What “Eat My Flesh” Could Mean

When Jesus said, “Eat my flesh,” He was communicating deep truth. He was also, it seems to me, saying an extreme thought in the most poke you in the eye way possible. His statement separated the true disciples from the false.

We also know that there is an allusion to Communion, partaking of the bread and cup. Clearly that ordinance is wrapped up in here as well.

And, to go further, there is the spiritual reality of Christ being in us, we ingest Him and thus become Him. You are what you eat!

There is also a fellowship nature involved as well. Since all believers partake of the same bread and cup at the same time, all are unified around Christ.

A friend of mine brought up another aspect that I found intriguing.

He was reading in Leviticus and noticed how the priests were granted to eat the flesh of the sacrifices. Regular people couldn’t do that, but the priest could as it was set aside for them as part of their inheritance/pay.

Could Jesus perhaps also be alluding to the priesthood of all believers? This idea is stated most clearly in 1 Peter 2:9 where we are told that we are a royal priesthood. We all have access to God, we don’t need a human mediator.

As the priests, who went between the people and God, ate from the sacrifice, so to now do all believers eat from the sacrifice, the body and blood of Jesus, and have access directly to the Father.

Hm, makes ya think!

It’s cool to see connections like that in the Bible. One must be careful not to press things too far, but clearly there are layers of meanings in many types in the Bible.

I like this one and will think on it some more.

Poor Church Mice

Joseph Prince, a prosperity preacher, recently defended health and wealth teaching by insisting that Mickey Mouse is rich so therefore, uh, yeah, I don’t know. Here’s the quote:

So the devil put in all kinds of sayings like, for example, ‘as poor as a church mouse.’ Why must (it) be a church mouse? Right? Whereas Mickey Mouse is so wealthy. All right, you’re talking about health wealth, well Mickey Mouse is still alive. Looks quite healthy and forever young, right? So someone should come up against Mickey Mouse, saying that he believed in the health wealth doctrine.

Do you follow? I listened to the quote several times in full with more context and I still don’t get it.

Speaking of rich mice, I found the world’s greatest Christmas card produced back in Victorian England, good old British humor on display.

Is that awesome or what?

Clearly these mice have plenty of faith and it’s paying off.

Avenge Not Yourself

We’re all familiar with Romans 12 and how we’re not supposed to be conformed to the world. We think we do this when we don’t drink and don’t do weed and we stand against weird sexual sins.

Although that might be part of it, the rest of the chapter gives a different idea. Most of the ideas can be summed up with Paul’s command, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”

This is a mighty radical statement. If you’re not blown away by it, I dare say you’re not hearing it.

When they serve your coffee wrong, do you get all up in their face? Do you use a tone of voice that conveys how stupid they are? Knowing they will throw it out if you take it back, should you just drink it?

Oh come on, give me a break! You think Paul is talking about wrong coffee orders?

No, that’s not all he’s talking about, but he’s clearly telling you to act differently than the world. I’ve seen how people treat those who serve them. It aint nice.

“Avenge” mean to retaliate, to get back at someone, to vindicate one’s right. It basically means to bless and curse not those who misuse you. We’re not just being called to not do something. Paul goes on to say we let the Lord do the avenging while we go out of our way to love those who wronged us.

It just goes from one level of insane to another.

You know you’ve heard him right when everything within you objects to what you’re being told to do. Here’s a quote from Donald Barnhouse:

“Never avenge yourself.” The natural heart will spout a stream of objections, but the answer of the Bible is, “never avenge yourself.” There is no way around it. It is a flat statement that has no loopholes. It does not say, “Never avenge yourselves except under such and such conditions.” It says, “Never avenge yourself.”

That is indeed what it says. When you’ve been robbed, attacked, criticized, cut off, interrupted, disrespected, when your rights have been trampled. It even applies to the most egregious of insults, when you are absolutely right and yet misused, even then, don’t avenge yourself.

Then the topper: let it go, let God deal with it, and show your adversary nothing but love and provision. Not just happy thoughts and a smile, but food if they are hungry and drink if they are thirsty.

Yes, give them actual things.

We are called to love people. Love goes above and beyond, even to the point of laying your life down for someone else’s benefit. Kind of like your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for you!

He’s our example. We all love talking about what He did for us and we love this teaching when others do it for us, but it gets real annoying when I’m supposed to let things go and do nice things for people who are clearly stupid and wrong and have accused me of false things.

Never avenge yourself.


Love all the time. Esteem others better than yourself. You can be offended by this teaching. We Americans have been inundated our whole lives about our rights. Be not conformed to the world. One huge way to do that is by giving up your rights.

I pray you understand what Christ did for you. If it has meant a lot to you, if what He did changed your life, then show others that same love so that their life might be changed by Christ too.

No one said following Christ would be easy. In fact, that’s why most Christians think following Christ is optional or at best explained away with nuanced circumstances and loopholes.

Don’t do that. Be like Christ. Commit your life into the hands of the Righteous Judge. Love. Forgive. Show mercy. Avenge not yourselves.

Did Israel have Freedom After Leaving Egypt?

When we think of release from slavery we think freedom. You cast off the tyrant boss/owner and do whatever you want. Many people have this conception of Christian liberty—I’m no longer under the law; I can do whatever I want now!

Israel cried out to God when they were enslaved in Egypt. God heard their cries and sent Moses to deliver them.

It is interesting to note that never once did God use the word “freedom” or “liberty” or anything like that when speaking of release from Egypt.

In fact, when Moses told Pharaoh to “let my people go,” typically he added, “so they may serve the Lord in the wilderness” (see Exodus 4:23; 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3,7).

That is fascinating!

It’s also weird that Moses tells Pharaoh, “We’re just going out there to do some sacrifices.” He never once fully said, “We’re gone. Check ya later.” It wasn’t quite a lie, but it certainly wasn’t a full disclosure of truth.

Pharaoh, who was no dummy, knew they were going to take off, which is why he was reluctant to let them go. “I know what you guys are up to” was behind much of what he told Moses.

The Exodus is a type of spiritual salvation. God delivers you from the bondage of sin and death, but before you get full deliverance in the Promised Land, you wander in the woods and suffer a while. The Christian Life is wilderness wandering, following the Lord through the junk until we reach heaven’s perfection.

Salvation is not about doing what you want and it’s now ok because Jesus loves you. Do not use your liberty as an occasion for the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Freedom, its true sense, is not unbridled fleshly license. Freedom is serving God!

Your flesh thinks that’s the stupidest thing it’s ever heard, but your flesh is stupid.

God knows what is best. Obeying Him brings life and peace and joy more abundant. Fleshly indulgence causes gross hangovers, guilt, and other heavy things.

Israel’s freedom from slavery was nothing more than a freedom from a bad taskmaster to a good one. It’s the same for us. You gotta serve someone, might as well serve a perfect and righteous someone.

If freedom means I obey me all the time, well, it might be fun, but I’m also an idiot. Part of the reason I came to Christ for salvation was because I was tired of being dumb, tired of being me. I wanted no longer I, but Christ.

Part of salvation is the renewing of the mind, which is every thought brought captive to Jesus Christ. Captive is not free! We are servants of Jesus Christ. Free to serve our great God, Savior, and Lord.

Listen to the true, righteous God; it’s the best freedom out there.

Can God Change His Mind?

“Immutability” is the big theological word that describes God’s unchangingness. The doctrine is based on passages like Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” and James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.”

Unfortunately, many have taken this doctrine to an unbiblical extreme by saying God doesn’t change His mind or plan. Apparently God has every detail of every molecule’s existence planned from eternity past and there is no shifting of the plan.

The problem with taking immutability to mean God’s plan doesn’t change is that it makes many verses not mean what they say. There are multiple times when God changed His mind, or repented of something (Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14; Judges 2:18; 1 Samuel 15:35; etc).

The biggest shift in the Bible was the change from the Old Covenant to the better New Covenant. Clearly one must admit huge changes in how God acts and intervenes in the two covenants.

Every believer was a vessel of wrath heading toward destruction until the point of their salvation. Things changed, thus what God does with you and how He’s related to you has changed.

God didn’t change. God has revealed what makes Him change His mind about you: your repentance and faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t change that plan.

From the beginning God has been a God of justice and doing the right thing. He’s very consistent about how He works. He’s consistent about how He changes His mind.

If God’s plan doesn’t change then there is no point for any prophet to ever prophecy. But prophets to prophecy! Their main point is calling people to repent so as to not undergo God’s judgment. Jonah eventually warned Nineveh of coming doom. They repented and God changed His mind, He relented on the judgment, much to Jonah’s annoyance.

Immutability does not mean that God doesn’t change His actions; it means He doesn’t change His character. Who He is is very dependable, the most dependable thing in existence.

I change. Who I was as a four-year old is not even close to who I am at 48! Let’s all be thankful for that. People change and people die. When the believer dies, they will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. But God, who is not bound to time or space, does not grow or change. He’s the same as He ever was. He is not slack concerning His promises.

But again, don’t let this lead you to think He won’t be merciful to you or He won’t hear and respond to your cry of distress in time of trouble.

The Bible clearly says that God doesn’t change. Stick with that. Trust Him because of it. But don’t stretch this out of place to think the way He acts doesn’t change. If you do, God becomes cold and hard, implacable, and unresponsive. This is not the view of God you want, it’ll destroy your love for Him, your desire to pray, and any number of other things.

Don’t let twisted theology ruin the vitality of your faith. God is love, always has been and always will be. He loves you and wants to show you His love. There are things you can do to facilitate that! Go for it, He’s waiting!

Asking God For Mercy

I came across a quote today that made me pause. You know how hard it is to let a questionable statement just float on by; someone must respond!

Here’s the quote:

“For anyone to pray, ‘God have mercy on me,’ is the equivalent of asking Him to repeat the sacrifice of Christ. All the mercy that God will ever have on man, He has already had when Christ died. This is the totality of mercy.”

I don’t know what your reaction is to that quote, but I immediately stopped reading and said out loud, “What?”

The larger context is about the death of Christ and the cross being sufficient for everything. Never mind the resurrection is left off. This sort of thing happens all the time. In an effort to elevate the cross, things are pressed out of measure and thus undermines the thing hoped to be elevated.

It’s similar to what I’ve heard said about forgiveness. John says we are forgiven of all unrighteousness, therefore, if you ask forgiveness for some recent sin, you are claiming that God has not forgiven you of all unrighteousness.

It’s an attempt to elevate the totality of God’s forgiveness. I get it, but to go on to say if you dare ask forgiveness you are somehow violating a rule or not understanding forgiveness, just seems goofy.

But people do this sort of thing all the time. We should say things the way the Bible says them and be content with that. When we get busy over-emphasizing stuff; heresy enters.

I’m not convinced that if I ask God to have mercy on me that I’m asking God to re-crucify Christ. That just seems weird, especially weird in light of verses like Hebrews 4:16:

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

There is mercy available for us in a time of need. Certainly I can ask for God to have mercy on me without Christ being re-crucified. Frequently Paul and the other apostles say things like “Grace and mercy be with you.” It’s available not only for salvation but for living in general!

It’s not necessary to overstate things to make a point. You can call on God for mercy. Don’t let people intimidate you with their high fallutin extreme points. Stick with Scripture.

OK, I feel better now. Thank you.

Evil and God’s Presence

Several times I’ve heard people say “God cannot look at sin” or, “Sin cannot exist in God’s presence.”

I understand the intent of these statements, and maybe there’s a grain of truth present, but I think the statements create bad conclusions and are not technically consistent with Scripture.

The number one verse used to make this point is Habakkuk 1:13,

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

Well, there ya go! It says it right there! God’s eyes are too pure to behold evil and He can’t look on iniquity. How much clearer can it get?

Well, a little clearer anyway.

The rest of the chapter is about evil people and God’s ultimate judgment upon them. The verse right before says these sinful people are headed for God’s judgment and correction. If God is going to judge and correct; clearly He sees evil and iniquity.

If God could not see evil, then He’d be a very bad judge! On what basis is He judging people if He doesn’t see what they are doing? Is God a blind grandfather doling out gifts in His naïve view of kids?

If God knows my lying down and getting up, I’m pretty sure He knows everything else I’m doing, including my sinful stuff. The Habakkuk verse is more along the lines of God isn’t just gonna sit there doing nothing about it. He’s calling on God to get moving with the judging! A point I readily concur with!

OK, but what about sin not being able to exist in God’s presence? Or about sinners not being able to be before Him?

Consider the book of Job! Satan reports to God what He’s been up to. Satan does not melt in fiery combustion in God’s presence. Satan walks away just fine, fully able to pick on Job. God was in the presence of evil people all the time. God can handle your dirty, sinny self.

What is grace other than God being able to exist with sinners? The life of Jesus Christ is pretty good proof that God can handle being in the midst of sinners, Jesus was accused of being the friend of sinners, in fact.

There will come a day when all sinners will appear before God. They won’t instantaneously dissolve into nothing; they will consciously be aware of their sin and be judged by God.

The idea that God can’t see or be in the presence of sin is overstating things to the point of undermining the testimony of Scripture.

God can melt the sinner if He so chooses, but God is also gracious and loving and can limit the full expression of who He is for His purpose.

None of what I’m saying here is meant to belittle the seriousness and grossness of sin. My attempt is to use the Bible to understand and better state the point. Sin is bad. God is angry at the wicked every day. But the wicked also often survive into tomorrow. God is aware of who the wicked are; He knows what they are doing. God also desires all wicked people to repent and believe the Gospel. He limits Himself so that might occur.

If you don’t think that God can see evil, then you might be tempted to think He doesn’t see your sin. You might be terrified to come to Him if you think no sinner could exist in His presence.

But it’s the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. God is good. He wants all sinners to come to Him. That’s kind of what He’s waiting for. He knows who you are and what you do, yet holds out love anyway. God is love. He can handle your sin; it’s not keeping Him from you. Don’t let it keep you from Him.

Prayer Requires Familiarity With God’s Word

So, here’s a theory my brain came up with.

The Greek word for “confess” literally means “to say the same thing as.” When we confess our sins to God, we are literally saying the same thing about them as God. In other words, I am admitting what I did was wrong and that agrees with God’s assessment of my sin.

To not confess, to maintain you didn’t sin, means you are a liar. That’s bad. So agree with God. That’s good.

That’s one side of prayer. Now here’s my theory!

The other side of prayer is when we ask God for something. We are told that if “we ask according to His will,” then God will hear us.

Asking according to His will sure sounds a lot like saying the same thing about a situation as God! Both confess and asking according to His will are verses found in 1 John (1:9 and 5:14).

John keeps things simple and straightforward. He uses simple words to convey simple things with simple statements. When you sin, say the same thing as God does about it. When you ask for things, ask the same things God would ask.

Both ideas convey having a new mind in Christ, having a renewed mind where every thought is made captive to the Lord. The more you grow in your faith and familiarize yourself with God’s Word, the more you know God’s thoughts and those then become your thoughts. You get in agreement with God more and more.

Prayer can then be a barometer of how well you know what God says! You can’t say the same thing as God about your sin if you don’t know what God says! You can’t ask anything according to His will if you don’t know what His stated will is.

Prayer is vitally connected to your familiarity with God’s Word. If you don’t know His Word; you won’t know how to pray. If you don’t know the Word you will ask according to your fleshly lusts (James 4:3) and will be wasting your time.

You can ask in agreement with God’s Word, or ask in agreement with your flesh. Those are the two options. Only one works!

That’s my theory.

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