Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Filthy Rags- Fine Linen

Isaiah 64:6a  We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment………………

ed=polluted/filthy                                                                                                                                                            From an unused root meaning to set a period; the menstrual flux (as periodical); by implication (in plural) soiling: - filthy.
beged=garment/rags                                                                                                                                         A covering, that is, clothing; also treachery or pillage: - apparel, cloth (-es, -ing), garment, lap, rag, raiment, robe, X very [treacherously], vesture, wardrobe.
It can be said that the Word of God often gets down to the “nitty gritty” of life. There are many illustrations to be found throughout scripture where the Lord uses the most graphic language, and/or the most heinous of sins to further His plans, and to get His point across. The Levite and his concubine in Judges 19; Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38; and of course David and Bathsheba’s adultery and murderous acts serve as examples of this.                                                                                                                                     
The above passage from the prophecy of Isaiah is also a most excellent “word picture” in this same vein. I find it interesting that the professing evangelical church today chooses to avoid these passages in the main, for fear of giving offense to the more sensitive listeners in the congregation. In other words, men are more concerned with their “holy ears” being offended (which by the way is a great representation of a “polluted garment”), but deem it okay for a Holy God.                                                                                                 All of this being said, Isaiah’s declaration here begs further study.

“We have all become like one who is unclean”

Leviticus 15:

19  "When a woman has a discharge, and the discharge in her body is blood, she shall be in her menstrual impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening.

20  And everything on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean. Everything also on which she sits shall be unclean.

21  And whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.

22  And whoever touches anything on which she sits shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening.

23  Whether it is the bed or anything on which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening.

24  And if any man lies with her and her menstrual impurity comes upon him, he shall be unclean seven days, and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

Since the Lord, through Isaiah, is using the imagery of a soiled menstrual cloth, that then must be carried through the entire statement.
We all are unclean, as the woman in her period is unclean, and everything and everyone that she come into contact with becomes unclean as well.
Why then is our uncleaness described in this manner?

 “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment (soiled menstrual cloth).”

The best works that man can muster are viewed by God to be on the same level as a used menstrual cloth.
Why this type of allegorical expression?

A representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

What then does the soiled cloth represent?
Quite simply, it reveals that there was no union of sperm and egg, and therefore gives evidence of the absence of new life; nothing has been conceived.
Our “righteousness” is not life producing in any way, shape or form. Only the righteousness of Christ produces new life. (Romans 5:12-6:5; 1 Cor 15:45)

You might ask; what about the righteous deeds of the saints mentioned in Revelation 19:7-8?
First we must remember that these righteous acts are the material of which the ‘bridal gown’ is made. These are described in detail in Ephesians 2:10 and James 2:14-26.
Faith is given to the saints by God through Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2), and the works of faith which are righteous works come by that faith. Not only is the righteousness of Christ imputed to the saints, and thus we are both fully justified and sanctified; the faith which produces the good works predestined by God for us to accomplish, is also a gift from Him as we do not possess such faith on our own. We are incapable of conjuring it up within ourselves.
The righteous acts of the saints are evidence that they are regenerate, i.e. walking in newness of life; and thus they are not like a soiled menstrual cloth. These righteous acts are not part of a wasted attempt in self-justification or self-sanctification. They are seen as “fine linen, bright and pure”. These predestined, righteous works decreed by God, as performed by the saints, do not bring us to Christ, but proceed from Him.

Titus 2:
11  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

12  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

13  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

14  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Titus 3:

4  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,

5  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own

mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

6  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

8  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have

believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent

and profitable for people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's A Relationship!

Jeremiah 23:
25  I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!'
26  How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart,
27  who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?
28  Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD.

There is a certain slogan/catch phrase that has been making the rounds through professing
christianity which says, (more or less), “it’s a relationship not a religion”.
What has become glaringly apparent is that this pious sentiment, in reality, reveals the
hearts of those who do not study the Word, but whose  preferred method of receiving revelation
is based upon their dreams, visions, feelings, and those of others.
The “religion/relationship” polemic is usually given as a response to those who do study and
show themselves approved through the accurate exposition of the Word of Truth, by those who
as a practice, do not. (2 Timothy 2;15)
 How many books have been written by the neo-gnostics and shamans (who are in reality
proclaiming a religion) to whom “Jesus” has appeared and revealed things that He apparently
neglected to reveal to the writers of Scripture?

The truth of the matter is, (to paraphrase another banal modern christian slogan), “No
Word, No Christ-Know Word, Know Christ”
There is no “relationship” with the Author outside of reading His Book; and I do not mean the
Proof - texting, out of context butchery of the Bible that is more rampant today than ever.

The Lord said, when speaking to the pharisees:

John 5:
37  And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
38  and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
39  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
40  yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

In order to have a relationship with the Son, one must read, and understand, the revealed
witness of the Father. In order to have a parent/child relationship with the Father, we must be
rightly related to the Son. (John 6:44-45; John 14:6-7; John 16:13-15; John17:-21)


John 5:
45  Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
46  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.
47  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

Christ, the Word made flesh, and the Scriptures, both being the revealed Word of God, are intrinsically linked together, forever.
Moses’ writings, the words of our Lord, Paul’s letters, all that is written; all are Scripture, and all are sufficient in and of themselves. They are all we need; indeed they are all we are given. (Deut 29:29)
There is no extra-biblical revelation of some alleged "new thing".

1Peter 1:
8  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
9  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully,
11  inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
12  It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look………..

20  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
21  who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22  Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
23  since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
24  for "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls,
25  but the word of the Lord remains forever." And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

So it was from the beginning.

Luke 8:
19  Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd.
20  And he was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you."
21  But he answered them, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."

Truly, it is a relationship, not a religion. 

Sola Scriptura
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Even The Spirit Of Truth

John 16:
7  Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
8  And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
9  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
10  concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
11  concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
12  "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14  He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
15  All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

The Holy Spirit, i.e. the Comforter/Helper, is the Spirit of Truth. He comes to lead those to whom the Lord is speaking to, i.e. His disciples, into all the Truth.
The Spirit only declares what He hears, and He only hears what Christ Himself declares. Christ, the obedient Son, declares only that which the Father gives Him to declare.
There is no chance that of any kind of discrepancy or incongruity would ever occur regarding the Gospel, given to His disciples, to be declared to others.
The most misunderstood phrase here is “the things that are to come”.
Modern Christianity erroneously takes that to mean events far into the future, i.e. the “end times”. (It is the same error they make in interpreting Rev 1:1).  A more accurate translation of the Greek would read the things that will accompany what the Spirit declares to you.
The point here is that the Spirit will lead them, (all those to whom the Lord is literally in front of, and speaking to) into ALL the Truth.
This then means it would be given to them to also have complete understanding of everything declared to them by the Spirit.
These are the “many things to say”, which they could not bear to hear just then, but would hear later. Christ speaks to His own through the Holy Spirit.

The Lord then prays regarding the things of which He had just spoken of:

John 17:
6  "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
7  Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you.
8  For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
9  I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
10  All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
11  And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me; that they may be one, even as we are one.
12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13  But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
15  I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
16  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
18  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
19  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20  "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
21  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

He does not pray for the world. He prays only for those whom the Father has given Him out of the world. And verse20 tells us that includes all those who will believe based on the God given Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be delivered through the Spirit, to His apostles there with Him that night.
All those who will and do believe through the Word of Truth which they both spoke and had written, are the church universal, throughout the age; “the called out”; all the saints past, present, and future, (which of course would include us).
We read the scriptures and hear them preached, and the same Holy Spirit is given to us, as was to them, to bring understanding to what we hear and read, so that we may preach the Word also, and so on, and so on.
ALL the saints are brought into the knowledge of ALL the Truth. This is the promise of God to His people.

Ephesians 4:
11  And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
12  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
15  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
16  from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

There are many,in their endeavors to appear pious and put an end to “the debating”, who will say that since men do not, in themselves, have the capacity to understand the scriptures, we must therefore accept that all may be wrong and just learn to get along even at the expense of what is true. This ignores the promise of Christ that the knowing, and understanding of all the Truth, has been given to the saints by God. The revelation and understanding of the Word of the Lord comes through the Holy Spirit, by whom we are sealed to the day of redemption, i.e. sealed by the Spirit until the return of Christ.  (Ephesians 1;13-14 and 4:30)
So do not grieve the Holy Spirit, and place obstacles between the saints and the Lord,
through the pious blether of men (Matthew 23:13), which relies solely on us, that is, our ability to either gain an understanding, (albeit it a limited one), or our inability to achieve  any understanding at all. Such notions put man in the driver’s seat and degrade the Lord, by placing Him, and the successful outcome of His will, completely at our mercy.
God is sovereign, not man. He is well able to give both revelation, and understanding, to all whom He will. This He has done, and will continue to do without fail.

Colossians 1:9  ……….. we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding……..