Posts Tagged ‘ Law ’

VerseD: Deuteronomy 6:5

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

All of the Law and prophets hinge on this command. Indeed, nothing in this life matters if we do not love and glorify God.

Give Me 5: The Law

Welcome back, my little chickadees! Or something… And as a reminder, this is late due to technical issues. Hopefully later this week another one is coming!

This is the first of a new series of videos I will be making called Give Me 5. The premise is that in about five minutes (hopefully less, and not necessarily including the intro and a few other extras – like my little outtakes I sometimes put in) an apologetics approach (apologetics, again, coming from 1 Peter 3:15, in which we are told to always be ready to give a reasoned defense, Greek apologia, for our faith) will be used to answer some biblical/theological questions/challenges.

This first one is about The Law

Specifically, I am dealing with the question of what it means that Christians are not under the Law while also looking at the challenge from atheists and the irreligious that the Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, are useless and/or stupid.

Not Under the Law?

It is first helpful to realize that we are freed from the ceremonial or Levitical law. We no longer need to perform certain regulations and sacrifices to be made clean before God. He did that for us by sacrificing Christ on the cross.

Jesus summarized the Moral Law by quoting the two greatest Commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18, ESV

Loving God can summarize the first three and a half Commandments, while loving people can summarize the second six and a half.

Why?

Non-controversial Commandments

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He tells us in verse two that “I am the Lord your God,” which tells is that all morality is based on who God is. Apart from God, there is no valid reason for morals. Obviously, atheists and the irreligious disagree with this.

God begins with the First Commandment (v. 3) that we should have no other gods. He created everything ever, so no one could be as powerful as He is. There simply are no other gods. Period. (This rules out other religions.) There is a God.

This leads to the Second Commandment (v. 4) that we are not to make idols. This is anything we create or is a part of God’s Creation that we give worship to. And before anyone argues that this does not happen: many people, such as astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson, argue that all of the elements were created in stars which blew up, spreading that stuff all over, so that we are mad up of this star stuff, therefore we should literally thank the stars that we are alive.

That is idolatry.

Which relates to Commandment Three (v. 7), that we do not use the Lord’s name in vain. This does mean not saying “G.D.” or “omg” and stuff like that, but more importantly it is claiming to be a follower of God (i.e. Christian) and do the very things Je says not to do (i.e. cuss people out, sleep around, lie, mistreat others, etc.)

Now it shifts to the halfsies Commandment, number four (v. 8): Observe the Sabbath. Atheists and the irreligious disregard this (and the first three Commandments) because it is all about the God they do not believe in, because it says that He spent six days creating and then rested, so we should, too.

However, they should not object to the idea of taking a day off every week! It is about rest! (Again, why this is not exactly reiterated in the New Testament is for another time, but essentially we have rest for our souls now with the hope of eternal Sabbath after Christ’s return.)

The other six Commandments should be what we all agree on(at least to some extent.

The For-Some-Reason-Controversial Commandments

  • Fifth: Honor your parents (v. 12)
  • Sixth: Do not murder (v. 13)
  • Seventh: Do not commit adultery (v. 14)
  • Eighth: Do not steal (v. 15)
  • Ninth: Do not lie (v. 16)
  • Tenth: Do not covet (v. 17)

What is there to disagree with?

God says to show respect to people (especially parents, which has become weird in the past few decades), do not murder, take a spouse from or stuff from, lie to or about, or desire to have the possessions and loved ones of other people.

Sure, our society now says that parents are largely irrelevant and that it is okay to want others’ stuff, including spouses. Even murder is seen as okay (i.e. abortion and assisted suicide).

But we do all agree that resting, showing respect to others, and not taking other people’s things, loved ones, or life are all good.

We also need to remember that God is the reason these are good, that we are even here to experience it all, and deserves all honor and worship.

If you want to debate, challenge, or question any of this, comment below or on the video, or even send an e-mail over to Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

God loves you!

Daniel

VerseD: Deuteronomy 30:16

in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
Deuteronomy 30:16, NASB

God expects love and devotion with perfect obedience. The great news for us is that He helps us with the power of His Holy Spirit and through the perfect sacrifice of His Son so that God sees the Son when He looks at us.

VerseD: Romans 13:10

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:10, ESV

The love of Christ in us is not merely sacrificial, it is selfless, considerate, patient, and truthful.

Yes, it can be difficult living all of this out. But, in many ways, it gets easier to understand and do as you love them.

DoA – Not Dead on Arrival, but Day of Atonement 2017!

Hello and Shalom!

At the time of recording, it was the day before Yom Kippur, the Hebrew term translated as the Day of Atonement! By the time you read/watch this, it is either the actual day or after that day. (See Leviticus 16 and 23:26-32)

Either way, by our Gregorian calendar, Yom Kippur happens to be from sunset Friday, September 29, to sunset Saturday, September 30, 2017. This means it actually falls on a Sabbath, this year!

Here are the basics:

Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – was the only day of the year that the High Priest of Israel could enter the Holy of Holies – the inner-sanctum of the Temple, or Tent of Meeting during the Exodus – and offer the sacrifice for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole nation of Israel.

It was possible to have personal sins forgiven throughout the rest of the year by going and offering sacrifices, but they were continuously needed.

When the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, he would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Ark of the Covenant. (See Exodus 25:10-22; 37:1-9; and Deuteronomy 10)

The Ark was first built with wood and then overlaid with gold. It is interesting to think about something that can waste away being covered with something more permanent and made to look beautiful.

Moving on, in Hebrews 9:3-4 we learn what is inside of the Ark of the Covenant (AotC).

  1. In Exodus 16:32-34, we read that an omer of manna (roughly 2.2 Liters), of the bread that was formed by the morning dew resting on the ground, was to be put into a jar and placed into the AotC. This demonstrates God’s provision for his people.
  2. In Numbers 17, we read of Aaron’s staff that budded. The story recounts that each of the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel were to give their staffs to Moses to put into the Tent of Meeting, and the one that budded – had flowers grow from it – would be God’s chosen spiritual leader – the High Priest – of the nation.
    Not only did it bud, but this piece of a dead tree had new life grow from it: flowers that attract our eyes and nose, AS WELL AS almonds. This was also placed into the AotC, and it demonstrates God’s spiritual (and emotional and other sensations!) provision for his people.
  3. Deuteronomy 10 recounts the story of the 2 stone tablets with the 10 Commandments. Originally, God gave Moses two tablets, but when Moses came down from the mountain he found the Israelites worshiping the golden calf (already breaking the first 3 Commandments!) In his anger, Moses smashed the tablets.
    When he climbed up the mountain again, God had him chisel out new tablets, and then God used his own finger to write the Commandments on the new stones. These are what were placed into the AotC. These symbolize God’s expectations for His people, how they are supposed to live.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Christians?

WELL! Hebrews 9-10 explain the relevance to us!

Firstly, we have one final High Priest, Jesus. Through His sacrifice on the cross, we have complete and total atonement! No other high priest nor sacrifice is ever needed for the washing of sins. He finished it!

Just as the High Priests of old would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice onto the AotC, Jesus’ blood is sprinkled over our hearts, cleansing us of our sins.

Now for the fascinating bit, when things get quite allusionary and allegorical!

The Temple symbolizes our bodies. Therefore the Holy of Holies is the chest cavity, and the Ark is the heart. The lid of the AotC is called the Mercy Seat.

Do you see the connection so far? His blood sprinkled over the heart to purify us?

Cool.

Thinking of the AotC being made of wood covered in gold, it is like our hearts – also something perishable – are covered and even replaced with the beautiful and imperishable! Our Atonement is attained … if we believe! … because God has chosen us through His Chosen One!

Now for the deep stuff:

  1. What about the Manna? Jesus explained in the Gospel according to John (see John 6:35, 49-51) that He is the Bread of Life. When we believe in Him, the Holy Spirit places Him within our hearts. He explained that when we eat of his flesh (Communion/the Eucharist), we join in His sacrifice and are spiritually sustained.
  2. Likewise, what about the staff? Jesus explained a chapter earlier (see John 5:24) that whoever hears His word and believes Him who sent Him (God the Father sent God the Son) has eternal life.
    In other words, when we believe in God and Christ’s sacrifice for our sins, we are given new life! Just as the staff budded, we are awakened to and promised eternal life!
  3. And the Law written on the stone tablets? This time, we look back at an Old Testament prophecy from Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). God tells us there that through the Atonement and the Holy Spirit we have God’s law written on our hearts. We now know what it looks like and how to live out the Law, i.e. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. We cannot fully and properly live out the Law, but through Christ, it is fulfilled and we are helped by the Holy Spirit!

How amazing is that?!

That is how the Day of Atonement is still applicable. However, instead of looking forward to a day when our sins can be atoned for, we live daily in atonement thanks to Jesus the Christ!

May your Day of Atonement be blessed as you reflect on what God has done for you.

Daniel

 

How Sweet Are Your Words

About  month ago I posted Psalm 119:89-104. The reason for that was that my Theology class was assigned this passage for a memory quiz. We had to write out all 16 verses from our choice of translation as accurately as possible.

I typed it out for my blog as a memory aid.

The day it posted online was the day of the quiz. I was going over it before my Preaching class started, and the professor asked if I had an opening thought and prayer to share with the class (he likes his students doing that in this class). Since I had it in my hand, I said “Yes,” and quickly decided which words to share about this passage. Below, I will expand on what I shared in class.

Proverbs 119:89-104, ESV

Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3, NIV

If I had not delighted in your Law, I would have perished in my in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:4, NIV

I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts. The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. I have seen a limit to all perfection, but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
John 15:18-20, NIV

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected     has become the cornerstone,”

and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:1-12, NIV

This is true for the pastor and for the regular church-goer:

We are called to be a royal priesthood. It is our calling, in Christ Jesus, to share the good news of Christ Jesus with the world.

How can we do that if we do not know His written word?

Through the Bible, our Lord has revealed to us the truth of His character, plan, and will. We must be saturated by His word if we are to be fully effective as His witnesses. (Note I said “fully” effective. God can and does still use us to achieve His will, just keep in mind that He uses the wicked as much as the justified. i.e. Look at the Antichrist.)

As we have begun teaching in our youth group, this requires knowing God’s word through prayer, study, fellowship, and meditation.

  • Prayer: Ask God to reveal His truth and help you retain it.
  • Study: Intentionally read through the Bible (one book at a time) to find the full context and meaning.
  • Fellowship: Discuss what you are reading and what God has revealed with others. This lifts each other up and protects from misunderstandings and false teachings.
  • Meditation: Not like in Eastern religions in which you empty yourself of thoughts and emotions. This is intentional thinking over the words, meanings, and ideas being expressed. This is focused thinking what God is revealing. This is allowing God to imprint it in your heart and mind.

This is not a suggestion. To be fully effective for God, we must make sure we “sought Your precepts,” “consider[ed] Your testimonies,” and “do not turn aside from Your rules,” “for You have taught [us].”

God Himself has taught us what is good and right, and we know this best from reading from the Bible regularly and allowing it to transform our lives to the likeness of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father.

(Or am I being to strict about this?)

(No. I am not.)