Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Calculus of the Cross

God is not the creator of confusion. His Word is straight forward and clean and pure. It fits closely together without contradiction or error. The Word of God is given to bring enlightenment and certainty and joy and understanding:

Psalms 19:7-8
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

In the physical, the time in which we live in is the greatest age of enlightenment. . . In the spiritual, our world is in the midst of the darkest night of confusion imaginable. In churches with crosses out front, we find doctrines preached which have their origins somewhere other than in the Word of God.

In such a manner, when confusion can be successfully sown about God and His perfect plan of salvation, then the devil’s work is accomplished. He need do nothing more, by the means of such confusion, those who base their faith upon upon such a belief, will be greatly weakened and prone to being led ever further astray into great false doctrines based upon such false beliefs. If the foundation be faulty how can the house stand?

There is no confusion in the Word of God. In God’s Word there is 1 God. We as Apostolics worship 1 God. There is no multiplicity of Gods. . .no confusing co-equal co-eternal tangled triangle in the godhead. I once heard a preacher, a believer in the Trinity, on the radio try to explain the Trinity. He said, as close as I can quote him, that almost anything you say about the Trinity is blasphemy. If I were speaking in his place, I would have removed 1 word and said, “That anything you say about the Trinity is blasphemy.”

I heard another learned man say, at a debate, his position being in defense of the Trinity, again a paraphrase, but as close as I can come to remembering his words: To try and understand the Trinity will drive you crazy. To not understand the Trinity will send you to hell. . .These were his concluding remarks at the debate.

It is not possible to understand the Trinity, because it is nonsensical. It is a total creation of man, arising long years after Jesus and the apostolic fathers of our faith.

It takes convoluted explanations of many many pages to explain the Trinity and still you are left in confusion. It takes 10 words to refute it:

Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

It all works fitly together:

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This foretold Messiah was not some mysterious eternally begotten son. He was God. Isaiah said Jesus is to be called: THE MIGHTY GOD. . . THE EVERLASTING FATHER. . .COUNSELLOR. . .

There is no confusion in the Word of God. When something is repeated in the Bible, you know it is important. On four occasions Jesus is recorded as saying:

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: . . .

Revelation 21:6
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. . .

Revelation 22:13
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

This knowledge of who God is, must be our foundation. This must be our starting point. To base our faith upon a confused idea of the godhead leads into doctrines which are not righteous and holy. Doctrinal confusion about God leads to darkness and acceptance of sin. We must know who we worship.

Matthew 1:23
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Jehovah of the Old Testament, robed Himself in flesh and came to the earth for our salvation. . . But how can that be, you ask??? The God of the Old Testament is all about blood and sacrifice, whereas Jesus is all about love and grace and forgiveness. . .Aren’t we now under a new dispensation? Aren’t we now under the cover of grace and not under the Law??? Aren’t we playing a new game by new rules in this the New Testament Age???

That phrase, “The dispensation of grace” only occurs once in Scripture:

Ephesians 3:2
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: (KJV)

Another translation of this verse:

Ephesians 3:2
Certainly, you have heard how God gave me the responsibility of bringing his kindness to you. (GW)

Paul is saying that he was given stewardship, he was made the caretaker of telling the Gentiles (non-Jews) of God’s kindness for them.

I can find no where in Scripture that with the coming of the new contract, this new covenant, this New Testament between God and mankind that suddenly the expectations of God for mankind to turn away from sin were put away. Many believe that this supposed dispensation of grace under which we now live, does away with all need for us to be a holy and righteous people.

They have turned Scripture upside down and preach that if we are needful of being holy and righteous, that we are then saved by our own actions. . .They preach that if that is the case, then we are saved by works and not by the grace of God. But the Bible is clear:

Psalms 5:4-5
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. (5) The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Proverbs 10:29
The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

You cannot have a close relationship with God and be a worker of iniquity, that is to be actively involved in committing sinful acts. God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden when they sinned. He had to separate them from Him, when they sinned. The Spirit of God and sin cannot both reside within you at the same time.

2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Do you desire to have communion with God? Then you cannot be in the darkness of sin. It’s not about our salvation being based upon our good works, but rather our salvation is based upon a close and correct relationship with God. We cannot have a close and correct relationship with God and be sinning at the same time.

When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied:

Matthew 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

If you are loving God with everything that is you, then it is clear you are not sinning at the same time. If God is the most important thing in your life then you will not be in bondage to the desires of your flesh.

In the Law of Moses we are given examples of many crimes for which the penalty was death, but that is not only a doctrine of the Old Testament. It is clearly repeated in the New Testament that if you sin, then death awaits you:

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commit sin and you earn a paycheck. The denomination of payment is death. This is consistent. There is no difference with the Old Testament. But many churches today are trying to convince us that we do not need to quit sinning. As long as we believe that Jesus died for our sins we will be guaranteed everlasting life with Him in heaven. Very similarly, the snake told Eve she would not die for her sin:

Genesis 3:4
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

The devil is a liar. He is the father of all lies, but like all good liars there is always a grain of truth to his lies. Adam and Eve’s flesh did not die immediately after eating the forbidden fruit. God speaks of spiritual things, the devil speaks of the flesh. Throughout the gospels, men would hear Jesus words and take His meaning as speaking of the physical, when He was speaking of spiritual things.

Jesus was clear. He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill the Law:

Matthew 5:17-18
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The Law required the sacrifice of an innocent life as payment for sin. Sin creates a debt which must be paid for with blood:

Leviticus 17:11
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

So the Children of Israel were commanded to sacrifice perfect and innocent animals as payment for their sins. Something must die to pay for sin. The Law was given as a shadow of a more perfect salvation to come:

Hebrews 7:19
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Hebrews 9:11-15
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; (12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

The sacrifice of animals in the temple paid the price for sins past, but as soon as the person again committed an unlawful act they were again in a state of sin until another sacrifice could be offered at the temple. The Law was not a way of righteousness, but a vehicle of continually paying forward the debt:

Hebrews 10:1
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The Law of Moses was a physical manifestation of the spiritual more perfect salvation to come. Jesus lived His entire life without sin:

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Hebrews 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

If Jesus had committed even 1 sin, then He would have deserved to die upon the cross. In man’s law, there are misdemeanors and felonies. . .serious crimes and minor crimes, but with God there are no classifications of sin. A sin is a sin is a sin. A lie. . .a murder. . .a theft. . .an act of sexual immorality are all sins whose penalty is death. Even 1 sin on Jesus part would have made Him deserving of what happened on the cross. . . But! But! But!!!!! He lived His entire life without sin and yet paid the price for sin.

A question to consider. . . How many sins can a person commit in their lifetime? Think of the most evil man you might imagine, still they do not sin every second of every day of their lives. To my mind one of the most heinous crimes of mankind, was the invention of crack cocaine. No medicinal purpose exists for this drug, there is no beneficial reason for crack. It’s only purpose is to enslave people to is hugely powerful addictive qualities. To the account of this man or woman who invented crack is laid the millions upon millions of lives directly destroyed by the drug and to my thinking the even greater multitude of children, spouses, friends, parents whose existence has become a living hell because of crack must also be given to the inventor of crack. . .with 1 match a man can light a fire that destroys a city and kills a multitude. . .with 1 small lie a lifetime reputation can be destroyed, but yet there is only 1 price to be paid.

Only 1 death is required for sin. It’s not like really bad people have to die 10 times, while more moderate sinners only die once. The little white haired old lady who lies or steals or cheats, will pay the same price as child molester or a mass murder. In God’s eyes there is no acceptable sin. Jesus paid the same penalty as a man who might have lived and sinned every second of his life for a thousand years. . .Jesus’ sinless life therefore, is a blank check upon which our sins can be written. His sacrifice paid the price for our sins. His blood atoned for the debt we owed God by our sins.

He came not to destroy the Law. Jesus fulfilled all the sacrificial requirements of the Law. The law was a mere shadow of this more perfect salvation we have available to us. Again, the Law was a physical example of the spiritual law to come.

Jesus said:

Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Death by stoning was ultimate penalty of the Law of Moses. Surely an awful and terrible vision arises in the mind, of your peers picking up rocks and throwing them and striking you until you are dead. Realistically though, after the first few rocks your suffering was over. The mercy in stoning was that unconsciousness was quick to come.

Many preach Jesus only with a lamb draped around His neck. The only scene given of Him, has children sitting on His lap as He gently talks with them, but one day Jesus will sit on the great white throne and judge all of mankind:

Revelation 20:11-15
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This too is an office that Jesus will take. He is first our Lord. He then becomes our saviour and in the end He will then be our judge. So the Law of the Old Testament is bloody and harsh. In the sentence of the New Testament judgement there will be no respite. No merciful unconsciousness awaits those cast into the lake of fire, but rather a never ending bleakness of suffering and agony and despair.

It is a lie of the devil, that we presently live in some special dispensation which is in direct opposition and contradiction to the Old Testament. Where by some transformation in this new age, God now accepts sin in our lives. This is a confusion brought by not correctly understanding the godhead. Our Lord is the same Lord that gave Moses the Law. Our Lord is He who paid an unimaginable price for our sin. Do you think then that after being hung on the cross for the remission of our sins, that He would take sin lightly? In fact consistent with all of Scripture. His sacrifice does indeed cover sin and we are forgiven, but we are not to continue in our sin:

Matthew 5:21-22
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: (22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

His standards as to what constitutes a sin are governed not by the letter of the Law, but by the Spirit. Which of the 10 commandments have I broken, if beat a man close to death, but do not kill Him? Man’s law is focused on how not to act. It is so complex that legions of lawyers make their living exploiting the wriggle room between one rule and another for their clients advantage.

The Law of Moses is similar to the law of man. Rather than a mere 10 commandments which we are so familiar with, the Law of Moses actually contains some 613 laws. The Indiana legal code has some 36 sections with hundreds upon hundreds of subsections and further uncountable 1000’s of sub-chapters and still it takes hundreds of courts to handle all the arguments of the Law.

Man’s law and the Law of Moses are focused on the negatives, things not to do. Well, there are more ways of getting in trouble and committing sin than acres of bookshelves filled with laws are able to address. When Jesus was asked what the most important law was, this is how He responded:

Matthew 22:36-40
Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law? (37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (40) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The focus of Jesus was on how we should act and not on how we shouldn’t act. With the Law of Jesus, there is no wriggle room. Either you’re loving God with all your heart and you’re loving your fellow man as yourself or you’re not. It’s not a law written on tables of stone, but a law written in your own heart. It is your own heart which convicts you, not some external policeman:

2 Corinthians 3:3
[Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

This is a much tougher standard to live by, than by the Law of Moses. Again Jesus said:

Matthew 5:27-28
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: (28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

We are now under a law, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. This new law has much much higher standards than the Law of Moses.

John 8:10-11
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? (11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

The key is. . .”go, and sin no more”!!! That is His expectation, but how then can we live up to such a high standard? From the beginning God has desired a close relationship with us. In the garden of Eden:

Genesis 3:8
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

God walked with and spoke with Adam and Eve until their sin. . .and then He had to remove them from His presence. . .

At the giving of the Law of Moses:

Exodus 20:18-19
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off. (19) And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

This follows immediately after the giving of the 10 commandments. God spoke directly to the Hebrew people, and the power of God terrified them. . . I weep. . .They did not understand what they were asking, but they said that they no longer wanted God to speak directly to them. . .They wanted God to speak to them, by way of Moses. They did not want a direct relationship with God. They only wanted what Moses could pass along to them.

Moses could only give them laws and rules. He could not give them the power. . .the sweetness. . .the joy of a direct relationship with them. . .

This new Covenant of ours with God, has higher standards than the Law of Moses, but we are given something that the children of Israel never had. . .In His final words before being take up to heaven, Jesus said:

Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. . .

This Holy Ghost coming to us was previously foretold of by Jesus:

John 14:23-26
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (25) These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you. (26) But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

If a man loves Jesus, he will keep His words. . .He will follow His commandments. To help us, God has given us the power of His spirit living within us. The children of Israel did not have this power. They rejected an intimate relationship with God, but it is by this relationship that we are saved from our sins. . . Now we are able to be filled with the Spirit of God and the power of God living within us, that we might be able to live according to His Word. . .

On the day of the feast of first fruits, the Spirit of God fell upon the believers:

Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The seed fell to the earth and was planted, by the death of Jesus on the cross. . .

John 12:23-24
And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

A way was made for our sins to be washed away, once and forever. Now on the day of Pentecost that act of fulfillment of the Law bore fruit. . .The devil doesn’t want you to have power. The devil wants to corrupt the Word of God. The devil wants you to go to hell and he will do anything to achieve that goal.

Read the Word of God. . .
Study the Word of God for yourself. . .
Do not allow others to mislead you. . .
Love God with everything you have. . .
Seek to be filled with His Spirit. . .

I love you my God. . .
I say it a hundred times. . .
I love you my God. . .

Thank you for everything you do for me. . .


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