Righteously Breaking the Law

People desire an external law that can be followed externally. This makes judging much easier and judging is our favorite pasttime.

Believers who claim that they are not under a law, that they have liberty and freedom, will be the first to cut you down if you disagree on this point! That’s called “irony.”

Believers who enjoy being free from the law generally can’t help themselves but to invent another law, one that is seen, listed, and easily observed whether people are following it or not.

These people, while they  “promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.” We just can’t help it, we must judge! You disagree with me? Well, you’re obviously heretic scum that will burn!

David ate the shewbread and this was against the law! It was not just against a person’s made up law, but against the very written law of God! We’d kill David today! We’d also kill Jesus for picking corn and healing on the sabbath.

Either people have liberty or they don’t. The law of the Spirit of life is different, even different from the written law on stone. God judges on the heart. To those without law I’m as one without law, to those under law I am as one under the law.

How can Paul be so cavalier with the law like this? Love–he does it that he might win some. How many of us are more concerned about bashing people into believing everything we believe more than we are concerned about dropping some beliefs to win some?

How many of you think I’ve gone liberal because I’ve violated your law now?! Paul said it and I believe we’d kill him too.

Franklin Graham Apologizes for Obama Comments

Saturday I linked to an article about Franklin Graham speculating on whether PResident Obama is a Christian. Today he apologized.

This is one more reason why Chrsitians, particularly pastors, should stay out of politics. The world doesn’t get it, they won’t get it, we’ll just look dumber the more we speak on these things.

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Graham got himself entangled and I don’t think the church gains anything by this.

The Two Laws

Believers enjoy talking about their freedom from the law. We get this phrase from Romans 8, “free from the law of sin and death.”

We are indeed free from the law of sin and death, but note the beginning of the verse: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” There is another law that makes us free from the law of sin and death!

How many laws are we dealing with here? We’re dealing with two laws: a spiritual law, the law of God, and the law of sin and death. This is not a different way of using the same law, but two different laws.

“I see then another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind” “Another” means another, a different one. It’s not just how your flesh views the Ten Commandments and how the Spirit views them, but another law entirely.

Clarifying example: David ate the shewbread from the tabernacle. According to the law of stone, the external law, the law of sin that stirs up sin, David broke the law, this was sin.

But David was deemed righteous in so doing this, it wasn’t a sin even though it was a violation of the Law, except it wasn’t! Why not? Because it’s a different law.

There is a law that comes from the Spirit, is motivated from the inside, not a law on stone heard by a stoney heart, but God’s spiritual law that is only operated under by the Spirit.

The law is spiritual but I am carnal (flesh). If someone else had come to the tabernacle that day and asked for a snack they would have violated the law and been punished. But not David, because he was motivated from a pure, spiritual heart and thus was judged, not by the letter of the law on stone, but by God’s spiritual law.

Judge righteous judgment! We’re not under the external law attempted to be followed externally. We’re under the perfect law of liberty, under the law to Christ, the law that is only known and followed by the Spirit. It was true for David and it’s true for us.

What Do We Mean When We “Give God Glory?”

The chief end of man is to give God glory.

So we’ve been told, and, as concise answers go, I would agree. But perhaps our familiarity with this statement causes confusion.

Many who deem they are “giving God glory” because of their “ministry” (“ministry” being defined as whatever activity you’re proud of doing for God), what are they actually doing?

Regardless of what we do, God is still the sole possessor of glory, He does not need us to “give” Him glory as though it’s a commodity, taken out of our account and added to His. We cannot increase the infinite God’s infinite glory.

Yet that phrase, “give God glory” gives the idea that we do indeed increase His glory. Even if we all spent the rest of our lives in sin, is not God still infinitely the possessor of infinite glory?

This, I think, is where we skip Ecclesiastes’ clear message–all of life is vanity, even the part of life that you think gives Him glory.

I am not saying that we should not “give God glory,” the Bible tells us to do this. I am recommending that we think rightly about these words. Give God glory the way He has asked for it, the way that exalts the glory He already has.

Then get over yourself! Your ministry, your rightness, your brilliance, your great golf game, is not increasing or decreasing His glory one bit. Everything is vanity. God is the sole possessor and object of glory, not you or what you do.

Revel in Him, His glory, put your hope fully in Him and give Him glory for His infinite glory. You give the glory that is due Him, not the glory that He needs from you to be glorious!

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

President Obama’s Christianity

The Christianity of President Obama has been in the news lately. I’m not sure why, maybe he’s trying to get a book deal like Tim Tebow. Here is the buzz going around the internets about it:

Franklin Graham put in his two cents on Obama on Morning Joe. “He says he’s a Christian so I have to assume he is.” The hosts have no clue what he’s talking about as he tries to make a distinction between truly saved and professing Christian. The hosts come across as smug jerks and is rather difficult to watch the whole segment, but alas, in the end, Graham’s stated opinion didn’t make much sense.

Here is a full transcript of Obama from years ago about his views on God, whether he’s a Christian or not. “I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

John Fea’s article states, “Obama may be the most explicitly Christian president in American history.”

Roger Olson examines Santorum’s statement that Obama’s theology favors the earth over humanity.

I am personally not convinced that President Obama is a Christian, but I’m not convinced any president of the United States has been a Christian. When we lower the standard to fit more in, we merely blaspheme our Lord and Savior.

I’m not the judge. Based on what the Judge says, there are few who enter and even fewer rich people (Jesus’ words, not mine). I’m not expecting to see many world leaders from any age in heaven. I do expect to see them and their followers lined up against Christ (Jesus’ words, not mine).

Our Defense Against Satan

Satan’s only weapon against us is creation. He uses physical things to get people to fail spiritually. Satan is a creature, he does not have spiritual power per se, but he does have power to warp people spiritually.

Knowing that Satan uses physical things to keep us from God, what should our relationship to physical things be? We are kind of dependent on them to sustain our physical lives.

First off, don’t be too enamored with life. This involves laying hold of eternal life, setting your mind on things above, not on things of this world. Don’t entangle yourself with the affairs of this life, see yourself as a citizen of heaven.

Secondly, put to death the lusts of the flesh and mortify the deeds of the body. Your fleshly lusts war against the Spirit so that you cannot do the things that you would.

Our relationship to physical things determines our spiritual health. You can’t serve God and Mammon. Romans 1 says what makes God harden a heart is when people worship the creation over the Creator who is blessed forever, amen.

Our physical desires and lusts are given by God and have a set way to be used. But what God purposed for good, Satan desires to distort and make hideously evil. Crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts in Christ and rise up to newness of life lived on a spiritual plane Satan can never touch!

Satan’s Only Weapon Against You

Satan speaks three times in the Bible:

Genesis 3:1-6—Eat the fruit and Eve’s eyes will be opened, she’ll be smarter, and she’ll be like gods

Job 1:6-12—God dares Satan to get Job to fall, so Satan asks permission to touch all that Job has–family, possessions, servants, etc
Job 2:1-7—After unsuccessfully getting Job to fall, Satan asks permission to touch Job’s bone and flesh

Matthew 4:1-11—Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread, show off your angels so you don’t dash your foot, and worship Satan to get the kingdoms without suffering.

Paul says we’re not ignorant concerning Satan’s devices, yet we act ignorant. There is a remarkable consistency in these words of Satan. Notice how he attacks.

He uses physical things to try to get people to fall spiritually.

Well duh, nice insight, Jeff, did you take the whole month off to come up with that one? Yeah, actually.

Notice something else–Two of these attacks are directly related to food!

Are you aware of the fact that Satan doesn’t need people to be homosexual, abortion loving adulterers to keep them from heaven, he might just tempt you to eat cookies.

Creation fell over a piece of fruit. Never let that escape your awareness. How many “little” and “insignificant” things did Satan use to keep you from God today?

No Other Gods Before Me

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

This is the first of the Ten Commandments. Recently I read a Christian take on this that said,

“What are some gods that people might put before the true God? This does not just mean stone idols. ‘Gods’ includes anything–like computer games or snowboarding–that you put before the true God.”

Really? Does Exodus 20:3 mean computer games or snowboarding?

I’ve heard this many times and every time it bothers me. Perhaps I’m too sensitive on the issue, it’s a possibility, I am known by some as a sensitive kind of guy.

But to me this has no reference at all to snowboarding or computer games. Oh sure, it’s a fine way to make kids feel guilty for everything they enjoy doing, but there are many other verses that you can make that point with.

What’s ironic is that the more I see Christians say the first commandment means “don’t enjoy video games too much,” the more I see tolerance towards the belief that Muslims worship the same God and all religions lead to that God.

As we redefine the first commandment we open the door to violate that first commandment. Let’s be man enough to let God’s words mean what God’s words mean.

Leave your guilt-ridden, fun-squashing sermons to the right verses, like “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” Which is a verse that also squashes twisting God’s word to meet a philosophy.

Limits On Compassion

God has a special concern for the oppressed, particularly for the widow and the fatherless. At all times, those who live by God’s Word, are to care for the fatherless and the widow.

We all know this, probably have heard it in church when the lady who started the “visit old ladies” program tried to guilt you into going and during the commercial about the starving orphans in Africa that needed your money.

Then we come to Psalm 109, a psalm that is quoted in the NT refering to Judas.

“Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

Oh, well that’s odd to wish that on someone, but maybe the psalmist is just looking for more people to show mercy too.

“Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.”

Hmm, well, that verse might shoot the “mercy opportunity” application down. But again, maybe he wants to be the sole bread-winner for these fatherless children.

“Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.”

Are there people we should not be showing mercy too? Are there people the Church should refuse to help? If you read the Bible, it certainly appears that way.

A Handsome Hairy Guy and His Bible

I teach a group of 3-6th graders on Wednesday evenings. They have a very basic knowledge of the Bible, just stuff they remember, not necessarily stuff they understand, although with kids you never know.

The last few weeks I’ve read eight verses from Psalm 119 and shown them how each verse speaks of how important God’s Word is and the benefits that come from listening to it.

The rest of the time I analyze philosophical statements they found in the halls of the school we meet in and talk about Bible verses that agree or disagree with those statements. We’ve had phrases like

“Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”
“You make the world special when you are in it.”
And even “bald is beautiful,” in which we determined that kids think bald people are ugly and that I am handsome, which, you know, I am hairy.

My intent is to get kids to think about what they hear and line it up with Scripture. Don’t believe it if you can’t back it up. At this age, most kids conclude what I conclude, they’re still willing to go along with authority, but I know this changes.

I’m OK with that change too. My desire is to turn these kids on to the Word of God and learn how to think with it. Hide it in their heart that they might not sin against God.

Our biggest concern should be that we answer to God and we answer alone. Don’t expect to ride into heaven on the coattails of someone else. Know the Word and go with what you’ve got. Where you are off, God will show this to you.

It is the Word that teaches, reproves, corrects and instructs, but it can’t do that if you aint in it and being exercised by it.

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After exploring other options to spread annoying theological content, most of which required me to do stuff I don’t want to do, I’ve decided to return to blogging. Not to mention the untold amounts of requests to bring the AIM back. A servant of the people, as always.

Starting Monday, February 20, the new and improved Anti-Itch Meditation returns.

Well, it’s not really “new and improved,” since that phrase makes no sense, plus it won’t really be new.

On Monday, February 20, the old and improved Anti-Itch Meditation returns.

Well, it probably won’t be improved either, it’ll pretty much be the same thing.

On Monday, February 20, the old and pretty much the same Anti-Itch Meditation returns, Lord willing.

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