Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Sabbath and Work

One of the defining characteristics of the Sabbath is that it is a day without work. The remaining days of the week are there to accomplish all of the good work God gives us to do. 

Exodus 20:9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates

The first thing we see God doing, in Genesis, is working. He declares it to be work in Genesis 2.  God worked for six days. He is a God who works.

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

Since God is a God who works, when he made man in his image, he gave him work to do. Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  

Work not only reflects God's nature (as he is a God who works) but is also something he gave Adam to do before he fell into sin. At this point in history, nothing had been soiled by the fall. Consequently, the work that God gives man to do, in and of itself (and within whatever other boundaries God puts around it in his word) is good. (It is sin that makes this good work difficult.)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

What about Love?

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Are you a disciple (a learner) of Christ? If we say "yes," then Jesus says that it will proven by our love for other disciples. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

You see, it's by that standard that we are proven to be disciples of Christ. Do we love our brothers and sisters in Christ?

John echoed this truth in 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fully and Forever Forgiven!

Acts 10:43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

As we look at our lives, we can easily recall things we've done wrong. And the pain that goes with those wrongs is usually not far behind.

Everyone has this - regret. Things we wish we hadn't done or said. We wish we could have them back. 

It gives us no comfort to know that God is perfect in his recall of these very same things. Considering the words we say, the Lord said this, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak..." (Matt 12:36)

And the Bible also tells us that Jesus will be the one judging for all of these things said and done. James 4:12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy

Where can we turn to find relief?  

To the very same one - Jesus Christ!

Not only is he the righteous judge, he is also the Savior! 1 Tim 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What is the Purpose of the Sabbath Day?

There is sadly much debate about the Sabbath day today in the church, whether it applies to the church and so on. We will not address the debate yet, but instead simply look at the original purpose stated in Genesis, when it was created by Jesus Christ. 

We should remember that fact - that the Sabbath Day was a day created by Jesus Christ for particular purposes. In Mark 2:28, Jesus himself said, "And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." And Paul tells in Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him

God made the world in six days. Everything that he was going to create, he did create in those days. And then he created the seventh day.

On this seventh day (in succession), in Genesis 2, we begin to see the Lord's purpose for this day. 

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

Before one can draw conclusions about the day (whether it still applies or not), they must first understand the purpose of it. From the above, we see a number of things which teach us God's intent for the Sabbath.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

What Would Jesus Do?

Remember WWJD?  What would Jesus do? It was a slogan we heard a few years back; we saw it on hats and t-shirts and such. 

But have you ever thought about it? What would Jesus do?

The Bible supplies the clear answer, which is this - he would keep his Law!

No doubt about it, what Jesus would do is obey his own law, and that is in fact what he did. 

Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin

Sin is any transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4).  Jesus never sinned, which means what he always did was keep his law.

And thanks be to God that he did. Because he kept the law perfectly, he was qualified to be our sin-bearer. Also, his perfect keeping of his law (or his righteous behavior) was put on to our account the moment God saved us. 

The righteousness that we now have, in position, by faith alone, is the righteous deeds of Christ. He took on our sin. We took on his righteousness by grace. 2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We can rejoice because God looks at us and sees Christ's perfect obedience to the law. 

WWJD? The answer is the law of God. And because of that, we may stand before the Lord. 

Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Law of God is a Compass (Part 1)

A compass is defined as an instrument containing a magnetized pointer that shows the direction of magnetic north and bearings from it (Google Dictionary). No matter where you are in the world, or whatever circumstances, it will always point north.

The law of God is like that as well. It obviously doesn't point north, but it does point in certain directions all of the time, no matter where we are in life, or in whatever circumstance we are in presently. We can depend on it to give us the correct spiritual heading every time. And as will be shown, this can be quite the blessing. We are, of course, referring to the Moral Law of God. (Go here to see why.)

Now the law of God does not save or it does not have power to save. But for the believer, the one already justified by faith, it is amazingly beneficial. Let's see how.

The law of God is a compass that always points in the direction of happiness and blessing. Psalm 119:1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! The word "blessed" is also translated "happy." It is a blessing of God to walk in his ways, and apart from his grace, we would never do so. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Any time, and every time, we obey the Lord, it is due in whole to the grace of God. Our flesh is not only no help at all, it is actually opposed to the law of God (Romans 7:18). But when we do obey the Lord, by grace, the Lord bestows blessings upon us. As we will see below, we will have the blessings of love, great peace, safety and delight. As these blessings are all promised and clearly stated in God's word, we can rest assured that the path to these blessings will always be in the direction the law of God is pointing.

Take any situation in life, and the law of God addresses it in some way. Either in command or in principle, it tells us what is the holy, righteous and good thing to do (Romans 7:12). And as we have the declaration from Psalm 119:1 shown above, we can rest assured that it is telling us the way to be blessed in the situation we are in at the moment - every time.

The law of God will never be wrong, will never mislead us, will never lie to us, will never point us in the wrong direction. What a blessing it is that the Lord gave us his law, not to save us by it, but to show us (as justified believers) how we ought to live in a fallen, sinful world. No wonder David rejoiced in the law of God.  Psalm 119:24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.

Monday, September 17, 2018

If it pleases the Lord...

Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 

Due to some recent trials, I was reminded of this truth - that God does whatever pleases him on earth. This includes whatever happens in our lives.

Having the comfort of knowing that God uses all things to mold us into his image (which is the good Paul is referring to in Romans 8:28-29), we should remember this...

Whatever happens in our lives is what pleases the Lord.  It might encourage us to remember this before grumbling.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Glad in the House of the Lord

Ps 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" 

We should be very happy to go to the house of the Lord, which is to say the public assemblies of our church. And we should be happy when encouraged to do so.

The psalmist was. 

So many reasons for this, but here are just a few.

1. Jesus is there. Matt 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

2. He wants us there. Song of Solomon 2:14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. 

3. We have been made acceptable to be there (which cost Jesus his life and torment on the cross). 1 Peter 2:5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Why Love and the Law of God?

Why are we creating a blog about Love and the Law of God?

Simply because love and the law are inseparable. If you consider this for a few minutes, we think you'll agree. 

Before we get started, and to avoid confusion, we need to separate the doctrine of how we should love God and others from our ability to do so. These are two separate issues. The first is what are to do to love God and others (and what that means). The second is how we only love God and others. (The answer is that we only obey when by grace alone he empowers us.) 

We also need to say that loving God and others, or obeying his law, comes only after a person is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by hearing the Scriptures alone, to the glory of God alone. We are saved, made righteous in position, justified, forgiven all by faith in Christ alone, apart from works of the law.  Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  We don't believe in works salvation as this is taught nowhere in ScriptureMore on this later.

Justification is one thing. Obeying God as a justified believer is another. Both are by grace, but they are two different things. 

OK, so why do we believe love and the law of God are inseparable?

The Law of God is a Compass (Part 2): Safety

[This is part 2 of the Law of God is a Compass series. Find Part 1 HERE .] The law of God is a compass that always points in the direction...