an example of what a man with the anointing could do.”
Creflo Dollar in gross irreverence questions the deity of our Lord, quote: “Jesus didn’t show up perfect; He grew into His perfection. You know Jesus in one Scripture in the Bible, He went on a journey and He was tired. You better hope God don’t get tired, but Jesus did. If He came as God and He got tired. He says He sat down by the well because He was tired. Boy, we’re in trouble. And somebody said, ‘Well Jesus came as God.’ Well, how many of you know the Bible? Says God never sleeps or slumbers. And yet in the book of Mark we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat,”.
So, the fact that He was tired and went to sleep meant He wasn’t God. That kind of attack on the deity of Christ comes right from antichrist sources. They go beyond this. They diminish Jesus and then they elevate themselves. And what happened to Jesus in the words of these false teachers, that He was a man who became God is what happens to them and can happen to you. You are a man who can also become God. Kenneth Copeland pretends to speak for Jesus in the first person, and he says this, quote: “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse You of thinking You’re God. They crucified Me for claiming I was God and I didn’t even claim I was God. I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah.”

So He’s a man until He’s thirty, and because He’s a good man, He’s made a god. Kenneth Copeland, another wolf of TBN and Christian media, says this, “Why didn’t Jesus openly proclaim Himself as God during His 33 years on earth? For one single reason, He hadn’t come to earth as God. He had come as a man.”

“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses upon instruction of God raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there, the sign of Satan, why didn’t you put a lamb on the pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’”

“Jesus said, ‘I accept it in My own spirit, spiritual death, and the light was turned off.’ The light of deity turned off, He becomes the nature of Satan on the cross.”

Staggering blasphemies against the nature of Christ. Staggering misunderstandings of who He is. A man who became God and took on the nature of Satan. Kenneth Copeland again exhibits the blasphemous and dangerous way in which the Lord Jesus is treated in Word of Faith circles. Quoting Copeland, “How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God,’ Because God was not His Father anymore. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan and I’m telling you, Jesus is in the middle of that pit, meaning hell. He’s suffering all that there is to suffer. His emaciated little wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing and the devil thinks he’s got Him destroyed.” He is referring to the nature of Christ as that emaciated little wormy spirit down in the bottom of the pit.

We must get it right about Christ. Salvation comes by believing in Christ.

The true Christ of Scripture deserves more than our admiration. He is God and man in one person and deserves worship as the only mediator between God and human beings. Because He is God,
Hebrews 7:25(HCSB)25 Therefore, He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.

John MacArthur  says “Every preacher and every teacher who is faithful, every church, every ministry that is faithful presents the full and accurate truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a benchmark; that is a litmus test of integrity in a preacher and in a ministry. That is the validation. I would say it this way, devotion to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is the benchmark of legitimacy in any preacher and in any ministry. If there is any diminishing of Christ, or deviation from the true Christ, there is a serious violation of the purpose of God in revealing Scripture, Old Testament and New Testament.

Any and every legitimate preacher, legitimate church, legitimate ministry must be committed to the truth about Christ, to the glory and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, being relentlessly biblical to understand the full revelation concerning Christ. The single source of the truth about Christ is the Bible. And if the theme of the Bible is Christ, and the purpose of revealing Christ is so that we may see the fullness of His glory, then legitimacy is tied inextricably to a consuming pre-occupation with knowing all that has been revealed about Christ, to understand His full glory with a view to worshiping Him, honoring Him, and loving Him.”

An understanding of the way the Greek word mystery was used in the New Testament may help us here. It is the Greek word musterion and refers to what was previously hidden, but is now revealed to us through the revelation of the Word.Sometimes it is used simply of that which God makes known through His revelation to man which man could not know on his own 1 Corinthians 2:6-7(HCSB)6 However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.. But there is a sense in which some of God’s truth, though clearly revealed in the Bible, remains a mystery. Though it is a truth revealed in Scripture, like the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son of God or the divine/human nature of Jesus Christ, the Trinity is a kind of mystery in that it goes beyond the boundaries of human comprehension. God hasn’t explained all the mysteries of His revelation to us undoubtedly because we simply cannot yet grasp them.

Isaiah 55:8-9(HCSB)“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. 9  “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Does this mean a doctrine cannot be true simply because it defies our human imagination or ability to comprehend it? The answer is, of course not. It would be nothing short of human arrogance to say it was. The truth is, we must recognize our need to simply trust in God’s special revelation to us, the Bible, and submit our minds to that teaching which is truly expressed in its pages. It would be the height of self-centeredness for a person to say that because an idea in the Bible does not make sense or does not conform to his or her reasoning, it cannot be true and the Bible must be in error on this point.The doctrine of the trinity is part of God’s revelation of One who is infinite to those who are finite. So again we must ask, doesn’t it seem logical that in our study about God we are going to find things that are incomprehensible, mysterious, and super-rational to finite man’s rational thinking? So, let’s understand from the beginning of this study, “God in His existence as the Three-in-One is beyond the limits of human comprehension.” The doctrine of the Trinity is the distinctive mark of the Christian religion, setting it apart from all the other religions of the world.

The name Elohim, translated God, is the plural form of El. Which is the Old Testament Word for pointing to the power and majesty of God, it certainly allows for the New Testament revelation of the Triunity of God.
Genesis 1:26(HCSB)Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

Genesis 3:22(HCSB)The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.” 

Genesis 11:5-7(HCSB)5 Then the Lord came down to look over the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If they have begun to do this as one people all having the same language, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let Us go down there and confuse their language so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.
The word “trinity” is a term used to denote the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each of the persons is distinct from the other yet identical in essence. In other words, each is fully divine in nature, but each is not the totality of the other persons of the Trinity. Each has a will, loves, and says, “I” and “You” when speaking. The Father is not the same person as the Son, who is not the same person as the Holy Spirit, and who is not the same person as the Father. Each is divine, yet there are not three gods but one God. There are three individual subsistences or persons. The word “subsistence” means something that has a real existence. The word “person” denotes individuality and self-awareness. The Trinity is three of these though the latter term has become the dominant one used to describe the individual aspects of God known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three persons is completely divine in nature though each is not the totality of the Godhead. Each of the three persons is not the other two persons. Each of the three persons is related to the other two but are distinct from them.

Jesus the Son can be different from the Father. And, yet the same.

The Bible clearly speaks of: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. But emphasizes that there is only ONE God.

“Tri” meaning three, and “Unity” meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three “Persons” who have the same essence of deity.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6(HCSB)4 About eating food offered to idols, then, we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6  yet for us there is one God, the Father. All things are from Him, and we exist for Him. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. All things are through Him, and we exist through Him.

Ephesians 4:4-6(HCSB)4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

We can see that the Father is first, the Son is second, and the Holy Spirit is third. The Father is not begotten, but the Son is John 3:16(HCSB)16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.

The Father sent the Son 1 John 4:10(HCSB)10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Son and the Father send the Holy Spirit
John 14:26(HCSB)26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
John 15:26(HCSB)26 “When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me
.

In the baptism of Jesus, we see the Father speaking from heaven and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove as Jesus comes out of the water. (Mark 1:10–11(HCSB)10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!

The father creates, the Son redeems and the Holy Spirit sanctifies.

The Father creates Isaiah 44:24(HCSB)24 This is what the Lord, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth;,

The Son redeems Romans 3:23-24(HCSB)23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:13-14(HCSB) He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies 1 Peter 1:2(ESV)2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

2 Thessalonians 2:13(HCSB)13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

The mystery of the triune God is difficult to understand yet is one of the doctrines revealed in Scripture.
Christ is the exact representation of God the Father, having the same nature Hebrews 1:3(HCSB)3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 

There is some sense in which everything the Father does, the Son and Spirit also do, and vice versa. They are always in perfect agreement at every moment, and all three equal only One God. Knowing that Christ is God and has all the attributes of God aids our understanding of Jesus as the second person of the Trinity. Another important point about the Trinity is that it can be a difficult concept to grasp, but this does not necessitate an argument against its validity. On the contrary, the fact that it is difficult is an argument for its truth. The Bible is the self-revelation of an infinite God. Therefore, we are bound to encounter concepts which are difficult to understand–especially when dealing with an incomprehensible God who exists in all places at all times.The Trinity is, to a large extent, a mystery. After all, we are dealing with God Himself.
He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.

John 1:1-2(HCSB)In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.

We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Because the Word was with God and was God and became flesh, we then state that Jesus has two natures: divine and human. Therefore, Christianity teaches that Jesus is both God and man at the same time. Jesus is fully God and fully man. There is no mixture or intermingling of the nature of God and man, although the two natures are one person.The reason that He is God in flesh is that only God can atone for our sins. We can’t do it on our own because we are finite, sinful beings, and we cannot please an infinitely holy God. Jesus had to be a man to be able to die for humanity. This means that Jesus took our place on the cross, that is, He took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father. If you trust in what Christ has done, then you will be saved from the righteous judgment of God.

Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:2(HCSB)2 He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty.

Romans 5:8(HCSB)8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

2 Corinthians 5:21(HCSB)21 He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed,
John 14:6(HCSB)6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

There is no more important biblical truth for the life and health of the church than the deity of Christ. Christianity stands if Christ’s deity is true. If Jesus is divine, then His claims are true.Acts 4:12(HCSB) 12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.”

Fat Tuesday & Ash Wednesday

There was a festival going on in Ephesus (The city of Ephesus itself was filled with the worship, not only of Diana (or Artemis), but also of Dionysus — according to the ancient historian Plutarch. As with the worship of Diana, that of Dionysus was heavily sexual. This worship, like. the nature religions of the Canaanites, with emphasis on pornographic images and vulgar songs, was supposed to please the god so that he would grant to his devotees the gifts of health and fertility)that involved parading idols before the people so that they might worship and appeal to the gods they were supposed to represent. Timothy could see the faces of the people who put their hopes in dead stone. They sought healing and help and they received nothing but disappointment. Recalling the day he had seen God heal a crippled boy, his heart burned at the thought of misplaced faith and so he took to the street and stood in front of the parade to preach words of true hope and effective faith. They screamed for him to stop and he continued anyway because he had been trained and taught by Paul that the Gospel was worth suffering for. So, he was beaten savagely and dragged by his clothes and arms through the street before those who had such desperate hope stoned him to death and made him a martyr.

Mardi Gras is idol worship, when you have a parade you honor something, when you lift your hands in expectance of a reward you are worshipping. plain and simple.

In light of its sordid origin, should Mardi Gras still be viewed as harmless fun? Does God allow Christians to cast off all restraint and participate in its festivities—drunkenness, lewdness, public nudity, homosexuality, illicit sex, revelry and brawling—which He calls “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21(HCSB)Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.?

Mardi Gras represents a blend of religion and immorality, steeped in ancient pagan fertility rites. Many of the parades celebrate and honor false gods such as Bacchus and Venus; others promote fornication and drunkenness—conduct that ends marriages, breaks up families and destroys lives! Professing Christians should take heed: Drunkenness, fornication and such reveling are among the kinds of conduct that exclude one from inheriting the kingdom of God

I Corinthians 6:9-10(HCSB)Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom..

This may come as a surprise, but Mardi Gras long predates Christianity. The earliest record comes from ancient times, when tribes celebrated a fertility festival that welcomed the arrival of spring, a time of renewal of life. The Romans called this pagan festival Lupercalia in honor of “Lupercus,” the Roman god of fertility. Lupercalia was a drunken orgy of merrymaking held each February in Rome, after which participants fasted for 40 days.

Interestingly, similar to modern celebrations, the Romans donned masks, dressed in costumes and indulged all of their fleshly desires as they gave themselves to the gods “Bacchus” (god of wine) and “Venus” (goddess of love). The masks and costumes were used as disguises to allow sexual liberties not normally permitted as individuals engaged in “bacchanal,” the drunken and riotous occasion in honor of Bacchus. (The word “bacchanal” is still associated with Carnival celebrations to this day.)

As pagans converted to Catholicism, they did not want to give up this popular celebration. Church leaders, seeing that it was impossible to divorce the new converts from their pagan customs, decided to “Christianize” this festival. Thus, Carnival was created as a time of merrymaking immediately preceding their pagan 40-day fast, which the church renamed “Lent.” During Carnival, participants indulged in madness and all aspects of pleasure allowable, including gluttony, drunkenness and fornication.

It is hypocritical for anyone who claims to seek or serve the true God to participate in a festival that originates from paganism and promotes immoral behavior. Not only should Christians not participate in evil, God commands them to avoid even the appearance of evil 1 Thessalonians 5:22(HCSB)Stay away from every kind of evil. This certainly applies to Mardi Gras.

What about Lent? As noted earlier, the Catholic Church incorporated the 40-day fast that the pagans had been observing and renamed it Lent. This, too, is an unscriptural custom, and should be avoided by anyone striving to obey God.

Any festival or religious observance of pagan origin is unacceptable to God, the “Lord” of the Old Testament—the same Being who later became Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32(HCSB)“When the Lord your God annihilates the nations before you, which you are entering to take possession of, and you drive them out and live in their land, 30 be careful not to be ensnared by their ways after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, asking, ‘How did these nations worship their gods? I’ll also do the same.’ 31 You must not do the same to the Lord your God, because they practice every detestable thing, which the Lord hates, for their gods. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 You must be careful to do everything I command you; do not add anything to it or take anything away from it. 

On the night before Lent begins, this system condones the celebration of “Fat Tuesday” which is nothing but drunken, sinful,lustful revelry(lively and noisy festivities with plenty of alcohol and lewd behavior). It is the culmination of a period called “Mardi Gras” which is full of the same decadence(moral or cultural decline as characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury.). New Orleans bills its Mardi Gras celebration as a bigger party with more liquor and less clothing.

Where in the world do people get such a perverted set of values? It certainly does not come from the Bible. The Bible clearly and repeatedly condemns such sinful actions at any time. In 1 Peter 4:1-5(HCSB)Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, equip yourselves also with the same resolve—because the one who suffered in the flesh has finished with sin— 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh, no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. 3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the pagans choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4 So they are surprised that you don’t plunge with them into the same flood of wild living—and they slander you. 5 They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.,

In Romans the Bible again condemns such “deeds of darkness” as inconsistent with the life of a Christian: Romans 13:12-14(HCSB)12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.,

One is not made righteous because he ceases to do a few things for forty days while continuing to do other things that are just as sinful. Nor is one more spiritual because he gives up all sinful practices for Lent with the full intent of resuming the actions the day after “Easter.” God’s standard for conduct is much higher.

Notice God’s command: 1 Peter 1:15(HCSB)”But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct “. Not forty days worth, but all of the Christian’s conduct must conform to the commands of God. Or consider the question raised by the apostle Paul in Romans 6:1-23. He talks to those who had been cleansed and justified by the blood of Christ and asks if they should continue in sin. His answer is simple, “ Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” To the Christian, sin should be a disgusting and detestable path. It should not be tolerable for another second!

The contrast is really very clear. The system which proposes Lent advocates a forty day vacation from sin – and then only some sins, not all sins just the ones you choose to give up for a time. God’s Word commands that the practice of sin be put to death:

Colossians 3:5-9Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, 7 and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. 8 But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self[c] with its practices.

There is a big difference between those two approaches to sin!

Oh yes, it is a more convenient religion for the worldly person to conform to certain outward rituals while one continues to live a life of sin. One might asked, “Then why not choose that kind of religion?” As far as I can see, there are only two reasons to be given:

1. Regardless of how we feel about it, the Bible says such a practice is wrong!

2. Such a religion will lead one to be lost eternally Matthew 7:21-23(HCSB)“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’.

Let’s follow what God says every day and put sin to death in our lives. We must not desire to join in the sins of the world around us. The Word of God gives this exhortation:

Ephesians 5:6-12(HCSB)Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. 7 Therefore, do not become their partners. 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— 10 discerning what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret.

We must always seek to expose the darkness of sin, examine all things in the light of the Gospel and exalt the path God directs in everything that we do.

From the Catholic Website

Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.

Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is cheifly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.

Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God.

Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance.

Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year’s palm Sunday Mass.

It is important to remember that Ash Wednesday is a day of penitential prayer and fasting. Some faithful take the rest of the day off work and remain home. It is generally inappropriate to dine out, to shop, or to go about in public after receiving the ashes. Feasting is highly inappropriate. Small children, the elderly and sick are exempt from this observance.

It is not required that a person wear the ashes for the rest of the day, and they may be washed off after Mass. However, many people keep the ashes as a reminder until the evening.

Recently, movements have developed that involve pastors distributing ashes to passersby in public places. This isn’t considered taboo, but Catholics should know this practice is distinctly Protestant. Catholics should still receive ashes within the context of Mass.

In some cases, ashes may be delivered by a priest or a family member to those who are sick or shut-in.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Why we receive the ashes

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

The Ashes

The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance

Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline.

Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26; Daniel 9:3).

However, over the centuries Lenten observances have developed a much more “sacramental” value. Many Catholics believe that giving something up for Lent is a way to attain God’s blessing. But the Bible teaches that grace cannot be earned; grace is “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17). Also, Jesus taught that fasting should be done discreetly: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus’ command to “wash your face” seems to conflict with the practice of rubbing ashes on one’s face on Ash Wednesday.