Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

This is Church Unity?

At the beginning of the Christian church there was already the difference in the different Jewish families. Many had difficulties to come to read between the lines and come to grab the intention of certain words. Today there are still lots of people and church groups who have difficulties in interpreting the Scriptures. Today there are still the literalists as well as Pharisaic groups.

But the worst matter in Christendom today is still the schism of the 4th century when the majority wanted to go by the Greco-Roman traditions and the will of Constantine I. From the moment those leaders and false teachers agreed to make up creeds that were not in line with biblical teaching, making Jesus into their god, all problems started and made certain people and churches go for power and taking care with their false human doctrines that they could keep people under control.

Jesus never claimed to be God nor wanted to create a new religion. As a Jew he worshipped the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, and wanted all his followers to do the same.
Jesus did not want a restricting church. He came to liberate the people of all chains and especially of the curse of death.

Jesus wanted that people would come to know his God, the God of the Hebrews Who is One (and not two or three) and wanted a church true to his word and his way of life in accordance with the Will of God, in line with God’s Word.

We must grow towards this word of God as brothers and sisters in Christ, following the teachings of Christ and not particularly following the teachings of people, even if they call themselves theologians, bishops or popes.

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Preceding

Many looking for the church of the world instead of the Church of God

Christian denominations as pots in the desert

Having to learn and benefit from other Christian denominations

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Additional reading

  1. Gates to different belief systems in this world
  2. Religion and believers #1 Lots of groups and forms of belief to be taken interest in
  3. Religion and believers #7 Independent and organised form of existence of a religion

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Related

  1. About the different denominations
  2. Christian denominations (sects)
  3. Are denominational differences a blot on the church?
  4. Denominations Losing Internal Influence
  5. Why are there so many splits in the Presbyterian Church? Here’s an Explanation
  6. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  7. Which Church Would Jesus Choose?

The #Heb10 Church

If you watched the series, The Chosen, then you’re familiar with the character of the Pharisee, Shmuel. This Pharisee did everything he could to create division within the synagogue and the Sanhedrin itself!

In the Sanhedrin, there were two schools of thought – the school of Hillel, which was the liberal wing of Judaism, and the school of Shammai, which was the more conservative side of Judaism.

Both schools observed the Law of Torah, but had differing interpretations. This is how the Oral Law came into being – this oral tradition became law based on which school had control of the Sanhedrin at the time. The rabbis would write their interpretation of a specific law, which would be added to the Talmud – taking 613 laws and creating thousands of laws that were required to be followed.

Growing up in this tradition, I’ve seen this firsthand.

Where did the prohibition…

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Many looking for the church of the world instead of the Church of God

Looking for the church

Someone has said,

“I looked for the Church, and found it in the world. I look for the world, and found it in the Church.”

The word ICHABOD has been stamped on many a local church door, but only spiritual eyes can see that the glory of the Lord has departed. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

That is the problem of our world or the problem of our nation … human beings always looking for other human beings and believing in human beings more than in the Word of the Highest all-knowing eternal God above all gods.

Coming face to face with God

Mankind is afraid to come face to face with God. It is impossible for man to see God, though man wants to have something they can refer to, see and feel or touch. They also want to have a god who has similarities with them, and therefore they took themselves a godhead they can grab. Of that god they created for themselves, a male figure, they can take pictures and statues. Even when the Bible tells mankind that he may not make any graven image of God, man prefers to ignore such demands and has made himself many images of their god.

The Holy Scriptures or Infallible Word of God – Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Too many people do forget or do not want to see that God promises to work through His Word and that This Word of God gives all the knowledge that we need to come to find God and to come to know what God wants from us. God wants to have a relationship with His creatures. He did not create them to be against Him, in the same way, He did not give them commandments of which He knew man would be able not to keep them.

Sinful people

By the first sinful act of Adam and Eve, sin came into the world. All those coming after them were sinful people. Still today it is like that. It would be very difficult to find someone who is without something doing wrong or without having sinned. We are all taken up by sin.

“As by means of one man, sin entered into the world, and, by means of sin, death; and so death passed upon all the sons of men, inasmuch as they all have sinned: — ” (Ro 5:12 Murdock)

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”” (Ge 4:7 KJ21)

“”If they sin against Thee (for there is no man that sinneth not), and Thou be angry with them and deliver them to the enemy so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;” (1Ki 8:46 KJ21)

It is that sinning that is standing in the way to have a good relationship with our heavenly Father. To come to a better relationship God provided means. One of those was by creating a possibility for man to show his submission to God and his desire to please God by offering sacrifices to God. Later in the history of mankind, there came special places to bring such offerings to God and as such temples came into existence, where also special people took care of the services for God. Those priests were at first anointed by God Himself, though later man took care of themselves to appoint priests and to decide for themselves how those services to God and sacrifices were to be carried out. In a way such services would later become churchservices.

Houses of worship for the Only One God Jehovah

At first Jesus and his apostles went to those houses of worship. In those temples, they praised not Jesus but the God of the Hebrews, the God of Adam and Eve, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who is the Only True God. Jesus and his apostle were very well aware of that Name of That God. They worshipped Jehovah as the Only One True God.

“that men may know that Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the Most High over all the earth.” (Ps 83:18 KJ21)

“2 And God spoke unto Moses and said unto him, “I am the LORD. 3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by My name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” (Ex 6:2-3 KJ21)

When Jesus was gone the apostle did not change their mind about Whom they had to worship and about Whom they had to pray to and call His Name.

“For “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”” (Ro 10:13 KJ21)

“and in that day shall ye say: “Praise the LORD! Call upon His name! Declare His doings among the people; make mention that His name is exalted.” (Isa 12:4 KJ21)

The way of worshipping did not change in the first century. It was customary for them to continue to go to the temple and to praise and glorify God there, as well as to continue to study the Hebrew Scriptures. They were convinced that such worship of God should come from deep within the heart and not be a mere passing fancy.

“God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”” (Joh 4:24 KJ21)

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

Yes, not Jesus was their god, but the Divine Creator of heaven and earth was their God. To them, it was as pure as a lump of sugar or clear as water, that this God is only one.

“”Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (De 6:4 KJ21)

One God and His beloved son opposite a god the son

They felt that they had become one in God by the sent one from God in whom they came to believe as that promised one from old times, who they now recognised as their saviour or that promised Messiah, by whom they now got the opportunity to get a new life.

“yet to us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we in Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Co 8:6 KJ21)

It was several years after Jesus had died that certain people started taking Jesus as their god, forgetting the words Jesus himself had spoken.

“Jesus said unto her, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 KJ21)

Today there are still many people who do not hear or want to understand those words of that son of man, who gave his life for many, so that we can have hope for receiving a new life in the Kingdom of God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1Pe 1:3 KJ21)

Those who claim that Jesus is God, should better think about the fact that Jesus more than once prayed to Whom he called God. He did not pray to himself, neither cried to himself, or did not ask himself why He had abandoned him. (How would a person abandon or forsake himself?)

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”” (Mr 15:34 KJ21)

“1  These words spoke Jesus and lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour is come. Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee, 2 as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. 3 And this is life eternal: that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (Joh 17:1-3 KJ21)

The apostle Peter might be one of the first apostles who publicly professed who Jesus Christ was.

“16 And Simon Peter answered and said,

“Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him,

“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 KJ21)

A son of man as a way to God

It was such confession that the apostles required also from those who wanted to go in the footsteps of their master teacher. This way started of a group of followers of Christ. People who were convinced that Jesus was the way, like he more than once told others.

“Jesus said to him: I am the way, and truth, and life: no one cometh unto my Father, but by me.” (Joh 14:6 Murdock)

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1Jo 4:15 KJ21)

The apostles also wrote down how they came to understand who Jesus Christ was and how the world had come to see that he is the son of man and son of God. By writing it all down, those writings should give a clear picture of Whom God is and about whom Jesus is.

“And the angel answered and said unto her,

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that Holy Being who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Lu 1:35 KJ21)

“And I saw and bore record that this is the Son of God.”” (Joh 1:34 KJ21)

“29 Jesus said unto him,

“Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, ye might have life through His name.” (Joh 20:29-31 KJ21)

Accepting Jesus as son of God

That life which may come over us is by accepting who Jesus is, the son of God, and not by going all the fancies of the world. It are not the human doctrines we should take for the rules to follow, but the Biblical doctrines we should take for granted and to go by. It are those sacred writings that tell us that Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God, being a mediator between God and us.

“5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 KJ21)

For those who continued to follow the apostles of Jesus it is clear that there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and that newt to This God there is the one Who God Himself declared to be His only beloved son, Jesus Christ the Messiah. (1Co 8:6)

Followers of false teachings and false teachers

Up to today there are people who want to follow the teachings of those false teachers who claimed that Jesus would be an incarnated God. Some of the present teachers or pastors even want to twist the historical truth and come to say that it were the non-trinitarian preachers who would have followed Greco-Roman philosophy, though it are the Trinitarians who took all sorts of believes of those philosophers in their teaching, like incarnation, separate souls who would leave the body after death, hell as a burning place of eternal torture, etc. . Instead of bringing people on the right path to God, they mislead their churchgoers and having them worship a false god.

Already in the first century, the apostles warned against such false teachers who violated the Word of God and often came to deceive people with things they liked to hear. Such a God made flesh appealed to many, and still does. Hereby lots of people forget how often in the Bible is told that Jesus is the son of God (something totally different as “god the son”) and how Jesus himself spoke about his heavenly Father, from Whom he came and to Whom he went again.

“Jesus said to her:

Touch me not; for not yet have I ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (Joh 20:17 Murdock)

Those teachers claiming that Jesus would be God destroy the value of Jesus’ act of sacrifice and make God a great comedian who repeatedly told lies to deceive people, let alone called Himself a “God of no lies” when He did see mankind as lying creatures. Those Trinitarian preachers seem to neglect that The God of no lies said Himself that Jesus is His beloved son.

“And lo, a voice came from Heaven, saying,

“THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.”” (Mt 3:17 KJ21)

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written:

“That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Ro 3:4 KJ21)

Not only minimalise those preachers the self-sacrifice of Jesus the also make the resurrection of Jesus as a joke, because God can not die (Him being an eternal Spirit) and when Jesus is God we are still left with no proof at all that man would be able to step out of the dead. As such those trinitarian churches take away our hope for a resurrection, because we can not become God and do like Him, but are then still bounded to the grave (sheol or hell). The real followers of Christ continued teaching the Gospel or Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, by which there is the hope in the resurrection of the man Jesus Christ, as an example of what can happen to us.

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who in his great mercy hath begotten us anew, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, to the hope of life,” (1Pe 1:3 Murdock)

Not a schizophrenic God

Jesus was or is not a schizophrenic God Who came to pray and cry to himself. Jesus prayed sincerely to his heavenly Father, Whom he considered to be the Only One True God.

“And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, and said: [Il, Il, lemono shebakthone;]that is: My God, my God; why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mr 15:34 Murdock)

“1  These things spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said: My Father, the hour is come: glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee. 2 As thou hast given him authority over all flesh, that he might give life eternal to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they may know thee, that thou art the only true God, and whom thou hast sent, Jesus Messiah.” (Joh 17:1-3 Murdock)

It might have taken some time before the apostles really came to see who their master-teacher really was and how they should behave and go into the world as his disciples and workers for God. It can well be that the apostle Peter was the first one to recognise for the first time in public Jesus real position.

“16 Simon Cephas {Greek: Simon Peter} answered and said:

Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

17 Jesus answered, and said to him:

Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jonas; for flesh and blood have not revealed [it] to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 16:16-17 Murdock)

The religion of Old Testament not passing away

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

After that Jesus was taken into heaven by his heavenly Father and after Jesus promised helper came over the apostles they dared to come out in public again and started off their great preaching work.

Those who heard and/or saw Jesus preach and/or heard the apostles,  could not believe that the religion of the Old Testament, revealed by God Himself, should pass away. They indeed regarded Jesus as the Saviour of Gentiles as well as Jews. We could say that Judaism was for them considered the necessary introduction to their group (which we call today Christianity). Several people from all sorts of rang came to join the apostles. Their Jewish movement was called “The Way“.

But by joining more non-Jews the matter of circumcision and the observance of the whole Mosaic law came under discussion. The question was the sole condition of an interest in the Messianic salvation. And, offensive as Judaism was, rather than attractive, to the heathen, this principle would have utterly precluded the conversion of the mass of the Gentile world.  The apostles themselves were at first trammelled by this Judaistic prejudice, till taught better by the special revelation to Peter before the conversion of Cornelius.
But even after the baptism of the uncircumcised centurion, and Peter’s defence of it before the church of Jerusalem, the old leaven still wrought in some Jewish Christians who had formerly belonged to the rigid and exclusive sect of the Pharisees, to which the apostle Paul also belonged to.

Difficulties around gentile converts

The churches of Jerusalem and Antioch resolved to hold a private and a public conference at Jerusalem. Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas as commissioners to represent the Gentile converts. Paul, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, obeyed at the same time an inner and higher impulse. He also took with him Titus, a native Greek, as a living specimen of what the Spirit of God could accomplish without circumcision. The conference was held C.E. 50 or 51 (fourteen years after Paul’s conversion). It was the first and in some respects the most important council or synod held in the history of Christendom, though differing widely from the councils of later times. It is placed in the middle of the book of Acts as the connecting link between the two sections of the apostolic church and the two epochs of its missionary history.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

In the beginning, the people from The Way, like all the Jews, went on the Sabbath to the gathering in the temple. But after more goyim or non-Jews had joined that movement which confessed that Jesus is the son of God (Lu 1:35 ), and as such also came to abide in God (1Jo 4:15), they were not so welcome anymore in the temples and synagogues. Those non-Jews by their baptism in Christ being taken up in the group, which grew fairly quickly, and made others look jealous at them but also did not want those non-Jews in their prayer houses. Therefore The Way started also to come together in private houses and as such creating the first house churches.

Seeing and not seeing the man of flesh and blood

The apostles had after some years got a very clear picture of Jesus and with them many others had seen this man of flesh and blood (remember that God can not be seen by man). They testified that their master is the Son of God (Joh 1:34) and never said that Jesus would have claimed such a position, to be God. The amount of false teachers grew and began to argue with the true followers of Jesus who held to the sonship of Christ Jesus and did not wish to enter into the false teaching of Jesus’ Godhead.

In ancient time people could see and hear Jesus. We do not have such an opportunity anymore, though we should go by the material which is handed over to us in the Books of the New Testament. They provide enough information to learn about the man Jesus from Nazareth and his disciples. In connection with the Books of the Old Testament one should clearly come to see what Jesus role is in the history of mankind. Not having seen Jesus Christ, there were loads of people who came to believe in the son of God, that man of flesh and blood. Not having been able to see Christ we have to believe in him and accept him as the mediator for us by his heavenly Father the Only One True God.

“29 Jesus said to him: Now, when thou hast seen me, thou believest: blessed are they, who have not seen me, yet believe. —  30 And many other signs did Jesus before his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that when ye believe, ye may have life eternal by his name.” (Joh 20:29-31 Murdock)

“5 For God is one; and the mediator between God and men is one, [namely] the man Jesus the Messiah; 6 who gave himself a ransom for every man;  — testimony that arrived in due time,” (1Ti 2:5-6 Murdock)

Jerusalem consultation

The object of the Jerusalem consultation was twofold: first, to settle the personal relation between the Jewish and Gentile apostles, disciples and preachers, and to divide their field of labour; secondly, to decide the question of circumcision, and to define the relation between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. On the first point (as we learn from Paul) it effected a complete and final, on the second point (as we learn from Luke) a partial and temporary settlement. In the nature of the case the public conference in which the whole church took part, was preceded and accompanied by private consultations of the apostles.

Constantine period

In the fourth century the division between the real followers of Christ and the followers of those false teachers who mixed those teachings of Christ with other human teachings, had become so big that they called for a council to decide how the church would continue.

Constantine I (the Great) the founder of Constantinople and the Byzantine empire, and for someone of the most gifted, energetic, and successful of the Roman emperors, was the first representative of the imposing idea of a Christian theocracy, or of that system of policy which assumes all subjects to be Christians, connects civil and religious rights, and regards church and state as the two arms of one and the same divine government on earth. This idea was more fully developed by his successors, it animated the whole middle age, and is yet working under various forms in these latest times; though it has never been fully realised, whether in the Byzantine, the German, or the Russian empire, the Roman church-state, the Calvinistic republic of Geneva, or the early Puritanic colonies of New England. At the same time, however, Constantine stands also as the type of undiscriminating and harmful conjunction of Christianity with politics, of the holy symbol of peace with the horrors of war, of the spiritual interests of the kingdom of heaven with the earthly interests of the state.

He was the man who gave those preachers the choice to come with the world or to stay by their ideas of not being part of the world. The majority choose to be befriended and to walk in fellowship with the world.

Unquestionably every age produces and shapes its own organs, as its own purposes require and as such the Jewish movement of The Way had seen many people going astray and going their own way.  Constantine I did put himself at the head of the age, and was annoyed by the differences and discussions there were by those who claimed to be the followers of the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua ben Josef, Jesus Christ. He also clearly saw that idolatry had outlived itself in the Roman empire, and that Christianity alone could breathe new vigour into it and furnish its moral support.

Donatists and Arians

From the year 313 he placed himself in close connection with the ‘bishops’, made peace and harmony his first object in the Donatist and Arian controversies and applied the predicate “catholic” to the church in all official documents. The Donatists argueing that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Constantine, hoping to defuse the unrest, gave money to the non-Donatist bishop Caecilian as payment for churches damaged or confiscated during the persecution. Nothing was given to the Donatists; Constantine was apparently not fully aware of the seriousness of the dispute, which his gift exacerbated. The Donatists appealed to Rome for equal treatment; Constantine tasked Miltiades with resolving the issue, which led to the 313 commission.

Many non-trinitarians are often called Arians by Trinitarians, though often those Christians do not follow Arius his teachings but simply the Biblical teachings. The Christian priest Arius, whose teachings gave rise to a theological doctrine known as Arianism, also followed the apostolic teaching that God is One and that Jesus is His son and not God Himself. What makes Arainism so different with what many non-trinitarians are still following today, is that those real followers of Christ (including us) do not integrate Neoplatonism, nor are we inspired by Plato’s ideas or by pre-Socratics (who interpreted the world monistically in terms of nature as such), from the relativism of the Sophists, and from the correction of Platonism in a this-worldly direction carried out by Plato’s greatest pupil, Aristotle.

It is a very big misconception of Trinitarians that nonTrinitarians, or those who do not wish to accept Jesus as God, would be Arians, whereas they do not follow the teachings of Arius at all. The teaching those present non-Trinitarians follow is simply the teachings of Jesus and his apostles.

The only similarity in Arius and the present non-trinitarian denominations is Arius’s basic premise of the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent (not dependent for its existence on anything else) and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot therefore be the self-existent and immutable God.

“”There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun [a poetic name for the people of Israel, meaning ‘upright people’], who rideth upon the heaven to thy help and in His excellency on the sky.” (De 33:26 KJ21)

“33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor?” 35 Or, “who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” 36 For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Ro 11:33-36 KJ21)

Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated according to Arius. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, according to Arius the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father, since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence. For the real followers of Christ there is the knowledge that Jesus was placed in the womb of that young girl and as such coming directly from God must have some DNA from God. Jesus was born in that very devout Essene family of the tribe of King David and had got a very thorough religious upbringing with the Word of God as an inspirational source.

Name change

Badly enough, most of the clergy wanted to come to an agreement with Constantine the Great in order to keep the peace and not to be persecuted anymore. This was done by the clergy to bring their religion more in line with the Greek Roman religion and their triple deity Zeus who was then the main deity worshipped by Constantine and his followers. In order to equate Jeshua (Yeshua) with that deity Zeus, his name was transformed from Jeshua to Issou or Yai_Zeus > Je-Zeus which means Hail Zeus. Since then, the false name (Jezus – Jesus – Chesu) has become fully accepted and in time it was also used by the non-trinitarians to make clear that they were talking about one and the same person as the Trinitarians.

Constantine was praised and censured in turn by the Christians and Pagans, the Orthodox and the Arians, as they successively experienced his favour or dislike, but the real followers of Christ saw in him a very dangerous despot who could easily subdue the false teachers and in unity oppose the true followers of Christ.

The ones coming under agreement with each other about the deity of Jesus and the wishes of Constantine, became the Roman Catholics, who claimed to be the only true church and continued to grow by making sure people from all sorts of tribes could find themselves at home, because many of their traditions were taken in or integrated into that religion.

The real followers of Christ Jesus did not like the name change but had to do with it. for many centuries they tried those who worshipped Jesus as their god to come to know the real Jesus from the Bible.

The groups which accented the absolute oneness of the Divinity as the highest perfection, with a literal, rationalist approach to the New Testament texts sought their way in the world. That point of view was publicized about 323 through the poetic verse of his major work, Thalia (“Banquet”), and was widely spread by popular songs written for labourers and travellers.

The non-Trinitarian aspect and the other Arian teachings (of Arius) and papal positions (Ursinus) brought forth further disputes and conferences, synods or councils. The Ursinians became established in Milan and rekindled their opposition to Damasus.

Damasus I presided over the Council of Rome of 382 that determined the canon or official list of sacred scripture. He encouraged the production of the Latin Vulgate Bible with his support for Jerome.
He spoke out against other groups of Christians that had grown in popularity and denounced several major heresies in the church (including Apollinarianism and Macedonianism). In two synods (368 and 369) the unorthodox teachings of Bishop Macedonius of Constantinople and of Bishop Apollinaris (the Younger) of Laodicea were condemned. Among Damasus’s literary remains are 24 anathemas against various 4th-century heresies.  Apollinaris The Younger and his father (Apollinaris the Elder) had reproduced the Old Testament in the form of Homeric and Pindaric poetry and the New Testament in the style of Platonic dialogues after the Roman emperor Julian had forbidden Christians to teach the classics.
Apollinaris the younger denied the existence in Christ of a rational human soul, a position he took to combat Arianism. Skilled in logic and Hebrew and a teacher of rhetoric, Apollinaris also lectured at Antioch c. 374. Their different ideas also brought forth several schisms.

Current Churches in a Torn Church World

It would not remain at all with these few schisms in the church community; in each century several schisms occurred. Today, many even regard certain breakaway groups as churches of the commons, such as the Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican Churches. They now belong to the generally accepted Protestant churches.

Lots of churches sought ways to get as many followers as they could, claiming that they are the only church by which people can be saved. They forget that it are no other human beings, than Christ Jesus who saves people of all races and people of all persuasions or from all walks of life. They claimed and still claim that their sacraments, religious signs or symbols, are the way to be saved. Many of those churches are convinced that their liturgy is the best one to prepare people to receive those sacraments, as visible symbols of the reality of God, as well as a channel for God’s grace and helps to understand what they are doing. Their liturgy is used to give the sacraments context and is there to allow folks to see them in action. Outside of the liturgy, the sacraments lose direction and application. For some that is the reason why a private baptism or communion is a sacrament without purpose or meaning.

It is a sacrament that is cut off from its intended goal. {The Role of the Church}

For non-Trinitarians, like the Christadelphians, there does not have to be a set of liturgical rules and order. Each church service can be done in a different order or different way. but what is most important is that the service is built upon the Word of God, and as such most time of the service should be spent on that Word, or readings from the Holy Scriptures and not on readings from human beings. Next to that Word of God people should be able to find, feel and see, that love of God and love of Christ present and shown by those people of that church.

The church is tasked with loving the Lord and loving its neighbor. The church takes what it receives from God and shares it with the world. Taken together, this means God acts through even-broadening layers to bring His grace into the world. {The Role of the Church}

Receiving God and being united with His son

But to receive God and to be united with God and His holy son, people have to do away with pagan or heathen teachings and traditions. In the Church of God, there can be no place for pagan rituals and false worship, like praying in front of pictures or sculptures. So, there has to be no place for crosses, paintings or portraits and statues of gods and saints, no idolisation taking place in the liturgy. Done away with a “Hail Zeus” or calling unto “YaiZeus” or JeZeus – Jezus or Jesus as a figure that would be three in one, a God the Father, a god the son and a God the Holy Spirit.

In case we want to hold on to that changed name of Jeshua, namely Jesus, that hopefully would be not too bad and shall be accepted by the Elohim Hashem Jehovah (That we can only hope and pray for – that he forgives us to use that name so that we shall be able to get others to get to know the Name of Jesus his God.) Better would naturally be that by the years coming closer to the end-times, people shall come to use more the real names of the Biblical characters and especially of Jehovah God, Whose Name is holy, and of the son of God, Jeshua ben Josef.

Sin is the opposite of God’s will, so to be a sinner means to be one who is opposed to God, who is an offense to everything God is. Sin is intolerable to God and so God destroys it, even if that means destroying the one who commits it. {Face to Face with God}

Having idols and false gods is “sin” because it goes in against the Will and Commandments of God. Real lovers of God have to keep tp those Commandments of God and not to the commandments, human doctrines or will of human beings.

Active in the world

The Role of the Church

In this picture, from a Lutheran pastor his site, you might see how far the church is gone away from God’s Word that forbids such pictures or reflections of people they call their god.

It is true that the Church or the community of believers has to be active in both worship and in the world so that God’s grace can reach those who need it.

This becomes the central work of the church and everything God does for His people is designed to facilitate that work. {The Role of the Church}

Though that does not mean the church has to think and act like the world! It is totally wrong to think you should be part of the Church of the world, because people have to be part of the Church of God of which Jesus is the foundation. Jesus should be the man whom we follow and whom we take as the cornerstone of our community.

“Jesus saith unto them,

Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, The same was made the head of the corner; This was from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Mt 21:42 ASV)

“being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;” (Eph 2:20 ASV)

Loving Christ is not only loving his word, it is living by his word that one fully accepts as a truthful word. And as such that one does not think when Jesus says God is greater than him that he (Jesus) is the greatest and that he can do everything because he would be God. all the thing Jesus did, we should appreciate and understand why he did it and how he wanted to be a faithful servant for God the same as he requires from his followers to be servants for man and for God.

Servants not doing bad things

Those who call themselves servants of God have to do their best to live according to the Will of God. In the last few decades, people should have had enough opportunities to see how many in those so-called churches of God have gone astray. In several Trinitarian denominations, being them Catholic or Protestant, we have seen that there were priests who used little children (boys and girls) to have sex with. Some churches thought that they could cover those paedophile acts by transferring those paedophiles to another church in another village. For centuries the Catholic Church has been a male bastion where male domination and tyranny were giving opportunities to defile the Name of God.

They thought to clean up the cesspool of sin in that religious structure, but the roots have gone very deep.

Furthermore many churches do not dare to speak out about certain Rules of God.

Sung Mass with the ordinations of two deacons and seven priests by the Bishop of Stockholm, in St Nicholas’s Cathedral (Storkyrkan)

In Europe’s largest Lutheran denomination, hundreds of clergies, staff, and congregates of the Church of Sweden, have declared, in an open letter that it is now a trans-inclusive institution.
While the hearts of the faithful Christians are broken, while heaven weeps, while the demons of hell dance in delight, the modern-day church is changed. Why? Because it is easier to change the local assembly than the eternal Word of God, which lives and abides forever. {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

After all those centuries the Catholic church did not change one hair.

In Rome, the Vatican is now home to a woke Pope, who allowed South American animistic religious rituals in the opening of the recent pan-Amazon Synod. Kathy Clubb writes in the conservative Catholic publication, The Remnant:

Idol worship was on full display in preparation for the Pan-Amazon synod, with the tacit approval of Pope Francis. Although the Synod hadn’t yet started, the celebration of pagan ceremonies added weight to the concerns being voiced by prominent prelates and laymen that the Synod will be a vehicle for apostasy.”

{It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Strangely enough, when the Pope says something which comes closer to the Biblical truth, all the hairs of Catholic and Protestant (Trinitarian) priests raise up to heaven.

To embracing idol worship, Pope Francis is said not to believe in the eternal divinity of Jesus as the Son of God. Instead,

“Pope Francis conceives the Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, a man, not God incarnate. Once he took flesh, Jesus ceased to be a God and became a man until his death on the cross… {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Pope Francis has said to Eugenio Scalfari: ‘There is proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even a man of exceptional virtue, was in no way a God’.” (Mark Powell, CALDR@N POOL on the web; see also, Fatima Perspectives #1343) {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Several priest think wrongly that it would be changing Catholic dogma because the non-Trinitarians are gaining field in this world.

Why is the woke Pope Francis (b. Dec. 17, 1936), head of the Catholic Church, and sovereign of Vatican City, changing Catholic dogma?

Because it is easier to influence and change a vast religious institution than to change the Word of God, which says: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

Yes, the Bible is very clear about That! One may not have other gods before the Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

Lots of those learned people do not want to see how a person can be divine but not God. (Perhaps you might have a divine wife, though we hope you would not worship her as a god.)

There is no such verse in the letter of Paul to Timothy that would say

Concerning the eternal divinity of Christ, the Bible says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:18). {It is Easier to Change the Local Church than the Bible}

The Bible words are as follows in the last verses of that letter:

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; He who was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the spirit, Seen of angels, Preached among the nations, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.” (1Ti 3:16 ASV)

giving an indication that Jesus is one way to come to “see and understand God“. Him being manifested in the flesh is the son of God who “gave himself for us.” Truly they are in harmony. The love of the infinite God could neither be created nor purchased but it could be and is been shown through the work of His son. The Spirit of the Father was manifest in Jesus and by the inspiration and power given by God, Jesus was able to speak wise words and to do many miracles.

All those things which are clearly notated in Scriptures are not to confuse us, but to bring us light. Jesus should be such a light for us, a beacon or a lighthouse in the surf.

When looking at churches we should check how those who call themselves leaders of that church, behave. We should check in which way a church has its teachings in accordance with the Bible and how the leaders of that church live according to those Bible Words.

For sure we should not choose for the church that wants to be fully in line with the world and its traditions. From the Bible, we can learn that most of those traditions are not in line with God’s commandments and as lovers of God we should want to go fully doing the will of God in the same way Jesus put his own will aside to do the will of God. (Naturally, in case Jesus would have been God he would never have put his own will aside. … Is it not?)

“And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,

My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39 ASV)

“And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words.” (Mr 14:39 ASV)

It is not Christ his will that shall be done on earth as in heaven. Also, Jesus prayed and learned others to pray that this Will of his heavenly Father would be fulfilled.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” (Mt 6:10 ASV)

Even in difficult times, Jesus asked his God that not his will was going to be fulfilled, but God His Will

“And he said,

Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mr 14:36 ASV)

We should know that like Jesus could not do anything without God, we too cannot do the important thing without our heavenly Father. (Though in fact even the little things we are only able to do because God allows them to happen.) Let us therefore not do our will, but have the courage to do like Jesus, going for the One Who had sent him, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, God His Word, God His Will and for God His Chuch, doing God His Will.

“I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 5:30 ASV)

“For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (Joh 6:38 ASV)

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Preceding

A vital question for believers

The rock on which we stand

As near to God as you want Him to be

Religion and the essence of devotion – Necessary parts in the daily walk with God + Christians, Lutherans, Wesleyans, and other followers

Seeds and weeds for being the greatest nation

After darkness a moment of life renewal

Should church members question preachers about the doctrine that is not in the Holy Bible?

Christians saying Jesus is God giving food for atheists to prove there exist no God

Responsibility bigger than those who talk about worldly matters

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Additional reading

  1. Christian in Christendom or in Christianity
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. Only One God
  4. God is one
  5. God spoke to our forefathers and speaks to us
  6. Bible Inspired Word of God
  7. Word of God
  8. A Book to trust #12 Archaeology confirming or denying claims of the Bible #3 Material evidence to survive
  9. Written and translated by different men over thousands of years
  10. The One Who divinely inspired the writers of the Bible can also preserve it
  11. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  12. The Bible’s View of Itself
  13. Words of God to stand and to be followed and to believe
  14. Vital importance of reading and following the Kitvei Hakodesh
  15. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #1 Exclusive Divine Eternal Unseen Creator and Sovereign Spirit God with set apart Name Jehovah
  16. Main verses in the Bible telling us Who God is #8 Some more attributes of God
  17. Today’s Thought “That they may know that there is none besides Jehovah ” (June 21)
  18. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  19. Bible exceptional Book of books where nothing can be taken away or added
  20. Today’s Thought “Idols are nothing against the first and the last God” (June 20)
  21. Importance to read the Bible regularly and gain understanding
  22. Everything from the Bible is useful for humans
  23. Reading to grow and to become wise concerning the most important thing in life 4 Words giving us wisdom and encouragement
  24. With the Bible, honour should be given to God and not to people
  25. Deciphering Truth in Word and Concept – That we might see
  26. Objects around the birth and death of Jesus
  27. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Our world) = Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע) (Some view on the World)
  28. Altered to fit a Trinity (Our world) = Altered to fit a Trinity (Some View on the world)
  29. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?
  30. Jesus son of God or God the son
  31. Jesus son of God
  32. The sent one from God
  33. Jesus Christ the Messiah
  34. One Mediator
  35. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (Our world) = Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name (some View on the World)
  36. False opposite true worship which exalts the God of Israel
  37. Behind a False doctrine – the Trinity
  38. The Trinity matter
  39. Trinity – history
  40. Living stones 4 Idols of wood and stone
  41. Iconoclast in the picture
  42. Today’s thought “Do not add anything to what God commands you, and do not take anything away.” (April 21)
  43. Displeasures and Actions of the Almighty God
  44. Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing
  45. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  46. Different wineskins
  47. The Development of Differences
  48. False teachers and false prophets still around
  49. Devotees and spotters
  50. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  51. An unbridgeable gap
  52. God’s forgotten Word 6 Lost Lawbook 5 Heretics
  53. Not studying an abstract and arcane text of the ancient world
  54. Demanding signs or denying yourself
  55. Troubles testing your faith and giving you patience and good prospects
  56. Hardships for choosing to follow the real Christ
  57. Roads leading to God
  58. Words to bring into a good relationship
  59. Why not quoting more from well-known theologians
  60. Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio
  61. Denominationalism exists because?
  62. Religious people and painful absence of spring of living water
  63. Living as a believer in Christ
  64. Jewish and Gentile Disciples
  65. Religion and believers #5 Transition to Monotheism
  66. Jeshuaists, Messianic Jews, Messianics and Christians
  67. Changes in the Remnant of Jewish Believers
  68. The belief of one going to heaven
  69. Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence
  70. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  71. Counterfeit Gospels
  72. Concluding thought by the article series “Key to the Bible”
  73. Certain Catholics claiming that the power of the priest is equal to that of Jesus Christ
  74. When found the necessary books to read and how to read them
  75. Looking for a biblically sound church
  76. Today’s thought “Using God’s words to justify actions” (April 1-2)
  77. Those Belonging to the called ones coming together
  78. Memorizing wonderfully 55 Exchanging the truth of God for a lie
  79. Extra verses to memorize Deuteronomy 4:15-16 Watching yourselves very carefully
  80. Deep sense of consciousness of the brokenness of our system
  81. Noahide Laws or Seven commandments incumbent upon all of humankind
  82. A Gentile and the Mosaic Law
  83. Face to Face
  84. Does God need you?
  85. Does God need your mitzvahs?
  86. Does God really care?
  87. Constantine a brutal sociopath getting the believers in a God man on his side and creating a Christian church
  88. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  89. a City full of the Pride of life
  90. Cyrus the Persian
  91. Today’s thought “A house of prayer” (March 27)
  92. Good or bad preacher
  93. 3 Reasons the Resurrection Matters
  94. One in God’s Hand
  95. Sacrifices in the Millennium
  96. Matthew 24 about temples or Houses of God and the end of the age
  97. Pope Benedict will hide (Our World) = Pope Benedict will hide (Some View on the World)
  98. ast day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Our World) = Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI (Some View on the World)
  99. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers (Our World) = Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  100. French Catholic church covered up abuse of 330,000 children
  101. The decline of religion in the US continues unabated
  102. Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple
  103. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Our world) = Inculturation today calling for a different attitude (Some View on the World)
  104. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  105. Kler the Polish Spotlight on Poland’s Clergy Sexual Abuse
  106. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #3 Cyberwars and prophesy
  107. Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Our wold) = Move ahead with the commitment against child sex abuse says Pope Francis I (Some View on the World)
  108. The abuses of priest make Catholics give up their religion 
  109. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  110. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews

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Related

  1. Why does the Bible need 66 books? Part 2
  2. Exquisite Uniqueness of God
  3. “The Eve of Christmas,” Matthew 1:18-25
  4. In the Incarnation, Humanity Received a New Dignity
  5. The Incarnation
  6. Incarnation and all that…
  7. The Mystery of Godliness: The Transformative Power of the Incarnation
  8. Incarnate Love
  9. Truth-less “grace,” or grace-less “truth”?
  10. Mystery and Clarity
  11. John 1:1-14 Sermon: Love Incarnate, Love Divine
  12. Adoption, incarnation, and growing in grace and truth (Growing Deeper with John 1:6-18)
  13. John’s Gospel and the Word made flesh (Growing Deeper with John 1:1-5)
  14. The Word Became Flesh. II: The Word Was God
  15. God the son, Part 1
  16. Epistle Reading for Sunday, January 30, 2022
  17. Hebrews: Superiority of the Son
  18. Creed // Jesus God’s son (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  19. Today’s Scripture – November 15, 2021
  20. All that he is triune
  21. Trinity – Trilogy – Triplet
  22. Definition of the day: Trinity
  23. Trinity
  24. Why a Triune God?
  25. God Who Is—is Triune
  26. Beyond Belief – What the Heck is the Trinity? Is God Three or Is He One?
  27. There are certain Christian preachers who want people to believe that all Christians would believe in the Trinity. Why do Christians beleive in the Trinity? Such a question let us see that the writer of that article either is not aware of other Christians who only believe in a binary god and neglects the most important group which worship only the God of Jesus and not a god the son, namely the unitarians and non-Trinitarians.
  28. Your Divine D.N.A. [Sermon]
  29. Am I headed in the right direction? [Sermon]
  30. The Incarnation in the Life of the Church
  31. He Was, He Is, and Forever Shall Be
  32. “The Word became Flesh,” John 1:14
  33. “Simeon’s Song,” Luke 2:22-40
  34. Statue Of Zeus At Olympia
  35. False Gospels: On Blindness > Antics > Compromise
  36. False Gods by Graham McNeill
  37. Reenacting the Way of Jesus
  38. Loving Christ Really IS Loving His Word
  39. Poetic faith
  40. How can Jesus be considered sinless when the Bible describes his anger
  41. “Jesus in the Temple,” Luke 2:40-52
  42. “Jesus, the Son of God,” Luke 4:31-44
  43. Know Jesus, Know God
  44. Hebrews: The Fulcrum
  45. Direct Access to the Father
  46. Do Denominations Divide Us?
  47. Does Denominationalism Blind You to the Truth?
  48. Nuanced beliefs
  49. Deceived
  50. Throwback Thursday ~ Finding a New Church- Starting from Scratch
  51. Law; Is It For The Rich Or The Poor?
  52. Division Among Christians
  53. From One Religion To Another

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Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God

More than once the Nazarene preacher Jeshua asked people around him what they thought he was.

Still today there are people who have never heard about Jesus. These people don’t know anything about Jesus. In our regions most people have somehow already heard about Jesus. They have very different ideas about that person. Lots of people think christians take him as their god. About that idea that all christians would worship Jesus as their god, they are totally wrong. There are loads of Christians who do not consider Jesus to be God, but believe in what the Bible says, that he is the son of God (and not a son god or a god the son).

Around us we may find people who have heard about Jesus. These people have heard about Jesus through Bible stories, their parents, a friend, media, etc., but they did not come to a point to believe  in him and/or to accept him as the son of God or the Way to God. They are also not interested in having a personal relationship with him.

Luckily we also do find people who say they want a personal relationship with Christ and people they say they want a personal relationship with God. Pity that lots of people think it is all right to take Jesus as their god and to have pictures of him in their house and at other places. Many think having Jesus as their god means that they can have a good relationship with God. They are caught in the human doctrines of their church which preaches about a three-headed god. In fact they do not hear enough bible words to convince them who Jesus really is and why it is so important to know him.

Some Christians may think that they know enough about Christ from what is told in their church at service. They think it is sufficient just to hear a few phrases or one or two paragraphs once a week to have some proper idea.

Those from the Roman Catholic Church do not worry so much about the Bible. With reason some say

If you are a life-long Catholic, you think you would be somewhat “fluent” in the Word of God.  {the musings of a Franciscan friar… Knowing Jesus}

Some friars and certain priests of that denomination may have a comfort level with Sacred Scripture, but that can not be said of many Catholics. Also when you ask them about Scripture and their relationship with Jesus, they

get a bit tongue-tied, flummoxed, bewildered, and feel this inner desire to change the subject. Why is that? {the musings of a Franciscan friar… Knowing Jesus}

We should not expect people to be able to quote all particular parts of the Bible. From those who call themself Christian we should think they can at least tell some Biblical stories with their own words.

Fr. George Corrigan, OFM

A Franciscan Friar writes

When you know the stories of Jesus and can tell them in your own words, hitting the high points, now you are truly meeting Jesus in a whole new way.

And that is what is missing today by a lot of people who call themselves Christian. They do not know much about that Jesus. somehow it is a vague figure. They mostly cannot tell much about him. They also feel not or have no relation to him.

Lots of people do not know he is the Way to God. He is the bringer of light in life, the one who took care that we shall have the right to enter the small gate to the Kingdom of God. Though we all are sinners, we shall have the possibility to come before God and say

Abba. (Father)

But to become accepted a children of God we do have to behave as children of Him. And by our willingness to come to God we also should come to recognise the other children of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those who come to recognise Jesus as the sent one from God, should unite under him and follow his path, by worshipping the only One True God, the heavenly Father.

All people should know they may say a lot against people or at the son of man, Jesus Christ, but when they keep saying awful things of his heavenly Father they will be in problems.

Luke 12:8-12 RNT But I tell you every one who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man confess before the angels of God. (9) And he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. (10) Every one who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who says profane words against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (11) When they bring you in before synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not be anxious about how to defend yourselves or what to say. (12) For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that hour what you must say.”

Therefore it is important that people come to know more about that Spirit God, the heavenly Father of Christ. To do that the easiest way is to come to know Christ.

Before Paul came to believe in the Nazarene master-teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ), he spoke evil of Jesus and went against all who were willing to follow that man. Saul, like he was then called, oppressed the followers of Jesus, and exalted himself.

“I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.”

he came to admit. Yet, God called Paul from this ungodly religious life and made him a faithful, fruitful servant of the Lord.

Such transitions are possible. No man is lost. God keeps calling people. God gave the world his son to show people the Way to God. It is now up to man to find Jesus and to find that way to the Most High Divine Creator.

Once more we will see this can only happen by exceedingly abundant grace for transformation.
This magnificent transformation process began with mercy, the necessary companion of grace, which came unto man by Jesus putting his own will aside for doing the Will of God.

For Saul there was also the ministry of grace that God eventually gave to him even to become one of the major scribes of the group the Way, whose epistles or letters are still of great importance for the church today. God chose Paul to be a distinctive example of His rich mercy.

1 Timothy 1:16 RNT But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might show all of his long-suffering for an example for those who are to believe in him and gain life eternal.

Nobody is excluded to receive mercy. Like for Saul first Jesus Christ came to show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on him for everlasting life, all followers should be grateful they can be under Christ, partakers of a grand project of transformation for people around us.

Paul told the people around him that they should ask for insight, wisdom and revelation, so that they could come to know Jesus and his God better. He tried to convince others to do like him and to put the world aside and to come to follow Jesus. He also tried to convince them that in knowing Jesus better every day people could come to wisdom. Jesus had his focus on his heavenly Father and only did what he saw his Father doing. He set the clear example for all people, who from his public life onwards have the free choice to become his followers.

Being called Christian one should be a follower of Christ, keeping to his teachings and to his commands; One command being to go out into the world and spreading the Good News. When having found Christ Jesus, one shall feel him in the ‘soul’ and be conscious of the bountiful grace having brought two spiritual blessings (faith and love).

Being reborn when one got baptised does not mean it ends there. Several Christians do think they have not to study any more. They forget that the Christian’s experience is a continual schooling. Every day we should be ready to be ready for Christ and be ready for those around us, willing to show them Jesus in us. Being under Christ we should be willing to listen to his words regularly and be prepared to learn each day.

The Book of books God has given mankind is the ideal tool for man to learn about God and about his only begotten beloved son. In Jesus we should find our example. Looking at him each day we should give ourself the opportunity to reprobate and correct in ourselves. In thus discovering our own imperfections, we should learn, as a matter of course, not to expect perfection in others; and we should give them credit for doing their best to exemplify the highest ideals which they have in respect to the unity and perfection required for membership in the body of Christ.

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Preceding article

Are we sometimes like Peter and say we do not know Jesus

Witnesses of Christ and of his gospel

May we have doubts

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Additional reading

  1. The saviour Jesus his human side
  2. To know Christ is filling life with meaning
  3. The Son can do nothing of his own accord
  4. Redemption #7 Christ alive in the faithful
  5. Through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe
  6. Luck
  7. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  8. Omniscient God opposite a not knowing Jesus
  9. Relating to God is it possible
  10. Several Christians fail to recognise the Chosen ones of God and are not taking on a Christian attitude
  11. Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

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Related

  1. Barely knowing Jesus …
  2. Knowing Jesus
  3. Know Jesus Know Peace
  4. The Biggest Lie I Ever Told
  5. Knowing Jesus Christ gives you a completely new attitude
  6. The Kingdom Of God: Luke’s Gospel

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Filed under Religious affairs, Welfare matters

To will being present in us but to do it not always evident

Looking at today’s reading we do find the apostle Paul who laments not understanding his own actions, even acknowledging that he even comes to do things he more than not likes.

Romans 7:15 (RNKJV)
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

English: Apostle Paul in the apse

Apostle Paul in the apse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How often do we notice we have done something to some one else what we hate ourselves.  When we loo at our actions we can even see that we sometimes do the very thing we hate, but that we also sometimes have the desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out.

Romans 7:18 (RNKJV)
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

It can well be that the will to do good may be present with you and me, but how often we do not have to admit that in us there where more stronger elements that hindered us to do the right thing. We must admit that our flesh is weak.

Matthew 26:41 (RNKJV)
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

We know we do have to do good. We do know that we have been given an example and that we should follow him, who gave his life for us. We do know that Nazarene asked his followers to go out into the world and to preach the coming Kingdom of God. But much too often we are too afraid to open our mouth and tell others that we are following Jesus and trust his judgement and look forward to his and his heavenly Father’s Kingdom.

That fear for what people might think lets many not dare to talk about God and His son.

We are confronted with our “will” and our “performance” and must confess they are not in line with each other and often not in balance to.

We must be aware that first of all we must recognise that we can  either live according to the flesh setting our minds on the things of the flesh, or go for the things we might perhaps not see so clear and live according to the Spirit setting our minds on the things of the Spirit, believing what the Word of God brings to mankind black on white and not according human doctrines.

We should know that a lot of people prefer to hold on to human traditions, having the different feasts, not in accordance to God’s feasts. There are lots of people who prefer to hold on the ‘stories’ or ‘tales’ about parts of our body that might go to other places when we die. Lots of people love to have someone else to blame for the faults they do themselves. They like it to shift the guilt from themselves to a demon, they call Satan. They think by doing so they will be found less guilty. Others love to use that figure and places of torture to frighten others, so that they can keep power over them or can have them join their community, where fear preaching is the core business next to the entertainment they try to offer to please people, instead of spending more time to the Bible writings.

Lots of people want to find a church which can bring them worldly pleasures, nice songs and something exiting, like thriller stories, tales about places where people shall be tortured for ever, though they are the lucky ones that can escape because they are saved and should not worry. They love to hear that they do not have to do any work any more and that they can sleep on their two ears.

The majority of people prefer to set the mind on the flesh, not willing to know that it is death, whilst setting the mind on the Spirit shall be life and peace.

When we do know that even a called one of Christ knew the difficulty of what was going on in his body, we should have hope.

Romans 7:18 (RNKJV)
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

We should know that we are better to leave the world for what it is and be not afraid to tell it how we go for the sent one from God and putting our trust in God. There is no “life and peace” until we develop a spiritual relationship with our Lord. Those who do this are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.

In case we do trust God and feel it more important to live according to His Will instead of living according to the will of the people around us that we shall find it easier to live without fear, with at a spirit of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 (RNKJV)
7 For יהוה hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

With that spirit Jehovah has given us we can move mountains. Setting our minds on the by Christ renewed relationship we are “set free” and experience the reality of the Proverb,

Proverbs 4:18 (RNKJV)
18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

When you find that we are living in dark days please do see the light provided by the Most High and try to take others with you too on the right path of the righteous, being prepared for the day when Jesus is going to return.

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Preceding articles

How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace

Facing our existence every day

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

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Additional literature

  1. Coming to understanding from sayings written long ago
  2. Not or well Ashamed of the gospel and admitting to be a God loving person
  3. Today’s thought “Ability to see that God is not dead” (May 12)
  4. Today’s thought “Blessed people …” (July 27)
  5. Today’s thought “nonsense surrounding the many gods” (July 28)

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Knowledge & Wisdom, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

How to Study the Bible: We Are in This Together

howtostudythebible

This lesson is part of Mel Lawrenz’ “How to Study the Bible” series.


Let’s imagine ourselves as believers in first century Thessalonica, Greece, the day that a letter was received by the leaders of the church — a letter from the founder of the church, the apostle Paul.

You are one of the elders of the church, and you read Paul’s instruction and admonitions with a sense of urgency and care. There is no “New Testament” as the 27 books we know today. The Gospels have not been written yet. Not Romans or Hebrews or Revelation. You and the rest of the leaders in Thessalonica are going on the gradually unfolding apostolic teaching which formed the foundation of the early church (Ephesians 2:20). You listen carefully to the words, read out loud by one of the other leaders.

iStock_000032293688Large-1024x683

And then an important process unfolds. You and the other leaders of the church discuss what you have just heard from Paul. You go over what he has written about suffering, and sanctification, and salvation. You ask for someone to re-read the bit about the coming of Christ. Someone suggests the entire letter be re-read again, from the beginning.

You discuss Paul’s points. Sometimes there is a little disagreement over something specific Paul said. You talk about why he wanted this church, the believers in Thessalonica, to understand these specific things.

You discuss how to apply the meaning of Paul’s words. One leader suggests an application, and someone else enthusiastically suggests another application. After a couple of hours of discussion you realize that this short letter, this authoritative word from God’s chosen apostle, is going to reverberate in your community for a long time to come. Paul has addressed some controversies, reinforced some teachings, and pioneered new ideas.

You come to understand this letter to the Christian community in your city of Thessalonica because you have read it together, discussed it together, and applied it together.

So here we are in the 21st century reading the same words, attempting to get the meaning and apply it responsibly and fully. We do so, not in isolation, but with other believers. We get the gold from the goldmine of Scripture not by prospecting in isolation, but as we work together.

Bible study is a community effort. For some people, that impulse comes naturally. They don’t want to be isolated, and they read Scripture and immediately want to compare reactions and interpretations with other people. Some people, however, so value that holy time when they privately read and explore Scripture, asking the Holy Spirit for illumination, enthused with new discoveries, slain by confrontation, inspired with new visions of God, that they almost want to avoid discussing the Bible with other people. They may believe that private interpretations of Scripture are sacrosanct, and that comparing notes with others takes something away from their genuine interaction with God.

We need to be balanced here. It is true that the truth of God in Scripture is available and accessible to any individual believer. No one stands between us and God. But on the other hand, we are in this together. God gives different insights to different people—not splitting the meaning of his word, but revealing different facets of it. That’s the way Scripture functioned in ancient times, and it is the way we should study it today.

So what does that look like today?

1. We should all find fine Bible teachers and benefit from their instruction. That will include local pastors, but also the radio and the internet. We have a huge advantage today in being able to subscribe to podcasts or log into sermons preached thousands of miles away. It is better to listen to multiple teachers rather than just one. We are disciples of only one figure — Jesus the Christ — not the pastor with the largest podcast.

2. We should read widely, but with discernment. You can google any Bible question you have and get hundreds of links, but much of what Google leads you to is junk. Know the writers you follow— their organizations, their publishers, their associations.

3. We should view our use of commentaries and other tools produced by reliable scholars as a function of the wider Christian community.

4. We should study Scripture with other believers in our communities. It is exciting to sit in a circle and work through Bible study when it is led by someone who understands Scripture and proper methods of interpretation. It is powerful when members of the group contribute their observations, ask their questions, explore their thoughts about application. It is important for the leader to be well prepared, and present enough for a rational discussion to take place, and then to guide the group, drawing people out. Group Bible study should not be passive listening, and it should not be a pooling of ignorance. Group Bible study works best when it unfolds over a long period of time.

We are in this together, just like the early communities of believers were. The beauty of it is that we get to know God better as we get to know each other better. The truth of Scripture is a living, dynamic force in our lives. On our best days we see that power in us — and we see it in each other.


Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a Ph.D. in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, the latest, How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

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For those Christians who say they are the Victim

You Are Not A Victim

Nova Scotia, Canada

Nova Scotia, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul Van Buren, a preacher born in Nova Scotia, Canada who lived in so many places since then considers himself to be called by God at the age of 19 but knows that calling was knit into him before his birth.

Being a father of 11 children and husband to a most wonderful lady, he is the pastor of a Holy Spirit directed church in LaSalle, Quebec where  he is having the time of his life. On his Pastor’s Blog he writes that it frustrates him when Christians play the part of victim.

He writes:

Victimized Christians do not know who they are in Jesus and it is a shame that they are wasting the precious days they have been given in this world.

Probably he thinks of the many gifts we are given: first of all life itself and secondly many gifts when we grow up and try to make something of our life.

Having lots of messages circulating on the media, with lots of horrible pictures of terrorist acts lost of people are getting so afraid that our Western World would become Islamised and that we Christians should have to convert to Islam or being killed. Strange is that not more people question how it comes that so many left Christianity or Christendom and became Muslim and do not wonder how it comes that so many Christian churches are getting more and more empty.

Clearly we should question Christians how they live their faith. Is not many their faith as dead? What are they doing to bring others into the faith?

How are they helping those who have doubts and wonder if those Muslims are not right?

Let us have a look on what Paul Van Buren writes:

Paul first reminds Timothy that he has been raised and trained in a life of faith. It was demonstrated to him in his mother and grandmother. Paul encourages Timothy by stating that he is confident that this same faith resides in Timothy. Then:

Because of this, I’m reminding you to revive God’s gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. (v. 6)

I like this. Because of this faith Timothy I am reminding you to operate in it. Live by the Spirit. Do what you have been equipped to do. The Spirit provides the equipping but we are responsible to operate in it. Then Paul writes what we all must grasp:

God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. (v. 7)

This is not personality. Personality type does not play in your calling and equipping. Look at many of the servant’s of the past who tried to get out of their calling with excuses, like Moses and Jonah. It has everything to do with the spirit he has given to us and it is one of boldness. He has equipped us with his power, his love and the power to be self-controlled. This is good stuff that we simply have to act on, in faith that it is so.

Too many Christians seem not to feel that power which they have received, or what has happened more likely when getting older and more trapped by this materialistic world they have lost he fire of their faith and the flames are only burning very weakly or not at all.
Several people are also born in a Christian family and lots of them were even baptised before they could properly think or understand what God and faith really meant. This also makes that many of those name Christians never ever did feel that Spirit in them. They only got the name or the label ‘Christian’ on them and want to consider themselves Christians because they want to belong to the general group of the West.

Now the West comes under threat again from Muslims going to the west, like they had already done before and had conquered Spain, now Europeans are having fear those Muslims will conquer the whole of Europe. But when they would have a strong faith, why should they than be so full of fear?

For sure it is because most of those Europeans do not have any faith in God or do have no idea at all what their faith-groups stands for or if that faith-group follows really the Holy Books or not. The same for the many Muslims here, lots of them born in that faith-group and not knowing enough their own holy books, they do not react strong enough against those who defile their holy books and the teachings of Muhammad. They should have reacted much more against those criminals who defile the Name of God in name of the Muslims, blackening their ummah and making it more difficult to have a peaceful life here in the West.

Today we are living again in a similar time when Noah was alive. Everywhere around us we can see how people live against nature and against God’s Wishes. In a certain way it would be no wonder if God would shaken the world once more to awaken them. But it is not God Who brings terror and horror over people. It are the people themselves who bring cruelty over themselves.

We better should think again of those times, what happened after the water came down and Noah got promises from God. We also should remember how people at the time of Moses very fast had forgotten how God ahd liberated them and how fast they went worshipping other gods again.

Pastor Paul writes:

When Moses was about to die he addressed the nation and told them to possess the land because Yahweh had told them to possess it. He encouraged them:

Be strong! Be fearless! Don’t be afraid and don’t be scared by your enemies, because the Lord your God is the one who marches with you. He won’t let you down, and he won’t abandon you. (Deuteronomy 31:6) 

Two things right there are the source of our boldness. First, our God is always with us, going before us, always preparing the way. He abides in us. Psalm 139 states we can never escape him, even more now that he lives in us. This is for our encouragement.

The second thing the pastor wants to highlight is that we may count on God:

He won’t let you down. That is a big one all on it’s own and can only be understood in the context of a loving, intimate relationship.

Though in his text we have the impression he , like so many Christians got two Biblical characters mixed up. He namely continues than with looking at Jesus, who is the sent one from God, and not God Himself.

As Christians, being followers of Christ, we should believe the words of this Nazarene teacher and see how his heavenly Father protected him and gave him special gifts. In the knowledge that this man also did not tell lies, because he did not sin, we may assume that also his promises will come true.

Jesus promised that he would be with us until the end of this age. He said his desire was for us to be one with him in the same way that he is one with Father. The Way, the Truth and the Life is in you. The one who declared that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, is intimate with you. The one who stated that he is the Resurrection walks with you every day.

With that knowledge we should have our minds at rest. It should be a comforting thought that at the end times those who love God shall find peace after the big battle or the Big Tribulation, which nobody can escape. Yes the big trouble shall come over us all. But Jesus has told about the signs and it is up to us to recognise them and to prepare ourselves for that time of the Last Days.

It is not that we ourselves shall have to go into the battle and have to be conquerors.

Paul wrote that we are more than conquerors, we are overcomers. We are not victims. We are not powerless. We are not timid, because our God has given us the authority to forgive. Thank about that for a moment. The power does not rest in the hands of the offender but in the hands of the offended. Without your forgiveness, the offender will have to give account for their actions. With your forgiveness that offence is wiped away. By offering forgiveness you are also set free from the cage of victim. That is power and that is what has been given to you with the responsibility to love your enemies.

We cannot and must not live with a victim mentality. Jesus has made us greater, more powerful than people can grasp. Now walk in the boldness you have been given and dare to love where others have failed.

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Preceding: Fear for rebel groups and men

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Witnessing because we love

Yesterday we saw how Jesus spoke about God His second commandment and how Jesus ordered us to keep to a Royal Law.

In the readings of this week we can find an other work than the brotherly love we have to do. Though that work should be part of brotherly love. Out of love to others we should go out into the world and proclaim the Good News. Witnessing to others is a way of showing our love to them, because we want them also to be saved.

God’s abundance is for the furthering of His will here on earth. God wants all people to know Him and to worship Him. We, when we are thankful for what God provided for us, will love to serve our God and shall do our best to be workers in the name of Jesus, following his orders to preach.

The Lord Jesus stripped himself of everything save love, that he might more readily meet each human soul on its own level. Jesus emptied himself, humbled himself, only wanted to do the will of God, his heavenly Father and asked us also to put our own selfish will aside. That will demand some work. Like Jesus became obedient unto death, even the death at the stake, for our sakes, we should offer our selves, working hard to bring others also into the knowledge of God.

Jesus was set on proclaiming the Gospel so that even the dying thief might enter Paradise, and that not one prodigal in all the human family should think that he had sunk too low or gone so far as to be excluded from the hope of salvation.

One of the duties of friendship is just to lend an ear to others and our second duty is to try to give them right answers. Those answers are given by God in His Book of books, the Bible, which we should carry in our heart. To keep it only for ourself is selfish. We should share it with others around us.

The first followers of Christ Jesus were very well aware of their responsibility. They also knew it was God Who had given Jesus authority and also given them responsibility of serving His church by proclaiming the word of God in its fullness. Paul wrote.

Colossians 1:21-29 The Scriptures 1998+  (21)  And you, who once were estranged and enemies in the mind by wicked works, but now He has completely restored to favour  (22)  in the body of His flesh through death, to present you set-apart, and blameless, and unreprovable before Him,  (23)  if indeed you continue in the belief, founded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the expectation of the Good News which you heard, which was proclaimed to every creature under the heaven, of which I, Sha’ul, became a servant,  (24)  who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in Messiah’s afflictions, for the sake of His Body, which is the assembly,  (25)  of which I became a servant according to the administration of Elohim which was given to me for you, to fill the word of Elohim,  (26)  the secret which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His set-apart ones,  (27)  to whom Elohim desired to make known what are the riches of the esteem of this secret among the gentiles: which is Messiah in you,1 the expectancy of esteem, Footnote: 1See Messiah in you in the Explanatory Notes.  (28)  whom we announce, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, in order to present every man perfect in Messiah יהושע {Jehsua},  (29)  for which I also labour, striving according to the working of Him who works in me in power.

Even when the mystery may have been hid from ages and from generations, now for us it should be clear, having been made manifest to the Elohim His saints. When having received the blessings of the offering of Jeshua we, out of thankfulness should be pleased that we got to know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the non believers. Having Christ in us we do have the hope of glory and should be so overtaken by joy that we shout it out and call others to become partakers of the same joy.

Faith belief D will do rightIt is that Messiah, given to us, without us having to do something for it, that now our turn has come to do something in return. The Grace is given for free, but now we have to act when we have come into the faith and want to make the faith alive. It is the Messiah whom we should preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, whereunto the apostles also laboured, striving according to his working, which works in believers of Christ mightily.

The message kept secret for centuries and generations past has been revealed to God’s people. And the secret “Christ in you is the hope of glory!’”  should be sounding all over the earth.

Our task is to get this hope of glory with Christ in us. Having his presence and power in our life, because it is the only way we will ever become all that God has created us to be. That is the great secret that is now made known to all! And this is why we we have to do the work of faith proclaiming Jesus, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully grown, mature and complete in Christ. It is to this end we like the apostle Paul have to labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in the followers of Christ.

Like it was the great Life Lesson Philemon learned from Paul, and how it has made all the difference for him in everything he did, we too should be inspired by Jesus’ teachings and by the power of God’s Spirit should inspire others as well.

We were made for a purpose; one that will never be realized apart from our Lord Jesus Christ. Once Christ puts his presence and power into our lives – then we can do whatever Christ can do through us if we are opening ourselves to him! Paul’s timeless words should become our very own,  so that we too can say

‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’

This is our hope of glory!

In Christ – the defeated become victorious; the weak become strong; the poor become rich! In Christ – the lame are made to leap and dance; the blind are made to see; the enslaved are set free and rejoice!

In Christ – the lowly are raised up; the brokenhearted are healed; sinners are forgiven, and backsliders are restored! In Christ –dreamers are envisioned; builders are empowered; and all are strengthened with might in their inner man!

To become in Christ we should give ourselves to him, which demands works.

To bring others to Christ also demands works. Though we do have to show others others that Christ is the Way.

We do have to open our ears so that others can open their hearts. We then should try to show them the answers God provides. Like David did not brood on his problems in solitary bitterness we with those around us should bring them before God.

We ourselves must not be ‘puffed up’ because of the way our careful reading of God’s word has led us to increasingly comprehend the ‘big picture’ of the meaning of life and the spirit of genuine love for God that must be part of this.

Let us be like the scribe who knew that there is only one God; and there is none other but He and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength. To love God demands action or work. But when we do love we first of all have to love His creations as well because when we do not love our neighbour as ourself, we do not show appreciation for the creation of God, because each person is a created being, allowed to live here on earth by God.

Mark 12:26-33 The Scriptures 1998+  (26)  “And concerning the dead, that they rise – have you not read in the book of Mosheh, at the bush, how Elohim spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the Elohim of Aḇraham, and the Elohim of Yitsḥaq, and the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ’? (27)  “He is not the Elohim of the dead, but Elohim of the living. You, then, go greatly astray.”  (28)  And one of the scribes coming near, hearing them reasoning together, knowing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first command of all?”  (29)  And יהושע  {Jeshua} answered him, “The first of all the commands is, ‘Hear, O Yisra’ĕl, יהוה {Jehovah} our Elohim, יהוה {Jehovah} is one.  (30)  ‘And you shall love יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first command.  (31)  “And the second, like it, is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other command greater than these.”  (32)  And the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one Elohim, and there is no other besides Him.  (33)  “And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the being, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is more than all the burnt offerings and offerings.”

We should clearly understand what is being said here. There is only One True God the Elohim Hashem יהוה {Jehovah} and this we should believe and practice with all our heart, offering our love for God to others.

Do we feel as thankful as we should for the wondrous blessing of being spiritual children of God – in this godless world? Let us make sure that we do – and then – how soon will we see and experience – for ever – “the salvation of God”.

Paul challenges us when he looks at the call of Christ to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. He expresses this responsibility in the bluntest terms,

1 Corinthians 9:16 The Scriptures 1998+  (16)  For if I bring the Good News, it is no boasting for me, for necessity is laid on me, and it is woe to me if I do not bring the Good News!

Youngsters listening to a preacher

Youngsters listening to a preacher

Let us not overlook that it is for necessity is laid on us as well.  ‘A necessity’, etc.: i.e. having no choice. The compelling force was twofold, love of god and love of Christ plus fear of being held responsible for the loss of souls. Woe: calamity, in this case, eternal death. So explicit and solemn was Christ’s commission that Paul could not retain his favour if he refused to obey it. 1 Corinthians 9:17 shows how this impending woe, and the necessity it laid on Paul, make the mere fact of his preaching no ground of exultation. For if we do this of our own will, we shall have a reward. But if not of our own will, we will have a stewardship entrusted to us.

1 Corinthians 9:17 The Scriptures 1998+  (17)  For if I do this voluntarily I have a reward, but if not voluntarily, I am entrusted with a management.

Stewardship “stresses obligation, responsibility, and faithfulness of the servant to his master in carrying out the entrusted task” (Rienecker and Rogers, p. 415). In other places such as Luke 16:2-4 this same term is used to describe the management of property.
We have to do the preaching or witnessing as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted us with this task.  And this is something too many Christians forget or do not want to see.

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Preceding

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Leading people astray!

Crisis man needed in this world

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading

  1. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  2. Bible in the first place #2/3
  3. Hope by faith and free gift
  4. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. Illuminating our minds and watching out
  7. Those who love Jesus
  8. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  9. Paulus to Philemon
  10. Bringing Good News into the world
  11. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  12. First Century of Christianity
  13. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  14. Let us make sure we are not stiff-necked
  15. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  16. Breathing to teach
  17. Witnessing
  18. How should we preach?
  19. Showing by the scriptures that …
  20. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  21. Church sent into the world
  22. How do I know if I’m called to ministry?
  23. Not all ability to preach
  24. A Synod to speak freely and to listen without reservations
  25. Preachers should know and continue the task Jesus has given his followers
  26. Necessity of a revelation of creation 10 Instructions for insight and wisdom
  27. Risen With Him
  28. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  29. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  30. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  31. Counting sands and stars
  32. The Big Conversation
  33. The Big Conversation – Christadelphians in the United Kingdom
  34. The Big conversation – Antagonists
  35. What Should I Preach ?
  36. How to Choose a Bible for Preaching
  37. Positive Preaching Day 2015
  38. Soviet Witnesses
  39. Using the name Jehovah but not a witness of that name
  40. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  41. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  42. Sunday 7 September service: Imitate prophets and Paul
  43. Begin by carrying away small stones to remove a mountain
  44. Signs of the Last Days

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Further related articles

  1. The Sum of our Stories
  2. The Gospel Addresses the Culture
  3. Baptism and Temptation
  4. Are You Ready For Jesus’ Return?
  5. Can you be faithful?
  6. Learn It, Do It, Teach It …Preach it?
  7. Preaching on the Subject of Heaven
  8. John Newton on the Practical Effects of Faith
  9. “forgiveness is not a legal action”
  10. Into the Wilderness
  11. 1 Peter 2:1-3, What about Milk?
  12. Preaching
  13. The Power of Place and Story in Preaching
  14. Consecutive Expository Preaching
  15. Stop Teaching
  16. What’s red and furry and climbs trees? (avoiding the Sunday School answer)
  17. Train of Thanks 14-15
  18. ‘Body Language’ in 1 Corinthians
  19. Sound Bytes or Substance? (Part 2)
  20. The Essential Element to Church Health and Success
  21. Sermon in a Sentence
  22. What’s Pastor Kevin Reading: Will Willimon’s “How Odd of God”
  23. Dulcis Loquela, Dulcis Oratio, or Un-Umming Your Speech
  24. Preaching – Prof K J Mathew – Shalom Night Vigil – February 2016
  25. Preaching – Fr. Roy Palatty – Shalom Night Vigil – February 2016
  26. “Today You Will Be With Me” – A Sermon Starter
  27. “Where is the promise of His coming?” (part 2)…
  28. Expository Preaching
  29. New Network Show; Preachers of Infernum
  30. Dressing for Church: Which Way Does One Go?
  31. How Will You Listen to Your Pastor This Weekend?
  32. 3 Essentials of A Good Sermon
  33. QotD – Speaking from the Heart – 2.11.2016
  34. Almost Spiritual, Almost Revived
  35. My Library // Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
  36. One Anothering – The Ministry of Mutuality
  37. “Powerful Preacher”
  38. 6 Ways Bible Reading Enhances Your Church Experience
  39. One wild preacher!
  40. The Dilemma of Balance in Preaching
  41. Unlawful Arrest for Preaching Gospel
  42. Post-Preaching Inscape
  43. Benefits of Expository Preaching
  44. 4 “Non-Sin” Sermon Practices
  45. Are Red Letters More Important than Black Letters?
  46. Preacher, Do You Tremble before the Word You Preach?
  47. A Christ-Centred Life And A Christ-Centred Ministry
  48. The Ministry of Reconciliation
  49. Acts 4
  50. Acts 10
  51. Challenge: Find Somebody to Love
  52. Time for a Great Poem (evangelism)
  53. Don’t just give up, give out! #Lent
  54. Faith’s Checkbook: A Constant Witness
  55. Simon Peter
  56. When We Struggle
  57. February 8th-Love your neighbor as yourself. And, our unruly society has about as much difficulty with that as did His chosen people back then. Yet, as His children, we are required to be different.
  58. Leading Souls to Christ, Part 6 (Onward Christian Soldiers #116)
  59. Are You Sitting?
  60. We Are The Body!
  61. Equipping the Saints (Part 2)
  62. Life Expectations
  63. Rude Witnessing
  64. Feb 4 – That’s What Friends Are For
  65. Thankful
  66. How evangelism rests on trust and what you possess
  67. Eleven Trust in Jesus
  68. So, What Is Good News?
  69. Parking Lot Salvation
  70. My Utmost For His Highest: The Key To The Missionary’s Message
  71. Friendship Born By God
  72. He Died For Us Let’s Live For Him
  73. Is being a humanitarian enough to convey the full love of Christ?
  74. Go Ye!
  75. Let’s Proclaim The Gospel to The World
  76. 1 John 1:3 What To Proclaim
  77. 2016- A year to teach the masses about our Lord!
  78. Rejoice, Not Criticize
  79. εὐαγγέλιον – And God Ordained Encounters
  80. The Work of God
  81. #AdventWord #Proclaim
  82. Get The Word Out
  83. Joy Never Goes Silent
  84. Good News From The Bad News
  85. Walk before many people with good tidings and the gospel of peace
  86. There Is A Fire
  87. God Energizes Our Efforts August 27
  88. Refusing to Be Silent
  89. How Beautiful
  90. A Passion To Proclaim Him

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27 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

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It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

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Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

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32 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

The Christadelphian Agora comments

Reading 3 – Rom 3:9,10

“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom 3:9,10).

“Our guilt is great because our sins are exceedingly numerous. It is not merely outward acts of unkindness and dishonesty with which we are chargeable. Our habitual and characteristic state of mind is evil in the sight of God.

“Our pride and indifference to His will and to the welfare of others and our loving the creature more than the Creator are continuous violations of His holy law. We have never been or done what that law requires us to be and to do. We have never had delight in that fixed purpose to do the will and promote the glory of God. We are always sinners; we are at all times and under all circumstances in opposition to God.

“If we have never loved Him supremely, if we have never made it our purpose to do His will, if we have never made His glory the end of our actions, then our lives have been an unbroken series of transgressions. Our sins are not to be numbered by the conscious violations of duty; they are as numerous as the moments of our existence” (Charles Hodge).

Peter Forbes comments:

3:2  If the Jews had a benefit simply because the Word of God was committed to them how do we view that same word? Do we feel privileged simply because we can read Scripture freely in our own tongue?

3:3 Paul (2Tim 2:13) develops the principles of this verse for the benefit of Timothy. – We have noted before that David’s Psalm (32) is used by Paul to speak of the way in which God forgives. Reflecting on what David had done – committed adultery and murdered a man – we probably cannot think of two more evil crimes. But it is these two crimes which God forgave which forms the basis of Paul’s encouragement to us.

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834)...

David and Bathsheba, by Henry Bone (died 1834). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 The quotation ‘that thou mightest be justified …‘ from Psalm 51:4 marks the beginning of an appeal to the repentance of David after his adultery with Bathsheba – see the title of the Psalm. This incident in David’s life, as terrible as it was, marks the magnitude of the Father’s forgiveness towards a repentant sinner. More notes on this in Romans 4.

3:4‘that thou … art judged’ is a quotation from Psa 51:4 That Psalm is a Psalm speaking specifically of David’s sin with Bathsheba. Paul highlights that the Psalm, though specifically speaking to David, actually has a general application to all.

3:5 This is the first of a number of occasions when Paul asks a question which he then answers himself. The others are Rom 4:1,  6:1, 7:7

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most...

Painting by Rembrandt of Paul, one of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Paul, a Hellenistic Jew, was very influential on the shift of Christianity to Gentile dominated movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:7-8   The “lie” that Paul is thinking about is the charge laid on him by others that he said “Let us do evil that good may come”.

3:8  The charge laid on Paul is similar to the hypothetical question he asks in Rom 6:1.

3:9     The teaching of Paul that we ‘are all under sin’ is quoted by Paul later – Gal 3:22–This is one of many times where Paul quotes elements of this letter to the Romans to other churches. Thus we see that Romans seems to be a letter that many of the other churches were aware of.

3:19 The phrase ‘every mouth may be stopped’ echoes the sentiments of Psa 107:42 thus demonstrating that the teaching that all men are sinners is not confined to the New Testament but is a clear Old Testament teaching.

3:23,24 These adjacent verses are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the mind of man is concerned. One has to recognise the situation outlined in v 23 before one can be in the state described in v 24. Justification is only available to those who recognise their own personal need for salvation.

3:25-26        We should reflect carefully on the fact that God’s righteousness is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God is not a vindictive cruel God. Rather, as shown by the way He responded to Jesus’ obedience, He is merciful – which we should appreciate anyway because of the way in which He describes Himself –Exo 34:6-7

3:31   To the Jew the idea that the Law of Moses was no longer the route to pleasing God (if it ever was) was a major problem. So they needed to know that ‘faith’ did not remove the need for obedience

Peter Cresswell comments

English: manuscript of the Epistle to the Roma...

manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans (fragment) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3:4 – Here we see a principle that we cannot ignore.  Let God be true is a clear instruction to us not to make God into what we think He should be – not to impose on Him what we feel are the qualities of a god, but instead to open our minds to let Him show us what he really is in truth.  We are still on the theme from the previous chapters which tell us how to avoid being like those whose worship is distorted.  Let us take heed, as through this we can be justified by faith, as we are being prepared to learn next.

3:20 tells us that the law can’t save because by it there is knowledge of sin.  This shows us that the law is inextricably tied up with the original curse – that we should know good and evil.  At the end this curse will be removed and we will know only good.  We do well to remember that this knowledge of good and evil is a curse, not a privilege.  One day, those who are saved, will leave it far behind.  One could argue that by God’s grace, we already have – 5:21, 6:7 – but in that day it will be actual.  Evil will no longer be remembered or contemplated or come into mind.  We must ask ourselves: Are we ready to leave behind the choice to do evil, without looking back, or do we still consider it a privilege?

Cliff York comments

Romans 3:9 – “for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” – in chapters one and two. Paul painted a word picture, first of the Gentile world – Romans 1 – then the Jewish world, which was even worse, for they had access to God’s righteousness – Romans 2.

v12-18 – Paul describes the cadaver of sin. As Paul’s scalpel opens up the body of sin, first the throat, then the tongue, lips, mouth, feet, and eyes are laid bare and examined – Hebrews 4:12-13. And Paul’s conclusion is given in v23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  What does this tell us? We all need Jesus Christ. No-one will be in God’s Kingdom who has not entrusted his life and his salvation to the only name given among men whereby they might be saved – Acts 4:12.

John Wilson comments

Rom 3:25  “to declare his  righteousness.” Christ, the bearer of the sins of the people. Not that Christ might be punished for others, but that God’s righteousness might be declared for others to see that they might be forgiven.

David Simpson comments

Rom 3:9-20 has at least 7 quotations from the Psalms, and one from Isaiah. Then in Rom 4 we can find 7 times when Abraham’s name is written.  There is no doubt, is there, where the Gospel’s foundation is laid?

Valerie Mello comments

Rom 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

A reader writes: “even though our Lord did not commit one single sin – even of omission, he still Came Short of the glory of Yahweh – by his very mortality that he inherited by his birth of a mortal woman – meaning he had to make atonement by his death for his ‘falling short’ of the glory of Yahweh by reason of his birth by a mortal woman who, wonderful as she was, still possessed a sin-prone nature herself.”

My reply: In Rom 1, Paul pointed out mankind’s refusal to acknowledge God and God’s truth and how God gave mankind over to their lusts and the practice of sin. Then in Rom 2, Paul describes God’s judgment on both the Gentiles and the Jews. In Rom 3, Paul sums up his argument and makes it clear that all of mankind is under sin and that “every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable to God.” With regard to God’s judgment there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, rich or poor, priest or beggar, businessmen or drunk, churchgoer and atheist, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It does not say or imply that Christ because of his human nature fell short of God’s glory!

In Rom 3:22, we read that the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ to “all” – that is, mankind in general, Jews and Gentiles, “unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference” (cf. vv. 21,23). To fall short of the glory of God is to be in need of righteousness, a righteousness imputed to us by God through Christ (2Cor 5:21).

In Matt 5:20, we are warned that our righteousness must exceed those of the Pharisees. What Jesus is telling us is that it is not enough to submit to mere outward conformity as characterized by the Pharisees, but that it must be of both inward and outward conformity. Obeying the Law was more than just abstaining from killing, or stealing, etc., it also dealt with our inward being. So it is with us under the Law of Christ, and we can only exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees if we submit to Christ. Our own righteousness will never be good enough no matter how hard we try (cf. Isa 64:6).

Jesus was the only one who could lead a perfect life to the law of God in thought, word, and deed. Jesus’ mission was not simply to die on the cross. He had to be the Lamb without blemish, without sin. He had to live a life of perfect obedience, which he did and became the righteousness of God and, thus, could not have fallen short of God’s glory. Irrespective of Christ’s human sin-prone nature, he did not fall short, but continued in all things that were written in the book of the law to do them, otherwise, how could his righteousness be imputed to us, irrespective of our human nature (cf. 1Pet 5:10)? Christ was the perfect sacrifice and we can be made perfect only in him. We are to be Christ-like (cf. 2Cor 3:18).

Christ’s passive obedience (Isa 53:7) pays our sin debt and his active obedience of a sinless life gives us the perfection required by God if we submit (cf. Matt 5:48). What is required of us is active and passive obedience to Christ. Jesus came to undo what Adam did in committing and omitting, by which his character was tarnished and sin entered the flesh and passed on to his descendants – his sin was imputed to us (Rom 5:17-19). This was man’s fall from glory and made him in need of glory.  Man was created in God’s image for God’s glory (1Cor 11:7; Isa 43:7). Christ came to restore for us what Adam lost. We must have Christ’s righteousness, active and passive, transforming us from sinners who fell short of the glory of God to saints of God who fulfill the glory of God in Christ, or God will not accept us.

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Preceding articles

Elul Observances

To find ways of Godly understanding

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Continue reading: Additional comments to the 4th Letter to the Romans

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Additional reading

  1. Creation of the earth and man #4 Of the Sabbath day #2 Days 1,7,8 and 50
  2. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  6. The seven last sayings of Christ discussed in the new edition of the Christadelphian
  7. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  8. God’s wrath and sanctification
  9. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  10. Theologians and a promised Spirit to enlighten us
  11. Atonement and the race been bought
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. 138) Cheap Grace
  14. Christianity without the Trinity
  15. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #2
  16. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  17. Growth in character
  18. Love is like playing the piano
  19. Forgiveness is a blessing for the one who forgives
  20. He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass
  21. Forgiveness always possible
  22. A man who cannot forgive others
  23. Answering a fool according to his folly
  24. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  25. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church
  26. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  27. Breathing to teach

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Further readings

  1. The creation of Earth and Man, the fall of Man, the cursed Earth, the redemption of Man, the resurrection of Christ, the resurrection of Man, the New Earth
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. Joseph and the justification of evil/sin
  4. Law and Grace
  5. Justification, Sanctification and Perseverance – By Grace through Faith
  6. Justification is by faith
  7. Why Justifying yourself is Destroying you!
  8. Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?
  9. Faith itself not the cause of justification – Louis Berkhof
  10. Theories of Atonement: Recapitulation Theory
  11. Practical Theology
  12. Michael Horton Differentiates Law and Gospel
  13. Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A Third Way?
  14. Why the Law? Part 2
  15. The Justified Dead
  16. It’s not about you
  17. Reflective Paragraphs Week 4 – Romans 3
  18. Romans 3
  19. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:1-8
  20. Romans 3:9
  21. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:9-20
  22. Daily Devotional – Romans 3:21-31
  23. “And where does that leave our proud religious claim of having a corner on God? Canceled.” ~~Apostle Paul
  24. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  25. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  26. Nullify the Torah?
  27. Under The Law
  28. Psalm 57 – As a Deaf Adder; A Sermon Preached at the Amarillo Primitive Baptist Church – Sunday, October 18, 2015
  29. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  30. Confessions of a Hypocrite
  31. You are without excuse
  32. Are we good?
  33. More Fashionable Fig Leaves
  34. Elihu – A Word for young leaders
  35. Salvation & Obedience
  36. Would Your Faith Save You?
  37. Let Go of the Ladder
  38. The Playing Field Is Level!
  39. My Utmost For His Highest: The Nature Of Reconciliation
  40. Obedience apart from Christ won’t justify
  41. That One Sin!
  42. The Only Martyr
  43. we’re all “heirs according to the promise” – but we all fall short
  44. Everybody needs Jesus
  45. Rub Your Eyes (Rondel Grande)
  46. Romans Devotional- Day 25
  47. The Anatomy Of God
  48. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 1
  49. When Perfect Is Not A Good Thing – Part 2
  50. Is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned the true meaning of justification?
  51. My Sinfulness
  52. If you love yourself….
  53. Good Behavior
  54. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  55. PT. 9 (The end) You are justified in Christ
  56. Day 11: I Declare My Righteousness Is In Christ Jesus
  57. Subjected For Our Sake.
  58. Guilt & Shame Misapplied
  59. God Glories in Making You Righteous
  60. Our Comforter is our Peace
  61. We Distinguish…(Part 5) — Active/Passive Obedience
  62. We Distinguish…(Part 6) — Moral/Ceremonial/Civil
  63. Those Who Practice Such Things Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God
  64. Do I seek approval?

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Romans 4 and the Sacraments

In our series looking at “Faith and works” yesterday (January 28) we looked at the letter from Paul to the Romans, chapters 3 and  4. the 4th chapter often being referred to to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Luther’s work

In our previous posting we saw how the German theologian and religious reformer who was the catalyst of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation Martin Luther gave enough food for the Antitrinitarians. He is one of the most to go against their idea we still have to do works to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

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It is thanks to his marvellous work of translating of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) that so many more people could read and find out what was really written in the Holy Scriptures, which had a tremendous impact on the church and West European culture.

From 1510 to 1520, Luther lectured on the Psalms, the books of Hebrews, Romans, and Galatians. As he studied these portions of the Bible, he came to view the use of terms such as penance and righteousness by the Catholic Church in new ways. He became convinced that the church was corrupt in its ways and had lost sight of what he saw as several of the central truths of Christianity.

The most important for Luther was the doctrine of justification – God’s act of declaring a sinner righteous – by faith alone through God’s grace. He taught that salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

Looking at Paul’s teachings

The blog “Washed, sanctified and justified” also looks at Paul’s teachings in the knowledge that lots of protestants refer to Romans 3:26-28 as their conclusion that a man is justified by faith. Some will say

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from works. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Many Christians forget to notice “of the law” which indicates something more and something different than just the “Blood of Christ” or “the Blood of the Lamb“.  The Jewish scholar knew very much the importance of “The Law” or the “Torah” in God’s Plan. And these words are very important to the idea that the apostle Paul is expressing. In the previous articles we have seen that the apostle is speaking of works of the law because that is what he was speaking of in the last chapter.

He didn’t suddenly change subjects. However, he has omitted the words of the law at this point. {Analysis of St. Paul’s Teachings on Justification and Faith}

Some Catholics may say the Jews did not have ‘Sacraments’, but they had a Covenant and arrangements (or sarcaments in the wider interpretation), also having their own religious signs or symbols and practices as forms of worship.

Paul was very well aware how men of God were justified in the past. Abram (Abraham), born way before God made the covenant with the Israelites, had come in the faith. When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8; Romans 4:3) He also had not forgotten, like today many Christians do, that Abraham became the father of many, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar. (James 2:20-22)

Covenants given to man

The Abrahamic Covnenant may have been interchanged with the Messianic or New Covenant this did not make done with The Law. Too many people forget the terms of the New Covenant.

De Maria in “Romans 4 and the Sacraments” looks further at the misunderstanding of Faith without works.

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We remember from it:

Romans 4 = a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.

  1. Abraham = our father, according to the flesh
  2. if Abraham > justified by works = he hath whereof to glory > not before God.
  3. if Abraham justified himself = more power to him => it is not of God.
  4. Abraham believed God => counted unto him for righteousness.

=>  that means.

  1. him that works = reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt > obey God’s voice + keep His covenant => a peculiar treasure unto God above all people
  2. to him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly > faith is counted for righteousness.
  3. Abraham was => did not work for debt
  4. Abraham did work for faith

He also looks at David, one of the circumcised =>  covenant of reconciliation

  • No one can deny David did many works <= all he did was believe in God’s mercy

reconciliation not only offered to Israelites (Abraham not an Israelite + not even circumcised yet) ===> God saw his faith at work => reckoned in uncircumcision to receive sign of circumcision=  seal of the righteousness of the faith

=> = prophecy which showed that even gentiles would be justified by faith.

=> We, like Abraham, believe and are imputed righteousness, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

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St. Paul contrasting Old Testament with New Testament.

  • Old Testament = the Law.
  • New Testament = the Faith.

no ministry of reconciliation in Old Testament. ~~~ David’s reconciliation exception = foreshadowing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

=> Just as it is imputed to the Catholic, who believing the promises of God, approaches the font of grace and submits to the Sacraments, calling on His name.

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Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

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CatholicBibleTalk

 Romans 4 is frequently used to support the doctrine of justification by faith alone. But it is actually a dissertation on justification by the Sacraments.  Let’s go through it.

King James Version (KJV)
1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?Abraham is our father, according to the flesh. The Apostle asks, “what has he found”?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

Now, he asks, “did Abraham justify himself?” If he did, then more power to him, but it is not of God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Now, he quotes Gen 15:6Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

and he begins to explain what that means.

4 Now to him that…

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Our life depending on faith

Looking at the Bible reading for January 28

When we look at our bible readings of the day, we do find Genesis 46-47, Psalm 50 and Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 3-4.

English: Apostle Paul in the apse

Apostle Paul in the apse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Apostle Paul when he was called Saul had been full of zeal for keeping the law and saw the followers of Christ as appearing to have no respect for keeping the law so he persecuted them – until he was dramatically converted. After his conversion and the maturity gained by the experiences that followed, he wrote his remarkable letter to the Romans, a letter primarily to the Gentiles.

The apostle asks a valid question, which should bring us to wonder what the good might be us of difference between a non believer and a believer doing good works.

People trained in God’s ways

Throughout history we have seen that there have been many people who were so called trained in God’s ways and even got titles of universities, declaring them to be theologians. Lots of people look up at them and think they are the person who best know how everything is about God, gods, religion, man, life and death. Lots of people got frustrated with what they got to know from those scholars  who often said we just had to belief this or that, because it is incomprehensible for a human being to understand. As such lots of human doctrines were introduced in Christendom.

People also got annoyed with certain behaviour of those so called religious men. Some had relationships not only with different wives, but there have also been clerics who had intercourse with children.
On the other hand the world sees lots of unbelievers who are doing very good works and are always ready to help others, plus giving very good examples how we make the best of our life in a good relationship with others.

God not abandoning people

It is true that lots of non-religious people are also good people, but the apostle Paul tells us as it turns out, it makes a lot of difference who is a follower of Christ and a believer in the Only One True God.

In history there have been many people who tried to bring the Word of God to others and make it alive for the future. We had the Jewish scribes who were being put in charge of writing down and caring for God’s revelation, what we call the Holy Scriptures or the Bible. In the course of doing that, when some of those Jews abandoned their post, we can see that God didn’t abandon them.

Throughout the Book of books we can see how God always stayed with His People, even when they did bad things or had moments that they forgot Him. Even the most important of these men of God had one moment of doubt, that he questioned God why He (Jehovah God) had abandoned him (Jesus).

Jesus at one moment also cried to his heavenly Father saying

 Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? (Matthew 27:46)

being a call unto God questioning Him why he had forsaken or had deserted the son of man Jeshua (Jesus Christ), who was willing to do God’s Will instead of his own will. (In case Jesus is God he naturally would always have done his own will and could never have left himself.)

Not cancelling out Jehovah his faithfulness

Do you think Jesus and other men of God their faithlessness cancels out Jehovah the Almighty God His faithfulness?

We are told that God keeps his Word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same

“God forbid! Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar. As it is written: “That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.”” (Romans 3:4 KJ21)

We are given God’s Word which stand fast and true and is not given to confuse us or to.  We are given commandments in that book of books and are questioned if we make the law of none effect through faith.

The unbelievers can do good and bad like we too can do a lot of bad. But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God’s right-doing, “shouldn’t we be commended for helping out?” remarks Paul. When having come into the faith we should be willing to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (a work to be done) and should do our uttermost best to comply not only with his teachings but also with the ordnance of God.

Sayings we are saved and have to do no works

The people who do want us to believe we can do whatever we want because salvation is on us by the blood of Christ, must know that it is not by our bad deeds that God would come out better.  It’s simply perverse to say,

“If my lies serve to show off God’s truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I’m doing God a favour.”

or to say

“The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let’s just do it!”

That’s pure slander. (Romans 3:7-8)

Same start for every one

It is not because we are Jews, Christians or Muslims that we would be we more excellent than the others and are getting a better break than the others. (Romans 3:9) Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it that there’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys.

It may sound harsh, but there is “No one’s living right”.

“9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise! For we have before proved that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 there is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They have all gone from the way; they have together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”” (Romans 3:9-12 KJ21)

Therefore every day we do have to be careful not to have our throats to be gaping graves,our tongues slick as mud slides. (Romans 3:13) With no tongues to deceit we should try to get others to know Jeshua, Jesus Christ, the son of man and the son of God. In him we did receive salvation, but in him we do have to grow (a work) so that we can run a good race, not for the honour of sinner-of-the-year, or for the one who made the most money on the back of others.

Afraid for those coming in

In our land littered with heartbreak and ruin, many of us do not want to know living with others. They are so afraid of the refugees coming into our nation. Are they afraid of them being able to get others to believe what they believe and to come to the same religion as theirs. Should they than not wonder how it comes that those immigrants not come to be surprised by the faith we are having and that they would become interested in the faith that lives in Europe? We think the greatest problem is that there is not so much faith in God living around in our regions. Most people never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else?

For sure it is not our involvement with God’s revelation that will  put us right with God. There are also many unbelievers who write about our God and about religion. There are also people who are against God who try to bring others in doubt by throwing lots of discussions at them.

Should we not more question why there would be a danger of Muslims converting people from here unto the Islamic faith? In case there would be enough people standing strong in their faith we should not worry.

Did Jesus also not give the task to his followers to go out and preach? When Christians would do what Jesus Christ ordered them to do we should have enough preachers witnessing about the works of god and about the real faith we should follow.

Man incapable to govern

Throughout history man has proven to be incapable to come to good governments, or to be able to rule this universe. By the Word of God we are forced to face our complicity in our sins. By all our stupidities we do have to come to see we can only have a good government under the jurisdiction of Christ Jesus.

Because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in God His sight (Romans3:20) we should know that for by the Law comes the knowledge of sin and are we given the ways to handle sin. Now we also do not have any excuse because in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about in our Scriptures, has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this.

“20 Therefore by the deeds of the law, no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:20-23 KJ21)

“30  What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.” (Romans 9:30-31 KJ21)

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God sent us His only begotten son and accepted this man’s ransom offering to pay for our sins. did it for us. The action of God, out of sheer generosity, was taken for the recognizance of the humbleness of  the Nazarene Jew who was willing to put his own will aside for complying totally to God’s Will.

A Freebox in Berlin, Germany 2005, serving as a distribution centre for free donated materials, and where the gratis is really for free.

With Jeshua (Jesus Christ) the world has received a pure gift. With God it is not, like we can see so many times today, that there are offers to people where they say it is gratis, but then they still have to pay so much money. By God Gratis does really means for free. We do not have to pay anything for the Gift of Grace. Salvation is given to everybody in the world. But it is given at one point and then we have to continue from there onwards. And that is what a lot of people seem to forget.

The mess we are in & Setting the world in the clear

God by the action taken, or by the work done by His son, got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where God always wanted us to be. In His plan fits a righteous people. Jehovah, the God of gods, did it by means of Jesus Christ. It was God who sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear.

God decided on this course of action in full view of the public — to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. For many that does not seem to be clear, but it’s now — this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.

Working at a relationship

When we come to know that Jesus is the Way to God, we do have to respond (an action to be taken or a work to be done). Our response to what God does for us should create our willingness to do the right works to come to a very good relationship with Him. to come to such a good relationship our lives have to get in step with God.

Jehovah God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews and this God of Abraham should be the Allah, Adonai, Elohim or God of Israel and God of all Jews, Christians, Muslims but also of all those who wander in this world without knowing yet what the purpose and the goal of their life is.

The apostle Paul warns the world to know that there is only one God Who has set right all who welcome His action and enter into it, both those who follow the apostle’s religious system and those who have never heard of his and our religion.

“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJ21)

“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.” (Ephesians 3:12 KJ21)

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 KJ21)

“And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know. Yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16 KJ21)

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 KJ21)

“23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 KJ21)

“30 seeing it is one God who shall justify the Circumcision by faith, and Uncircumcision through faith.” (Romans 3:30 KJ21)

Having stressed “the faithfulness of God” (verse 3) and having told that God reacts to what he sees – seeing “faith” and also faithlessness – we should be fully aware that it is important how we act. Our behaviour is an important factor to our faith-life.

Several people are cross with God and left faith because they did not see any difference between them and the unbelievers. Many do say it is not right God also “inflicts” trouble, pain and sorrow to those who believe in Him.
We must not say,
“God is unrighteous to inflict wrath” (verse 5) on the disobedience he sees in his creation.
What God looks to see, Paul says as he higlights the example of Abraham in the fourth chapter, is – faith, genuine belief and trust in God for “faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness” (verse 9) and it will be “counted” to us also.

“Cometh this blessedness then upon the Circumcision only, or upon the Uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.” (Romans 4:9 KJ21)

English: Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Da...

Statue of Saint Paul at Bab Kisan, Damascus, Syria Français : Statue de Saint-Paul à Bab Kissan, Damas, Syrie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul stresses this was “the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe … so that righteousness would be counted to them as well” (verse 11).

We read in Genesis earlier this month all the things Abraham did – through faith. Paul is stressing that

“For the promise that he should be the heir of the world came not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13 KJ21)

Acting faithfully toward God in our lives is what matters most of all and Abraham is the key example for us to follow. In the past the Jews had a contract or covenant with God. With Christ there was made a new covenant. In the knowledge that a contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect, we have been offered a much better contract. Yes, we as human beings do need some contract or written rules. As  such those who follow Christ, believing in him, can live with the promise that God made to our forefathers. God’s promise, though, can not be broken. This is why the fulfilment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father — that’s reading the story backwards. He is our faith father. Therefore Paul realized that “the law brings wrath” and

“15 because the law worketh wrath; for where there is no law, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be given by grace to the end that the promise might be made sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:15-16 KJ21)

It depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace.

We should recall God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:4,5 and his life of faith beginning from when he left Ur. We must each reflect on our own acts of faith, for it is not just something we talk about! What things have we done, and are doing – that show our faith?

Our eternal future “depends on faith”.

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Preceding article: January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Epicurus’ Problem of Evil
  2. Condemnation of the World and Illustration of Justification
  3. Elul Observances
  4. God’s wrath and sanctification
  5. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  8. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  9. Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences
  10. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  11. Being of good courage running the race
  12. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  13. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  14. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  15. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  16. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  17. Good and bad things in this world
  18. Salvation and Righteousness
  19. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  20. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  21. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  22. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  23. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  24. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  25. Faith and works
  26. Not making yourselves abominable
  27. The attraction of doing something
  28. Re–forming ourselves
  29. Humbleness
  30. Wired to Connect?
  31. Bearing fruit
  32. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  33. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  34. Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion
  35. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  36. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  37. 2014 Religion
  38. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  39. Crisis man needed in this world
  40. From pain to purpose
  41. Unconditional love
  42. Relying on the Love of God
  43. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  44. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  45. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  46. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  47. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. Faith (Heartfixxer)
  2. Embracing the Path
  3. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core (the Inscribed heart)
  4. See Other with God’s Eyes
  5. Faith is the Key
  6. Wear Your Faith on Your Sleeve
  7. We Need to Water Our Faith
  8. A Date With God
  9. Where is the Church that Christ built?
  10. Actions are the Megaphone of Words
  11. We are justified by faith and works, in a manner of speaking.
  12. Luther’s misunderstanding
  13. Faith-Rooted Practice – Rev. Dr. King and Prophetic Evangelicalism
  14. Declaring what is not as though it is
  15. What is Right?
  16. Thankful Thursday: God’s Faithfulness
  17. Great Faithfulness
  18. Grace Makes All The Difference

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January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

In the past there have been many discussion about the possibility man being good. When we look at the world today it seems not much has changed. Along all sides we can see people who do not want to share the luck they have with others. This has come to a high point with the refugee crisis. It is understandable that people want to protect their own goods and culture, but often they are too much afraid that their way of living would be in danger by others from far away coming to live in their regions.

Several people are convinced that people who are fleeing from war-zones can not be good and trustworthy people. According to several Christians it is even impossible for a human being to be good from himself and as such no one can be reliable.

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagi...

A17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius. The caption says “Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence Durst thou excuse man’s foul concupiscence, Or cry down Sin Originall, or that The love of God did man predestinate.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The controversial British monk Pelagius in the fifth century had taught that man’s nature was essentially good. This was not to the liking of the Catholic Church leaders who found that because of Adam’s sin all men were born with a strong tendency to sin. It is even for that reason that lots of Christians do say it is impossible for Jesus to be a man. Because he was without sin he should be God, according to them. This naturally is not at all true and makes of God a horrible Creator, having created human beings who can not decide for themselves to do good or bad. Worse it would also mean that God gave man commandments He knew they would never be able to follow.

Pelagius rightly said that an individual had the power to do right by choosing to do right and by beating the body into submission through ascetic practices. Traditional Christianity said that men could defeat their tendencies to sin only by the working of God’s grace in their heart. According to the churchleaders Pelagius‘s ideas meant that Christ‘s death on the cross served more as a moral example than as an atonement able to transform the soul from within by divine force, which meant against going their doctrine of sola fide.

Those who think that Old and New Testaments alike teach us that we cannot change ourselves have not very well read the Holy Book of books. In the many books which form the bible we do have many examples of people who have gone from bad to good but also from good to bad and sometimes returning to good.

Augustinus 1.jpg

Saint Augustine from a 19th-century engraving

The Christian philosopher and theologian St. Augustine or Augustine of Hippo (354-430), best known for “The Confessions” and “The City of God” was responsible for the excommunication of Pelagius.

While in Rome, Pelagius first heard of Augustine through his reading of a prayer from Augustine’s Confessions: “Give what Thou commandest and command that Thou wilt.” To Pelagius, the philosophy expressed in this prayer sounded like the total abandonment of human responsibility and a denial of the ethical dimensions of the Christian faith. If all moral action, thought Pelagius, depends solely on God — both the commanding as well as the ability to obey — God is either an arbitrary tyrant or else man is a creature deprived of free will. Pelagius conducted his teaching along these lines while he was in Rome, and it was to this teaching that an able lawyer, Caelestius, responded, leaving his profession of advocacy and becoming Pelagius’s disciple, companion, and the popularizer of his views.

Caelestius’s Pelagian views continued to spread, and soon Augustine was preaching and writing with intense fervour against this what he called a new heresy, arguing that the whole lump of humanity is infected with sin and that only the grace administered in baptism can wash away the guilty stain.

In spite of these admonitions from the Doctor of Grace, the controversy continued, and it was not long before the articulate bishop of Eclanum, Julian, stepped in to argue the Pelagian cause, forcing Augustine, by the clarity of his logic, into positions regarding the doctrines of grace and predestination that have been burdensome to Western Christendom ever since. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

Today we still find many who do not want to see that man has a lot in his own hands. Today there are still lots of Christians who think it is impossible for man to live according to God’s Wishes and that he does not have to do any good works to enter the Kingdom of God because it is just impossible for him to do such good works.

According to Augustine it is not possible to lead a sinless life, with (for whatever reason, probably she had to carry the god son according to the Catholic Church) the exception of the Virgin Mary. For Augustine divine grace must precede every virtuous act and today many Christians are also still convinced we are all saved whatever what we have done and whatever we do in our life.

For such Christians who try to put sand in the eyes of searching people, the saying that we need works to enter the Kingdom of God is heresy. For them it is not only possible for man not to sin, they are not able to bring any change in the salvation of themselves.

The caricature of Pelagianism found in many orthodox textbooks and devotional manuals is hardly one that Pelagius would recognize. He never, for instance, denied the need for grace or for infant baptism; he never accepted the position that man can, by his own moral efforts, achieve his salvation. On basic doctrinal issues, Pelagius was certainly orthodox; and on matters of Christian morality his chief concern was to foster among Christian people a right regard for the ethical responsibilities he saw as inherent in the Gospel message. {Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004}

The Christian attitude is a very important issue which was been tackled by rabbi Jeshua (master teacher Jesus Christ) with a lot of delicacy. The Nazarene Jew, who was not afraid to bring others to see they had no right to judge others, told his listeners many parables in which he tried to get them to understand that we must be very careful not to loose the right to enter the Kingdom of God.

Lots of Christians are mistaken to think they do not have to do any good works to enter Gods Kingdom. It is true that they are saved and have nothing to do to get under the Grace of salvation. But what they forget is that, though they received salvation for nothing, they can loose it when they do not work at themselves. The leaders of the Protestant Reformation, 1,500 years after the last books of the Bible were written wanted their flock to believe that Jesus paid the full prize or penalty for our sins, so that nothing had to be done or paid any more. They added their human doctrine, which is nowhere written in the Bible, saying that

Jesus paid the punishment for our sins, he having fully atoned for our sins and by saying “it is finished” he did what no human could do, make up for their sins and made an end to everything what had to be done.

But it was not finished by having to come to God (a work) or to follow God’s commandments (again demanding works).

It is totally wrong to think once new born and/or being baptised, we are cleared and have a free way to enter into God’s Kingdom, or what some are thinking to go to heaven. In case a person has fund Christ and has come to God several works are needed. First of all before finding Christ work has to be done to come to know him and his God. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, the son of God, that person has to convert to Christianity which again is a work to be done. But once baptised it is not finished. Than the person has to work at his or her character and try to stay on the right track, following God’s commandments, which shall require again some, not to say ‘lots’ of works.

Every Christian must work to control themselves. Once having become a Christian that person should try not to lie, to steal, to betray, to fornicate, to murder and many other things he or she should avoid doing (which demands work). If none of these works are needed for salvation the person could have sex with as many persons or animals as he or she wanted no matter the gender. If no works have to be done a person could also continue to do fraudulent actions, without having to worry.

It is for the reason having so many Christian preachers trying to convince others they do not need to do any works, and because of the reaction by Grow Pastor, Minister to Men, Ken Miller to us, at his article That’s the Spirit!, that we think it opportune to warn people of the lack of understanding of the given grace.

Christ Jesus died for all people, sinners or not. By the works of faith he has done, we received the Grace of Salvation, but when we ignore his calling or his heavenly Father’s calling than we shall not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of god when we did bad things and did not repent about them. It is not by works of justice that we had done, but, in accord with the mercy of God, Him willing to accept the ransom offering of His son. Through Jesus Christ our Saviour we are been justified by his grace and are we allowed to become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)

When Saul had become a follower of the Messiah he looked at the work of the master teacher and at the sacraments which were given to those who followed Jesus. The apostle wrote

Romans 3:27-31 The Scriptures 1998+  (27)  Where, then, is the boasting? It is shut out. By what Torah? Of works? No, but by the Torah of belief.  (28)  For we reckon that a man is declared right by belief without works of Torah.  (29)  Or is He the Elohim of the Yehuḏim only, and not also of the gentiles? Yea, of the gentiles also,  (30)  since it is one Elohim who shall declare right the circumcised by belief and the uncircumcised through belief.  (31)  Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.1 Footnote: 1See 7:12.

and gave the Romans to know that they thought or hold that a man is brought into right standing with God by faith and that observance of the law has no connection with it.

Saying that he did not confirm that

“by faith apart from deeds of the law” as meaning, “by faith alone”

but him affirming that we then not through faith make null and void the law; instead, we confirm it. It is by our faith that we shall do certain works according to the faith. Pelagius considered that sacraments are elements believers should keep taking throughout their life. For him it was like it is for us, that faith should be expressed and perfected in works. Submitting to Jehovah His works in the proper disposition, which is that of faith, is an action or a work to be done.

Too many Christians forget the importance of the feeling we should have about what we have done. If we do not feel bad by the wrong things we have done and do not repent for them, for sure the Bible shows us, we shall not receive an entrance in God’s Kingdom. Repentance and teshuvah demands a work. Staying a good person also demands work. All those that say we do not have to do any work of faith, are either forgetting what the Bible tells about it and are insinuating we can do whatever we want and shall still be saved.

On the other hand it is very strange that it are just such preachers who talk so ferociously about salvation and no works needed for salvation, who also preach about damnation in a hell, a place of eternal fire.

Luckily the Bible speaks about the end of our life by death, and that we once we die shall not be able to feel anything any more. No frustrations, no pain, no sorrow any more when we die. Then it shall all be finished, but then it shall also be too late if we did not choose for God and did not work at our own self.

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Salvation and Righteousness
  2. Elul Observances
  3. God’s wrath and sanctification
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. Outflow of foundational relationship based on acceptance of Jesus
  6. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  7. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  8. Cognizance at the doorstep or at the internet socket
  9. Good and bad things in this world
  10. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  11. Myth 12: The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  12. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  13. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  14. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  15. Humbleness
  16. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  17. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong
  18. Being of good courage running the race
  19. Bearing fruit
  20. To Soar In The Spirit You Have To Be Hard Core
  21. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  22. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  23. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  24. As Christ’s slaves doing the Will of God in gratitude
  25. 2014 Religion
  26. Disobedient man and God’s promises
  27. From pain to purpose
  28. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #17 Sorts of prayers
  29. God’s forgotten Word 5 Lost Lawbook 4 The ‘Catholic’ church
  30. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  31. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  32. When not seeing or not finding a biblically sound church

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Further reading

  1. No one is saved by the law. Salvation is by faith through Grace.
  2. The Justification of Abraham
  3. St. Paul Didn’t Say Faith Alone
  4. The Law of Diminishing Returns
  5. A Call to Dare God
  6. The Tangible Presence of God
  7. Devotion for Monday After the Second Sunday in Lent, Year C (ELCA Daily Lectionary)
  8. Grace is a soft gospel for soft Christians & The Hyper-Grace Gospel Makes People Lazy
  9. Did God really say “Prevenient” Grace
  10. Can someone who genuinely loves the God of Israel, prays to Him and trusts him go to hell? The New Testament says…
  11. I was wrong – but I am right – Calvinists preach a false gospel.
  12. The pain of radical grace
  13. The power of grace
  14. Seeing Christ
  15. (12/04/2015) By More Than Believing
  16. Faith Child – Forget the poor!
  17. (01/13/2016) How To Treat Unbelievers?
  18. Repent so that you can understand
  19. Faithfulness
  20. Faith Without Works (Pastor Joe Taylor)
  21. Faith without Works ??? (1 Way to live)
  22. Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life: Faith Alone Does Not Save
  23. The Works
  24. Faith in Action
  25. Put Your Faith Into Action
  26. Fashion advice?
  27. Intentional God
  28. The Sower of Seeds: A Parable of Jesus
  29. Matthew 23:23 [Coming Soon]
  30. Studies in Mark (Pt. 8)
  31. Galatians 5:4 [Unfinished]
  32. Galatians 6:7-9 [Unfinished]
  33. Ephesians 2:8-9
  34. Titus 3:5-7
  35. NT Reading – October 5
  36. James 1:14-20 — Faith that Works!
  37. James, Part 2
  38. The Book that Almost Wasn’t: Faith, Lists, and Works ~ James 2
  39. Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2
  40. Faith Without Works Is Dead
  41. Putting Legs to Their Faith
  42. Are You a doer???
  43. Are You Willing to do more???
  44. Mincing no Words
  45. Epistle for September 6, 2015
  46. Tell it Tuesday w/ B.Parker|How To Pray When Life Isn’t Going Your Way
  47. Tell it Tuesday w/ B. Parker| It’s 2am and No One is Answering…Who To Call?
  48. Childish Thinking
  49. Are You A Weed?
  50. Sneaky Subjectivism
  51. What Future?
  52. Intentional Avoidance, Disconnected Ignorance, or Disinterested Forgetfulness?
  53. We Are All Damaged Goods…
  54. Just Sitting There
  55. The Subnormal Christian Life
  56. 14 How to Work Your Way to Hell
  57. Faith Life Congruence
  58. We pray and plead with you…”Do You Job!”
  59. Gospel Doctrine 2015 – Lesson 42 – “Pure Religion”

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Rom 10:13-15 MKJV  For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (14)  How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without preaching?  (15)  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”

For they who do not believe should come to hear and should receive an opportunity to get to know the grace given to all people. People can only call on the Name of God when they do believe. Only then when we call onto God’s Name, Jehovah, shall we be saved. This is a condition to become saved which too many do forget. Also they who do not believe the Gospel as the record which God has given of his Son are missing a lot, and those who do believe are responsible for that, when they do not make the effort of preaching. But those who go out into the world to tell the Good News are recognised as people doing beautiful work, because how can others hear without preaching? Naturally there can only be preached rightly by those who believe and by those who are sent, showing others their faith and gladly willing to share the Good News they themselves heard and got convinced of.

The apostle turns from the responsibility of the seeker after salvation to emphasize the role that believers are intended to have in God’s plan for preaching the gospel. Calling on the Lord is meaningless apart from some assurance that He is worthy of confidence and trust, that He has something to offer that guilty sinners need. Calling on Him and trust in Him are two sides of the same coin. The verse suggests that calling on the Lord continues to be a mark of the believer, not simply the first step in the direction of establishing relationship to him.

1Co 1:2 MKJV  to the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called out with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.

One must hear the gospel before a person can be expected either to receive it or reject it. Without people preaching there can be no hearing. Without witnessing there can be no thought or consideration about what could be true or not, or people would not get to know. Certain King James Versions have “without a preacher” – which may be misleading, in that it implies (or it may be inferred there-from) that there is a special office of preacher. This is of course not the case at all: all God’s children are (or should be) preachers!

People do need to hear about Jesus, the son of God. They should come to know what that Nazarene man has done and who his heavenly Father is and for what that eternal Spirit is so important for mankind. Those who do believe should know the importance of their knowledge and out of love for the others they should want others to know that truth as well. When a person believes unto righteousness with the heart he shall be glad to be able to confess with with the mouth unto salvation not being put to shame knowing that when he calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Saint Peter preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs

Saint Peter preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The apostle Paul rightly observes that it all goes back to the preaching of the gospel, and preachers, those who profess the Word of God, must be sent – both by God and the Christian community at large. It does not have to be special university people, but men and women willing to share the Gospel in Jesus’ name. God’s “normal” way of bringing people to Jesus Christ is through the preaching of the gospel, which has to happen through faithful people who follow the example of Christ Jesus and do what he had demanded his disciples.

God’s cursing or blessing is upon us, also according to our faithfulness in preaching the Word. God has committed unto us, in our ministry, the word of His reconciliation.

2Co 5:17-21 KJV  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (18)  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  (20)  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  (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.

When we choose to become baptised in the name of Jesus we wanted to become in Messiah reborn, becoming a new creation. From then onwards our shyness in the world should be gone having the old things having passed away. Shyness refers to passivity, emotional arousal, and excessive self-focus in the presence of other people ( Jones, Cheek, and Briggs 1986). It also frequently involves negative self-evaluations, social avoidance, and withdrawal. (International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family, 2003). Being reborn we have received a new soul (being) not focusing as such on the self, but on the totality of union in Christ. Arousal and heightened self-consciousness in response to social threat can be put aside when one is confirmed about the truth and its value. The experiences of shyness are often sufficiently unpleasant to lead to withdrawal from or avoidance of many social situations, but they also compound the distress of shyness by distracting from skilled and self-confident social interactions. When a person his faith sits deep in him it will give him enough assurance to conquer that shyness to witness for Christ Jesus and for his heavenly Father, the only One God.

Facing all those new things which are from God we want to share with others that in Jesus Christ the Messiah Jehovah God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us.  We are by the baptism in spirit taken away from the doubt and fear from man and therefore should want to be ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were making His appeal through us.

The apostles and members of the first communities begged the community members on behalf of Messiah, to be reconciled to God and to share the Good News with others.  Though it was not easy, because many had seen what had happened to Christ Jesus, and knew that there were fierce opponents of the teachings of this master teacher. It was the Most High Almighty Elohim Who made the Sent One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. By his offering we are bought and are now facing freedom, if we want. It is not by deeds of righteousness which we had done ourselves, but because of God His mercy. It is by the blessing of Jesus his offering that we can become saved through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing of the Ruach ha-Kodesh,  whom Jehovah abundantly poured out on us through Messiah Jeshua our Saviour, so that being set right by his grace, we might become heirs with the confident hope of eternal life!

Tit 3:5-7 MKJV  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  (6)  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  (7)  that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The Messiah or Christ was a man who did not want to do his own will but preferred to do only the will of his heavenly Father. He love God’s ecclesia and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26). Like Jesus took care that the dirt of the earth was washed away by the Word of God we also should where we come try to wash away the dirt of this contemporary world.

At baptism the believer becomes a part of Christ’s new “creation” (Ephesians 2:10;  4:23-24; Collosians 3:10). That new creation is so incredible and presents such a magic future we do not want to keep it for ourselves alone. Real believers in Christ do want to become like Christ sharers of the Good News. Being washed… sanctified, we are prepared to do the work for God. It is the will to get to know the Word of God better which should bring us to read it more and to share it with others. It is not be going to a special college reading lots of human writings and philosophies that we shall get more knowledge to bring people to God. God has given everything we need in His Word. All is there in that Book of books, the Bible, God His infallible Word which says all.

Without the faith in Jesus we shall not be able to succeed. We need to have faith in Jesus so that we can call on Jesus. And we need to call on Jesus because calling on Jesus, searching for Jesus, crying out for Jesus is what brings us salvation. Through calling on Jesus, we are saved.
So why do we preach?
So that we may be saved.

We need to be saved from our own captivity. We all need to be set free from something that may keep us away from our loving heavenly Father, the Divine Creator.

The world has to know what God provided. they should come to know that there is a possibility of real peace. But they also should get to know that it will be God Who rules.

Isa 52:7-10 MKJV  How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, making peace heard; who brings good news, making salvation heard; who says to Zion, Your God reigns!  (8)  The voice of Your watchmen shall lift up! They lift up the voice together; they sing aloud. For they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah shall bring again Zion.  (9)  Break out, sing together, waste places of Jerusalem; for Jehovah has comforted His people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.  (10)  Jehovah has bared His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

As in the time before Christ Jesus it was nice to see the messengers of God bringing good tidings. Now it is our time to bring such good tidings. We have hear them and we should be convinced of the importance of them.

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Sout...

4 days of Evangelism Training in Southern California provided by LivingWaters Ministry. Obeying the great commission of Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone” Mark 16:15 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Good Tidings publishes peace and brings confirmation about the sent one from God, who is the Messiah and fulfilled his duties here on earth. God reigns and has given Jeshua the authority to prepare His Kingdom and to reign on earth. We are looking for that Kingdom of God and belief that it is a reality which can be there for much more people than it is at the moment. Therefore we should be willing to show the way to Jerusalem, the physical but even more the spiritual Jerusalem. More and more we can see how the Plan of God gets shape and how we come closer to the execution of that Plan.

The freedom that awaits us has to be spoken off. But first we need to liberate us from our own weaknesses, bad things we are burdened with. We must see that we can make ourselves free from the bad things of this world first. There  may be things which are holding us captive. There  may be many things holding onto us.

Andy Burns, who believes the goal of life is to get so close to that light that we are breathing in the light and exhaling it out into the world, writes:

Maybe you’re dealing with a very real kind of captivity like addiction. Maybe you have an addiction to a physical substance-alcohol, drugs, those kinds of things-or maybe you’re addicted to something more abstract-your work, money, maybe you’re addicted to other people’s approval of you. And this addiction controls when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you eat, where you work, where you go after work, how hard you work. You’re not free.

Or maybe you deal with an intensely personal problem like low self-esteem or self-doubt or depression. And maybe this controls you in ways that surprise you-you want a certain job but you don’t believe you can do it. You want to speak up but you don’t believe in yourself in enough to find the words. You want to get to know someone, but you don’t believe they could ever like you. You’re not free.

Or maybe you deal with some pain in your past. Maybe you’ve been seriously hurt-either physically or emotionally by their words or both. Maybe it was a parent, a friend, a spouse, a child. And maybe this old would is holding you captive, keeping you from enjoying life, making you avoid certain situations and people. You’re not free.

See, I think all need to be freed from something. We all need freedom and transformation in our lives. And according to Paul in our passage, this is the message that preachers are entrusted with. This is the reason we preach here. Preachers preach so that people can hear about Jesus. People need to hear about Jesus so that we may have faith in Jesus. People need to have faith in Jesus so that they can call on Jesus. And people need to call on Jesus so that we may be set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the message that we proclaim every week. This is what we all need to hear and what we all need to be reminded of, week in and week out. You can be free in Jesus Christ. {Stuff My Church Does I: Preaching}

People do have to hear about Jesus and each believer in Christ should take care of that. We do have to go out into the world and tell about the marvellous gift we received. We do have to invite others to share with us the grace which has been given to us.

What would it look like if we invited others here to hear the freedom of God proclaimed in the Word of God? What would it look like if we all brought this Word out into our community and saw it as our job to proclaim this freedom that everyone needs to those around us? Just think of the transformation that would happen. I think it would look pretty amazing. {Stuff My Church Does I: Preaching}

Let us all joining and be workers for the Lord, going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to everyone. (Mark 16:15 )

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Preceding articles:

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world

Looking for a shepherd for the sheep and goats

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

Not making yourselves abominable

Where are the female writers

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Preaching by example

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading:

  1. Where is the edge
  2. Remember the day
  3. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  4. Counterfeit Gospels
  5. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  6. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ
  7. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  8. Jehovah steep rock and fortress, source of insight
  9. Hearing words to accept
  10. Atonement And Fellowship 2/8
  11. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  12. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  13. The Right One to follow and to worship
  14. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  15. Hope by faith and free gift
  16. Showing by the scriptures that …
  17. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  18. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  19. Establish your hearts blameless in holiness
  20. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  21. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  22. Breathing to teach
  23. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritually
  24. Belgian Christadelphians 2013 & 2014 in review
  25. Stepping Toes 2014 in review
  26. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  27. A prophet to restore
  28. Imitate prophets and Paul
  29. Oratory Style
  30. Counting sands and stars
  31. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  32. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  33. Bringing Good News into the world
  34. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  35. Holland Week of billing
  36. Faith and trial
  37. Faith a commitment to the promises of Christ and to to the demands of Christ
  38. How should we preach?
  39. The Rapture Wars
  40. Not many coming out with their community name
  41. Writers needed to preach to non-believers
  42. Jehovah can make him stand
  43. Our openness to being approachable
  44. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  45. Glory of God appearing in our character
  46. A Society pleading poverty
  47. Good or bad preacher
  48. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #9 Prayer #7 Reason to pray
  49. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  50. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  51. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  52. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships

+++

Also of interest

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs

Silencing Women – Of God or Men ?

There are 2 passages in the Bible which  appear to say that women should be silent in church.

1 Cor. 14:34-35  & 1 Tim. 2:11-12

A closer look shows that they are talking about different things and use a different Greek word for silence.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

“ Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

Notice that it doesn’t just say that women can’t speak – even if they have a question they must ask their husbands at home. This implies that husbands are able to answer their wives spiritual questions.

Notice also that Paul appeals to the law, but he doesn’t say where he’s quoting from.

What’s also interesting is it seems to be the ONLY time Paul says he’s quoting the Old Testament, and he doesn’t back it up with the quote.

Let’s take a look at Paul’s normal writing style when he says he’s quoting scripture.

CITING QUOTES – (Thanks to Ian McHaffie for his research on this)

Paul introduces an Old Testament quote by “It is written” about 30 times and Includes full quote

Paul says “it says” or “the law says”  about 25 times and includes the quote.

Sometimes Paul just quotes with no introduction about 36 times

So that’s a total of 91 times where Paul gives the actual quote.

The only where he says he’s quoting scripture, but doesn’t say where, seems to be this verse .

1 Cor. 1:1–2a from the 14th century Minuscule 223

1 Cor. 1:1–2a from the 14th century Minuscule 223

It seems strange that if this is a weighty passage intended to stop women speaking for all time – that Paul doesn’t back it up with the exact scripture in the way he normally does. There’s another possibility. Corinthians was written to mostly Gentile believers living in a Roman city.  Maybe it’s Roman Law mentioned here.

ROMAN LAW

The word “law ”in 1 Cor. 14  can mean  any law whatever -not just the law of Moses.  For example Rom.3:27 “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith – so here the word law refers to a law of works and a law of faith.  It’s possible the word Law in 1 Cor. 14  could be referring to yet another Law – the Roman Law. Under Roman law a woman was subject to a man all her life.  The Romans had a law called Patria Potestas -power of a father – absolute authority – power over life and death.  When his daughter married this power could either go to her husband to have control over her, or stay with the father, whichever way, she was always controlled by a man.

But the traditional church argument has been that Paul is referring to Genesis and a Law that women must submit to men.  Let’s see if such a law exists.

GENESIS 3:16 is where the traditional argument takes us back to – the events in Eden.

“Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

What is the context of this verse ?  It’s often been interpreted through Paul – but let’s think about it again realising that we don’t know if Paul was referring to it.

What happened in Eden was a breakdown of relationships, especially with God, and it lead to sin.  When Eve was tempted she didn’t turn to God, she turned to her husband.  It was a mistake to turn to her husband, she should have turned to God.

It’s also interesting that the term, “cursed”, arur, is absent from God’s announcement to Eve. The serpent is cursed above all the animals and punished, and because of Adam’s sin, the earth is cursed. But nothing is cursed, using the word ‘arur ‘because of Eve. 

Let’s compare this verse in Gen. with Paul’s verse in Corinthian –

“Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16

“They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as also the law says. If they want to learn something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” 1 Cor. 14:34

Notice that The verse in Genesis isn’t a commandment, it’s a statement  -That men WILL rule over women – a prophecy. The verse in Cor. says that women MUST be submissive to men – this is a commandment to obey, two different things.

The question is – is Paul really referring to Genesis?

The traditional view is that Paul expanded what was said in Genesis, that he in fact gave it a different meaning than we would otherwise take from it.

But why would Paul appeal to the Law in this verse, when he says so many times we are no longer under the law?

LAW QUOTES

“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” Galatians 3:13

“If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18

This Law of sin and death that we are set free from goes back to Eden.  Paul is clearly referring to it and saying we are no longer under it – we still die, but if we are in Christ it doesn’t have a hold over us in a spiritual sense.

So what is this law that Paul is referring to?  It’s inconsistent to say we’re NOT under the law and then to enforce it in 1 Cor. 14. Could it just be the Roman Law?  Or could there be a fuller explanation?

When Jesus was tempted to take a passage of scripture at face value during his temptation in the wilderness, His response was to say “IT IS ALSO WRITTEN”. He considered the broader picture of what else the scriptures had to say.   So now I’d like to do the same.  Let’s think about the rest of the Bible and what it has to say about the silence of women.  Let’s start by looking at some women in the Old Testament.

The Bible provides examples of women who led, spoke out, and gave wise instruction to both men and women.

I’ve heard it said that men shouldn’t listen to women because Eve deceived Adam – more about that later- but we have  the  example of David hearkening to the voice Abigail and it was a good thing. She stopped him from sinning.   There’s the example of Deborah who judged and led Israel.

Esther who saved the nation by having the courage to speak out – A Jewish girl who married a foreign King at a time when other Jews were forcing men to divorce their foreign wives. (more about that in next post)

Huldah the prophetess  -The King and priests – the most important men in all the land – went to her to hear God’s word.

Miriam was chosen by God to lead Israel along with Moses and Aaron.

NO -There weren’t as many women as men in leadership roles but there’s enough to show they DID have God’s approval. I don’t believe it was God  who told women to be silent but the prophecy of male dominance taking effect.

RABBIS –Let’s  have a quick look at Jewish thinking by the time of Jesus and Paul.  As well as the Law of Moses they had all the interpretations of it by Rabbis known as the Mishnah and Talmud. These are some examples of what they said.

“Out of respect to the congregation, a woman should not herself read in the law.”

“It is a shame for a woman to let her voice be heard among men.”

“Even the sound of a woman’s voice is lustful.”

Josephus summed them up:

            “Thus says the scripture, a woman is inferior to her husband in all things.”

So clearly these Rabbis thought women were inferior to men and made statements to say that the scriptures backed them up.  There’s definitely no scripture which says that a woman is inferior to her husband in all things –it was a story going around because of how the Rabbis re-interpreted scripture.

Let’s compare these sayings with what Jesus said.

WHAT JESUS SAID

“For you have one Teacher, and you are all brethren (includes male and female).  And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called instructors (Rabbi, Master), for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.  The greatest among you will be your servant.”Matt. 23:9-11 NIV

So we are not to call anyone but Jesus our instructor or leader. It’s Jesus women turn to for ultimate guidance, not their husband, nor people who wrongly interpret scripture. Likewise it’s Jesus men should turn to, not their wives. Jesus is our leader.  How can women ask spiritual questions of their husbands at home if they don’t have a husband?

Let’s think about a woman with no husband. In John 4  Jesus broke the protocol of the day by talking to a woman alone. She had no husband to ask questions of.

The disciples left their nets to follow Jesus, but she left her water pot to go and preach.  She was the first person to be told by Jesus that He was the Messiah

She spoke to the people (including men), of the town and “many came to believe because of the words she spoke.

She was the FIRST to hear Jesus words and go out preaching the good news.

This was clearly an example of a woman preaching the good news of Jesus to men.  This woman grasped the message of Jesus and ran with it – she didn’t need a husband to know what the right thing to do was.

Jesus TRAVELLED WITH WOMEN we are told in Luke 8:2

He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women.” Luke 8:2

After His resurrection He APPEARED FIRST TO A WOMAN & TOLD HER TO PROCLAIM HIS RESURRECTION – just as we should be doing now.

In John 20:17 Jesus said to Mary

“Go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.”

We are told in Luke 24:11 that “It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.”

Mary became known as the “apostle to the apostles” because Jesus chose her to give the news of His resurrection to the other disciples.  We are told that the 11 men didn’t believe her.  We are also told that Jesus rebuked them sternly for this.

Mark 16:14  “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven … he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen”.

Jesus wasn’t impressed when the men refused to believe these women who were proclaiming the resurrection, especially when they had been instructed by Jesus Himself to proclaim it.  This is a powerful point and warning to men who refuse to listen to women proclaim the gospel.

The  New Testament is full of examples of women preaching alongside  men.  Just a few examples here.

Acts 2 says ALL received the holy spirit, ALL spoke in tongues.”  This is what was spoken by Joel the prophet in chapter 2:

“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,  your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
It was an exciting time for the church – men and women were working together  to proclaim the gospel.                      

We are told that Phoebe (a woman) was a servant/deacon of the church in Cenchrea in Romans 16:1-2,  and that Priscilla and her husband Aquila were a preaching team “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:26, 1 Cor. 16:9

Priscilla and Aquilla taught Apollos, they are mentioned together about 5 times and usually it’s Priscilla who is mentioned first.   So in the New Testament  we hear of  women speaking and preaching together with men.

But what of the two difficult verses by Paul which seem to say at face value that women are to be silent???

CONTEXT

–Before we look at the quote in 1 Cor. 14 Let’s think about the context within the rest of 1 Corinthians.  Paul doesn’t expect women to be silent because –

1 Cor. 11  discusses what men and WOMEN will wear when PRAYING AND PROPHESYING– both spoken activities.

1 Cor. 14:5 says “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy”.

1 Cor. 14:26 says “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.”

1 Cor.14:39 says Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy” (NIV)

In the IMMEDIATE CONTEXT  – Paul approved and encouraged both men and women speaking in the ecclesial meetings.

In the WIDER CONTEXT – Women spoke, judged, prophesied, led.

EXPLAINING 1 COR. 14:34-35

It seems to me that 1 Cor. 14:34-35 can’t be saying the opposite of what is established by the rest of the Bible.  Women did instruct and speak both in the Old Testament and New Testament WITH GOD’S APPROVAL.

The difficulty with 1 Cor. Is that Paul is answering a whole series of questions.  We have the answers but not the questions, nor the punctuation in the original Greek to make the questions stand out.  We know that all through 1 Cor. Paul is answering questions that have been written to him. 1 Cor. 7:1  makes this clear when Paul says Now for the matters you wrote about”.

I believe that the strongest explanation for this puzzling verse is that it’s actually Paul quoting one of these questions that he’s been asked .

1 Corinthians 14 is a QUOTATION of the matters they wrote about.

This is what it looks like if we put the words of Paul in italics

                                    QUOTATION  1 Cor. 14:34-35

Paul’s words Italics

And the spirits of  prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

“As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for women to speak in  church”.(PART PAUL IS QUOTING THEY HAVE WRITTEN TO HIM ABOUT)

 What?

Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?” (Paul dismisses the idea as nonsense)

I think this passage is the outcome of the Rabbis re-interpreting Genesis 3:16, something that was the thinking of the day, and is one of the “things you wrote about” which Paul refers to.

This theory makes sense of the strange exclamation of “What” at the start of verse 36 -It’s Paul’s dismissal of such an idea that women can’t speak. If we understand it like this, then Paul’s message takes on the opposite meaning to the traditional view. It’s dismissing the silly idea of women not being able to speak. Let’s look more closely at Paul’s dismissal of the idea.

If we understand that the passage is something quoted – then this response from Paul makes sense.  The problem verses would be a whole new teaching that contradicts Jesus.

Women to be silent and ask questions of their husbands? Paul challenges this new teaching with two questions.

  1. “Came the word out from you?”  – The word came out from Jesus not these men.
  2. “Came it unto you only?” “only” =  alone –  without a companion.  Were these men alone receiving a new teaching and not the women?

In Jesus women are “Sons of God”. Being male or female doesn’t matter, they are born of God’s will not men’s will, nor a husbands will.

“To all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12

Let’s move on the Paul’s other difficult quote in 1st Timothy

What was Paul’s Purpose of Writing to Timothy?

Paul tells Timothy to stay in Ephesus – so that he could command certain people not to teach false doctrine.  So our setting is Ephesus in the 1st Century and there is a problem with wrong doctrine. Lets’ try and go back in time to ancient Ephesus, and try to understand the wrong doctrines that were in circulation.

ANCIENT EPHESUS –   Was the home of the Temple of Artemis – one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

Ephesus was the trade centre of the ancient world. It was a melting pot of myths.

Trying to understand these myths is useful when thinking about the problems that Paul is addressing in his letter to Timothy

Archeological site Ephesus at the time of Marcus Ampe's 1992 visit

Archaeological site Ephesus at the time of Marcus Ampe’s 1992 visit

Besides the cult of Artemis, there is evidence of various mystery religions, the practice of magic (Acts 19:19), worship of Egyptian gods as well as a large number of other gods.Legend has it that the city of Ephesus was founded by the Amazon women who also built the first temple to Artemis.  Ancient Statues of the Amazon women still exist. Artemis, according to Greek mythology, is one of the virgin goddesses who remained independent and free of any man. She is the Goddess of pregnant women and childbirth, Goddess of all animals and Goddess of the hunt.

Let’s think about the Amazon women who supposedly founded Ephesus.

AMAZON WOMEN – According to Greek mythology the Amazons were a nation of all female warriors who originated from Northern Turkey. They were skilled warriors who rode horses, enslaved men and forced them to build the city of Ephesus. They also worshipped Artemis.  By the time of Paul Artemis had merged into Diana of the Ephesians.

DIANA of the Ephesians

We know from Acts 18 that Diana was worshipped all over the Roman Empire, and this is confirmed by ancient coins which even call her “Saviour”. From Acts 19:27 we have the quote

“The goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world.”

She had many titles, one of them was PROTECTOR OF WOMEN IN CHILDBIRTH

The Roman Diana had evolved from the Greek One.  The idea of powerful independent women was reinforced in the Artemis cult because unlike other Greek goddesses, Artemis had no need of a male partner. Images of the Amazon women also lined her temple in Ephesus.

Philosophers, Myths -As we’ve seen Ephesus was a breeding ground for myths and also attracted philosophers.  Paul said –

“Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified.” 1 Cor. 1:20-25

Ephesus, library of Celsus - Photo by Marcus Ampe

Ephesus, library of Celsus – Photo by Marcus Ampe

Here in Ephesus the thinkers of the age came together.   There was a statue in the library in AD 117 where wisdom or Sophia was personified as a woman.

At some stage there were the Gnostic stories going around.  It’s hard to date the origin of the Gnostic stories as they evolved over time, but it seems likely that the ideas that fed them would have been present in Ephesus at the time of Pauls writings. This is one of the Gnostic texts which mentions Eve as the daughter of Sophia (Wisdom) who wakes Adam from sleep.

Myth – Eve made first (difficult to date the origins of these myths)

Sophia sent Zoe, her daughter, who is called “Eve,” as an instructor in order that she might raise up Adam, in whom there is no spiritual soul so that those whom he could beget might also become vessels of light. When Eve saw her companion, who was so much like her, in his cast down condition she pitied him, and she exclaimed: “Adam, live! Rise up upon the earth!” Immediately her words produced a result for when Adam rose up, right away he opened his eyes. When he saw her, he said: “You will be called ‘mother of the living’, because you are the one who gave me life.“  from ‘On the Origin of the World’

We’ll keep these ideas in mind while we look at Paul’s other difficult passage.

Paul’s other difficult passage

SILENCING WOMEN ?  1 Tim 2:11-15

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. And she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”

At face value Paul appears to be silencing women because Adam was made first and wasn’t deceived like Eve was.  He appears to be giving Adam an elevated status and endorsing a MALE HIERARCHY.  Let’s see how these ideas compare to the teachings of Jesus.

                                                 Would Paul contradict Jesus?          What did Jesus say?

NO HIERARCHY

“Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.  The greatest among you will be your servant.”

Matt.23:11“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”  Mark 10:43

“Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35

ORDER DOESN’T MATTER

“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matt. 19:30

Younger brothers chosen: Jacob not Esau, Isaac not Ishmael, Joseph ruler of older brothers, David the youngest son

WHAT PAUL APPEARS TO SAY

MALE HIERARCHY ?

  “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” 1 Tim. 2:12

  “They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.  If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” 1 Cor. 14:34-35

   “The head of the woman is man” 1 Cor. 11:3

DOES ORDER REALLY MATTER ?

     “She must be quiet.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” 1 Tim 2:13

Conclusion – At face value – the words of Jesus and the words of Paul don’t seem to agree.

Let’s compare Paul’s words in here to some of his other words.

Would Paul contradict himself?
The question is – Would Paul really command all women to be silent when
he has encouraged them to speak?

1 Cor. 11  discusses what men and WOMEN will wear when PRAYING AND PROPHESYING– both spoken activities.
1 Cor. 14:5 – “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy”.
1 Cor. 14:26 – “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.”
1 Cor.14:39Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy” (NIV)

Would Paul say order matters in one place when he said it doesn’t in another?

1 Cor. 11:11-12 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. And everything comes from God.”

Compared to

‘Women are to be silent for man was formed first.’

So once again – at face value – Paul’s words are very puzzling. Let’s think about Timothy the young man Paul is writing to.

Timothy’s Background

Paul begins his letter by saying –

“To Timothy, my dear son…

I thank God, whom I serve… I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Tim 1

Let’s compare this to our difficult passage

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” 1 Tim. 2:12

Again the passages seem to clash.  Would Paul really silence Timothy’s mother and Grandmother? In 2 Timothy he commends them, he even seems to say that Timothy’s faith had been nurtured by his mother and grandmother. It would seem very much that they had in fact been teachers to Timothy

Let’s think about another part of the difficult Timothy Passage.

Verse 14

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Tim 2:14

A misunderstanding of 1 Tim 2: 12  has caused  Eve to be blamed for the original sin which brought down mankind – yet Adam and Eve were together in the transgression.  Eve turned to Adam when she was deceived. Adam knowingly sinned.

It’s interesting that in Eden God had given the command not to eat of the tree of knowledge to Adam – before Eve was made.  It would seem that Eve was told about the command via Adam, and  what Eve told the serpent was not quite what God Told Adam.

After they ate the fruit it was Adam that God spoke to- the one given the original command from God.  Adam’s guilty verdict starts with “Because you listened to your wife,” which gives the impression that listening to his wife is his main misdoing;  this is NOT what it’s about at all.
The point of Adam listening to his wife was not about listening to a woman, and therefore all men should never listen to women- the point was  about  Adam messing up and disobeying the direct and  clear command from God.  Adam deliberately sinned by eating the fruit, he knew it was wrong and still did it anyway. Eve had been deceived by wrong doctrine, she wasn’t sure if it was wrong anymore.

Paul said repeatedly that is was ADAM who  brought sin into the world.

     IT IS ALSO WRITTEN

            “For as in Adam all die”1 Cor. 15:22

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” Rom. 5:12

It’s very likely that the church in Ephesus would have read Paul’s letters to the Romans and Corinthians Letters which stated that Sin came into the world by one man – Adam.  It’s very likely that the women were questioning whether Eve was part of the original sin of Adam.  In 1 Timothy Paul is emphasising that women were drawn into the transgression by being deceived, that is the point here – to correct wrong doctrine.  It seems likely that some women were saying that Eve was not part of Adam’s sin.

Different Greek words for silence

Next let’s compare our difficult verse in Cor. with our difficult verse in Timothy.

The translators have used the same English word “SILENCE” in these 2 passages.  But in Greek the  words are different with different meanings.  The word for silence in the Cor. passage means silence as we understand it – without sound.

But the word in the Timothy passage doesn’t necessarily mean to be without sound – It has more of a slant to meaning stillness, or behaving in a quiet way, or settling down.

COMPARE -So let’s compare our Timothy passage with another passage which uses the same word for silence – only this time the translators decided to call it quietness.

1 Timothy 2:11-15

“Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.”

2 Thes. 3:11

“We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread…14And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

So in this passage the same word takes on the meaning of quietness.  It’s the Greek word hesychia, it’s not the word sigan, “refrain from speaking”, used in 1 Corinthians 14  when speakers in tongues, prophets and the women are told to be silent. “Quiet” in verse 2 of the same chapter in Timothy means “free from disruption or persecution”, and it has been suggested that Paul meant the same in verse 11, i.e. that no attempt should be made to disrupt the process of a woman being taught.

Traditional Interpretation

Let’s compare the traditional interpretation with an alternative one

Traditional interpretation

Women are to be silent because Adam was made first. A universal rule from Paul to apply to all women for all time.

Alternative interpretation –

Deceived women teaching wrong doctrines are to stop teaching and learn in quietness. Advice for a local situation to women who still needed to learn and were leading others astray. Other women like Priscilla were ready to teach and  they did.

1 Tim 1   What was PAULS PURPOSE OF WRITING TO TIMOTHY?

1 Tim 1:3  says

“Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies.”

NOTICE:  Paul’s command was only for ‘certain people’ – the ones teaching wrong doctrine. 

FROM THE CONTEXT OF 1 TIM. 2 The Wrong Doctrines appear to be

– Doubts about Jesus being human

– Angry men

– Women overdressing

EVE MADE FIRST and not part of Adam’s transgression

– HAVING CHILDREN WAS BAD or women hoped Diana would saved them in childbirth

Paul’s comments – Wrong Doctrines

I want to try to explain this passage by comparing what Paul is saying, to what appears to be the wrong doctrines  he’s referring to.

Remember that in chapter one Paul told Timothy to stop some of the people from teaching – the people to stop teaching were the ones spreading wrong doctrine.

“Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer  or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies.”

Then in chapter two he goes on the say who those certain people are he is not allowing to teach – it is directed at a woman or perhaps a group of women.

I don’t allow a woman (with wrong doctrine – who is still following the myths and genealogies) to teach nor to “usurp authority”  (act of herself – independently of the men) but to learn quietly.

For Adam WAS formed first.  Remember we know that there were ideas circulating in the Gnostic writings that Eve woke Adam.  It’s not unreasonable to suppose that those ideas were forming at the time of Paul’s writingsPaul is not saying

“Women must be silent because Adam was made first”

He’s saying that women with wrong doctrine must not teach and the fact is that Adam WAS made first, and that Eve WAS in the transgression.

Paul warned of those who claimed to have true knowledge but had a false knowledge (gnosis “Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge (gnosis)” 1Tim.6:20

WOMEN HAVING AUTHORITY

The Greek word for “AUTHORITY” that Paul uses in this verse is unique – it’s the only time it appears in the Bible.

1 Tim 2:12  “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence (meaning quietness).”

Authority – authenteo –means “to act of oneself” a SELF WORKER

The  most common word used for authority in the New Testament is

– exousia– means power or authority – used 103 times

We know from the context of 1 Timothy that there were women in Ephesus who were trying to dominate but they were lead astray by wrong doctrine and still needed to learn. We know there was a culture in Ephesus of Diana worship  and of the worship of independent women who had once dominated men – according to myth.

 Paul is saying that women with wrong doctrine were not to be self workers, not to be independent of the men.

It should also be noted that Paul is not saying that men can have authority over women or be  self workers – MEN  can’t work independently  of women – JUST AS WOMEN CAN’T WORK INDEPENDENTLY OF MEN.

Saved through childbearing?

            What does Paul’s statement mean that women will be saved through childbearing?

            I don’t believe this verse is saying that women are saved by the birth of Jesus.

            It’s not saying “through the childbirth” there is no “the” in the Greek.  It is in the same sense of childbearing that he uses in chapter five.

1 Tim. 2:15  “And women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

1 Tim. 5:14  “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.”

Women are not saved by a different process  MEN AND WOMEN are saved by grace – by belief in God and Jesus.

            But idle widows at Ephesus were being deceived by wrong doctrine (turning after Satan). Perhaps they were following the wrong teaching of abstaining from marriage.  Perhaps Paul suggested that marrying, having children and keeping busy would save them from being led astray as Eve had been by wrong teaching.

             Paul silences Men

Paul didn’t only silence women, he also silenced men.  He silenced anyone with WRONG DOCTRINE !

That’s the real point here.  It’s not a matter of gender – it’s a matter of stopping those who teach wrongly whether they are male or female.

Titus 1:10-14

SINNING PEOPLE (men included) DECEIVING  OTHERS WITH JEWISH FABLES TO BE SILENCED

  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;  Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

            ANOTHER WOMAN WHO TAUGHT WRONG DOCTRINE

Rev 2:24 “Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols….. But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden.”

POINTS

There was no other burden put on the men & women of Thyatira The only one told to be silent is the one with wrong doctrine.

            Jezebel was not condemned for speaking – but for speaking wrongly, for turning after Satan.

Eve’s undoing was that she was deceived by wrong doctrine.  Adam’s undoing was his deliberate sin.

ADAM WAS GIVEN God’s word first – presumably Adam told it to Eve.  After the sin it was Adam who God confronted with the question Have you eaten from the tree that I COMMANDED YOU not to eat from?”Gen 3:11 God didn’t ask this question of Eve.

Adam sinned knowingly, he should have saved Eve when she was deceived.

JESUS -the second and greater Adam – didn’t give in to sin and died to save his bride. Being first didn’t make Adam better than Eve – he sinned.

           Jesus the 2nd Adam is greater that the 1st Adam.  The fact that Adam was formed before Eve doesn’t make him greater.  Paul was more likely correcting wrong doctrine when he made the point that Adam was made first. Probably some were saying that Eve was made first.

MEN are GIVEN the SAME WARNING

2 Cor. 11:3  to both MEN AND WOMEN

 “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray”

So Paul warns MEN as well not to be deceived and fall into sin like Eve.

The point of the passage in Timothy about deception is DON’T MAKE EVE’S MISTAKE – don’t be deceived – turn to God not people

 What about Paul’s advice to young widows? Is Paul’s giving  advice in a Local Context or making a rule for all women for all time?

1 Tim 5:14    “So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, rule their households”

            Compare this to

1 Cor. 7:8  ”Now to the unmarried and the widows

I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.”

(Anna had been a young widow  – SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN. She spoke to “ALL (men and women) who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem”.)

Man as the Head –is  A symbol to show Christ’s relationship with the church… it’s a marriage symbol.  By not understanding this symbol some people have fallen into the “men domination women” relationship of Eden that Christ freed us from.  Man as the head is not about male domination but a relationship in marriage that echoes Jesus saving his bride.

MARRIAGE

THE WIFE- the church

She is presenting a picture of how believers submit to Christ.

THE HUSBAND -symbol of Christ. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.

Someone looking at a believing husband should be able to see a picture of how Christ loved the church.

JESUS & HIS BRIDE – He didn’t tell His bride to be silent – He told her to go into the whole world and preach the gospel

It is also written

We began by looking at 2 quotes that many people have taken at face value.

But Jesus didn’t just take verses at face value, He  also weighed up everything else that God had said.  So Jesus didn’t isolate verses  to mean something that was incompatible with the rest of scripture.

So when we see a verse that says “Women are to be silent for Adam was formed first”

We should also remember the verse that says that man also comes from woman and everything is from God, and the multitude of verses which encourage women to speak, pray, teach.

There is neither Jew nor Greek

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal . 3:28

PAUL’S FINAL COMMENT ABOUT TEACHING

 “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”        “reliable people” = men & women
2 Tim. 2:2 New NIV © 2010

SUMMARY
1 Cor. 14:34-35
Paul was quoting one of the matters that he had been asked about before dismissing it as nonsense.
1 Tim 2:11-15
Deceived women teaching wrong doctrines are to stop teaching and learn in quietness. Advice for a local situation to women who still needed to learn and were leading others astray .  Other women like Priscilla were ready to teach and  they did.

Robin Jones

PPT presentation at  oneinchrist.yolasite.com

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Additional reading:

  1. Be still and listen
  2. Patria Potestas and Ancestor worship
  3. Patria Potestas and Pater familias

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6 Comments

Filed under History, Religious affairs

Not following the tradition of man

Looking for having success we can follow different paths. To come to the most positive way to get somewhere we best look into the very Old book of books, the bible where we can find a lot of advice, better than that of man of today.

English: the first of the Epistles to the Colo...

The first of the Epistles to the Colossians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, following the tradition of men according to the rudiments of the world, and not in accordance with Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 KJ21)

The apostle Paul tells the Colossians,

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition …” (Letter to the Colossians 2:8);

telling them that

“they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23).

What is of value?

It is by

“holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19).

And how does this happen?

By reading the word of God; it provides essential spiritual nourishment that we need every day. But it is not so much a case of trying to stop ourselves doing things that our human nature inclines us toward thinking and doing, but rather trying to occupy our thoughts to a greater degree with spiritual things. The result will be that we will be less and less inclined to indulge in fleshly thoughts and activities, but will grow “with a growth that is from God” as we appreciate his word to an ever greater degree.

Reading the Word of God we can come to get to know the Works of God, His Plan, how He has chosen Himself a people and how we too can become partakers of the promise God made in the Garden of Eden. There a positive message was given to those who had broken the relationship with God. The Creator saw the faults of the 1° Adam and took care that there would come a 2° Adam to save all people. But it would be up to the people themselves to accept or to ignore the Good News of the Saviour.

The promised one was the son of God, the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ). Under his blessing a person can come “in the light of Christ” and can get a positive mind. To come to more knowledge and mature in faith and spirit the person has to open his mind  in such a way that Christ can come in him or her. The one who got to know Christ wants to build a relationship with him and with his followers.

Central to our relationship with God is “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27). “Him we proclaim”, writes Paul, “that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28).

How is your maturity developing? Absorbing the true sense of the divine word is a foundation for this. May we all increase day by day in the “knowledge of God” and become “mature in Christ” so his way of thinking becomes more and more our way of thinking.

Such a right way of thinking shall also create a right way of living and having us taking on the right attitude for living and for having good relationships with others and to become successful in our life. We also can see that like at the beginning of the world the 1° Adam rejected the right of God to be the Master in the world, we do find lots of people who take such an adversary attitude against the Creator as well. They mostly bring lots of negative elements against those who believe in the Creator. They also shall try to do everything to get those believers a negative feeling.

From Scriptures we learn that we should not envy others, but we also come to see how the world develops and which position human beings are going to take in it and how we are set to chose. We also have to make up our choice to whom we want to belong.

Note in the dramatic account of Paul’s experience of shipwreck on the way to Rome in Acts 27 that Paul says

“the God I worship”

and then significantly adds,

“to whom I belong.”

Do we view our God in that way?

Those who are baptised commit their lives into the service of God and of Jesus Christ His son. In the same way, the people of Israel under Moses entered into a covenant with God. Moses told them,

“For thou art a holy people unto Jehovah thy God: Jehovah thy God hath chosen thee to be a people for his own possession, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6 ASV)

Sadly, most of the people in the generations that followed failed to have the sense of belonging to God possessed by those entering the promised land. If we make no commitment to belong to God, then we belong to the world – a world which is facing an awesome shipwreck!

Isaiah has a vision of our days; it describes a time when the kingdoms of men come to an end and “the lofty pride of man shall be humbled” (Isaiah 2:11). It is a message against “every high tower” (Isaiah 2:15) and never have buildings been built higher than today. Later Isaiah sees in vision:

We should be conscious that there shall come a day thta we shall not have to face the day of man but the day of the Adonai, divine Creator Who shall bind up the wounds of His people and shall heal the bruise caused by the blow they received from other man. at that day those who did not want to know of the Name of the Most High shall have to hear that Holy Name of the Adonai, the Most High Lord the elohim Hashem Jehovah. At that day those who did not want to know of Him shall hear and see from afar, his anger burning, in thick rising smoke. they than should know it is too late to avoid His lips full to the brim with fury, His tongue a consuming fire. His breath shall race over them like a tornado or like a racing torrent that rises up to the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and put a bridle in the peoples’ mouths to lead them astray. Shall you be ready and shall your song be like one that is sung on a night when a holy feast is kept, and will your heart be happy, as if walking to the sound of the flute, to the mountain of Jehovah, the Adonai, to the rock of Isra’el?

“24 the oxen likewise and the young asses that till the ground shall eat savory provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fork. 25 And there shall be upon every lofty mountain, and upon every high hill, brooks [and] streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the hurt of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.
27  Behold, the name of Jehovah cometh from far, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue is as a devouring fire; 28 and his breath is as an overflowing stream, that reacheth even unto the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction: and a bridle that causeth to err [shall be] in the jaws of the peoples. 29 Ye shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come unto the mountain of Jehovah, to the Rock of Israel.” (Isaiah 30:24-29 ASV)

Those who do not know God’s word will indeed be terrified. But those who know God’s word, although their faith will be tested – as “man is humbled and each one is brought low” (Isaiah 2:9) – they will then rejoice in the total wonder of those days. Will you be there? You make the answer now!

Therefore it is important that you make the right choice and take the positive route. Not getting afraid of man around you, making you shy and withdrawn, or getting you down even to become depressed, but standing strong not getting intimidated by man, but believing and trusting in the Hand which is much more Powerful than any human person, remembering:

“The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:11 ASV)

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Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Greatest single cause of atheism
  3. Do not be afraid. Good news because a Saviour has been born
  4. Fear not tomorrow. God is already there
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  7. Relationship with God (articles)
  8. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  9. God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace
  10. True riches
  11. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  12. Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin (video)
  13. 8 fears caused by the fear of Man
  14. Fearing the right person
  15. Anxiety is the gap between the now and the later
  16. God become master of our passions
  17. Power in the life of certain
  18. Being sure of their deliverance

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  • Colossians 2 (zachscripturestudy.com)
    Paul warns the Colossians in Colosse about men who will come to them and attempt to confuse them with ‘doctrine of men’
  • Colossians Chapter 2 (pofw.wordpress.com)
    That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
  • Does Paul Condemn Philosophy? (pastorbrianchilton.wordpress.com)
    Some Christians have criticized the use of philosophy due to Paul’s statement against philosophy in Colossians 2:8. Yet, Christianity teaches is knowledgeable, is based on truth, defines the nature and meaning of life, holds great logic, teaches aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Paul himself gives lessons in most of the previously mentioned systems. So, does Paul refute himself? Or is there a problem with the way many interpret Colossians 2:8? So, the question must be asked: does Paul really criticize the use of philosophy? In this article, Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:8 will be exegetically examined and in its proper context and the article will answer whether Paul really condemns philosophy after all.
    +
    Paul uses a form of philosophical apologetics to demonstrate that empty arguments and bad philosophy does not represent the truth. If one places his or her faith in any system that leads one away from the truth, that person will slowly erode into a system of erroneous trust and hedonistic living. That is not to say that one may not have elements of truth, but holding elements of truth does not necessitate that one holds full truth. A little bit of error can lead down a pathway of huge problems.
  • Practise it! (genesisone.wordpress.com)
    We are called and expected to live accordingly, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life. He looks to guide us closer to God, into the meaning and freedom of our true relationship with Him and upwards to our God-given potential and purpose.
  • Colossians 2:8-10 How easy can we be deceived? (ashesofdiversity.wordpress.com)
    If we call ourselves Christians, are we not followers of Christ, and what does that mean? Do we spend time knowing God’s word so we can discern what is a deceit or what is truth?
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    How about using fear as a reason to not do things right. How about following your heart? Keeping yourself so busy you do not have time to study. How about liking certain philosophies even if they are secular, but we spend a lot of time trying to make it work with Christianity because it is more modern.
  • Colossians 2:2-15 (olgatodd.wordpress.com) > Colossians 2:2-15
    See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
    +

    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

  • Moving Through Time: Timeline of Religion (pcr.wpengine.com)
    Since the beginning of time, mankind has formed beliefs of the unexplainable and unknowable. Over thousands of years, these beliefs became traditional, customary, and institutionalized within regional societies. People continue to express an interest in spiritual matters from all corners around the world. Everybody has pondered the meaning of life, what happens after we die, what existed before us, and whether any other life exists in the universe. Mankind may never know concrete answers regarding the spiritual. In fact, humans may destroy the planet before we can discover the remaining life in unexplored regions. Nevertheless, we continue to seek spiritual enlightenment and a connection with our Creator.
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Filed under Religious affairs, Spiritual affairs

Warm-blooded, feathered vertebrates

BIRDS

Birds are warm-blooded, feathered vertebrates and are oviparous, that is, egg laying. There are some 300 references to birds in the Bible, with about 30 different varieties being specifically named. Reference is made to their flight, often in escaping their enemies (Ps 11:1; Pr 26:2; 27:8; Isa 31:5; Ho 9:11); their roosting in trees (Ps 104:12; Mt 13:32); their nesting (Ps 84:3; Eze 31:6); their uses, particularly young pigeons and turtledoves, in sacrifice (Le 1:14; 14:4-7, 49-53) and as food (Ne 5:18), including their eggs (Isa 10:14; Lu 11:11, 12); and God’s provision and care for them.

Manyas

Manyas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

26 Observe intently the birds of heaven;+ they do not sow seed or reap or gather into storehouses, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are?   (Matthew 6:26)

29 Two sparrows sell for a coin of small value,* do they not? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.+ (Matthew 10:29; compare De 22:6, 7).

Birds were among the earliest living souls on earth, coming into existence on the fifth creative “day” along with the marine creatures.

20 Then God said: “Let the waters swarm with living creatures,* and let flying creatures fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”*+21 And God created the great sea creatures* and all living creatures* that move and swarm in the waters according to their kinds and every winged flying creature according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 With that God blessed them, saying: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the waters of the sea,+ and let the flying creatures become many in the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23)

Of the general terms used in the Bible that apply to birds, the most frequent Hebrew word is ʽohph, basically meaning “flying creature” (Ge 1:20), which may include not only birds but also winged insects. (Compare Le 11:13, 21-23.) The Hebrew tsip·pohr′ also occurs in a large number of texts and is a generic term applying to birds in general. (Ge 7:14) A third Hebrew term, ʽa′yit, is applied solely to the birds of prey.

Bird - Seagull enjoying the sunset

Bird – Seagull enjoying the sunset (Photo credit: blmiers2)

The following terms are found in the Greek Scriptures: or′ne·on, meaning simply “bird” (Re 18:2); pe·tei·non′ and pte·nos′, both literally meaning “flier.” (Ro 1:23; 1Co 15:39; compare Int.) At Acts 17:18 Athenian philosophers referred to the apostle Paul as a “chatterer.” The Greek word here (sper·mo·lo′gos) was applied to a bird that picks up seeds, while figuratively it was used of a person who picks up scraps by begging or stealing, or, as in the case cited, one who repeats scraps of knowledge, an idle babbler.

A thoughtful study of birds gives convincing proof of the Biblical teaching that they are of divine creation. While birds and reptiles are both oviparous, reptiles are cold-blooded, often sluggish, whereas birds are warm-blooded and among the most active of all earth’s creatures; they also have an unusually rapid heartbeat. The evolutionary view that reptilian scales and front limbs eventually developed into feathered wings is both fanciful and baseless. The fossils of birds called by scientists Archaeopteryx (or, ancient wing) and Archaeornis (or, ancient bird), though showing teeth and a long vertebrated tail, also show that they were completely feathered, had feet equipped for perching, and had fully developed wings. No intermediate specimens, exhibiting scales developing into feathers or front legs into wings, exist to give any semblance of support to the evolution theory. As expressed by the apostle Paul, birds are of a distinct “flesh” from others of earth’s creatures.

Bird - Duck - Mallard

Bird – Duck – Mallard (Photo credit: blmiers2)

39 Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one of mankind, there is another flesh of cattle, another flesh of birds, and another of fish.  (1Corinthians 15:39).

The psalmist called upon the “winged birds” to praise Jehovah (Ps 148:1, 10), and birds do this by their very structure and their complex design. A single bird may have from 1,000 to over 20,000 feathers. Yet each feather is composed of a shaft from which branch out hundreds of barbs forming an inner web, each barb containing several hundred smaller barbules and each barbule having hundreds of barbicels and hooklets. A single six-inch wing feather of a pigeon is thus estimated to contain some hundreds of thousands of barbules and literally millions of barbicels. The aerodynamic principles built into birds’ wings and body design surpass in complexity and efficiency that of modern-day aircraft. A bird’s hollow bones contribute to its lightness, and thus the skeleton of a frigate bird with a 2-m (7 ft) wingspan may weigh only about 110 g (4 oz). Certain wing bones of large soaring birds even have trusslike supports, like the struts inside airplane wings, within the hollow portions.

At the time of the Flood, Noah introduced into the ark for preservation pairs of birds “according to their kinds.”

So Jehovah said: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, man together with domestic animals, creeping animals, and flying creatures of the heavens, for I regret that I have made them.” … 19 And bring into the ark two of every sort of living creature+ in order to preserve them alive with you, a male and a female;+ 20 of the flying creatures according to their kinds, the domestic animals according to their kinds, and all creeping animals of the ground  (Genesis 6:7, 19-20)

also of the flying creatures of the sky by sevens,* male and female, to preserve their offspring alive over all the earth.+

23 So He wiped every living thing from the surface of the earth, including man, animals, creeping animals, and the flying creatures of the sky. They were all wiped off the earth;+ only Noah and those with him in the ark survived.+ (Genesis 7:3, 23)

Manyas

Manyas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no certain way of knowing how many different “kinds” of birds then existed, some types of birds having become extinct even in recent times. However, it is of interest to note that the listing of birds according to present-day scientific classification presented in The New Encyclopædia Britannica (1985, Vol. 15, pp. 14-106) gives a total of only 221 bird “families,” including some that are now extinct or known only in fossil form. There are, of course, thousands of varieties included within these “families.” {Note}

Following the global Flood, Noah offered up “clean flying creatures” along with animals as a sacrifice. (Ge 8:18-20) Birds were thereafter made allowable by God for inclusion in man’s diet, as long as the blood was not eaten. (Ge 9:1-4; compare Le 7:26; 17:13.) The ‘cleanness’ of certain birds at that time therefore evidently relates to some divine indication of acceptableness for sacrifice; the Biblical record shows that, as regards their being used as food, none of the birds were designated as “unclean” until the introduction of the Mosaic Law. (Le 11:13-19, 46, 47; 20:25; De 14:11-20) The factors determining which birds were designated ceremonially “unclean” are not expressly stated in the Bible. Thus, while most of those so designated were birds of prey or scavengers, not all of them were.  This prohibition was lifted following the establishment of the new covenant, as God made evident to Peter by a vision.

The next day as they were continuing on their journey and were approaching the city, Peter went up to the housetop about the sixth hour* to pray. 10 But he became very hungry and wanted to eat. While they were preparing the meal, he fell into a trance+11 and saw heaven opened and something* descending like a great linen sheet being let down by its four corners on the earth; 12 and in it were all sorts of four-footed animals and reptiles* of the earth and birds of heaven. 13 Then a voice said to him: “Get up, Peter, slaughter and eat!” 14 But Peter said: “Not at all, Lord, because I have never eaten anything defiled and unclean.”+15 And the voice spoke again to him, the second time: “Stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.” (Acts of the apostles 10:9-15).

Birds

Birds (Photo credit: Emyan)

The identification of the birds specifically named in the Bible presents a difficult problem in some cases. Lexicographers generally are guided by the root meaning of the name, since this is usually descriptive, by indications in the context as to the bird’s habits and habitat, and by observation of the birds known to be found in the Bible lands. In many cases the names are believed to be onomatopoeic, that is, imitating the sound produced by the bird.

The diverse topography of Palestine, ranging from cool mountain peaks to deep sweltering valleys and from arid deserts to maritime plains, all together near the SE corner of the Mediterranean Sea, makes it a focal point for a great variety of bird types. Mount Hermon, in the N, is snowcapped for much of the year, while the region about 200 km (125 mi) to the S along the lower Jordan Valley and near the Dead Sea is hot and tropical. Each of these zones contains birds peculiar to its own environment, either alpine or tropical, as do also the temperate zones and the desert regions. (Ps 102:6; 104:16, 17) Additionally, Palestine is on one of the major migrational routes followed annually by birds (storks, turtledoves, quail, swifts, swallows, bulbuls, cuckoos, and others) traveling N from Africa in the spring or S from Europe and Asia in the fall. (Ca 2:11, 12; Jer 8:7) Thus it is estimated that about 470 varieties of birds may be found in Palestine at some time during the course of a year. In view of the deterioration of Palestinian forests and vegetation over the centuries, it is likely that in Biblical times the bird population was even greater.

Particularly notable are the great numbers of birds of prey (Heb., ʽa′yit) found in Palestine, including eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, and vultures. Back in Abraham’s time, birds of prey tried to descend upon Abraham’s sacrifice of certain animals and birds, obliging him to drive them off until the sun began to set. (Ge 15:9-12; compare 2Sa 21:10.) In their search for food these birds rely on their powerful telescopic sight, rather than on their relatively weak sense of smell.

The well-known sight of a cluster of scavenger birds gathered around a carcass often served as the basis for an ominous warning to an enemy (1Sa 17:44, 46), and repeatedly formed part of divinely inspired prophetic warnings to the nation of Israel and its rulers (De 28:26; 1Ki 14:11; 21:24; Jer 7:33; 15:3) as well as to foreign nations. (Isa 18:1, 6; Eze 29:5; 32:4) Thus, the one used by Jehovah to execute judgement was figuratively represented by “a bird of prey.” (Isa 46:11) Desolation of a city or land was depicted by its becoming the habitat of certain birds of solitary nature (Isa 13:19-21; compare Re 18:2) or by the disappearance of all bird life. (Jer 4:25-27; 9:10; 12:4; Ho 4:3; Zep 1:3) The proclamation calling all the birds to gather to feast upon the dead bodies of Gog of Magog and his crowd (Eze 39:1-4, 17-21) is paralleled by that recorded in Revelation in which the bodies of national rulers and their armies become food for “all the birds that fly in midheaven” as a result of the executional work of Christ Jesus as King.

11 I saw heaven opened, and look! a white horse.+ And the one seated on it is called Faithful+ and True,+ and he judges and carries on war in righteousness.+12 His eyes are a fiery flame,+ and on his head are many diadems.* He has a name written that no one knows but he himself, 13 and he is clothed with an outer garment stained* with blood, and he is called by the name The Word+ of God. 14 Also, the armies in heaven were following him on white horses, and they were clothed in white, clean, fine linen. 15 And out of his mouth protrudes a sharp, long sword+ with which to strike the nations, and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron.+ Moreover, he treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.+16 On his outer garment, yes, on his thigh, he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.+

17 I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in midheaven:* “Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God,+18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of military commanders and the flesh of strong men+ and the flesh of horses and of those seated on them,+ and the flesh of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.”

19 And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.+20 And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet+ that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast+ and those who worship its image.+ While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur.+21 But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse.+ And all the birds were filled with their flesh.+ (Revelation 19:11-21; contrast this with God’s comforting words to his people, at Ho 2:18-20).

18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals of the field,+ And with the birds of the heavens and the creeping things of the ground;+ I will rid the land of the bow and the sword and war,+ And I will make them lie down* in security.+19 I will engage myself to you forever; And I will engage myself to you in righteousness and in justice, In loyal love and in mercy.+ 20 I will engage myself to you in faithfulness, And you will certainly know Jehovah.’+ (Hosea 2:18-20)

Worship of birds as representing the true God was prohibited to the nation of Israel (De 4:15-17) but was prominent among the pagan nations, particularly in Egypt. (Ro 1:23) Hundreds of bird mummies have been found in Egyptian tombs, principally of birds such as the falcon, the vulture, and the ibis, all of which were sacred among the Egyptians. Egyptian hieroglyphics contain some 22 different bird signs.

Bird

Bird (Photo credit: DeusXFlorida (5,003,637 views) – thanks guys!)

+

{Note}: The “kinds” of animals selected had reference to the clear-cut and unalterable boundaries or limits set by the Creator, within which boundaries creatures are capable of breeding “according to their kinds.” It has been estimated by some that the hundreds of thousands of species of animals today could be reduced to a comparatively few family “kinds”—the horse kind and the cow kind, to mention but two. The breeding boundaries according to “kind” established by Jehovah were not and could not be crossed. With this in mind some investigators have said that, had there been as few as 43 “kinds” of mammals, 74 “kinds” of birds, and 10 “kinds” of reptiles in the ark, they could have produced the variety of species known today. Others have been more liberal in estimating that 72 “kinds” of quadrupeds and less than 200 bird “kinds” were all that were required. That the great variety of animal life known today could have come from inbreeding within so few “kinds” following the Flood is proved by the endless variety of humankind—short, tall, fat, thin, with countless variations in the colour of hair, eyes, and skin—all of whom sprang from the one family of Noah.

Sleeping Caribbean Flamingo at the Metro Toron...

Sleeping Caribbean Flamingo at the Metro Toronto Zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Additional reading:

  1. Praise be to God
  2. Praise the God with His Name
  3. Praise the most High Jehovah God above all
  4. Make a joyful noise unto Yahweh, rejoice, and sing praise unto Jehovah

+++

  • Pterosaurs cast a giant shadow over today’s biggest winged creatures (theguardian.com)

    Pterosaurs model shadow

    A man walks under the shadow of a model pterosaur. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

    Look at the birds outside your window: little feathery things that beg for crumbs and make cute chirpy noises. What if they were nine metres across and could fold up their wings and walk on all fours? Not so cute. Long ago, just such hulking creatures ruled the skies.

    Pterosaurs were Earth’s first flying vertebrates. Although birds and bats have taken wing in the 66m years since their extinction, we don’t have any flying creatures that approach the size of the biggest pterosaurs. The largest known specimen, Quetzalcoatlus, had a 10-metre wingspan. An immense vertebra recently found in Romania suggests that pterosaurs may have grown even bigger than that. The largest flying animals today, such as the wandering albatross and the Andean condor, average a wingspan of around three metres.

  • Birds (milliesmindofmadness.wordpress.com)
    Birds are a symbol of freedom and liberty. Then why, I ask, did a bird poo on me yesterday when I was walking my dogs? Why? Could the bird not have the decency to poo somewhere else other than my face. I know that it was multi-tasking but that bird needs to think of others before it let’s loose it’s poo on me. Furthermore, where I was walking was a nice pleasant area so to quote my dad, I got pooed on by a posh bird.
  • Bird (kyle861.wordpress.com)
    Birds (class Aves or clade Avialae) are featheredwingedbipedalendothermic (warm-blooded), egg-layingvertebrate animals. With around 10,000 living species, they are the most specioseclass of tetrapod vertebrates.
  • Rise of Animals: David Attenborough explores evolution of vertebrates (thisismoney.co.uk)
    David Attenborough has visited new paleontological hotspots to fill in evolutionary gaps of how vertebrates came to rule the Earth and how their evolution defines our own human bodies.
    In a new two-part documentary, Rise of Animals: Triumph of the vertebrates, the naturalist explores the origins of the backbone by studying a tiny prehistoric animal and a living fossil living in the south of England.Sir David takes a 500-million-year evolutionary journey to study animals including a newly discovered ‘missing link’ from China, a shallow water predator that swam like a fish but took its first steps on land, giant ancient animals and the famous fossil of the feathered dinosaur.
  • Zoology: Using Animals to Enrich Your World (rebekahloper.wordpress.com)
    Animals serve many purposes. They are a vital part of the ecosystem, they offer companionship, and theycan be sources of food.And creating animals can honestly be one of the most fun parts of worldbuilding. But as always, there are things to consider!
  • A fallen feather (raoulpop.com)
    The birds we seldom notice, unless they muck up our freshly washed cars, are able to do something no human being has been able to do so far, without the aid of an engineered mechanism. They’re able to take flight, freely, and soar high above the ground, surveying all they can see, while humans are stuck on the ground.
  • Doahugou Biota: Study Describes 30 Species from Jurassic of China (sci-news.com)
    Over the last two decades, huge numbers of fossils have been collected from the western Liaoning Province and adjacent parts of northeastern China, including exceptionally preserved feathered dinosaurs, early birds, and mammals. Most of these specimens are from the Cretaceous Period, including the famous Jehol Biota.However, in recent years many fossils have emerged from sites that are 30 million years earlier, providing an exceptional window on life during the Jurassic period, about 160 million years ago.
  • Poachers dump bodies of nine eagles in ditch near Kamloops (calgaryherald.com)
    The remains of eight bald eagles and one golden eagle have been found in a ditch near Kamloops, B.C.Officials with the Conservation Officer Service say the carcasseswere discovered last month in the ditch beside a well-used public road.Heads, feet, tail feathers and wings of all nine birds had been removed.

     

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