Inconsistencies With Lawlessness

Harbor Circa Pier

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s lesson asks,

“What is the problem with those who talk about the reality of sin and yet argue that God’s law has been done away with? What great inconsistency can you point out in that line of reasoning?”

There are many inconsistencies when people try to do away with the law. For one, without a law there is no sin. Romans 5:13 tells us sin is not charged against us without a law. 1 John 3:4tells us sin is breaking God’s law. If there is no law then I cannot sin. If I cannot sin then I do not need grace. If I do not need grace then I don’t need the cross. It was because the law could not be done away with that Jesus had to die.

Secondly I have met and I imagine you have too, people who quote all the commandments, until you mention the Sabbath. They then turn around and say the commandments were done away with. Funny, they didn’t say that when the other commandments were mentioned. There are many inconsistencies with that line of thinking but here is just one. The Sabbath predates the law at Sinai. So lets suppose the commandments were done away with. That would not get rid of the Sabbath, because the Sabbath was already instituted before the commandments were given. In Isaiah 66:23 we see the Sabbath will be observed throughout eternity.

I find it interesting that in Daniel 6:8 man claims man made laws can’t be changed, but in Daniel 7:25 man thinks to change God’s laws! The spirit behind thinking to change God’s laws, while claiming man’s laws are unchangeable can only come from the spirit who exalts himself above God. See Isaiah 14:12-14.

Those are some inconsistencies that I see. What inconsistencies do you see?

By Whose Standard Does the Church Gage It’s Success? The Prince of This World or the True Witness?

DT Tampa july 4

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Revelation 12:17 NLT

Often we let the world perception of success overrule what the True Witness calls success. We think if we are at peace with the world than we are all right. If the world thinks we are cool and gives us the thumbs up then we must be okay. But who is the prince of this world? Doesn’t the Bible say that the dragon is at war with those who keep the commandments and have the testimony of Jesus-the True Witness?

In Matthew 5  Jesus gives us the beatitudes. Each one is a stepping stone to a complete conversion. Once the conversion is complete and we are filled with God’s righteousness and pure in heart, Jesus says,

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:10 NLT

The persecution comes after the conversion. Why? Because those who are converted leave the others with no excuse for not partaking of God’s life changing grace as well. When I was taking 9th grade algebra, our teacher graded our tests on the curve. There was only one problem. The same girl always got a 100% on every single test. So we did not get a break or a curve. When we saw that this girl kept the standard right where it belonged, and did not bring it down for us, we ridiculed her. So it is today. A church that keeps the standards right where they belong, will suffer persecution. A church that upholds the testimony of Jesus over the prince of this world will sense a “war” and opposition.

When choosing a church let’s not look to see how well it fits in with the world. Let’s see how well it fits in with the Bible and Jesus, the True Witness.

 

Do we Keep The Commandments, Or Just Wash Our Robes?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

A Protestant lady visiting my church asked why we keep Saturday as the Sabbath. I explained that we love Jesus, and Jesus said if we love Him to keep His commandments. (See John 14:15) She responded indignantly, “But you can’t keep the commandments!” I should have been surprised, but I had heard such a response before from others. While many professed Christians say we can’t keep the law or commandments, my Bible says otherwise.

The author of Revelation sees people keeping the commandments. So it must be possible.

And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.Revelation 12:17 NLT

Later John sums up the three angel’s message by saying,

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.John 14:12 NLT

Again John sees people obeying. He also sees how they obey. Faith makes them obedient. Faith does not do away with obedience. It leads to obedience! Now let’s look at a text where many see a great discrepancy, but I don’t  see any

Revelation 22:14 in the King James Version says,

Blessed are they that do his commandments…

However other versions like the NIV and NLT read,

Blessed are those who wash their robes… Revelation 22:14 NLT

So which is it? Do His commandments or wash their robes? Are the NIV and NLT making an attempt to do away with the law, by saying “wash their robes” instead of “do the commandments” as some suggest? Is this some sort of conspiracy to do away with the commandments?

While KJV proponents suggest that the KJV “Do His Commandments” is the more accurate reading, I see no discrepancy, because all those who wash their robes will be keeping the commandments. Just like Revelation 14:12 showed us, all those who have faith keep the commandments.

Revelation 7 is talking about the law and the seal of God. Here John describes  those sealed with the law in Revelation 7:14 KJV ,

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Here even the KJV describes those who have been sealed with the law of God as those have washed their robes, just like the NIV and NLT describe later inRevelation 22.

I conclude that “Do His Commandments” and “Wash their robes” are not contradictions, but rather mean the same thing. In Revelation 14:12 we see those who have faith keep the commandments. You can’t separate the two. And by comparing Revelation 22:14 with the NIV, NLT and KJV we see that all those who have washed their robes keep the commandments. Just like 1 John 1:9 tells us, Jesus forgives our sins and cleanses us from unrighteousness, which means He makes us righteous and obedient to the law.

In Genesis 2:15 God told Adam to “keep” the garden. What He meant was to  cherish it and protect it. Care for it. So when Jesus tells us to “keep” the commandments He is simply telling us to cherish and protect them. In Luke 7:50Jesus tells a woman who had just washed His feet that her faith had saved her. That faith was more than a mental acknowledgement of truth. It was a love response. By washing Jesus’ feet and anointing Him with perfume she was cherishing and protecting Him.

When we literally cherish Jesus, it produces a literal faith, which literally washes our robes from sin and lawlessness, which turns us into literal doers of the law and commandments.

If my theory is correct, perhaps it could explain why Jesus, speaking of the woman who had washed His feet, said,

Wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Matthew 26:13 NLT

Jesus intended for this woman’s story to go right along with the Good News about the seal of God and the three angels’ message.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Written on The Heart

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart.Tie them around your neck. Proverbs 6:20-21 NLT

Obey my commands and live!
    Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart. Proverbs 7:2-3 NLT

While many people think the ten commandments should be posted on courthouses and schools, I saw a t-shirt that read, “Put the Commandments back where they belong, in our hearts.” When you read the Bible you read time and again about the Commandments being in our hearts and homes, and not necessarily on public building walls. I am not saying there is anything wrong with them being on the walls, but we miss the whole point if they are not written on our hearts.

Many people believe the commandments being written on our hearts is a new idea found in the New Testament, but as we read here in Proverbs the concept is actually an Old Testament concept. God’s original plan was for Him to write the law of love on our hearts. We see this in Jeremiah.

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Jeremiah 31:33 NLT

The New covenant is actually in the Old Testament! The New Covenant, of letting God write His law on our hearts is the only Covenant God ever endorsed. God made clear to His people, that He was the one who rescued them from the bondage in Egypt. They did not rescue themselves. God also made it clear the He would rescue them from the bondage of sin if they would trust His promise to write the law not just on stone but on their hearts.

Let’s not trust old useless man made promises and covenants. Let’s trust in Jesus’ new and everlasting promise and covenant, and let Him write His commandments on our heart. This way they will be with us wherever we go, including courthouses and public buildings.

Did Jesus Abolish The Law by Fulfilling it?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV

Occasionally, while giving Bible studies, I will hear someone say, “Once Jesus fulfilled the commandments He did away with them. He fulfilled them so we don’t have to.” Well, let’s take a look at that. Does fulfill mean to do away with? My Websters Dictionary tells me that fulfill means to carry out. I don’t think carrying something out and abolishing it can be the same definition. My Roget’s Thesaurus tells me fulfill is the same as pleasing or sufficing. I don’t think you please of suffice something by abolishing it either.

Now that we have looked at Roget and Webster’s definition of the word “fulfill,” more importantly let’s see how the Scriptures use that word. Even more important and accurately, how Matthew himself uses that word.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-14 NKJV

So Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism. Did He abolish it after He fulfilled it? No, of course not. We know that the command to be baptized is all over the New Testament. Matthew, the same writer who tells us Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism also records Jesus’ command,

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19 NKJV

So Jesus did not abolish baptism when He fulfilled that rite, but rather set an example for us to follow. Likewise, Jesus did not abolish the law by fulfilling it, but rather gave us an example to follow.

Study more on the Sabbath School lesson at the Sabbath School Network. 

Galatians; An Overview

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

To read the book of Galatians click here.  To read this week’s SS lesson click here.

For the Sabbath School lesson phone app. click here.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7

In Paul’s day people were already perverting the gospel. How do you pervert the gospel? Put self in it.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

Notice the pure gospel that Paul preaches has no self in it. He preaches a “Not I but Christ” gospel. So many people pervert the gospel by adding self. I have heard parents tell their kids, “Do the best you can do, and then when you have done your best Jesus will help you with the rest.” That is a me plus Christ gospel. The gospel is not me plus Christ, it is not I but Christ. Zero me. 100% Christ.

While at an Oklahoma Adventist Camp meeting, ,many moons ago, I heard a minister tell a story. Sorry I don’t remember his name, but I will never forget the story. It went like this. A man was on his way to a breakfast diner. There was one parking space left open by the front door. The man started for the space when he saw a man coming the other way who wanted the same space. The first man’s first reaction was to give it the gas and take the closest spot before the other man got there. But he had yielded himself to Christ that morning, so he let off the gas, let the other guy take the spot while he drove farther down and parked. When he got inside, the second man thanked him for letting him have the closer spot. The first man said, “That was not me.” The second man said well then who was it? The first man said, “It was Jesus. I would have taken the closer parking space!” So you see, whenever we do something right, we can be sure of one thing, it was not me. It was Jesus. Not I but Christ.

We also pervert the gospel when we add self effort, which is legalism by the way, and we also add legalism when we replace God’s law with manmade laws. We also pervert the gospel when we add lies. For example, John 3:16 says the unbeliever will perish, but many tell the lie that they will be tormented for all eternity instead. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, not eternal torment in hell.

We also pervert the gospel when we alter our preaching or worship services to please the ego of man. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Gal 2:16

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3

These verses make it clear we are not saved by the works of the flesh but by the faith of Jesus. Notice it is not even our own faith that saves us. It is the faith of Jesus!

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Galatians 5:6

Faith does not do away with good works, faith works. It works by love. The legalistic motivation of hoping for a reward or avoiding punishment are gone. We work, but not to get to heaven or stay out of hell. We work because we love Jesus because He first loved us!

 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  Galatians 5:16-17

The spirit gives us victory over the flesh. The flesh is legalism. Some have the idea that legalism is where you keep God’s law. The law is a part of the gospel too. The difference is how it is achieved. With legalism we keep the law by our own power for our own glory. With the gospel we keep the law by God’s power for His glory.

Galatians 4 made this clear. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.  Galatians 4:22-24

God promised Abraham a son. All Abraham had to do was believe and the son would be born. Some people have told me Abraham still had to do something  as this was not a virgin birth. Think about it. Sara’s womb was dead, so it might as well have been a virgin birth. All God needed was Abraham to trust His promise. This is God’s covenant, where we trust His promises. Abraham though set out to make his own covenant based on his own effort and too Hagar to wife. Abraham had to be circumcised so he could cast away the confidence he had in his own flesh. He trusted his own flesh to do that which God promised to do for and through him. ‘

Notice, the end result is still a child being born. The difference is Abraham’s way had self in it. When Abraham learned to trust God’s promise there was fruit and the fruit was real. So today, when we cast away the confidence in our own flesh, we will have fruit. Some think that when we get rid of legalism that we get rid of standards. The gospel does not get rid of standards. It helps us reach those standards, by trusting God instead of the works of the flesh.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:24-26

Again, with the gospel we put away the effort and pride of the flesh and we reap the fruit of the work of the Spirit for the glory of God.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Galatians 6:14

2 John; The Commandments Define Love

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

Here is a trick question you can try on your friends.  What was the highest vmountain in the world before Mt. Everest was discovered? The answer is Mt. Everest! Even though it was new to the people who discovered it, it was there all the time. Same with the commandment to love one another. It has always been there. It did not replace the ten commandments. It actually outdates the ten commandments. The ten commandments help us define love. The first four tell us how to love God and the last six tell us how to love one another. When people say we don’t need the Ten Commandments anymore, that we just need to love one another they are not being logical. The Ten Commandments help us define love so we can know how to love God and one another.