Posts Tagged ‘Calvary’

KJV and NKJV Scripture:

– But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

– The Scriptures were not given to us to confuse us – but to instruct us.  Certainly God intends that we should believe His Word with all simplicity. – M.R. DeHaan

The word simplicity means easy to understand.  It is something comprehensible and not complicated; plain and not perplexing.  Even if it is a detailed process requiring expounding, a simplistic approach makes it much easier to keep things in correct order.  Spiritual simplicity is an existence free from guile or deceit.

Conversely, subtlety is difficulty in understanding, or making elusive or hard to detect.  It is employing deceit to subvert and achieve goals.  One intent of subtlety is to corrupt a process undetected as long as possible.  If someone finally does notice, it’s often too late to reverse or repair the damage already done.

The teachings of Jesus are always correct – but the teachings of the devil are always corrupt.  Satan is the deceiver of this world, the night and day accuser of man (Revelation 12:9-10), and the master of all confusion and illusion.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44), but he can make his lies seem very believable.

Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).  The devil’s yoke yanks Christians around in dozens of directions daily, often duping them into thinking every new fad or doctrine in the church is the proper one to follow. For a while at least, until they find out it all did not satisfy their spirit as advertised (Proverbs 27:20).

Still, Satan remains subtle but pernicious (2 Peter 2:2), a seductive and persistent presence.  Roaring around the world he is the prince of (John 14:30) – as a spiritual lion who does not sleep, seeking souls to devour.  Steadfast Christians in faith are not exempt from his devices (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Believers who mind earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) and remain entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), stay ensnared by Satan’s lies, blinding their minds in unbelief from ever seeing the simplicity of truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The devil isn’t alone.  He has angels of light and right to help (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Unstable, wavering, and straying Christians walk in the err of confusion with God (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6-8,16, 2 Peter 3:17).  They remain influenced by Satan.  If they turn aside after him (1 Timothy 5:15), they are now unbelievers who’ve departed God, and often see Scripture as contradictory and inconsistent.

These fall prey to itching ears and unsound doctrine. Turning from the truth and swerving to words making it sound as if God should be serving them (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Luke 17:7-10).  They also pervert certain passages or verses just so they can justify living in the world much like they always have.

Never realizing Satan or one of his ministers could be preaching from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12) or sitting in their pews (Revelation 2:13).  So, they continue on in disobedience and unbelief (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Peter 2:6-8).  Unsure of what God’s plan is for their life, and frequently doubting if there really is one.

So, they hatch their own plans, and do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).  Making things up to do in their mind (Numbers 16:28) – and hoping God doesn’t mind.  Then, they get confused after as to why things didn’t work together for good (Romans 8:28).  In turn, some simply stop doing anything.

As the lead verse indicates, there is a simplicity in Jesus clearly missing in today’s Christianity and the church.  Our Father is straightforward about many things, giving us commandments to humbly obey until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  These are not recommendations, suggestions, or advice to consider.

This is all so we can keep moving steadily and straight ahead along heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14), if we desire to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).  It is so we follow the process of repentance and do not fall away off course (Hebrews 6:4-6).  This gives place for Satan to set a new one (2 Peter 3:17).

God’s commandments only become confusing or unclear when they interfere with something else a person has already decided they are going to do in the world – or in the Word.  This is how false dreams or lying divinations start.  When people say “The Lord says” and He never spoke to them (Ezekiel 13:6-7).

Tony Khuon once said, “The goal of simplicity is to achieve the lowest amount of complexity – for the highest amount of fulfillment.”  God’s Word is full of simple sounding passages and verses about how He commands us to live as believers.  So our joy may be full, if fellowship truly is with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).

For example, how to prove His will is found in Romans 12:1-2.  The key to happiness is found in Job 5:17 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  The way to enter His rest is found in Hebrews 4:9-10.  The pathway to a peace passing all understanding is found in Philippians 4:4-7.  And, Joshua 1:8 contains the only key to success.

All the above verses are clearly written and easy to understand.  There isn’t any doubt as to what God is talking about.  One cannot read them and then think, “I wonder what He really means by that?”  However, people with tendencies to over complicate matters in the world – are prone to do the same in the Word.

Unless they allow God to transform their minds daily towards His simple truths, they’ll stay conformed to the world’s way and keep on succumbing to Satan’s trickery (Romans 12:1-2).  They will see Christianity as complex, difficult, and thorny – and Jesus is not. It’s not why Christ wore a crown of thorns at Calvary.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels – for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor – that he by the grace of God should taste death for everyone. – Hebrews 2:9

– But by the grace of God, I am what I am. – 1 Corinthians 15:10

Grace is unmerited favor.  It is giving a person something they don’t deserve.  It can’t be earned by being good – or by doing good works (Ephesians 2:9).  It’s simply given.  A worldly example would be the government giving a grace period to file taxes without paying late penalties for monies owed – although an established deadline had already passed.

We can love grace when it’s extended to us – but perhaps grumble when someone we don’t think really deserves any merit; receives grace.  Regardless, grace is not usually looked at as something being really bad – such as someone being sentenced to die. How could that be grace?  How could that be giving a person something they didn’t deserve?

But, God gave us all unmerited favor – by giving Jesus something undeserved; death.  Our Father’s grace led Christ to the Cross to take our place.  Some aptly call this a substitute death.  A man who did no sin (1 Peter 1:19) – with no guile found in his mouth, was led as a perfect lamb without blemish (1 Peter 2:22) to lay down his life for us (John 10:15).

By the grace of God we will be saved through faith; and not of ourselves.  This is only if we remain steadfast in our faith until the very end (Ephesians 2:8, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:9).  For His grace will not be brought to us until He sends Jesus back with salvation – when the devil is cast down (1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10).

Until that great day, we all wake up each morning because of God’s abundant mercies – which He delights in (Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18). Mercy is unmerited favor, too – but on the opposite end of the spectrum from grace.  It keeps us from something we do deserve for the wages of our sinful nature from birth (Ezra 9:13, Romans 6:23).

By the grace of God doesn’t mean we can buy His gift of the Holy Ghost with money – it’s unmerited (Acts 8:20).  We’re given it when God knows we feel guilty enough about our sins to repent unto salvation – not just because we’re afraid of going to hell.  Otherwise, we will only be sorry about our sin for a season (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

The ultimate price has already been paid for us – the ultimate sacrifice was already made at Calvary (1 Corinthians 6:20, Ephesians 5:2).  By the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone (lead verse). Delivering us from our fear of death, which we are subject to the bondage of all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).

This is why Christ is the answer.  Not to get worldly things; but in response to the question of how do we get out of this world when we die?  How do we escape the great sentence of death in us from birth, because of the sin which Scripture has concluded we’re all under (2 Corinthians 1:9, Galatians 3:22)?

There is only one way to eternal life and immortality brought to light through the gospel – through God’s Son (John 14:6, 2 Timothy 1:10).  Our corruption must put on incorruption.  Our mortality must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).  Doing these things can only be done through the Cross and Christ – and by the grace of God.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ – and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18

The ministry we’ve all been called to as Christians – is reconciliation (lead verse).  Reconciliation is eliminating enmity – a state of being actively opposed to something or someone.  All sin is enmity – at all times with God.  We are separated from Him at birth by sin – alienated from heaven (Ephesians 2:12, Colossians 1:21).  Spiritual reconciliation means being brought back into agreement and alignment with the Almighty’s ways.

As believers, we’ve been reconciled back to God by the death of His only Son (Romans 5:10).  The enmity of sin between us and heaven was slain at Calvary by Christ (Ephesians 2:16).  We’ve been brought back into agreement and alignment with God through belief in Jesus.  We now have redemption by the blood of Christ ( Ephesians 1:7).  God has regained possession of us in exchange for a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

We’ve been saved from the grave by the grace of God – through the death of His Son (Romans 5:10, Hebrews 2:9-15).  This is our Father’s desire for all men – not willing that any should perish, but for all to be reconciled back to Him through repentance and remission of sin (2 Peter 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:20). God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies – but for all to turn from sin and live (Ezekiel 18:32).

God has committed the word of reconciliation to us, because of what Christ accomplished for us through redemption (Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 5:19-20). This should be the message of every ministry. But, the seeds of recurring confusion and evil works are planted if we are ever striving, envying, contending, or comparing our Christianity with each other (James 3:16, Proverbs 13:10, 2 Corinthians 10:14-15). This makes it hard to have any ministry of reconciliation, doesn’t it?

We are no different as Christians, than those who are lost and unbelieving (Romans 6:23) – except we have been reconciled back to God.  This was done by His grace – which put Christ on the Cross in place of our sin – while we were yet still sinners (Romans 5:8).  If we are ever unable to resolve and reconcile temporary differences between us as believers (Matthew 5:23-24), how are we ever going to present a message of eternal reconciliation to those who are still lost?

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– If I justify myself, my own mouth will condemn me. If I say “I am perfect” – it shall also prove me perverse. – Job 9:20

– Then the wrath of Elihu was kindled against Job – because he justified himself rather than God. – Job 32:2

Christ did not hang on the Cross for us to justify our own actions, words, and behavior as believers.  As if we’ve done “just enough” to repent of our own liking – but not God’s.  It is the Lord who proves us all – whether we love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul – not ourselves (Mark 12:30, Deuteronomy 13:3).  We can claim such as Christians – but only be loving Him with our lips – while our hearts are still going after things like covetousness, still far away from where He wants us to be (Isaiah 29:13, Ezekiel 33:31, Matthew 15:8, Galatians 5:22-23).

Who among us will ever be able to say “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin (Proverbs 20:9)?”.  We can’t stop sinning just because we’re Christians.  The best we can hope for is to put our sins into remission through repentance.  Just like cancer, they can always come back – sometimes more destructive than the first time.  Although most men will proclaim every one their own goodness (Proverbs 20:6), there is not a man on earth who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46, Ecclesiastes 7:20).  As it is written, there is none righteous – no, not no one (Romans 3:10).

Scripture has concluded all are under sin (Galatians 3:22).  We are under the sentence of death from day one because of it (2 Corinthians 1:9).  We can’t justify ourselves as being just in His eyes – just because we don’t seem to sin as much as others appear to.  We can’t justify ourselves worthy of God’s grace – because grace is unmerited favor; it gives us something we shouldn’t deserve.  The only perfect and worthy offering for all sin was the Lamb without blemish, who was slain at Calvary (Revelation 5:12, 1 Peter 1:19).

Job didn’t covet, didn’t envy, or serve graven idols.  Yet, he lost nearly everything he had short of his life – in one day (Job 1:13-19),  His worst fears were realized (Job 3:25).  Why?  He had developed a huge “I” problem (Job 29:14-25, John 7:18).  He justified everything he did as being right in his own eyes; whether they were in God’s or not (Deuteronomy 13:18).  He idolized himself.  He had perverted the Word of God by essentially declaring himself perfect. This was his sin – and he didn’t see it until God answered and humbled him out of the whirlwind (Job 38:1-42:6).

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(KJV Scripture)

– And saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since the beginning of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:4

– “What are we doing here?  That is the question – and we are blessed in this – that we happen to know the answer.  Yes, in the immense confusion – one thing alone is clear.  We are waiting for Godot to come.” – “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot was written by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.  It debuted to the French public in 1953.  Some have called it a performance where absolutely nothing happens – and yet the audience is glued to their seats.  They’re so completely captivated by it – some have a hard time leaving after it’s over.

Our lives on earth can seem like much of the same – much of the time. Nothing really happens – and yet our entire days can be often be filled with it.  We either feel captivated by life – or we feel like we’re being held captive; and we’re waiting for someone to come and set us free from our prison.  Regardless, we have a hard time leaving when it’s over.

Estragon and Vladimir are the two main characters in the play. The whole plot centers on the pair’s waiting for a mysterious man by the name of Godot.  They’ve never seen him, they don’t know what he even looks like – and they have no idea at what time he is supposed to arrive; or if he’s even coming at all.

However, it seems important enough for them to show up where they do – by a solitary tree upon a hill.  Whatever the meeting is going to be about – they have not been told.  Whatever it is, seems far better than anything they’re currently doing – or might do anytime soon.  Godot has somehow chosen to meet these two over everyone else – it must be that something good is awaiting.

They try all kinds of things to bide their time – in the meantime. It’s interrupted by a man named Pozzo – who they mistake as Godot. Vladimir then sings a song about a world the two feel trapped in. He begins to see in the midst of the tune – that although there is a notional evidence of time’s linear progression – he basically feels like he is living the same day over and over.

Near the end of the first act – a boy with no name arrives on the scene. The young lad tells Estragon and Vladimir he is a messenger from Godot.  Godot will not be arriving that day as they expected – but he will certainly be there tomorrow.  After the boy departs, they make a preliminary decision to leave – but make no real effort to do so.

What are they going to do if they do depart?  Where will they go?  What happens if Godot shows up right after they leave? What will they possibly miss out on?  Waiting for Godot seems like the most exciting thing to happen in some time. This action is repeated at the end of Act 2 – as the final curtain falls.

The Christian symbolism of Waiting for Godot is clearly evident – although Beckett continually denied any connections until his death in 1989.  It takes place on a hill – the two wait near a solitary tree.  Many believe this represents Calvary and the Cross.  Estragon and Vladimir have a discussion about the two thieves hanging next to Jesus from Luke (Luke 23:39-43).

Regardless of its true meaning, which Beckett took to his grave, the pair wait in vain for Godot to show – and he never does. Maybe this man of mystery was going to save them from their seemingly wretched lives . The two talk about suicide by hanging themselves during one scene – as a way out.  Maybe Godot was going to offer them a better choice.

God promised to send Christ back again with salvation (Revelation 12:10).  Only He knows when (Mark 13:32).  It could be today, tomorrow – or 100 years from now (Matthew 24:14).  Still we wait – or do we?  Do some believe this waiting has been in vain?  When Jesus went to Jericho, there were many then who thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear – and that was over 2,000 years ago (Luke 19:11).

Just like the boy in the play – have there been too many so-called messengers from God (Jeremiah 23:21) since the dawn of creation, telling us with certainty when He was coming to meet with us again – and He didn’t (2 Peter 1:20)?  Things are much the same as they’ve always been (lead verse).  Crying wolf too many times can cause too many people not to listen anymore.

Beckett wrote a play – God gave us His promise.  It’s why He sent us His only Son.  To defeat death, our bondage from birth – and give us the only hope of freeing ourselves from its sentence (Hebrews 2:9-15, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 1:9).  What are we doing then while we wait for God – if we are still really doing so at all?

Do we keep pondering this promise – or are we teaching others about it?  If we are Christians, then we are to be preaching God’s Word – being instant, in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  Not waiting or hesitating – or just hanging around as if we’re the only ones who have a meeting with Him .

In his book “The Mountains Echoed”, author Khaled Hosseini wrote, “Of all the hardships a person had to face – none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”  Waiting for anyone can be very hard sometimes – especially when they say they’re coming to get us – and we really don’t know when.  What do we do in the meantime?

Do we just bide our time with mostly idle conversations and trivial pursuits – like Estragon and Vladimir did while waiting for Godot?  As believers, we can’t do this.  We can’t hang around – not doing much of anything else – while we’re waiting for God. It’s not why He hung His only Son on the Cross for us.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And hope makes not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. For when we were yet without strength – in due time Christ died for the ungodly. – Romans 5:5-6

It’s very hard for someone who has never been able to give or receive human love – to comprehend or understand the incredible breadth, length, depth, or height of God‘s love for them (Ephesians 3:18). Without being able to do this – even as Christians – it makes it equally hard to accept His love or show it to the lost and unbelieving. However, human love is what we learn first – wrought with worldly conditions and expectations. These are based on factors such as money, emotions – even the calendar as in yesterday. Worldly love ebbs and flows dependent on the waves of life. God’s love is different – it is perfect (1 John 4:18) – often referred to as “agape” love. It does not peak or plummet depending on external and earthly circumstances and situations.

When a person is “born again” of the Spirit – the blood that Christ shed at Calvary is the same blood God sheds abroad in their hearts through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost (lead verse). A new heart and new spirit has been given from above (Ezekiel 36:26). A new creature in Christ begins to develop – and old fleshly and worldly things start to pass away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The born again person now bears the marks of Christ in their body (Galatians 6:17). It’s only at this point can any of us even begin to start comprehending God’s perfect love for us and the whole world (John 3:16). Our Father’s love is as strong as death – and it’s this love the breaks our bondage to it from birth – for that is why He sacrificed His only Son (Song of Solomon 8:6, Hebrews 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 1:10).

Upon the giving of the Holy Spirit, God begins a daily process of transforming minds and hearts – regenerating the inner man continually throughout life (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16). The mind of Christ has been given to a believer – and slowly over time – the way of Christ is learned (1 Corinthians 2:16, Ephesians 4:20-32). God begins teaching how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual – no longer from a natural “outside-in” approach (1 Corinthians 2:11-14). Every dead branch in the heart not producing any fruit is cleared away – so new and healthier spiritual growth can occur (John 15:1-5, Galatians 5:22-23). Fleshly and lustful ways of the former man – are slowly replaced with the faithful ways of the reformed man. All the while – day-by-day – God is steadily directing hearts into His love and unto the patient waiting for Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

During the holiday season each year, some of us may come across a church marquee or card that reads this: “Jesus came to pay a debt he did not owe – because we owed a debt we could not pay.” Over 2,000 years ago God gave us the most unspeakable gift – at the most unspeakable cost – the life of His only Son (John 3:16). We were all bought with a painful price – the precious blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20, 1 Corinthians 7:23). Our sin debt was forgiven and paid in full at Calvary. The reason we serve God is because we can never repay Him for what He did – this is our biggest reward and blessing (Romans 4:4, Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is why God does not recommend forgiveness – He commands it (Matthew 6:14-15). We forgive all others unconditionally for the sake of Christ – lest Satan should get advantage of us – for we should never be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:10-11). What God did for all mankind by hanging His beloved Son on the Cross – was far more than enough for what we all deserve (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3). We must all be very careful and prayerful that it really was enough – that we never want anything more than to receive the end result of our faith – and the grace brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Samuel 12:21, Job 21:15, Job 35:3, Malachi 3:14, Hebrews 11:13-16, 1 Peter 1:9,13).

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