Friday, October 31, 2014

More Father than Lord

In the old testament God's personal name is replaced with the word "LORD." In the new testament the culture no longer said God's name but used the word "lord" in place of His name.

Jesus used the word Lord when quoting scripture or when quoting other people. But on His own if He ever referred to God as "lord" he would say His Father is the "lord of.." something. Jesus said in Matthew 11:5, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth."

Some have claimed that the only time Jesus called His Father "God" was on the cross while He felt forsaken. That is only true of the direct prayers of Jesus to God, though He does call His Father "the only true God" in a prayer in John 17. However Jesus calls His Father "God" many times while speaking to others. But He does not call His Father "Lord" in this same way.

Jesus wasn't referring to God as "Lord" nor did He teach people to pray to Him as "Lord." "The Lord's Prayer" doesn't even have the word lord in it, there God is called "Our Father." Perhaps this is because scripture would refer to Jesus as Our Lord. Acts 2:36 says, "God has made Jesus Lord & Christ."

It is clear that Jesus wasn't out to paint God as a demanding authoritarian lord, master, ruler, sovereign, boss, commander, controller, etc. Jesus came to reveal God as Our Father. But not just as a father but as a better father than anyone on earth, one who freely gives His very own Spirit to live within us (Luke 11:13), & who loves us as much as possible (John 15:9 & 17:23).

In John 17:26 Jesus said the reason He came to earth, what His mission towards all mankind is, "To make My Father's character known so that the same love My Father has for Me may be shown to be the same love He has for all of you. I have come so My Father's love for you & My love for you may be in you, known by you, & experienced by you."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why We Can't Earn It

A father can deem his children worthy of gifts either because of works they do or simply because he loves them. Does an infant "deserve" his or her parents' love? The parents think so!

Likewise everyone deserves to be saved because God loves the whole world & is not judging the world by sin or works or law. Jesus took away the sins of the world. The reason people cannot earn salvation is not because they fall short of keeping commands. The reason salvation cannot be earned is because God will not accept payment for it. It is a gift!

You can reject His gift but the gift has already been bought for you, waiting to be unwrapped. WE DO DESERVE GOD'S LOVE but we can never earn God's love because love doesn't demand payment. God doesn't need to be bribed to love, His love is already there.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Jesus Paid?

People always talk about Jesus "paying" for our sins but the words payment, pay, paid, & pays aren't used directly in scripture with any regard to Jesus, the cross, or salvation.

The language of "ransom" is found a few times in scripture. Ransom could regard buying someone from slavery. Romans 6:20 says, Before we trusted Jesus, "we were slaves of sin." Hosea 13:14 says, "Shall I ransom them from the power of the grave? Shall I redeem them from death?" The word redeem is sometimes translated as ransom & can also mean "buy back." Jesus "paid a ransom" to accomplish what was needed for our freedom. He bought us back from sin & death & the power of the grave.

There is no language in scripture regarding the Father demanding to be paid. God is love & love does not demand His own way. God rescued us from being reaped by sin & death. The Father did not demand we die unless He was paid. God does not desire to be paid a sacrifice (Psalm 40:6, 51:16). Jesus was not a sacrifice to a "holy god" because that god needed to be "appeased" to withhold "wrath." Jesus sacrificed Himself, He "laid down His life for His friends" like someone taking a bullet for you. He "condemned sin in His body on the cross" & "destroyed death and brought life & immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10). And of course you don't pay a ransom to a loving father or a loving friend.

Bought with a Price
There are 2 verses that talk about us being "bought with a price."

"You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men" (1Co 7:23). This uses language of Jesus buying us out of slavery.

"You are not your own. For you have been bought with a price" (1Co 6:20). Here it talks about us becoming one Spirit with God & how our bodies are "members of Christ." We are "not our own," not in the sense the God bought us to dominate us as our master, but because we are part of a greater whole, the body of Christ & the Holy Spirit of God.

By "price" I assume it means that Jesus suffered intensely to free us from sin & to defeat death to give us eternal life. But it could also be translated in both places as, "You have been bought with honor."

Bought from who? Most would say from the Father. That Jesus paid the price that the Father demanded for sin. And the only price good enough for the Father was the blood & death of His perfect Son. That paints the Father as the most despicable & the sickest father ever. Nowhere in scripture have I found the idea of God demanding "payment" for sin/disobedience. We were not bought from a father demanding payment as if none of this had to do with love. This wasn't about making an irritable God feel better & cool off. Again Hosea 13:14 says God buys us from the power of the grave.

The idea of appeasement holds that God saved us from Himself making him double minded. God didn't want to curse us, sin/law/Satan/shame wanted to curse us. I hold that God as love "doesn't take into account wrongs suffered" therefore the cross wasn't about God saving man from his own wrath/judgment/anger but from the powers of sin & death.

The Father did not demand we die unless He was paid. Love does not demand payment. God does not desire to be paid a sacrifice. In Psalm 40 & Hebrews 10 God said that He took no pleasure in sacrifices & offerings & in fact He did not desire them.

Jesus wasn't a substitution in the sense that God demanded a sacrifice or in the sense that God wanted to do to us what Jesus suffered.  But He did take our place in suffering under sin as sin desired we suffer.

Our idea of atonement is "making amends for wrong" but the Hebrew word atonement means "to cover" & we know that Christ took our sins away on the cross rather than just covering them.  Do a bible search and see that "atonement" is never related to Jesus in the New Testament.

In the old covenant there was a "sin offering." It wasn't an offering to God to appease Him. Instead it was an offering toward sin (the devil) to keep him from killing people because of sin. Satan had the power of death (Hebrews 2:12-15), the power to kill anyone he wanted to. Jews had to give sin offerings to protect themselves from Satan, not from God. God is always about life & saving lives.

Those sacrifices "covered" sin. Why did sin need to be covered? Because Satan demanded payment for sin, which is death. Covering sin threw Satan off the scent of people's sin (notice OT offerings had scents). In Psalm 40 & Hebrews 10 God said that He took no pleasure in sacrifices & offerings & in fact He did not desire them. That means they weren't for Him. Hebrews 10 says sacrifices could not clean people from sin & that it was impossible for them to "take away sins." If you can't get clean & you have a scent then you must cover up the scent. Satan is described as a lion seeking to devour. While it is easier for lions to hunt by sight & sound they can also hunt by smell. Thus someone who had sinned but was not openly sinning at the moment still "smelled" like sin. God wanted to take sin away so people could be clean & perfect. He eventually did so with Jesus' sacrifice.

Let Freedom Ring
Interestingly these words:
Redeem, forgive, ransom, redemption, save, free, deliverance
all have the potential meanings of:
Set free, save, deliver, rescue, release, liberate

Perhaps God was using a lot of synonyms for the same thing to get a strong point across but we've translated them by their dissimilar meanings.

Meanings of Words Translated from Hebrew Pictographs

Hebrew letters started as pictographs where each letter was a picture. From these pictographs we discover hidden messages & meanings of Hebrew words. Below are some words & those meanings.

Love:  "The Father breathes His family."
Life:  "Look, for the separation I give two bloody hands."
Knowledge:  "The man with arms raised is The Way. See Him on a cross."
Good:  "Surrounded by security & nailed together as one family."
Evil:  "The head twisted."
Die:  "blood, nail, cross" or "Blood secures covenant."
Man/Adam:  "Learn about The Door's blood."
Jesus (Yeshua):  "Look & know the two nailed hands."
Covet:  "Outside is unknown weakness."
Day:  "Hand, nail, blood"
Word/Speaking:  "The entrance inside a person's head."
Forgive (Lift Up):  "The Father picks off the sin that has grabbed you & yokes you with Himself."

Elohiym is the Hebrew word translated to God. Here are 3 translations of the Hebrew pictographs of that word.
"For power, protection, & security look at the bloody hand."
"The Father's yoke adds breath, His work is massive!"
"The Father yokes & ties together, behold His mighty work."

Wisdom AND Understanding

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. But get no wisdom without also getting understanding alongside it." (Proverbs 4:7)

We've sought knowledge without wisdom & wisdom without understanding. Understanding is not something you can get from a book. Understanding is  something you can only get from another person's heart. "Knowledge temporarily inflates, but what love builds lasts a lifetime."

To party is life. To perform is death.

Jesus is our savior, our liberator. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17). Our victory doesn't come from trying to obtain or abstain it only comes from trusting in the victory Christ has already won, what He has already obtained for us. "The victory that overcomes the world is made evident through our faith, our trust in Christ's victory" (1 John 5:4).

To PERFORM (try to obtain the victory that Christ has already won) leads to death (living by the flesh & the letter). Instead we are to trust in Jesus, to believe in His finished work, in His victory. When we do that we are celebrating in His victory PARTY.

So to party is to trust in Jesus & rejoice in Jesus, which is walking by the Spirit. To perform is to walk by the flesh.

"The mind set on the flesh is DEATH, but the mind set on the Spirit is LIFE and peace" (Romans 8:6)

This page has my posts that speak more about this:  Jesus' Victory Party

The Real Reason We Can't Earn Righteousness

"If a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law." (Galatians 3:21)

The reason you can't earn righteousness has nothing to do with your failure to behave perfectly. The reason you can't earn righteousness is because God doesn't demand payment. He only seeks to give freely.

Good Does Not Need Evil

Love isn't the "lesser evil" that you only appreciate when you experience greater evil. Love & goodness can stand alone. Light does not need darkness.

Do I need to harm my child or expose her to evil things in order for her to appreciate my love & affection? Of course not. Love is good, & obviously good, regardless of if there is evil.

God The Holy Punisher?

We get it wrong right from the start saying, "God is holy so He must punish sin." Most take holy to mean good, moral, righteous.

Does a good man punish those who offend him?
Does a moral man have to kill someone to satisfy his anger (wrath) so he can be able to forgive others?
Does a righteous man get so offended at his children that he kills his oldest to diffuse his anger so he won't kill all of his kids?

The problem is God has been painted foremost as a judge, not as a Father. Jesus came to show us the FATHER!

The Depths of His Forgiveness

I heard someone say they were able to forgive people who abused them as a child because of Jesus' amazing forgiveness for us.

That sounds amazing until you think that "depth of forgiveness" implies depth of hurt. If Jesus' forgiveness is so amazing that pictures Him being as hurt by our sins as we would be by someone who abused us as a child.

That is a petty, sad, sick picture of Jesus. It claims that the littlest thing we would do to Him, who we cannot even see, hurts Him so deeply in His holiness that it is as if we'd raped Him repeatedly.

That just makes Him out to be a self-centered drama queen idiot, at best! Which of course the real Jesus is not.

2 Corinthians 5:19 says, "God no longer holds the world's sins against them." God is love & 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Love does not take into account wrongs suffered."

Learn more about the real biblical meaning of forgiveness from this post:  God NEVER Forgave You

Better than the Right Hand

"Whoever trusts in me HAS VICTORY OVER SIN & DEATH, he will not be hurt by the second death. I will grant to him to sit down WITH ME on My throne, as I also was victorious and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 2:11, 3:21).

Jesus doesn't have a "he sits at my right hand, he sits at my left hand, but the rest of you sit over there" mentality as some thought he would. We all get to sit on His throne WITH Him!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

What is Grace? Is it merely enough or is it more?

People love quoting, "God's grace is sufficient." Sufficient means "enough; adequate." The Old Testament word that closest resembles grace is lovingkindness. God introduced himself to Moses by saying, "The Lord God is abounding in lovingkindness." Abounding means overflowing, so great it is more than we need. So yeah His grace is enough but it is at the same time far more than enough. It is "beyond all we could ask for or imagine."

So when I hear God's grace is "enough" or His grace is "sufficient" it makes me think "Life sure sucks & is brutally hard but God will help me barely squeeze by." In my mind, in today's word, to the common man, saying God's grace is "enough" or is "sufficient" doesn't picture the abundant life Jesus said we'd have.

So I don't care if it is a "quote from scripture." In today's language it makes grace sound like living paycheck to paycheck instead of basking in the abundant riches in Christ Jesus. For some of us that is the grace we've bought into, the kind that makes life barely tolerable, the kind that is at least better than what we believed in before, the kind that still leaves us feeling poor & broken. Grace is far more than "just getting by."

"Grace" comes off as some over spewed empty & vague religious word. It also comes off as some disconnected impersonal power of God. But grace.. what grace really is.. Grace is God's fatherhood. Grace is your Father's endless & perfect love for you.

Jesus never said the word grace. Jesus said in John 17:26 that His mission, the reason He came to earth was to "make My Father's character known so that people can have the same love My Father has for Me in them." Jesus came so that YOU could experience our Father's love to the same extent that He does.

Grace is your Father's love for you. There is nothing more & it is nothing less.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Bible Tells us What God says to Mankind on Judgment Day

Romans 14:10-12 says, "For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God”

Where is that written? In Isaiah 45. Paul reveals that what God said in Isaiah 45 is in fact God's speech to mankind on judgment day. Here is God's speech in full.

“Thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, “I am the Lord, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, I, the Lord, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol and pray to a god who cannot save. Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength."

God gives "all the ends of the earth" one final chance to "turn to Him & be saved."

Read more about this in these posts
Eternal Torment, Annihilation, Ultimate Reconciliation? How about a little of each?
Second Chances & Why God Killed
Come! Choose Life & Live!