I Stand At The Door And Knock

“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ” (Revelation 3:15–22, ESV)

The “I stand at the door and knock” phrase is frequently directed at the unsaved as an invitation to be saved. But notice that the door Jesus is standing outside of is the door of the church. Why is He outside?

Will we argue that this is just the church of Laodicea, and doesn’t relate to today’s church? It relates if we do the same things. If we act like Laodicea, then we ARE Laodicea. Can anyone deny that our works are lukewarm? Can anyone deny that the huge buildings, the expensive cars and designer clothing, and the lush interiors of our homes and meeting places fairly scream “I am rich, I have prospered, I need nothing?” Compare the modern church to the church right after Peter unleashes the Word of God in his first powerful public sermon.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47, ESV)

It is the church that needs to answer the door and invite Jesus back in. It is the church that is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. It is the church that has locked out His Word, His Law, His ways and statutes and commands. We reject the hot and yet are not fully cold. The words of Jesus are rejected, and as His words go so goes He.

The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:48–50, ESV)

Therefore be zealous and repent. Buy gold from Him refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

Shalom
Bruce

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom?

In Genesis 18 around verse 16 or 22 (depending on the version) there is a subtitle in the ESV, the NKJV, and the NIV84 that reads “Abraham Intercedes (Pleads) for Sodom.” This is not correct, according to the text.

 

The scene is after a BBQ Abraham put on for two angels and Jesus (the LORD), where a son has been promised to the happy couple (okay, they were laughing anyway). The men leave, but as Abraham is walking with Jesus the LORD stops to tell him that it looks like Sodom and Gomorrah are going to be toasted. Abraham intercedes, not for Sodom, but for the possible righteous living in those cities. Abraham asks, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (18:23). He starts off with the number 50, and bargains God down to 10. Jesus says if He can find 10 righteous He will not destroy the cities.

 

This is important because current modern sentiment would have us believing that we are to run around asking God to forego judgment on wicked people. “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” is a popular summary of this idea. Sometimes this text is cited for proof. But the sentiment is biblically out of whack. Judgment is not only for the recipient, but also for any others around watching the proceedings. God’s judgment on sin is part of God’s love. It is why Jesus had to die. Abraham is not concerned with the cities. He is concerned that the righteous be not condemned with the wicked. He does not argue for postponing judgment, he only wants the righteous saved (probably thinking of his nephew Lot).

 

It’s true that we shouldn’t wish for God’s judgment to fall on anyone. His judgment is awful and final. We want to pray for the conversion of our enemies, and ask God for His mercy. He is, I think, happy to grant it, but the key is to repent. The repentant sinner is welcomed with open arms, but the unrepentant stay locked on the path of judgment. So biblically we would say, “Love the repentant sinner, and hate the sin.” Too many in modern times want to stretch the mercy of God to cover wicked people assembling with them or residing in their homes. This is a misunderstanding. We are not to approve, accept or tolerate the sinner.

 

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32, ESV)

 

Removing the unrepentant sinner from our midst is about the best thing we can do for them. It is the ultimate gesture of love. A little bit of judgment now that might help the sinner repent is much better than a whole lot later when it is too late. By isolating them (a very tiny gesture of judgment) we hope they will see the folly of their ways and repent. Then they can be restored to full fellowship. Letting them go on and on down the path of death because we are afraid of “hurt feelings,” the loss of friendship or the loss of family members is an act of hate. I know of a Messianic synagogue who had a key elder announce a divorce to his wife on Yom Kippur. They did not boot him out of the congregation. As a result in my opinion, the divorce went ahead. Later, the congregation split over this and other things. I think the lady is better off, but that is not the point. I know the temptation was to “love the sinner” but what they did was “love” him right into wicked behavior.

 

Peter seems to tell us that God does not want anyone to perish. A reasonable idea, and perhaps close to the mark. However, a closer reading will give us insight more in line with Abraham’s intercession for the righteous.

 

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, ESV)

 

See how the Lord is patient “toward you?” (believers – see verse 1:1). He does not want any of His children to perish, but that all should reach repentance. Full repentance is not reached until death. We have to repent, and stay repented (or repent again if we fail). We help each other to repent by any means available. Believers have to keep believing. Not all who call Him “Lord, Lord” will be with Him in the kingdom.

 

The only intercession we can make for the wicked is that they would take advantage of the patience of God and repent. We, like God, would love it if they would do so.

 

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? (Romans 2:4, ESV)

 

So repent already. It’s easy now. Later, not so much.
Shalom
Bruce

Book review: The Harbinger

I was pointed to this book by a friend of our Facebook page, Darlene. My wife checked it out of the library and we both went through it pretty quick. She was so interested she finished it in a day.

 

I think it’s a good read. Keeps your interest to the end. I think he stretches a bit to connect things together, and I don’t think we have to go that far to realize that America (and the rest of the world) is in the process of being judged for departing from God’s ways. The point of the book, however, is not to report facts. It is a fiction book in a narrative form (conversations) that is meant to dramatically use facts to present a repentance message. And it does a great job.

 

As most readers of this blog know, I am all for repentance messages. We’re sliding down a greased pole into hell right now, and Jonathan Cahn is one other who is trying to arrest that slide as best he can. He’s not trying to be a prophet, though he uses some prophetic terms and imagery, so we can’t accuse him of error. The facts are historically accurate, so we can’t accuse him of making stuff up. His message is good, and the vehicle for delivery entertaining and thought provoking. It’s also a best seller, meaning he’s earning a good living which I don’t object to one bit, but also meaning he’s reaching a lot of people. That’s also a good thing.

 

For those who want to stick their heads in the sand because the realization of judgment scares them, you might want to avoid this book. But for those who have a suspicion that events now unfolding are warnings to change our course, this book will be right in the alley somewhere. We need to be careful how we match current events with Scripture, but I think Mr. Cahn is careful. His bottom line is the same as mine: wake up and repent before it is too late. If you need some help warning other people too, this book might be a good boost.

 

The only thing I would add to the book is specifics on what to turn to. I, of course, would say that we need to take up all of the Word. Practice every little scrap you can work into your life, including as many details of the Law as we can apply. Start with a day off a week (Sabbath). Eliminate pork and shellfish as our loving Father so graciously warned. Work in the feasts and festivals. Tie some tassels on your garments to help remind you to choose His Ways over your own knowledge. This means we take every word from His mouth seriously. From the easier things (above) we can then maybe take seriously the weightier commands of justice and mercy. Maybe if we go back to taking the whole Book seriously we can turn the tide of the coming judgment.

 

Shalom
Bruce

I Don’t Know

It’s okay to say “I don’t know,” especially when talking about the Bible or answering someone’s objections.

 

I don’t know for sure who the people before the flood (antediluvians) married. I assume brothers married sisters for at least a while, but I don’t know. Later, it appears this was not something to continue because God tells us to stop.

 

I don’t know who the “sons of God” were that took daughters from the “sons of men” in Genesis 6:1-4. I know that it wasn’t good. It seems to be connected to the wickedness of man being great on the earth (Genesis 6:5). But I don’t know for sure.

 

I don’t know for sure, but I’ve got a good idea that people in the Land before Israel moved in needed to be wiped out. They were asking for it. Every abomination conceivable at the time was in practice in Canaan. Children were routinely sacrificed. Sexual perversion was out of control. Leaders were defiant towards God and God’s ways. Their own actions caused the wiping. There were no innocents. The only option was to be removed from breathing for a while.

 

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18:24–30, ESV)

 

I know. It sounds like today, doesn’t it? I certainly want to spew when I see actions from people like Miley Cyrus or other so-called entertainers. I don’t know why people are repeating the same abominations that caused the destruction of the antediluvians or the Canaanites, or that will cause the destruction of what we see very soon. But I know it’s going to happen. We’re asking for it.

 

Maybe my understanding needs a little help. Maybe the text is not translated correctly. Maybe I just need to keep reading and keep pondering. Or maybe there are more things from His Word I need to be doing in my life, and as I add those my understanding will increase and I’ll figure it out. I don’t know.

 

That’s okay though. It doesn’t affect anything, because I know that God is good and merciful and whatever He had to do was needed and the only option. Whatever He does with the current Canaanites and pagans will be in the same vein. He created; He can do what He wants with His creation. In the meantime my understanding is good enough to know what He requires of me. Do what He says. All the other stuff will become clear. What he wants from me is very clear. I may not know about some of the things in the Word, but I know this: He is love and will always act in accordance with love. Even His judgment is from love.

 

If I don’t know something, it doesn’t detract from who He is, or what He wants. When we get in the middle of talking with people it’s no shame to say, “I don’t know.” I don’t know about a specific thing that happened 6,000 years ago, but I know what He wants from me. And I know what He wants from you. Do what He says. Avoid abominations. Abide in His Word. Repent. Turn from our own ways to His.

 

That part I know is very clear.

Shalom

The Hardest Thing

What do you think the hardest thing to do is for a whole Bible believer?

 

One answer might be to face death, especially a death where the option to escape is to deny the One who bought us. What would I do? A simple lie to save myself, my family? Or perhaps the hardest thing to do is to face the impending death or severe sickness of a loved one. It is very hard to watch someone suffer, and to know that healing might be beyond what you can do. Another answer might be to live under severe persecution such as the brothers and sisters have to do in China or Muslim countries. These things are hard, but they tend to be short-term situations. One thing I think ranks right up there with these other hard things.

 

Living all of His words every minute, every day.

 

It’s easy to get bored, or to think that some small command is not worth the effort. Then it’s easy to go from neglecting a few smaller commands to fudging on a medium command. Steps like these gradually can make obedience to the really big commands a little fuzzy. The decisions made in life or death events don’t just spring up all at once when the big event happens. They are made from all the smaller steps taken, or not taken, before we even get there.

 

To be faithful, in every instance, with all of the heart, can be very difficult. More difficult perhaps than the single event that demands a life or death decision. There are all sorts of daily things we do that become mundane and lose their importance as time goes by. We get fat dumb and happy, and next thing you know we are making all sorts of compromises.

 

The fall holy days we are celebrating now can lose their edge, or they can be times of repentance and renewal. God is calling us to stay faithful, and if we haven’t been as faithful as we should we can still change. Hold fast what you have until He comes (Revelation 2:25). Strengthen what remains and is about to die (Revelation 3:2).

 

Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (Revelation 3:3, ESV)

 

“Faithful” is also “steadfast love” or “patient endurance.” Don’t let the small things get away. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind when you feel yourself slipping. Read His Word daily, in large doses. Use the feast times to rededicate yourself and avoid slipping. Remember that “faithfulness” is used of God first (Genesis 24:27) and is used mostly in the Bible to describe Him. He is faithful to us who believe, and that deserves a faithful response. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

 

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. (Revelation 3:10–11, ESV)

 

Shalom
Bruce

Day of Wrath

Saturday is the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. On this day, and this day only, when we had a temple the high priest would go into the holy of holies and apply the blood of the sacrifice to the mercy seat of the Aron Khodesh, also known as the Ark of the Covenant. He had to do it in a very specific way, with no deviation, or he would die. There was a time far back in history when the high priest had to go in with a rope tied around his ankle for fear he wouldn’t do things right and would die. If he did then others could drag him out without going in themselves and risking the same death.

 

The Day of Atonement was a day associated with wrath, smoke and burning. There are two facets to the smoke and burning. Either there was a sufficient sacrifice for sin, or there wasn’t. One type of smoke and burning was from the acceptable sacrifice, and God’s wrath was turned away. The other facet of smoke and burning was the wrath of God directed at people who did not have an acceptable sacrifice.

 

The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter; the mighty man cries aloud there. A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. (Zephaniah 1:14–17, ESV)

 

Before the death and resurrection of Jesus the Yom Kippur sacrifice looked forward to the offering of His own blood on our behalf. Now we remember that work in humility, but we still look forward to that final day of judgment and fast and pray for those who aren’t prepared. Those of us who believe have accepted His sacrifice and God’s wrath on this day is turned away. Those who haven’t accepted Jesus are risking the burning anger of God. This is why we “afflict ourselves” (fast) as it says in Leviticus 16:29 and other places. We bow our heads in humility remembering the sacrifice, and the cost of that sacrifice for our sins. We also fast and pray for repentance that everyone would likewise accept God’s Word and humble themselves.

 

Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the LORD, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the LORD. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD. (Zephaniah 2:1–3, ESV)

 

Some misguided people make a big deal out of exactly which day to have the holy days of the Lord. There is no procedure outlined for us in the Word, but there are people who want to help God out by splitting hairs about the new moon (which indicates the start of the month). They are missing the point about the whole thing. Majoring in the minors. Forsaking unity and brotherhood to push their “holier than thou” agenda. This kind of quibbling is proof that the Word does not dwell in their hearts, because love dwells with the Law and love is not in these arguments. I’ve seen many who not only quibble about this kind of minor detail but other non-biblical issues such as head coverings while at the same time ignoring more salient and weightier issues such as love and honoring others. It’s not just me, either. Watch them yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Remember the Law in its entirety with love and the Spirit in a heart of flesh. Don’t get caught up in quibbling with the quibblers. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the seven churches. Repent. Love God. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

 

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Malachi 4:1–6, ESV)

Judging with Righteous Judgement Pt. 5 – How To Spot a False Prophet

It’s very simple to spot a false prophet. The Bible gives us excellent instructions. All we’ve got to do is read and we’ll figure it out in an instant. Not only must he be 100% correct if he prophesies about the future, he must not direct other people away from God or God’s Word.
“But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.” Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.” (Jeremiah 23:14–15, ESV)
Jeremiah is not just speaking of prophets of a particular location, but to all those who do the same things.

 

A false prophet talks about following the Bible but doesn’t follow the whole book. He is a part-Bible expert, like his father, the father of lies. He picks and chooses what Scripture he preaches, and is even pickier about which Scripture he follows. He wants people to follow himself rather than God.
“To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” (Isaiah 8:20, ESV)
“Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32, ESV)

 

The false prophet takes the Law into his own hands to misuse it for his own gain. He allows and encourages sexual immorality including divorce and homosexuality (the teachings of Balaam). He is more concerned about self-defined acceptance, tolerance, and unconditional love than God’s definition of holy love and grace or His command to repent.

 

A true prophet will speak according to the entirety of God’s Word. One of the ways we know Jesus was a true prophet, and The Prophet whom Moses said would come, is that He spoke the words of God given to Moses. All other prophets of God do the same. A simple test is, do they follow all of God’s Law or not?
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:18–19, ESV)

 

A false prophet glorifies himself rather than God. God is glorified when His Word is taught, lived, and defended.
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:18, ESV)”
The minister sent by God is one who speaks all of God’s words without fail and without compromise.

 

A false prophet speaks visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. He says “all will be well” and “no disasters will befall” those who despise the word of the Lord and follow their own heart instead of God’s heart.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’ ” (Jeremiah 23:16–17, ESV)

 

A true prophet of God will warn of departure from God’s word. He will speak the words of God, the first one of which is REPENT.
“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.” (Jeremiah 23:21–22, ESV)

 

A false prophet tells people to go after other gods, either in the form of idols or self-image. Going after other god’s means to obey something or someone other than God. God tests us with many false prophets, and there are many today teaching that we don’t have to listen to all of the words of God. The true prophet says that we shall keep God’s commandments and obey His voice, serve Him and hold fast to Him.
“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. (Deuteronomy 13:1–4, ESV)

 

Do not fail the test.
Shalom

I’ll Pray for You

What does it mean to pray for someone?

 

What are they really asking? If an unbeliever asks me to pray for healing for them, will God listen? Does God answer prayer even if we are out of whack with Him? Does someone who claims to be a believer, but ignores God’s righteous decrees, automatically get healing just because they ask? Or is persistent sickness or tragedy a sign of unconfessed sin? Should the believer concentrate on asking for healing, or asking for forgiveness? And is asking forgiveness just to get well, or restore a right relationship with God?

 

The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29, ESV)

 

Can a divorced believer ask for God to bless their divorce, or the results of divorce (like someone needing a job or day care or something like that)? Or will God only bless something in divorce for one of the people who isn’t at fault? And how do we determine fault?

 

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16, ESV)

 

Can a homosexual ask God to heal them of AIDS though they persist in the behavior? Can he ask for any kind of blessings or reprieve from judgment? Will God hear him if he needs a job? Or rain for his crops?

 

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12, ESV)

 

Moving on a little from obvious stuff like sexual immorality, how much evil can we get away with before God doesn’t answer, or stops answering, prayer? Is a little disobedience okay? Will the cosmic eraser of Jesus that the church preaches cover any iniquity, so let us sin that grace may abound? How much of His Law (or Word) can we ignore and still expect Him to answer our prayers?

 

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:27–32, ESV)

 

What if He put things in His Law that have spiritual effects, such that we can’t see the connections but they are nonetheless connected? If we eat piles of bacon, for instance, is there a connection to illness? Maybe His Word and the physical and spiritual are more interconnected than we think? We know we can get sick from improperly prepared seafood, but just because there is no immediate affect from properly prepared seafood does that mean it doesn’t harm us?

 

You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. (Leviticus 20:25–26, ESV)

 

What are the spiritual effects of following His Laws? Is there a spiritual aspect to being sick? Does righteousness make us well? Is harm really random, or is it related to sin? Or is sin like mold on our souls, and the physical reaction is illness? Maybe it’s not just our own sin, either. Is there a spiritual corruption that emanates from other people’s sin and contaminates people around them too, such as is taught in God’s Laws of clean and unclean?

 

But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. (Leviticus 18:26–28, ESV)

 

Do we look to doctors first, or do we look to God first? Do we consult the database of His Word in every area of life, before we get sick? Are we taking preventative measures that are recommended by our Heavenly Physician before we consult and believe human doctors who don’t have a place in their worldview for God’s Word? Are we sick because we have a chemical imbalance, or because we have disobeyed?

 

It is possible to be afflicted by God for other reasons than our sin. The book of Job shows us that. Sometimes God afflicts to test us, and sometimes to build trust and obedience. But it is clear from His Word that sin is a big part of health (or lack of it) in many instances. And our heart is the one place where we have control. At the very least we should be aware of the possibility of sin and seek God’s cleansing by confessing and the washing of His Word before we pray for Him to remove the possible by-product of disobedience. It would behoove us to kneel on solid, clean ground every day in constant communion. It might go a long way toward not getting sick in the first place.

Repentance

From ‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 2 on Repentance

Repentance and love for God go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other. If we repent, we stop going our own way and start going His (1 Kings 8:47; 2 Chronicles 6:37; Job 42:6; Jeremiah 8:4-13; Ezekiel 14:6; Matthew 11:20, 21). The first recorded word out of the mouths of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and Jesus (Matthew 4:17) for their public ministries was ‘repent.’ If we are going the wrong way on a road, we would change directions once we realized our error.

‘Feeling sorry’ for what we have done or are doing, yet continuing to go the wrong way, is not repentance. It is certainly not love. Joel says “rend your hearts, not your garments” (Joel 2:13). A lot of times, ‘sorry’ feelings are very strong, to the point of weeping or other expressions of anguish. Herod was “exceedingly sorry” to behead John the Baptist, and did it anyway (Mark 6:26). Sorry feelings are not true repentance if they don’t produce a change in behavior (Jonah 3:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10). True repentance is when we change what we are doing (Matthew 3:8; Luke 3:8). We go from ignoring His Law to following it.

Likes on Facebook

Now that we’ve got more than 30 likes, Facebook shows us something they call ‘insights’ meaning we can see how many people view a post and other statistics.

It’s interesting to note that a post starting with the phrase “Sin is turning from His Word” gets 11 views while a shorter post starting with “I wonder if seven days without leaven has a side benefit for the body?” gets 59 views. Or how a post starting with the Bible verse “But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God.” gets 16 views while a post that starts with the Bible verse “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me” gets 109 views.

Do you suppose that posts which confront people with a holy God, a need for repentance, and the requirement to abide in the whole of His Word including the Law are less popular than posts that tell us about freebies from Him? That perhaps we don’t want to be reminded of our sin but can’t wait to tell people about blessings? That we like the comfortable truths, but the uncomfortable truths we wish would go away? Do we think that somehow we can gain the fun stuff without going through the cross?

If true, then I tell you without confronting and taking care of our sin there will be no blessings. What is exciting to contemplate now will vanish like a mirage in the waterless desert of our pride. He will not be a light in the darkness to those who sit in hell. There will be no benefits to a week without leaven if sin reigns in our mortal bodies. We serve a holy God, and blessings pressed down and overflowing come from Him as we adjust ourselves to all of His Word and His ways. Some blessings from Him touch everyone, like sunshine for a day at the beach. Many blessings are denied however because He uses the same measure to give them as we use when giving ourselves to Him. If we can’t see the love in discomfort from Him then we don’t know love at all. We cheapen His grace when we accept only the warm fuzzies and deny needed correction.

Dietrich Bonheoffer, a Lutheran pastor who resisted the Nazis till he was hanged by them, said it this way:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

God’s blessings and promises are indeed quite exciting. But we don’t get more than a pebble on a mountaintop unless we embrace uncomfortable truth now and work through it with humility and reliance on His mercy.