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Justice and Morality

“Far be it from you to do such a thing–to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25

Image result for justiceGod is just. He constantly acts according to what is morally right or fair, morals being the principles that determine what is good and bad.

God is the moral law. Our Creator is the standard of right and wrong, good and bad. And He is unchanging in His promises [Hebrews 6:18]. He cannot be defined by whim or caprice [Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:21]. Though His judgments are unsearchable by the human mind [Romans 11:33], His justice is as unchanging as His character.

Throughout human history, cultural values and moral judgments have shifted. But with God that which is right today is what has always been and what will always be right. Likewise, that which is wrong today is what has always been and what will always be wrong.

Most people don’t like this attribute, because–having bought into Satan’s lie that they can be their own god–they want to decide for themselves what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust. So much so, that people will surround themselves with others who say exactly what they want to hear [2 Timothy 4:3] just so they don’t have to deal with God’s truth on the matter.

But God is the judge of the whole earth. Everyone will stand before Him alone one day [Hebrews 9:27]. Everyone will answer for the things done and said in this life [Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12]. Everyone will bow their knee and confess God as God and Jesus Christ, His Son, as Lord of all [Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10].

In that day, God will separate the righteous from the unrighteous [Hebrews 4:12]. The one blessed with eternal life and the other cast into the lake of burning sulfur [Matthew 25:31-46].

The choice is as simple and clear cut as black and white. As God posed the question to Cain, let us also consider, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted [Genesis 4:7]

Who determines what is morally right and good in your life? Which side of eternity will you be on?



Conduits of Power

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Image result for water hoseGod is omnipotent, that is, He alone is almighty or all-powerful.

And He gives us His Spirit [Numbers 11:17; Judges 14:6; Acts 1:8; et al], enabling us, by His power, to bring glory and honor to His name.

By His Spirit, Moses and David led Israel [Numbers 11:17 & 25; 1 Samuel 16:13]. Samson tore apart a lion, effortlessly broke through sturdy rope bindings and battled dozens of men all at the same time [Judges 14:6 & 19, 15:14]. Mary bore the Christ-child [Luke 1:35]. Demons were cast out [Luke 4:36]. And we are empowered to live as witnesses to the truth of the gospel [Acts 1:8].

God’s Spirit doesn’t hide timidly inside us. So neither should we shrink back from a contrary world. Our friends and family might not want to hear about God anymore than they want to hear that eating vegetables and exercising are good for them, but they need us to speak God’s love boldly. They need us to live out the blessings–extreme joyfulness–of the godly, self-disciplined life.

Because–just like we once did–they need God. They need His power to transform their sinful hearts and finite lives into the eternal ones they were made for.

The power of God’s Spirit overflows us with that hope [Romans 15:13]. Did you hear that? Let me say it again. The power of God’s Spirit overflows us with hope!

By God’s power alone we have peace in a war-torn, hating world–even while we ourselves are persecuted for that peace who is called Jesus [Ephesians 2:14]. By His power alone we have joy–though we ourselves get sick, face financial hardships, lose loved ones, get mistreated and threatened for our faith. By the power of His Spirit in our lives we have an abundance of hope that exceeds our finite capacity to hold it, and He keeps pouring the power and hope in and through us until we overflow with hope to everyone around us!

The power of God was never meant to lift us, whimpering, out of the gutter of self-pity or guilt–but it does. And it will do so faithfully and without criticism time and again. When it does–and we have been filled with all the power, joy, peace and hope that we can possibly need–then it’s time to go to work. It’s time to walk around like a fountain with legs and gush God’s power and love into the lives of everyone we meet.

Anything less is denying God’s power in our lives. Anything less is disobedience. Anything less withholds our blessing, locked within the timidity of our hearts.

Are you ready to be a walking conduit of God’s power to this lost and dying world?


A Pinch of God’s Power?

“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: ‘Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love;’ and, ‘You reward everything according to what they have done.'” Psalm 62:11-12

Image result for pinch of saltGod is omnipotent–that is all powerful. He is the Almighty because all might [aka power] is in Him alone.

How many human beings have dreamed of attaining to God’s power? Just watch the superhero movies and read the magical fantasies. We as people want so bad to have just a pinch of His might in our beings because it would make us stand out from every other created being. Because then we wouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone or anything else. Because we believe that we would be good enough to wield such power on behalf of our fellow man.

But, if we’re honest with ourselves, at the core of the desire to possess super-human ability is Satan’s lie that we can be our own God [Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 14:14]. The same lie, repackaged with a shinier bow, promising that we can possess power above all others.

Not possible. Any power that we possess is given to us from and ultimately returns to our Creator God.

He alone has the power to make everything out of nothing. He alone has the power to hang planets in the vast expanse of the universe and to light the flame of sun and stars. He alone has the power to create life. He alone has the power to conquer death, hell and the grave.

What human or angel or creature or demon can do any of those things? None. No one but God is able.

And yet, God is willing–no more than that, God desires to imbue us with His power from on high [Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:7]. He desires to work in and through us [Ephesians 3:20]. He desires that we will share in the work of Christ and do even greater things–beyond what we can ask or imagine–to His glory and honor [John 14:12].

Who is like the Lord [Psalm 113:5]? Who can stand against His mighty power [Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4-5; Romans 8:31; Ephesians 6:11]? Where does your strength come from [Psalm 28:7 & 121:1-2]?


From The Student Question Board: How Many Sins Are Too Many? Is There a Specific Number of Sins that Will Disqualify You From Heaven?

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Romans 5:20b

Image result for infinite loveGod is infinite. In every way. He is not bounded in by anything.

In the long war between God and Satan, God is patient, not wanting any human being–who are the apple of His eye [aka the central object of His affection]–to perish [Psalm 17:8; Proverbs 7:2; Zechariah 2:8; 2 Peter 3:9].

Yet in the midst of God’s infinite patience, sin increases. Every minutia of sin manifests and grows. Arrogance, abusiveness, disobedience and ungratefulness increases [2 Timothy 3:2]. Exchanging God for self increases [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14]. Wickedness, evil, greed and depravity increases [Romans 1:29].

But God’s grace is boundless.

There is no amount of sin that can disqualify you from God’s love. And if by grace through faith you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you are forgiven. Period.

That’s fantastic news! Because we all sin every day, we all fall short of the glory of God in every way [Romans 3:23].

But there is a caution.

If we can’t out-sin God’s grace, then why not just keep on sinning and asking for forgiveness? Paul wrote to the Roman Christians who were struggling with this very question. The answer? By no means! In other words–absolutely not!

As forgiven believers, we died to sin just as Christ died for our sins. And we live in God’s freedom. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace, [Romans 6:12-14].

It’s like quitting smoking because you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, getting healed, and then continuing to smoke. Smoking destroys our health, just like sin destroys our spirit man. People who have been healed from cancer, are best advised to live a healthier life so that the cancer doesn’t move back into their bodies. And Christians are called to come out of the culture we live in and be Godly so that the destruction of sin doesn’t move back into our lives [2 Corinthians 6:17].

God’s mercy is infinite, just as all of Him is infinite. Sin is limited by human imagination, ability and longevity [or lack thereof]. Choose this day which one will shape your eternity. Finite sin, with even more limited moments of pleasure that lead to death and rejecting God, therefore bringing eternal condemnation [James 1:14-15]? Or infinite mercy, with abundant life now and forevermore [John 3:16]?


Cut to the Heart

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?'” Acts 2:37

Image result for concernedAs previously mentioned, God is self-existent. He created us–you, me and everyone. Therefore, He is our authority. He is in charge of everything that He created. [Are you with me so far?]

But because of sin, we are born with the sinful-natural desire to reject God as the Sovereign that He is in our lives. We are born with the desire to be our own authority.

And because it seems so naturally ingrained in us from birth, we each justify this desire to throw off God’s sovereignty as normal, right and good. Yet it is the essence of sin in us. Every act of sin stems from this base of rebelling against God’s authority [Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Timothy 1:9-11; Revelation 21:8 & 22:15].

He is the moral standard–the One who distinguishes between right and wrong, good and bad–because He created everything and the order within which it all works. When we truly come to recognize this truth–I am a sinner and God is holy, righteous and good–we can’t help but respond like the crowd at Pentecost, What shall we do? 

This self-as-sinner before the holy-sovereign-God recognition should bring us to repent–not out of fear, but out of right understanding. Though scripture warns us to be careful not to harden our hearts instead [Psalm 95:8; Hebrews 3:8 & 15, 4:7]. Because many realize who God is and shake their fist at Him, daring Him to make them do something contrary to their own free will.

He won’t. Not in this life. But eventually, everyone will see God for who He truly is and recognize their own rebellion against Him. On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess His lordship [Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10-11]. But for many, that day will be too late, because the revelation will come after this life has passed. When all is stripped away and they stand face to face before God Almighty at the judgment.

Do you know your createdness? How do you respond to your Creator? Who decides what is right/wrong/good/bad in your life? Have you been cut to the heart with the recognition of your own sinfulness?


The Advocate and the Adversary

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:23-26

Image result for helping handJesus, the incarnate [meaning in the flesh] Son of God speaks to His disciples here, reminding them of His true three-in-one nature. He and Father God act in one accord. Those who obey Jesus, do so out of love for Him–a love which is reciprocated by God the Father and God the Son both. Both Father and Son together come to indwell the obedient believer. And God the Spirit–sent by the Father in the name of the Son–quickens our minds to remember Jesus’ words.

All three infinite persons of the Godhead work together in our finite heart–if we just live through faith.

The Holy Spirit is called the Parkletos here, or the Paraclete. A paraclete is someone who literally comes to stand alongside. The Greek word means Advocate though it is often translated Counselor, as in legal Counsel. But in the mind of the New Testament believer, the word carried a much broader term than defense lawyer. The Counselor was a Helper to those who were in trouble with the law.

It’s no coincidence that John calls the Holy Spirit the Advocate. Besides the Judeo-Roman implications of being in trouble with a court of law and the human difficulty with upholding the Law of Moses [aka the 10 Commandments, et al; Romans 8:3], we need a perfect mediator to make peace with God [Romans 5:1; 1 Timothy 2:5]–Jesus Christ and the Spirit sent in His name by God the Father.

If all this scriptural connectedness isn’t enough, we need an Advocate because Satan is the adversary. Literally–Satan means adversary. The enemy of God. And we also were God’s enemies before accepting Jesus as Lord of our lives [Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21; Titus 3:3].

Paul explained it like this. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out [Romans 7:18]. Everyone one of us is born with a sin nature that naturally rebels against God. We can either recognize this sinful nature and ask forgiveness [aka repent] or we can refuse God’s grace–Father, Son and Spirit–and continue to live the way that we see fit [aka keep rebelling].

Have you invited the Advocate to stand alongside you? Or do you still walk in the ways of the adversary?


The Revelation of the Trinity

“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I heard first speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Revelation 4:1-3

Image result for handwriting parchmentThe entire book of Revelation predicates the understanding of the triune Godhead. All three persons in one accord are present throughout the letter. Right from the first line and chapter defining this piece of scripture as–1) the revelation of Jesus Christ; 2) given by God the Father; and 3) received in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when Jesus spoke to John [Revelation 1:1 & 10-18].

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was the promised gift of God the Father to comfort and empower believers in Jesus’ physical absence from the earth [John 14:16 & 26, & 16:7; Acts 1:4-5 & 8]. This is important to us, because during the time of the Law of Moses in the Old Testament the Israelites couldn’t bring their sacrifices directly to God, they couldn’t stand in His presence because of the sin in their lives. Only the High Priest one day a year could come before God in the Holy of Holies to make the atonement sacrifice for the sins of the people [Hebrews 9:7].

When Jesus came to the earth as a physical human being, people could approach Him without fear of their sins. He mediated between God and man, freely forgiving all who asked and healing and providing and performing many other miracles as well. At His death, the Temple veil miraculously tore in two pieces, showing that Jesus had once again opened the way to God the Father for all mankind. But when He ascended into heaven, God the Spirit was sent in His stead. Through Him we continually have access to and communion with God the Father and God the Son.

All scripture is God-breathed [2 Timothy 3:16], and the book of Revelation was a timely message as well. Jesus had left the earth. The promised Spirit was at work–but not physically visible. The apostles were writing letters to the many New Testament churches, letters which were inspired of God and were canonized as God’s Word. But in Revelation Jesus spoke directly through the Spirit of God to the churches–His Word was final.

After John records the specific messages to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor, Jesus speaks to him and the Spirit descends on him again, together they usher John into the throne room of heaven and the presence of God the Father.

Without question, the Trinity of God is a very real, very divine phenomena. All three persons in perfect accord with each other, and all three persons eternal, having existed before the Creation and continuing forever after the first Creation comes to an end.

Do you commune with God the Father and Son through the Spirit in prayer, praise, Bible study and the like?