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Posts Tagged ‘Epistle to the Hebrews’


(Scripture from the KJV and NKJV)

– I listened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented of his wickedness, saying “What have I done?”  Every one turned to his course, as a horse rushes into the battle, – Jeremiah 8:6

– The more you defend a lie … the angrier you become. – Mitch Albom

Over the recent holidays, I watched one of those crime shows on TV with my parents.  This particular program had the usual suspects – five people with potential motives for two related murders.  Among them was a mother whose son had been previously killed by one of the later victims.  When she was brought in for questioning by the police, her demeanor was calm and innocent – at first.

The woman became increasingly louder and defensive as detectives started putting holes in her alibi.  Protests such as “I haven’t done anything!” started pouring forth from her mouth.  My dad pegged her as the killer half-way through the episode.  I asked him later how he was so sure.  He said, “It’s the people who holler and protest the most you have to watch.  They’re the ones usually lying.”

Kids can often get like this when they know they are guilty of doing something they’ve been told not by their parents.  Professing their innocence with loud protests such as “What have I done!?”  The parent will then counter with calm, firm words like, “You know exactly what you did wrong.”  In situations like this, loudness is a good indicator of lying – calmness is a good indicator correction is coming.

The child then stomps angrily down the hall, or up the stairs to their bedroom.  However, don’t they often stop after opening the door, and make sure everyone in the whole house hears their cries of  “This is so unfair!”?  This is frequently followed by a door slam – with an equally far-reaching noise. Christians who do not understand the purpose of God’s correction – may do similar things.

Protests of “What have I done?” are unwise when God corrects us as Christians.  As a sign of His great love – we will all undergo things like chastening (Hebrews 12:6-7 ).  It won’t seem joyous during it – but all discipline in life can hurt at times (Hebrews 12:11).  Try to remember, His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).  God never afflicts or grieves us willingly (Lamentations 3:33).

The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (Ezekiel 18:32).  God is long-suffering with all of us – not wanting anyone to perish into the pit – but to come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  This is a commandment for Christians (Acts 17:30).  We can no longer be ignorant about sin’s eternal wages (Romans 6:23).  It means we obey God unto death, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2:8)

Any claims we have of being faithful Christians means we are obedient to our faith.  Why?  Jesus – our only power to obey God – dwells in us by faith through the power of the Spirit (Romans 16:26, Ephesians 3:16-17).  We can’t claim innocence about sin anymore when corrected by God (Jeremiah 2:35). Obedience requires such.  Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey God (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Christ shed precious blood for us at Calvary.  It is the very same blood sprinkled on our hearts daily as a salve for our sins (Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 1:2).  We have to learn not to offend Him anymore with them (Job 34:31).  If we are still walking around raising our voices at God, saying things like “What have I done!?” every time He corrects us; we don’t have the faith we may be loudly proclaiming.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But though He causes grief – yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.  For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. – Lamentations 3:32-33

If you have been a parent at any time in the past, did you ever have to discipline your children for disobeying you?  If you did, didn’t it pain and grieve you to punish a son or daughter when a certain situation required it?  You didn’t do it willingly – but you knew something had to be done to teach your child right from wrong.

Of course – if you were a child on the other side of the coin, how often did you hear Dad or Mom say something like “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you?”  And, you could not possibly see any sense to a statement like that.  You were the one receiving punishment.  How could a parent be pained by that?

Perhaps it was looking back on such times years later – when you finally understood your parents were really trying to help you through discipline when you were younger.  To keep you from trouble then, and still getting hurt by it today.  Something had to be done when they saw you heading down any potentially dangerous or deceitful path in life.

Hopefully, you finally realized any grief your parents caused you as a kid, was meant for your own good now.  Why would our loving Father in heaven be any different?  Who would want a God to go around arbitrarily afflicting and grieving people with punishment – without purpose – to determine eternal destinies (lead passage, Romans 3:5-6)?

Two of Charlie Brown’s most popular phrases were “Good grief!”, and “I can’t stand it!”  God cannot stand sin – the sin Scripture has concluded we’re all under (Galatians 3:22).  If we are Christians – we all know better now about the eternal wages of it (Romans 6:23).  Repenting from sin is not an option – but a commandment (Acts 17:30).

Meaning God is going to grieve us at various times – but never willingly (lead passage); so we learn Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).  According to His way – not ours.  But – we can’t learn Jesus the way God desires – unless Jesus dwells in us by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17). This is the only power we have to repent.

Old things have to pass away, so we can become new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are no longer just God’s creation as Christians – but His children again.  Our loving Father in heaven is now teaching us His way.  Not the way we may desire much of the time; but the way He’s designed it to be – by correcting and chastising us.

Happy is the man whom God corrects.  We are not to despise it when it happens (Job 5:17).  We are not to grow weary while we’re enduring His chastening (Proverbs 3:11).  It’s going to hurt God more than it hurts us.  We probably won’t see it that way as His children at first.  It won’t seem joyous – what punishment ever does (Hebrews 12:11)?

God’s commandments are not meant to be grievous (1 John 5:3) – but designed for our own good.  Our Father assures us we will be chastened as Christians (Hebrews 12:6).  It may often seem very grievous. However, it’s a sign of His love.  We have to learn not to offend God (Job 34:31).  Therefore, we are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19).

So He can continually guide us away from the troubles and sins of this world – and towards the sincerity and truth of His Word.  To keep us from getting hurt over and over by our old sins and their sorrows.  So we are not punished eternally by sin’s motions and wages (Romans 6:23, Romans 7:5, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:27-28).

Even if we think we are suffering wrongfully at the hands of others – we are to endure their grief.  This is thank-worthy with God – if our conscience is towards Him.  Even if we do well, and suffer grief for it – and we take it patiently – this is acceptable with God (1 Peter 2:19-20).  Remember, Jesus was fully acquainted with all we may face (Isaiah 53:3-10).

If we are Christians – and we do not fully understand this – guess what’s probably going to happen often? We’ll see God as creating grief – without having any cause to do so.  However, we cause our own grief when we walk around with any innocent  “What have I done?” mindset regarding sin (Jeremiah 8:6); or still proclaim our goodness (Proverbs 20:6).

If we are like this, we’re probably going to grumble a lot, about how could a loving God be causing us grief. This can go a long way towards grieving the Holy Spirit within us.  We’re warned not to do that (Ephesians 4:30).  Doing so can be the catalyst for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost – putting us in danger of eternal damnation (Mark 3:29).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Declaring the end from the beginning – and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand – and I shall do all My pleasure.” – Isaiah 46:10

– That which has been – is now; and that which is to be – has already been … and God requires that which is past. – Ecclesiastes 3:15

God declared the end of this earth from the very beginning (lead verse).  There is never anything new under His sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The Lord has seen it all before; and has already seen what is coming down the road.  Known to God are all His works from the beginning – they were finished by Him before He started – before He formed the foundation of this planet (Acts 15:18, Hebrews 4:3).

Whatever has happened in this world, or to us in the past – good, bad, or in-between – was required by Him (second lead verse).  What is coming in the future requires faith (Hebrews 11:1).  If we ever definitively decide we know before He does – that is prejudging and presumption (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).  All things must pass per His judgement, including us (Hebrews 9:27) – His way; not ours.

Everything past, present, or future – has to have purpose – or how else would He be qualified to judge us daily (Zephaniah 3:5) – or this world when the time comes (Romans 3:5-6)?  Would we want a Creator to make peace – then create war, without any cause to do so (Isaiah 45:7)?  As if our just God did such “just because” – without any justification. Don’t some people still seem to believe this?

Everything that happens to us or this planet each day – or doesn’t happen, is going perfectly and precisely according to His plan from the beginning of the world.  Just because life isn’t going perfectly and precisely according to our own personal plans, in our own little worlds; even within the church – doesn’t make us right – and God wrong (1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 21:2).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.” – Proverbs 24:29

Whether we are believers or not – most of us learned the Bible’s Golden Rule of  “doing unto others” (Matthew 7:12) as children, even if we weren’t attending church.  It does not tell us to do good things unto others – but only if they do the same in return, exactly when and why we want them to.  If they don’t – we don’t stop doing them.  It does not say to do bad things unto others – exactly like they have done to us.

If we don’t, though – well, aren’t they just getting away with it? No – we don’t do unto others as they have already done in the past (lead verse).  The Golden Rule is not a conditional verse.  It says we are to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us – even when they are not doing so; even if they never do. Remember, we are all unprofitable servants (Luke 17:7-10).

If our conscience is towards God, it is thank-worthy – even if we endure grief and suffer wrongfully (1 Peter 2:19).  Didn’t God endure grief when He watched His only Son suffer wrongfully on the Cross?  Remember how much grief Joseph seemingly suffered wrongfully for years?  God was setting up a future event of good all along – which only He could see (Hebrews 11:1).

What might have happened if Joseph had spent his time – in the meantime – trying to do unto others as they had done unto him? Attempting to get back and pay people back for supposedly messing up his life?  Everything bad God put Joseph through was required for later good – to save his family from famine (Genesis 45:5-47:12, Ecclesiastes 3:15, Romans 8:28).

Just because God’s sentence against an evil work is not executed as speedily as we like it sometimes – it is well with us who fear Him (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13).  We may be requited some good if we turn the other cheek (2 Samuel 16:5-12).  We are not to avenge – but to over-come evil with good.  Vengeance belongs to God alone.  It is a terrible thing to fall into His hands (Romans 12:19-21, Hebrews 10:30-31).

It may take more time than our temperament might allow – but His final punishment will be fiery and forever.  God will by no means clear the guilty – He will not at all acquit the wicked (Exodus 34:7, Nahum 1:3). Just remember, we were all born with wicked hearts – and Scripture has concluded all of us are guilty of sin (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23, Galatians 3:22).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Vengeance belongs to Me – I will recompense,” says the Lord. – Hebrews 10:30

How many movies and TV shows have there been in just the past 5-10 years, where the subject matter seems to center on someone exacting revenge?  Getting even, getting back, or having people “get what’s coming to them?”  Avengers of wrong-doing – doing whatever it takes sometimes to return possessions or people to their rightful owners or places.

Old hatred can be generational.  These quests to make sure scores are settled properly can carry on for decades (Ezekiel 25:15) – but don’t they seem to be on the increase?  Are we living in the “days of vengeance” which Christ told the disciples would precede the end times – so all things written in Scripture may be fulfilled (Luke 21:22-28)?

God only knows for sure.  However, we should never ignore any warning signs He gives us; for there won’t be any more – other than what’s already in His Word (Mark 8:12).  Regardless, any ideas or notions we have about vengeance in any shape or form – (even secretly) – is a very unwise way to walk with the Lord (lead verse).  Our trying to right a wrong – could be a wrong He’s trying to right – His way; not ours.

As believers, we are to learn to be long-suffering and patient like Christ – among other things (Ephesians 4:20-32, Galatians 5:22-23). Not longing to see someone pay for anything they’ve done to us – and preferably sooner than later.  If we’re Christians – the crucified Christ dwells in our heart by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We bear the same marks Jesus bore on the Cross in our bodies (Galatians 6:17).

Therefore, we are to let no man trouble us – no matter how much trouble they may be causing us, regardless of reason or season.  God didn’t put His only Son up on the Cross for us to take matters into our own hands.  Even if we perceive people to be causing us to suffer grief wrongfully – we are to be thankful for this if our conscience truly is towards God (1 Peter 2:19).

Marcus Aurelius once said, “The best revenge is to be unlike him who caused the injury.”  How can we ever esteem others better than ourselves in lowliness of mind – if we ever go around estimating exactly what someone had better get for causing us any type of anguish or trouble?  Something which would make us want to seek revenge (Philippians 2:3)?

It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). To Him alone belongs vengeance and recompense. The feet of those who wrong us will slide in due time – His; not ours. The day of their calamity is at hand – and all things to come upon them will make haste as He will have it be (Deuteronomy 32:35, Ecclesiastes 8:11-13).

Meanwhile – we are not to avenge.  If our enemies are hungry, we are to feed them. If they are thirsty – we are to give them drink.  For in doing so, we shall heap coals of fire upon their heads.  We can’t allow ourselves to be overcome with evil.  We are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19-21).  Otherwise, the days of vengeance may come sooner than we think.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– For our God is a consuming fire. – Hebrews 12:29

– Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God … and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. – Romans 13:2

During a recent trip to a nature preserve, we watched a video about its history.  One scene showed lightning igniting one of the occasional natural fires within park perimeters.  The commentator noted many grasses and plants have become resistant to these blazes over time.  Almost everything appears to be consumed at first – totally burned up.  However, nutrients stored in extensive root systems underground – soon bring forth new growths of the same kind, as before the fire.

There are many similarities between how plants grow in nature – and spiritually (John 15:1-6, for example).  When we are “born again” of the Spirit (John 3:5) – it is a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  Our Father begins burning up all things such as anger, hatred, and unforgiveness – so fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) can start coming forth from the cleared soil in our hearts – once cluttered with the wrong plants.  This doesn’t mean the bad plants are gone for good (Hebrews 12:15).

The gift of God has to be continually stirred up within us and kept ablaze (2 Timothy 1:6).  Root systems in nature can spread far and wide and remain hidden from the naked eye – so can spiritual ones.  Just when we may think the wrong plants – perhaps the cares and worries of this world (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7) have been burnt and consumed – their nutrients in the root systems of our hearts can start growing again … if the fire of the Spirit is allowed to die out (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

When the Holy Ghost is given – Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith.  The power of God starts working within (Ephesians 3:16-20).  We are not to resist this – for we are resisting God (second lead verse).  If we do, we’re still stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears (Acts 7:51).  If we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil – he will flee (James 4:7).  If we stop resisting Satan’s devices – or stay ignorant of them – guess who’ll gain advantage again (2 Corinthians 2:11)?

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(KJV Scripture)

– And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5

If we ever get up in the morning as believers with a mental checklist of what we have to accomplish that day to show and prove our Christianity to others – we’re probably going to have a difficult, confusing time showing God‘s love the way to the world that He desires?  Why?  Love was hung and nailed on the Cross for us.  It’s not something to cross off a Christian checklist hung on a hanger nailed to a door frame somewhere in our house.   Love becomes our whole being as we grow in the Spirit daily.  It is not restricted to a time slot in our day planners.

When we are truly “born again”, God commands His light to shine out of the devil’s darkness we live in since our physical births (2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 26:18).  This love from above is shed abroad in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (lead verse).  The veil over our hearts gets lifted with Christ – and the wall between us and God gets broken with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:14-18, Ephesians 2:13-14).  A lamp of His love is finally lit in our souls.  Its light is the same light that should shine out from our eyes – to brighten the paths of those who still are wandering around in the dark (Luke 1:79, Luke 11:33-36).

Our Father becomes a consuming fire within us (Hebrews 12:29) – to continually burn up and clear out the underbrush – which can easily keep His gift from being stirred up and blazing bright (2 Timothy 1:6).  All branches on His vine not producing the spiritual fruit He desires are purged – so they may bring forth such fruit that makes us more like Christ (Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:20-32,).  This is the daily process of repentance.  It takes our constant abidance in God – and His Word in us (John 15:1-7, 2 Corinthians 4:16,).

So our hearts are constantly being renewed and transformed from the inside by the Word – not from the outside by the world. So Christ’s blood can be sprinkled on those hearts to put a salve on sin – and so spiritual growth can begin and be shown (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 10:22).  So our love for others starts coming fervently and unfeigned out of purified hearts by obeying the Spirit of truth (1 Peter 1:22).  It becomes unintentional – not intentional.  Lists?  They’re for religion. Love?  That’s for Christianity.

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