Tag Archive: People



Galatians 3:19-20, “What then was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise had referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.”

image

When we read or review the old and new covenants, we find that each covenant is represented by a figurehead or authority. In the case of the Old Testament, we find this figure to be Moses, while in the new, it is Christ. An remarkable aspect of compairison between Christ and Moses, is that when we look at the life of Moses, we find his life contained many things which are represented and corollary to the life our Lord and savior led, when He became subservient to physicality. Thus, we can conclude that the life of Moses, was a representational prophecy concerning the promise God had made prior to Abraham. It is fitting that the old and new covenants would have such striking parallels among the lives of both their authoritative figures. Here is a brief list of just some of the parallels between Jesus and Moses:

Moses: The Pharaoh decreed all male Hebrew babies be killed.
Jesus: Herod decreed all male Hebrew babies be killed.

Both were hidden in Egypt so that their lives would be spared. In addition, both Jesus and Moses, were in exile until the death of those rulers that had ordered the death of Hebrew male children.

Moses: Born when the Egyptians, a Gentile culture, ruled over the Israelites.
Jesus: Born when the Romans, a Gentile culture, ruled over the Israelites.

Moses: Raised by a man who was not his real father.
Jesus: Raised by a man who was not his real father, for His real father was God.

Moses: Freed his people from slavery.
Jesus: Freed us of the slavery of sin.

image

Christ and Moses were both mediators between man and God the Father. Moses became, more or less, the mouthpiece for God to make known the Law unto man. Why was the law brought to man through Moses in the first place, given that the gospel had already been revealed to Abraham? Paul tells us that it was due to the vileness of man and our disobedience. Our perverse nature and tendency to revolt and rebel against God, brought Him much grief. God’s grief, sadness, and anger are frequent messages of the prophets, like, notably, the minor prophet Hosea, whose life became representational of how God views our relationship with Him. The law was made to show man what he is, and what he should be. By the law, man saw that the pride they had in themselves was undeserved, for the law represented a precipice that man was and is unable to scale.

image

The law was not made to cancel out any hope, for the hope we have in Christ wouldn’t exist hadn’t it been for the law. Hope, within the confines of the human mind, rests in a future tense, that those things that are the desires of our heart may come to pass eventually as time slips further and further behind us. We see by the law, that because all have sinned, we can only direct our hope to one place, as Abraham did, and that is in God’s promises. It was a promise to Abraham that through his bloodline, a savior would come and be the object of hope for all nations. We can’t hope on the law, for though it is good, no hope is revealed in it, only condemnation. God, by his grace, gave us something to hope in, something that far exceeds the hope directed at physical things. This hope is eternal and true, rather than the antithesis of the world, where it is momentary and may, or may not, occur.

image

So, though the law provided no hope, it prepared the way for the hope and faith we have in Jesus Christ our Lord and salvation. We understand our need for salvation due to the law, and if there was no law, we wouldn’t understand to the degree we do, that we need to be saved. The laws intention was to refocus man on God, and illuminate the promises He made to and through Abraham as well as the prophets. Thus, we now place our hope on Christ who, reveals and offers this hope to us, and as God’s promises to Abraham proved true, likewise will Christ’s promises to us.

image

The mediators Jesus Christ, and Moses, showed the world where it is and where it can be in the eyes of God. As Moses was a mediator between God and the Israelites, he was also of the Israelites. In the same way, Christ was a mediator between man and God, but was of God. Christ, the mediator, presents us to the Father and it is by our faith in Him that all are saved. He is the embodiment of the law, hope, faith, obedience, and God Himself.

image

Advertisements

Galatians 3:16-17, “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.”

image

In a previous entry I discussed the righteousness of Abraham, which he was granted by God because of His faith. This was not only due to his belief in God, but his faith that God’s promises were steadfast. In addition, I discussed the “offspring,” promised and made known to Abraham. This offspring was to be a singular person, and through Him the world would be offered the reconciliation unto God. Here, in Galatians, Paul presents the argument of the singular seed that was to come by and through Abraham’s bloodline. As profound as this is, Paul goes further, dipping a bit into history to reveal the true nature of the covenants.

image

Within the philosophical and theological boundaries of the Christian “religion,” we tend to separate the covenants of Moses and Jesus, and break the Bible down, in a general sense, into both the Old and New Testaments. Man loves to put things and ideas into categories or groups, that by their division, they may be easily sorted and understood. Concerning the division of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the old and new covenant, I conclude there is nothing specifically wrong with this. However, one stumbling block does arise that I have witnessed, but this is the fault of man. It usually concerns those new in the faith or exploring it. It doesn’t seem too uncommon for those whom Christ is calling to be curious about the differentiation between the God of the Old Testament and the New, rather than looking at it as a complete revelation from and of God.

image

We need to remind our brothers and sisters in Christ, and in fact everyone, that the Scriptures represent a singular narrative that explicitly shows God and reveals He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Why the wrath shown in the Old Testament? Paul gives us a clear answer:

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us . . .” -1 Corinthians 10:11

image

So am I saying its wrong to refer to old and new? Not at all! In fact, the Lord Himself declared prior to Christ that a new thing was being done, and a new covenant will be established with Israel. The Book of Jeremiah says in Chapter 31, Verse 31:

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.'”

image

Yet, if it was shared with Abraham, what is it that makes it new? Simply, it is new in human, temporal terms. It is not as if man, who is subservient to God, caught God unaware and He had to hatch a new plan to save man. Rather, God’s plan was destined from the beginning. God, let it be known that it is a new covenant, because this is truly what it is in the context of time. Time has no bearing on God, for God controls time, and since time is under God’s belt, to God it is already finished. If anyone believes differently, then one cannot believe in the omniscience of God, for God would be subservient to time. Furthermore, if He is subservient to time, He could not be God, and our faith would be meaningless, for by and out of God came Christ. Yet, to God, it is time that has no meaning. The breadth of its meaninglessness is shown by eternity. We usually think of eternity as it corresponds to time, that time will stretch forever, but in actuality, eternity is a place where time doesn’t exist. The extent of the meaninglessness of time to God is made clear in 2 Peter 3:8:

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

image

Therefore, according to time, which we all are subservient, the law came before, and Christ after, and in temporal terms it is new, or more recent. Yet, that’s not all, by this new covenant it gave the law unto the hearts of man, and revealed God unto the world, so that no man or woman is without excuse. Yet, God did promise the new covenant unto Jeremiah and Abraham, and because He refers to it as “new” to Jeremiah, we see that though the promise was made known, and though the revelation of Christ to come preexisted some 430 years prior to the Law, it doesn’t negate the temporal relativity of the coming of Christ and the Spirit. In addition, as Paul says, the two don’t cancel each other out, but instead, they compliment each other to such perfection, they become united and fulfilled in Christ.

image

It is not necessarily disrespectful or wrong to conclude that the two covenants, outside time, represent one great covenant, where man can be saved through faith, as Abraham was. This, I would argue, when approaching this issue in human linguistics, that the covenants represent old and new revelations, through which God’s attributes and power were proclaimed to man. First, His nature, commandments, and wrath. Secondly, His grace, love, and peace.

image

The plan of God was singular, but we can differentiate between the covenants, because of what they revealed to man and by the manifestations of God. Under the old covenant, God spoke through the prophets, yet in the new, God came to earth, became man, taught to a multitude, was crucified, and rose again. By this, man does not need to turn to a prophet to know God, but now, His Son and Sprit dwell within our hearts, upon which the law is now written.

image


“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” -Romans 5:18

Photobucket The compare/contrast stated in Romans is truly an amazing one to behold, yet it presents a question at the same time. The amazing aspect of it concerns the almighty power that came to fruition by Christ’s death and resurrection. One man, Adam, was responsible for bringing sin into the world, and by our worldly birth we are born into this curse. However, how much more can that sin, which afflicted all mankind, be negated by the perfect obedience of one who descended from heaven? If Christ was mere mortal we would still be in our sins, but because He rose again, the Firstfruit of righteousness, we can partake in the glory offered, not by any deed, but mere acceptance of the gift and belief upon Him. It is of this fruit we should eat, the one that leads to life, and not of the one offered by Adam, which leads only to death.

Photobucket

Why did sin come through one man as opposed to through one woman? Isn’t it the scriptures that tell us that Eve first sinned? There are many plausible commentaries I have read, as well as the outlandish, but I find it more simplistic and satisfactory to say that the original sin was first made possible through Eve, meaning her action opened the gateway unto sin, and Adam’s action led man through that gateway. In the same way Christ’s death opens the gateway to righteousness, and by His resurrection, which pays the toll, we can walk through the narrow doorway that we may receive it.

Photobucket
Sin was a partnership between Adam and Eve that led to their expulsion. Sin wouldn’t have the foothold it does without Adam’s disobedience. If Eve had just sinned, and Adam remained righteous, the curse would not have entered the world. Thus, the responsibility rested on Adam. Furthermore, the biological union between them passed the curse along to their offspring, until Christ, who was in perfect obedience with the Lord, and thus partook of the first fruits of righteousness. Now, in Christ, we partake of the full fruit of righteousness, offered by our Lord, rather than the spoiled fruit offered by Adam. Thereby, let us come into eternal life and grace rather than into death and wrath.

In addition, may we see Adam and Eve as a warning and example, to not to take the sin of others, encourage it and indulge in it, thereby forming it into a “greater,” more ensnaring sin. Rather, let us convict with encouragement and help bring those, whom the Lord has set in our path, away from their iniquity and out of the darkness into the radiant light of God.

Photobucket


“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” -Romans 3:10

Photobucket
The world tells us that there are both good and bad people who dwell within it. Such distinctions are usually relative in nature, and are dependent on a person’s actions, rather than their heart. While it is true that action is a manifestation of a person’s axiology, man lacks the wisdom to see what goes on within the intermediate between heart and action, for within this lacks an evil unseen to all but God. We know from scripture and the words of Christ our Lord, that it isn’t just action that makes people evil, but the desires of their hearts and those ideas or carnal contemplations that are manifest in the mind, heart and spirit.

Photobucket

While the Law is based on solid truth and ideals, man’s law is not. Rather, it is based, again, on ethical, and even cultural relativism. Thus, what is proper or ethical according to one man’s heart may not be the case with another. This suggests the unreliability of man’s conception of right or wrong, though I would agree that God has instilled a natural faculty of judging such things.

Photobucket

God’s wisdom far surpasses that of man, and though man may conclude he is a good person according to the extent of what he has done, this is not how God judges trespass. A person may conclude he is good due to the fact he has never killed anybody, but Christ says different. He states in Matthew Chapter 5, Verse 21-22:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

What is good isn’t based on action, for we can sin in the heart, both willingly and unwillingly. Therefore, despite man’s idea of goodness, the true ideal, the one of God, says that indeed none are good. Everyone has sinned, and will sin. Christ say’s in Mark Chapter 10, Verse 18:

“No one is good-except God alone.”

Jesus said is in response to a man who fell to his knees before him, and referred to him as, “good teacher,” and inquired what he must do to inherit eternal life. Christ responded with the aforementioned statement, in addition to, “Why do you call me good?”

Though Christ’s response provides some questions, these are resolvable, and we discover His reply hints to His true nature. Jesus never denied He wasn’t good, merely inquired why the man had stated this to Him. Christ was certainly good and He was good because He was The Lord. As Christ states in John 14, Verse 7:

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”

This not only suggests the Trinity, but shows us that there is no good one, except for the Lord. Therefore, we are all blotted by iniquity and sin, and thereby, all mankind is in need of a great savior to be cleansed of this sin and to overcome it. This is what Christ has done for us, provided the cleansing power of His blood, that it may wash away our sin when we come to Him even as we are, sinners.

Photobucket


“Looking at His disciples, He said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. 21Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. 24But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.'”

Photobucket

If one has ears to hear, let him hear. Many verses containing the word of Christ, and indeed throughout the Bible, contain some passages that may look curious or downright scary at first glance. Furthermore, they may seem to contradict the rest of what scripture says, though with closer inspection this isn’t the case. Although this section provided me with a lot of comfort, it also alarmed me somewhat.

Photobucket

It seemed to say that to follow Christ I had to be in a constant state of misery. This obviously isn’t the case. When we look at the example of Paul for instance, we find that he was content no matter what he lacked or what hardships he faced. As he says in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions in difficulties.” Instead, he had a faith that produced a harvest of contentment and joy no matter what the circumstance. So what is Jesus saying here? Does it contradict the joy that Paul, the apostles, and we have? Not at all, for even Christ Himself tells us to rejoice and “leap for joy” in verse 23.

Photobucket

"San Paolo," by Pompeo Batoni. oil on canvas, c. 1742

2 Corinthians 5:4 says:

“For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” (See my Note, “On Being Swallowed up by Life”)

Photobucket

Paul both groans and delights. Using these scriptures, what Christ really means in the aforementioned passage in Luke becomes clear. A Christian is not supposed to be void of laughter, or even prosperity. A Christian is warned in Romans 12:2 to, “not conform to the pattern of this world.” Though we are in the world we are not of the world, for now our eyes are focused on Christ. Our contentment rests not in the things of this world, and those activities and materials man chases after to pacify himself, but rather it rests on Christ. This being the case we ache, or groan, to be in our heavenly dwelling and away from the body and it’s meaningless desires, for we know the things of God are not momentary like those things people find “contentment” in within the world, but rather everlasting and more glorious than anything currently made up of the physical or based upon it.

Photobucket

We should not find contentment or delight in mere things, for as all physicality will disappear to be renewed, so will those things based upon material. In addition, our happiness should not be dependent on man. If one constantly chases after approval of man, then he shifts more often than shadows. Such a person is deceptive to both himself and those he seeks approval from. Contentment in this is just as fleeting, for man’s support will vanish from you at anytime. The reliability of superficial friendships is a farce and often self-serving, ironically to both parties. As it is said, no one can serve two masters.

Photobucket

Serve God, fix your eyes on His son and you will gain an eternal contentment and joy that is based on the everlasting, not given to decay and abandonment like the things of this world, but instead He who promises to carry you through all things. As Christians we will have heartache, hardships, and insults, but lo, how fleeting these things are, for when the physical as we know it now ceases to be, weeping will be transformed into joy, hunger to satisfaction, exclusion to inclusion, and a lack of possession into great riches within the Kingdom. To this we await and look forward to.

Photobucket


“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

Photobucket

According to the secular community, there are only a couple reasons why one would want to become a Christian. One of these centers around the idea that being a Christian is some sort of “crutch” used to get through life. However, let us be frank. The Christian has to battle against his carnal desires, those of the flesh, and is often persecuted by man for his faith. Some crutch. If this argument was in any way shape or form true, that man finds religion based on what gives him comfort and suits him, Christianity would be at the bottom of the list of desirable “crutches.”

Photobucket

Christians know this to not be the case. In fact, in following Christ, one is presented with many challenges. That is not to say that one doesn’t have fulfillment when following the Lord, quite the contrary, rather that this fulfillment isn’t found in any worldly practices. Indeed, even those who say they are fulfilled in the world, are not really so, but rather merely pacified by it.

Photobucket

Paul tells us that there is no need for a flattering tongue among man, for our goal in Christ is not to make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy, but we are called to show people’s need for a savior. If we wanted to please man, we could absolutely deny this need, or in fact say that salvation is a religious illusion and that one must take care of theirselves and, “be their own savior.” This would please worldly man in that all indulgences would be permissible.

Photobucket

Yet, man is called to something greater. You are either a servant of Christ or you are a servant of the self and man. One negates the other. In man’s pride there is no need for a savior, for he is the be all and end all, but this isn’t the case. The transition from the world into Christianity, frequently isn’t an easy one. It shouldn’t be, for there is a drastic change that takes place. Truth isn’t always comfortable, but we shall focus on truth and not a version of it that makes people desire or want it due to what it may give them in a worldly context. Rather, in terms of worldly things, it denies, discourages, and redefines. This may not be pleasant in all cases and we should not focus on flattering people or causing disillusionment that it is. To please men in an effort to lead them to Christ is essentially utilizing those worldly means and appealing to their worldly desires, to pull them out of the world, which is not only contradictory, but something that the Lord discourages.

Photobucket


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8

"Christ on the Sea of Galilee," by Tintoretto. oil on canvas, c. 1575-1580

As I have mentioned before, and indeed will probably mention again, Hebrews remains one of my favorite Books in the Bible. Chapter 12 especially was instrumental at leading me to the Lord. This particular verse I didn’t stumble upon until later, after the initial encounter, but it certainly added to my realization that God was real and not some made up thing, though I honestly thought for a while if I was putting it all in my head myself and I struggled with this, but when resolution came it pushed all doubts out of my mind. This verse is beautiful in form, in simplicity, and in meaning. I will tell briefly about some of my testimony and why this verse is so important to me.

For a time, during a particularly dark period in my life, I cried out to God for deliverance. He answered me not in just resolving my troubles, but He also spoke to me. As much as I would like to hear from Him again in like manner, to this day He hasn’t spoke to me the way He did in those dark days. I don’t know why, though I am sure He still does, but not in the same “hearing” sense.

Let me explain a little what I mean by “hearing.” When the Lord speaks to you in words its usually not a booming voice that comes out of the sky. It is a booming voice in your heart, mind a spirit. In fact, looking back I am not so sure that it wasn’t audible, but it was powerful. At the risk of sounding like I am some esoteric mystic, its really hard to describe unless it has happened to you. At any rate, in one word spoken from God I felt that I would be delivered, and I truly was by His grace. What was spoken and in what context I will save for another time, but I will say it was directly linked with Hebrews chapter 12.

The second time the Lord spoke to me was a time when I finally understood what Christ has done. It humbles one to a Godly sorrow, and it was in the midst of this sorrow, and me asking why, stating that I wasn’t worth the torture He suffered and it should have been me  instead, something only a Christian can understand (it is commonplace within the faith), that He answered: “I would do it yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

"Christ on The Cross," detail from the center panel of the Isenheim Alterpeice, by Matthias Grunewald. oil on panel, c. 1512-1515

At this time I was far from being a biblical scholar, and still am, but the Word was absolutely foreign to me, which is my shame because I did go to a Christian school, but my conversion was long after. When I eventually did come across this verse sometime later, I almost fell out of my chair, for the Scripture and what God spoke to me (I made sure to write it down) are in essence, identical. As far as I knew then and know now, I had no previous knowledge of this verse, I was never the sort to engage in any sort of memorization except the best places to go party.

There are a couple other times God spoke to me, but the last time He did, it was a little less positive. He indicated that due to a situation I was willingly walking into that, if I continued, I would, “suffer.” Indeed I did, and backslid heavily. Yet, the Lord by His grace has called me to Him once more. Looking back, its seems so amazing that I am tempted to think perhaps I was nuts, or somehow arranging past circumstances, either consciously or subconsciously in a way to make it appear I was in touch with some hard to reach mystical realm. However, my volumes of journals testify to the reality of the occurrences, the words given to me, and there are even witnesses that can testify to it as well. In full disclosure to the reader, I am actually quite hesitant about sharing all of that and posting it to complete strangers. In fact, I feel a little sick to my stomach due to the influence of my old friend cowardice.

With that foreknowledge, let’s turn to the verse. In life everything can at times feel like it is out to get us. The trust we place on people and possessions is so powerful that when we are let down, when we find our bank accounts lacking, and when people we thought would be there aren’t, our hearts get hardened, so that the resulting pain may never be felt again. We feel in essence that a hardened heart will act like a giant Tylenol that will elevate the pain in our lives and spirit. It doesn’t, for out of that only comes self-destruction and despair.

Christ went through the most ghastly experience, by being tortured and mercilessly put to death on the cross, but even in His suffering He did not harden His heart against man, nor does He even regret what He went through! In fact, He would do it tomorrow if it were required, but as He said, “it is finished.”


Christ is a truth we can rely on when others fail us. This doesn’t mean that we will always get what we want or that we will be spared pain, rather realize that because of what Christ has done pain isn’t eternal for those who believe upon Him and we will someday receive a gift that is beyond description and beyond what we could even dream to want, salvation in eternity with our Lord and all those who we know in Jesus Christ.

The banks may fail, but we can always bank on Christ. His blood is still flowing over us, cleansing us of the tarnish of sin and iniquity, just as it was decreed at the beginning and as it will last forever. We won’t have absolute happiness until we get there friends and cross the finish line, but in our silly “little” suffering, we can take heart that the Lord is there to comfort and guide us. We have a God that cares for us, is interested in the little things we go through day after day, and is eager to hear from us. Such a Lord no other can boast, but we can boast in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, and who would do it all over again yesterday, today and tomorrow.

"Christ on The Cross," by Albrecht Altdorfer. c. 1520

%d bloggers like this: