Archive for January, 2012

Beautiful Feet

January 30, 2012

In the post Armor for the Bully and Beguiler, we learned that Christ, through the cross, has disarmed the powers and authorities of darkness and wickedness. Also on yesterday at SWCF, Brother Daryl Wattley brought the Word. The title was CRY OUT AND SHOUT! from ISAIAH 12. It was a very powerful message, but it confirms what I have been saying about Regeneration and Reconciliation. We are called to participate in God’s plan of reconciling man with Himself. The things that distract us from that purpose are A Tangled Web. Brother Wattley challenged us to consider what God told us and command us to do in response to His mercy and grace that is our salvation. In Isaiah 12,

And in that day you will say:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

In essence, we are told by Isaiah via Brother Wattley that Christ is our salvation. As a function of our praise and gratitude, we are called to Cry Out and Shout to people what God has done for us and what God is willing to do for them in terms of saving their soul by disarming the powers and authorities of darkness and wickedness, so that they no longer hold anyone who trusts in Christ hostage and in bondage.

The prophet Isaiah stated that when we do proclaim Christ to other we are considered to have Beautiful Feet.

Isaiah 52:7 states:

 How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

This is what Paul meant in Ephesians 6 when he said, you must have ” with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The Lord, Paul, Brother Wattley have told us to be ready to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We need to share that we all are sinners who will be held accountable for violating the Word/Way of God. The consequence is separation from God both now and eternally. Without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, each man and woman will have to give account to God. Each of us is accountable for his/her sins with his/her soul, but Christ frees us from the alienation from not knowing God as well as the penalty.

Will you have Beautiful Feet today? Who will you tell what Jesus has done for you? Know that God has prepared someone for you to share Jesus with today.

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Armor for the Bully and Beguiler

January 29, 2012

The Christian should not err in his assessment of who his enemy is in this world. The Word of God states 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12. Chief among those rulers, powers, forces of darkness and wickedness is satan. He is credited as the one whose schemes we need to prepare and stand firm against through the means God has given us.“The tactics of intimidation and insinuation alternate in Satan’s plan of campaign. He plays both the bully and the beguiler. Force and fraud form his chief offensive against the camp of the saints.”Stott quoting Simpson

Bully and Beguiler are two interesting positions. Bully being one who uses the threat of brute force to evoke fear in the looming subjects. Beguiler uses not brawn but the brain to gain control. The beguiler uses trickery to lure subjects. Satan uses bits of the truth that are wrapped in subtle misleading lies to pull people away from the truth, from their place of peace with God. For those who don’t know the Lord, satan desires to continue to keeping you from being drawn closer to God. In and of ourselves, we are not strong enough or smart enough to battle satan. This is why Paul tells the believer to 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11) It takes all that God has given us to stand against satan.

The greatest defense against the Bully and Beguiler is Jesus. It is in Christ that we have access to all of the armor of God. In fact without Christ, we have no chance of standing firm against the Bully and Beguiler. Colossians 2:13-15 tells us “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Matthew Henry noted “He [Jesus Christ] has obtained for us a legal discharge from the hand-writing of ordinances, which was against us (Col. 2:14), which may be understood, 1. Of that obligation to punishment in which consists the guilt of sin. The curse of the law is the hand-writing against us, like the hand-writing on Belshazzar’s wall.  Cursed is every one who continues not in every thing. This was a hand-writing which was against us, and contrary to us; for it threatened our eternal ruin. This was removed when he redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for usGal. 3:13. He cancelled the obligation for all who repent and believe. “Upon me be the curse, my father.” He vacated and disannulled the judgment which was against us. When he was nailed to the cross, the curse was as it were nailed to the cross; therefore, our victory is rooted in what Jesus did, not in what we do.

As a result of what Jesus did on the cross, Satan’s schemes and power has no dominion over those who believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. Christ’s covers us becoming our armor. He does so that we might participate in God’s reconciliation of man to himself. Satan is the opposer in this mission. Because satan will assail us through fear (bullying) and trickery (beguiling), we are told to stand firm. David Guzik wrote:

God gives the Christian a glorious standing to maintain by faith and spiritual warfare:

The same idea is repeated in 1 Peter 5Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

All in all, there is a lot bound up in that little word,stand.

  • It means that we are going to be attacked.
  • It means that we must not be frightened.
  • It means that we must not droop or slouch, being uncertain or half-hearted in the fight (no self-pity is allowed).
  • It means that we are at our position and alert.
  • It means that we do not give even a thought to retreat.

Since we know we will be attacked, we are told to put on the full armor of God. First put on Christ, then we have access to all the weapons listed in Ephesians 6. Christ is our only true  and effective Armor for the Bully and Beguiler.

The Weapons of Divine Power to Demolish Strongholds

January 28, 2012

When one is considering waging war, he can not fully prepare for battle unless he knows the weapons he needs to bring. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us “3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (anything on which one relies a) of the arguments and reasonings by which a disputant endeavours to fortify his opinion and defend it against his opponent). 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” As a consequence, Christians need to be aware of the weapons God has equipped us with the fight the good fight of faith.

Why does one bare weapons? That answer is easy. As a soldier for the Lord, what our duty is: to take and put on the whole armor of God, and then to stand our ground, and withstand our enemies. Who is our enemy? The Word of God states 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6:12-17 NASB  By virtue of the circumstances presented in Tearing Down A Tangled Web, we saw one of the weapons God includes in the armor of God: the Word of God.2. What our duty is: to take and put on the whole armour of God, and then to stand our ground, and withstand our enemies.

What does God’s Word say about the Word of God as a weapon? In Ephesians 6:17, we are directed to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. In this context, the Word of God is used as a sword of the Spirit; therefore, it is a weapon of the Spirit of God in aiding us in our battle against the wicked one and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. If the battle is above, how can we fight when we dwell on earth? We can’t! That’s why we must feed our spirit the Word of God, so He can take that Word to equip us for battle. Again, I use myself as the example. In Tearing Down A Tangled Web, I stated that I got hotter than a curling iron. A friend asked if that was hotter than fish grease. No it is not. Anyway, the point is I got angry with my wife. First, the battle is not against flesh and blood. I did not stand on that truth which is why I was lured further down the road of my enemy. When I opened the webpage, I saw the Word of God. The Holy Spirit instantly convicted me of my wrong thinking. My thoughts were instantly brought back into agreement with God’s way rather than with my flesh’s pride and arrogance.

Hear the Word of God about the Word as a sword:

2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver. Isaiah 49:2

5 Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth;
my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. Hosea 6:5

12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

John 12:48 and 1 Corinthians 14:24 tell us that the Word serves as a judge which condemns and convicts.
Jeremiah 23:29 tells us 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

I hope that we see the Word of God is essential in fighting the fight of faith. Without the Word, we would never have a chance to demolish strongholds in our lives. The Word is to destroy any thought, argument or doctrine that is contrary to the Word of God. Let’s get the Word, so we can think right, talk right and act right.

Tearing Down A Tangled Web

January 27, 2012

I must admit that I got caught in A Tangled Web this morning. At 3:46 this morning as I was working in my office, I heard the toilet flush. I did not hear anyone come down the stairs, so I was a little intrigued as who it could be. It was my son, Darron. I called him into the office to tell him it was too early for him to be up. I sent him upstairs to go back to bed. Later, my wife came down stairs to workout. I told her about Darron. After I came out of the office, she began telling me that she did not want me calling him into the office with the light on sitting him on my knee because that wakes him up and he can’t go back to sleep. Instantly, I got hotter than a curling iron. It seemed to me that if he got up, walked through the den down the stairs to the restroom, and used the restroom that he was already awake; yet, I was to blame. Needless to say, I did not own the responsibility. It led to me just asking her to leave it alone because it was annoying me. I exclaimed “please’. She asked me if I was telling her to shut up. I told her I’d never say that, but I would appreciate her stop talking about that.

As I normally do when I get upset, I turned to the Word. BAM! The faithful God demonstrated that He is God and kept his promise to me. The Spirit of God told me to go to the home page of biblegateway.com. I followed that direction and this is what I was shown.

Vesre of the Day

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:12-13 NASB

Just as quickly as I got hotter than a curling iron, the Word of God cooled me down. Through the Word, God judged and condemned my response to my wife. It was not representative of Him. Plus, I had allowed those comments to disturb and disrupt my peace. I was no longer under the control of the Holy Spirit but my sinful flesh. I had allowed myself to be caught up in A Tangled Web. I did not follow the admonition the submitted several days ago from Hebrews. Hebrews 12:1-3 says about being caught up in the web of sin. “1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The Word of God tells us to THROW OFF everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.

I didn’t throw anything off that entangles. I felt like Spider Man had entered my house and spewed his web all over me, but God, the faithful God, was Tearing Down A Tangled Web. From time to time, we have to tear down spider webs around our home or garage. I use a duster or a broom to sweep those things away. Spiritually, the demolishing tool is the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us “3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” From Ephesians 6:12-13, I should have known that the battle was not with my wife, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. For that matter, my battle is not with any person.God has given us the ability to rise above any challenge we face. We are told not to wage war as the world does. While I was not arguing or shouting, I should not have gotten angry. I should have used the weapons, the full armor of God , God has provided to demolish strongholds. The stronghold this morning was pride in my life. Pride sets me against the knowledge of God. When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2) I am committing this day to use the armor of God to fight the good fight of faith.
I guess I will be writing about the Art of War over the next few days. Join me as we begin a journey of Tearing Down A Tangled Web.

T.I.D.E.: A Different Kind of Clean

January 25, 2012

For quite some time, companies have used catchy slogan aids to promote and advertise their company, brand or product. This catchy slogan “Tide’s in, dirt’s out – Tide Washing Powder” is views as one of the most  clever phrases used as a great motto or catchphrase to publicize and promote a company. Proctor & Gamble (P&G) produces Tide and many other products. P&G has since developed Tide plus Bleach where the slogan is “Style is an option; Clean is not.”

In the post A Tangled Web, we saw a cleansing of a different kind. Just as we go out in the elements, our clothes get dirty and need cleaning. Likewise, our spiritual clothes get dirty too. When we sin, we are effectually getting our spiritual clothes dirty. We need cleaning too. We saw in  1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. The He in the verse is Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only means in which we can be cleansed.

Titus 2:13b-14 says, “Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Jesus represents T.I.D.E.: A Different Kind of Clean. T.I.D.E. is short for Trust In Divine Extraction. It was Jesus, who through His blood, pulled out sin cleansing us for God and removing God’s wrath from those who would trust in Him as Savior and Lord. We, who call Jesus Lord and Savior, are called to herald Him and His cleansing work on the Cross to all mankind because we are all polluted with sin. We need a different type of cleaning. Jesus offers that to us – when T.I.D.E.’s in; sin is out. Hallelujah!!!

A Tangled Web

January 24, 2012

I remember watching a movie where there was a line regarding a tangled web, but it was Sir Walter Scott who is credited for coining the phrase “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!” The implied application is to be honest not deceiving anyone. In the spiritual realm, the tangled web is sin, and OH boy, do we get caught up in that web. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews 12:1-3 says

about being caught up in the web of sin. “1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” The Word of God tells us to THROW OFF everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us. Sin is easy. It’s alluring and in many cases it is fun in the moment, but beyond the moment, there are grave consequences and the seemingly sweet marmalade turns into a bitter brew. Without doubt, we will get caught in the web of sin, but how we respond makes the difference. Equally important is how we respond when other believers are entangled in sin. Do we point the finger? Do we gasp in unbelief at the trespass? Do we ease away from the brother or sister leaving him/her to languish in the ramifications of being entangled?

In Galatians 6:1, Paul tells the Galatians and subsequent believers how we should respond when one is in A Tangled Web. Paul says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” James (5:19-20) supports Paul in saying ” 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” Paul tells us that we should be gentle with the believer who has gotten “caught up”. It’s easy to think that we would never do such a thing, but that is the trap. Resist it. Paul tells us that we too will be tempted with implications that we too will be caught up.

Who do you know has found himself/herself in A Tangled Web? Be gracious to him/her. Lend them a hand reminding the believer of the grace, love and forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. Remember 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Lead them in confessing the sin and help keep them accountable for not making that same choice again lest you get caught in A Tangled Web.

Reconciliation Revisited

January 23, 2012

I have reached the end of the line with reconciliation, but I wanted to address the what, why and how of reconciliation. I want to extend thanks to sister Talley from church, Southwest Christian Fellowship, for a deeper introspection into reconciliation. Sister Talley coordinates scripture memory at church. The key verse, Isaiah 59:2, which really highlighted my great need for is Isaiah 59:2. It says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

Because of our sin, as Cool Hand Luke said, “what we have here is a failure to communicate.”  That’s probably the most quoted verse from the 1967 film starring Paul Newman. Isaiah 59:2 plainly tells us what is our problem. Sin has separate us from God and hidden his face from us. The result is that God will not hear. If separated from the source, any living thing will die. As man is separated from the creator and sustainer of life, man is dead. We were dead in our sins. As people dead in our sins, we were subject to the wrath of God because of our disobedience. God is holy and hates sin. As Isaiah 59:2 states, sin creates separation between God and man.  In Mark 2:7, everyone who knew the law knew that God alone could forgive sins. Man’s problem is that he needed to be forgiven of his sin. Since we know that God does not hear us because of our sin, how could we even get a word in to God for help. We can’t. It appears that we are doomed in the sinful state. Listen to what Paul said in Ephesians 2:1-3:

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

 

The answer is found in what John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Let’s look to the Word again for answers.

Colossians 2:12-14 – 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

It is through Christ and Christ alone that man can overcome the effects of sin in his life. This is why we need to be reconciled. Without reconciliation, we are still at odds with God. In fact, we are enemies of God when we continue to live our lives for ourselves and not for God – James 4:4. Forgiveness is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:18-2018 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

Be reconciled and participate in God reconciling man to Himself.

Refuse to Reconcile

January 22, 2012

In the post Rebuked to Reconciliation, we briefly presented that Paul rebukes Peter for teaching or at least practicing the heresy that all Gentile converts were to be circumcised according to Jewish laws. We also highlight the response of Peter, a believer, and how reconciliation was extended to him because of his willingness to respond to Paul’s rebuke about the improper teaching. It has been asked do we always reconcile. In our text today, 1 Timothy 1 and 2 Timothy 2:14-19, we see a circumstance that serves as a reconciliation decision matrix.

It is clear from Rebuked to Reconciliation and today’s text, that the believer must confront any heresy they hear. That is consistent for the believer. In terms of reconciliation that relates to unrepentant behavior from heresy, Paul again models for us how to respond. As a reminder, a heresy is any opinion or belief that is or is thought to be contrary to official or established doctrine presented in the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 1 and 2 Timothy 2:14-19, Paul is telling Timothy how he should respond to men who were practicing heresies in the church. Hymenaeus is a heretic in which Paul mentions twice in scripture (1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:17)   Paul denounced him as a blasphemer. Hymenaeus’ heresy is not fully described in the Word; however Hymenaeus apparently was teaching a resurrection that was contrary to the imminent physical resurrection of the born again (2 Timothy 2:17-18), as taught by Jesus Christ in John 5:25-29 and by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. He claimed, instead, that the believer’s “resurrection” only happens in a spiritual sense, occurring at the moment one is born again.

Considering Peter’s experience in this matter, it is quite poignant that Peter says, ” 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1). As a consequence, it is not a matter of if but of when we encounter a heretical person. In Titus 3:10 a “heretical person” is one who follows his own self-willed “questions,” and who is to be avoided. In fact, it is stated in Titus to have nothing to do with the heretic after he has been warned twice without repenting.

Now, we know the Word tells us to not reconcile with a person who persists in teaching contrary to the Word of God. I will admit that there are some circumstances where many may not have a clear stance on what the Word is espousing. I am not talking about those, but in circumstances where there is the clear understanding of what the Word is teaching; yet, that person refuses to adjust his teaching. Those are the ones where reconciliation is not possible.

Rebuked to Reconciliation

January 19, 2012

In the post Reconciliation between Christian Brothers,  Galatians 2 presented examples of what type of conflicts/arguments the believer should engage. Other verses were provided that help to guide us in that endeavor as well. Today, we will explore some issues addressed by Paul in Galatians 2. Paul’s address serves as a model of what type of conflict in which believers should be engaged and how to engage them.

In the new testament, there several Greek words translated as rebuke. epitimaō to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely a) to admonish or charge sharply; amōmētos  that cannot be censured, blameless; elegchō to convict, refute, confute a) generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; epiplēssō 1) to strike upon, beat upon 2) to chastise with words, to chide, upbraid, rebuke; ga`ar to rebuke, reprove, corrupt. Regardless of the word used, the context for addressing a believer is when they are proclaiming or acting in a manner in consistent with what the Word of God teaches. In Galatians 2, Paul rebukes Peter for teaching or at least practicing the heresy that all Gentile converts were to be circumcised according to Jewish laws. This had long been an issue among Jewish and Gentile believers. Jews, whom God called Peter to minister, faced the challenge of holding on to traditions from the way of Moses that is the Law. When the gospel began going to the Gentiles, some Jews imposed this tradition which was not conveyed, communicated or commanded by the Lord Jesus. In fact, this polluted the gospel message. This incorrect teaching or practice was something in which Peter was well acquainted; he knew better. Consequently, Paul rebuked Peter for his actions which led other Jewish believers in Christ astray.

Hear what Paul said in Galatians 2

 11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

 15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

 17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

 Peter really knew better. Read Acts 10 -15 to verify the matter. Remember, Peter had been locked up for standing up for this very fact. Remember the believers praying for him and cell being miraculously opened. Beyond all that, hear what Peter proclaimed in Acts 15:5-11:

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.”

 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Since it was clear to both Peter and Paul, that Peter knew the truth and acted contrary to the truth leading others astray, Paul rebuked him publicly among the believers to deal with the miscarriage of truth conveyed by his actions. How did Peter respond? Peter quickly repented from his sin and responded to the truth by realigning his behavior with the will of God. This is why God allowed him to remain as a leader in His church. It is how we respond to rebuke that determines whether we will be reconciled in the body of Christ.

There is so much to say here, but I only have your attention for so many words through the length of the post. When we sin, and we will, we must realign our thoughts and actions with the Word of God. If we do not, we run the risk of being cut off by the people of God and God Himself. Our refusal to obey the truth reveals a greater issue. It may be that we really don’t know the Lord as we claim we do. Watch out.

 

Reconciliation between Christian Brothers

January 18, 2012

Inevitably, conflict happens, but how we respond determines how that conflict is resolved. The resolution can have profound effects on how Christians, people for that matter, relate to one another after the resolution. There are scores of books and counselors who purport to know the way to resolve conflict. The Word of God (Isaiah 59:3-52 Corinthians 10:4-62 Timothy 2:22-24 & Titus 3:8-10) is full of examples of what type of conflicts/arguments the believer should engage. While those verses are not exhaustive, they provide good guidance for us.

There will not be a lot of writing today as I would prefer for you to read how an acceptable conflict is resolved where reconciliation is reached. Tomorrow, I will write more about the reconciliation in a proper situation. The following day’s post will provide an example of when it’s okay to go separate ways without reconciliation. For today, please READ Galatians 2 which is the prompt for the title of the post today: Reconciliation between Christian Brothers as a testament of the changed life that Christ brings. This is the mark in which the world must notice something different in us.