God Has Not Cast Away His People(Israel)…Romans 9-11 pt 14

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.(Romans 11:1-6)

Romans chapters nine through eleven are meant to be understood as one unified whole. If you were to just read Romans 9 and 10 and not eleven, you would be tempted to think that the God of the Bible is finished with His ancient people.

Romans 9 tells us that only a small believing remnant of Israel is Israel anyway, and as for the rest of the physical seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they are similar to Pharoah in that God has hardened their hearts, after years of their own resistance to His will.

Romans 10 tells us that Israel for the most part has stubbornly refused the free gift of Righteousness by faith in Jesus Messiah, instead seeking to establish a righteousness of their own, more in keeping with works based, self salvation. Furthermore Romans 10 tells us that Israel has no excuse, for the prophets, Apostles and the Messiah himself were all sent with the message of Righteousness by faith and substitutionary salvation, but Israel stubbornly refused to hear it.

Instead, Gentiles, who weren’t looking for Righteousness, have found it, when they heard the preaching of the Jewish Messiah, who loved them and gave himself for our sins. Now the Gentile world is flocking to the Jewish God, and drinking from Him, the “Fountain of Living Water”, whole the nation of Israel itself is drinking out of “broken cisterns” that hold no water.

But All day long the LORD hold’s out his hands to the disobedient and back talking Son, Israel.

But thankfully this passage which is a revelation of God, and a prophecy of the history which we are currently living, Doesn’t end with Romans 10.

“Has God cast away His people(utterly)”?

Perish the very thought of it! God is not through with the nation which is estranged from Him, He has a plan for them ,”For good and not evil, to give them an expected end”, as Jeremiah 29 prophesied.

Read the Song of Moses, or the 26th chapter of Leviticus, and see that God foresaw when he called Israel into existence that they would defect from Him, and go prodigal for centuries, and in the end return to Him to fulfill His plan for the world!

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)

Remember Elijah? He thought he was the last faithful Israelite, but God assured Him that HE(God) himself had reserved to himself seven thousand who would not bow the knee to Baal.

Of course Israel doesn’t deserve these favors! Israel is a microcosm of the whole world. If Israel doesn’t deserve grace, neither do you and I? If anyone has a problem with Israel, they have a problem with the grace of God.

This is the grace of God, in love choosing and preserving a believing remnant and insuring the survival and integrity of the holy nation forever. Obviously the church hasn’t replaced Israel! God knew all along what was going to happen. The climax of History will be the restoration and reinstatement of Israel as the sacred nation of Priests and teachers of the whole world. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it!

Read and understand well the prophecy of Jeremiah,

Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.  Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them. Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.(Jeremiah 33:20-27)

It would be more likely that the sun not rise and the stars not shine, than that God should ever cast away the “Seed of Jacob and David” his servant.God has a beautiful plan for Israel, and which will involve blessing and restoration to them and to the whole world.

 

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Has Israel Heard The Good News?…Romans 9-11 pt 13

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!(Romans 10:11-15)

The Gospel is wonderfully simple, but that very simplicity has proven to be a stumbling block to Israel. They wanted a Righteousness that one could really work at, and take pride in, righteousness as an accomplishment, something only the notably  “Holy” could achieve to the honor and praise of others.

But it pleased God to provide a righteousness that all of broken, ruined and sinful humanity could access. Neither Gentile or Jew could be saved from sin in any other way, than through faith in Jesus Christ, who freely gave himself to God as a willing sacrifice for our sins. It is in the richness of the grace and generosity of God, that man can be reconciled to Him,  “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.

Had Israel listened to the prophet Jeremiah they would have realized  that by grace, all boasting is excluded, because salvation is by faith alone. The only true boast man could make , would be that he knows God, and that even that knowledge is a gift,

Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.(Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Here Paul anticipates an argument to justify Israel’s inability to receive the gospel,‘Why didn’t preachers come and tell Israel the gospel?’.

But countless preachers had been sent to Israel, bringing the message of justification by Faith, to the exclusion of works, and emphasizing the inadequacy of works righteousness.

How would Adam and Eve been saved? Moses explains in Genesis 3 that they believed in the original gospel promise, of the seed of the woman. How was Abraham justified? Moses tells us in Genesis “Abraham believed God and it was counted for Righteousness”! 

Prophet after Prophet and preacher after preacher came unto Israel, culminating in John the Baptist and then the Son of God himself, preaching salvation by grace and not works. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended He sent forth the Apostles with the same message. Israel cannot say she wasn’t told.

Faith comes by Hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but Israel refused to hear John, Jesus and the Lord’s Apostles for the most part. They were all apostles, Jesus was sent from Heaven, John was sent and Jesus’ disciples were anointed and sent, but rejected by Israel.The very word ‘apostle’ means “sent one’.

But just like Isaiah, who Paul quotes here , about the “Beautiful feet of those sent to preach good news”, 

Paul anticipates another argument on behalf of Israel, “ Has she had an opportunity to really hear and understand the gospel’?

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.  But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.  But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.  But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.(Romans 10:18-21)

In response He quotes the 19th Psalm which tells us that no one has an excuse because the Whole earth is the receptacle of the sound of the Word of God. Israel heard alright.

But Israel has proven to be stubborn, according to the Psalm of Moses, in which he predicted their whole history, from the very beginning to the end of time, warning Israel that Since she would provoke God to jealousy by idols, God would provoke her to jealousy by the gentile,’non-people’.

The Gentiles which didn’t concern themselves with Righteousness anywhere near as much as Israel, would be found of God, and flock to Jesus the Messiah. They weren’t looking for Him , but they found him and were enriched.

As for the Jews, for the time being, Isaiah complains in the name of God, that though he stretches pout his hands to them, they ignore him and even talk back to Him.

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confession is Made unto Salvation…Romans 9-11 pt 12

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Romans 10:8-11)

Israel is currently exiled from her high calling as the Holy Nation of Priests and Evangelists of the New Covenant. Why?

According to the apostle Paul, it is due to Israel’s ignorance of the true nature of Righteousness (Right Standing) with God, and because of her stubborn insistence that  she could construct a Righteousness of her own, earning God’s favor through the performance of ‘Mitzvot’, i.e.  good works.

She has rejected  the Righteousness that God has provided, which is simple faith in the Messiah Jesus, who came  and died for our sins upon a Roman cross, but who was proven to be the Son of God, when God raised Him from the dead on the third day.

True Right Standing with God can only be entered into by the one who is willing to “Confess with His mouth the LORD Jesus, and Believe in His heart that God has raised him from the dead.”

This ‘Righteousness’  through a substitution sacrifice, is contemptible to the proud do-gooder religionists. There is nothing in it that is glorifying to man, in fact it is deeply humbling because it presupposes the total spiritual bankruptcy of mankind, and brings glory to the mercy of the Holy God.

We have examined how the ongoing belief that Jesus is the LORD, that is God in the flesh, transforms the sinner into a saint. The most determinate aspect of any person is what he believes, rightly or wrongly, about God.

When a rebellious sinner’s heart is broken by the gospel which tells him that the eternal God humbled himself and became a man, in order to save him, this belief wrests the control of sin and rebellion from the heart, and restores the sinner into what He was intended to be, a worshipper of the only true God!

Now Paul tells us that “Confession (of the Lord Jesus) is made unto salvation”.

What is it about the confession of Jesus that saves us?

There are many terms for salvation, because it is a multi-faceted experience, which we will admire for eternity, never plumbing the depths of the mystery of it. We speak of being “born Again”, and becoming a “New Creation”, being “crucified with Christ”, “reconciled to the Father”, “Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb”, and “Justified”, “Washed”, renewed”.

Each of these expressions and many more, focus on one aspect of the mystery of salvation, and each address different aspects of that out of which we are being saved.

When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, we are told he exhorted his hearers, to

“… Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:40)

What did He mean by this terminology? The Apostle was telling his hearers that one of things they need to be rescued from is their own generation, the age they were living in. They urgently needed to turn to Christ and to be willing to be identified in and with Him, that they not perish with their own (perishing) generation.

When we confess openly, with our mouth that “Jesus is Lord”, we are ‘saved’, i.e. separated out from among this “Wicked generation”. Confession is a very powerful way of identification. Identification with Jesus in the midst of the Messiah rejecting world, glorifies God.

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.(Luke 12:8-9)

The perishing, hell bound world confesses that ‘man is LORD’ or that ‘SELF is Lord’ or even that ‘Caesar is LORD’, or ‘Allah is LORD’, but the Christian subscribes to a different confession, and that confession separates him from all others.

What are we saying when we say Jesus is LORD? We are proclaiming that God became a man and dwelt among us. As Paul tells us, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…”. We cannot truly say “Jesus is LORD’ but by the Holy Spirit.

The confession of Jesus is ongoing, it is not a one time experience. We take up the good confession, bearing it as Jesus bore the cross in his time. By our adherence to it, we are “Crucified to the world, and the world is crucified unto us…” for the confession that Jesus is LORD upends every worldly supposition about both God and man.

The Righteousness of God that the Jews have thus far refused to ‘submit to’, is attained by simple faith in Jesus, His death, resurrection and Deity.

Forme it was in the simplicity of a prayer something like this, that I found God, and peace with God;

“Jesus I believe that you died for my sins, and that God has raised you from the dead. I admit that you are LORD, Jesus you are my God. Come into my life, and wash away my sins and save my soul.”

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

With The Heart Man Believes Unto Righteousness…Romans 9-11 pt 11

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.(Romans 10:8-11)

What does God require of  any sinner, Gentile or Jew? Righteousness cannot be attained by any system of works, God cannot be indebted by bankrupt sinners in any way. What God requires is that we all believe in our heart, that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess with our mouth that He (Jesus) is the LORD.

How is it that believing in the heart brings a man into Righteousness? Why does God require belief?

First of all, when the way of Righteousness is simple faith, there can be no personal glory allotted to any man. All of the glory goes to the God who has made salvation possible.

Faith has an object, God. In heaven the multitudes sing, “Salvation belongs to God, who sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb…”.

Secondly,the most important thing about any person, and the determining factor of anyone’s life for good or evil, is what He or She believes about God. A person’s moral, spiritual, ethical, intellectual and emotional destiny is determined by whether or not they hold the right view of God. All of our personal problems are in fact at the root, Theological problems.

Where did Adam and Eve go wrong? They fell when they entertained a malicious notion about their Creator, that He had been withholding something good from them out of a sense of petty jealousy. The lies people believe about God are the corrupting influence of their whole lives.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Genesis 3:4)

The Serpent told all of us a series of lies about God, thus we are all estranged from Him, who is the source of our life, and the only true ground of our happiness.

The gospel sets the record straight about God, and in the process, puts our ruined lives back together again, restoring us to the extent that we ,”grow in grace Through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue”, as the apostle Peter tells us.

It is “Seeing Him, as He (truly) Is…”, that transforms us, breaking the power of sin and unbelief. Thus the highest duty of the believer is the worshipful beholding of Him, as in a glass.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.( 2 Cor 3:18)

The fall of man has further distorted our belief about God, rendering all of us unworthy, and unable to worship Him. We cannot ‘see’ him because we are estranged from him, and have become slaves to our own desires. Our fallen hearts have virtually become an “idol factory”, manufacturing ‘Gods’ in our own image and likeness, as projections of our own fallen lusts and desires.

Believing the serpent’s lie, we want to become ‘gods’ ourselves, making our own rules, and seeking our own ‘salvation’, which is self-realization of some form or other.

But in the Gospel, the invisible God presents himself to us again, for Christ is “the image of the invisible God”, he is none less than “God with us”,Immanuel.

Furthermore the gospel gives us something new to believe about God, for God has done something unprecedented in Christ. God became a man, He humbled himself and even became obedient, taking on himself the form of a servant.What does this do to the heart that accepts this revelation of God?

Faith in the gospel of the incarnation alone is what we need to ‘dethrone’ the haughty, false, SELF god we have been enslaved to in our hearts. We don’t want to be ‘god’ anymore, for we have seen a vision of the true God, who ‘humbled himself’, and ‘emptied himself’ of all of his Divine prerogatives, in order to Righteously save us from our sins.

Thus we sing with trembling lips,

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

 but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,

and was made in the likeness of men:

and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:5-11)

 

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jesus Is Lord; The Stumbling Stone…Romans 9-11 pt 10

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.(Romans 10:9-13)

Israel, the nation created by God, separated, taught and trained to recognize and receive the Messiah, and to first come into the new covenant of righteousness promised by God, has for the most part failed to do so. Why?

Israel has stumbled over a stumbling stone.

It’s not that the way of Salvation was too hard, it’s that it was too simple. (I didn’t say ‘easy’,I said simple, i.e. uncomplicated).Israel wanted a Righteousness of works, one which would allow them to glory in their own efforts to please God.

But God’s righteousness presupposes total moral and spiritual bankruptcy, therefore He has made a way for all men, Jew and Gentile , to be reconciled to Him through the Messiah,Jesus.

The only way to be saved is to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth, who died on a Roman cross, is the LORD.

Israel would have to realize and confess that the man who dwelt among them in the first century, admittedly doing signs and wonders, and whom they rejected and crucified, was and is indeed, no less than the LORD of scripture.

How would you ever convince avidly monotheistic worshippers of the one true God, whose most sacred creed is the Shema*, an emphatic declaration of the Oneness of God, to acknowledge a man as God?

There were prophetic indications that God would come among them, and calls to be prepared, and ready to receive Him.For example, Malachi proclaimed before the long silence,

“The Lord whom you seek, shall come suddenly to His temple, but who may abide the day of His coming and who may stand when he appears?”(Malachi 3)

Isaiah also foretold that in the coming one, “All flesh would see the glory of the LORD…”(Isaiah 40)

There are untold hundreds of references and inferences also that JHWH would personally come to His people.

One of the major ways to recognize Him would be to see that the various prophecies present a set of credentials, they are the details and conditions in which He would come.

Jesus pointed to those prophecies which indicated the coming of God, as being fulfilled in Him. He warned the Jews that unless they believe that He is God, they would die in their sins.

He claimed to be Jacob’s Ladder, and the Good Shepherd (Ezekiel 34), as well as David’s LORD, refered to in Psalm 110. Part of the reason Jesus was put to death, was because of His claim to be God, the LORD.

“Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins… “ and “ Before Abraham came I AM…”. “I Am the way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me…”.

There were thousands of Jews, equally monotheistic, who were able to make the confession that Jesus is the LORD. How could they make such a bold claim and hold onto it through the darkest persecutions? Even some of Jesus’ bitterest detractors came to make the confession,  for example Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, actually applied the JAHWEH scripture passage in Isaiah 45, to Jesus , in Philippians 2,

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.  In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.(Isaiah 45:22-25)

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:9-11)

Jesus of Nazareth had two half brothers, James, and Jude who were strict, monotheistic Jews, and who didn’t believe in Him at first. (How would you feel if your brother said something in public, like, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”)?

But in later years James called Jesus, “The LORD of Glory”(James 2), and Jude, his other brother, called jesus, “The only wise God and our Savior…”(Jude 20-24). How do you get a strictly monotheistic believer to acknowledge their half-brother as God?

This transformation required a resurrection. Paul, James, Jude, and the hundreds of other first century Jews who comprised the early church all knew that Jesus had been “crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died and was buried…”, but they all saw him very much alive again, after three days in the tomb.

Even Thomas made the confession. He knew Jesus had died, and he wasn’t going to believe any “spiritualized” resurrection myth. Unless I see the wholes in His hands and in his side, I won’t believe”. But when Jesus allowed Thomas to put his hand in Jesus’ side, Thomas fell on His knees, and cried out “My Lord and My God!”.

Thomas, Paul, James and Jude, wouldn’t be the last Jews to confess Jesus as Lord, One day the entire nation will do so, but what will that take?

  * Shema Yisrael,Adonai,Elohenu, Adonai Echad!-“Hear Oh Israel, The Lord thy God is One Lord!”

 

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Simplicity of God’s Salvation…Romans 9-11 pt 9

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)  Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved  (Romans 10:5-14)

Israel stumbled over the Righteousness of God, not because it was a way which was too hard, but because it is too simple. They did not understand what Moses refered to when He said, that Righteousness would not be a matter of self effort,“Who shall bring Christ down from heaven?…”, as if a human being could ever qualify themselves to ascend to heaven and procure salvation.

Christ did indeed come from heaven, to save us from our sins and to justify us before God, but not because of the worthiness orb attainments of Israel. It was sheer grace, Love and mercy which brought Christ down to us from Heaven. Truly, “The Father sent the Son, to be the Savior of the World”.

Nor was anyone worthy of “resurrecting” any lost opportunities for salvation squandered by Israel in the past,“Who shall descend into the deep to bring Christ from the dead?”. Christ died for our sins willingly and on the third day God raised him from the dead, death having no real claim on Jesus, who had done no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth….

The only worthy person who ever lived is Jesus Christ, He is the only wise God and our Savior and man can only be saved through Him. He descended from heaven himself, no one was ‘worthy’ to go up there and fetch him. He rose from the dead, after he had “by himself purged our sins”, as Hebrews 1:3 tells us.

But Israel for the most part didn’t want such a salvation. The salvation described in the book of Romans, is too simplistic. Salvation by a substitute is demeaning to the individual, it presupposes no inherent righteousness and gives no credit to the status of being a child of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.

There is no striving, and nothing to glory in. They preferred a “Righteousness of their own”, an ethical system of works and saving rituals, originating in scripture but steadily evolving over the centuries by the teachings of Rabbis and Sages. Jesus and John warned about it, that mere physical affinity with Abraham wouldn’t save anyone, rather spiritual affinity.

Who is really a son of Abraham? Who was Abraham and how was he counted as Righteous? What works did he do to attain Righteousness. Abraham was a pagan idolater, who had an encounter with the Living God. God gave him a promise, that one of his children would be a blessing to the whole world! Abraham believed God, and He counted it to Him for Righteousness.

Moses also had an encounter with God, and He believed Him. He is the one who warned Israel  not to trust in works, but to realize that “The Word is nigh thee, evening thy heart and in thy mouth…”. God is as close to you as your breath, for in the coming of Jesus, God was manifested in the flesh, He has come unto us, bringing salvation.

How close is salvation?

It is in the simplicity of confessing with our mouth, That Jesus is the LORD, and believing in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, that we shall be saved.

This is the original Creed, and the only saving faith, That Jesus is the LORD, and that God has raised him from the dead. In these spare words lie a whole theology, an entire life, even an eternity.The Creed is simple, in the sense that it is uncomplicated, but it isn’t easy. Consider it’s only two components briefly-

* Jesus is LORD- Jesus is the name of a human being, a very real person, the son of the Carpenter from Nazareth. He had a time and a space, having lived in the Roman Empire,  in the first century. Jesus of Nazareth lived, laughed, felt, ate, slept, and in short he fully experienced humanity.

Then he died, for he was accused of blasphemy and treason and was “Crucified under Pontus Pilate”.

But God has shown us that this Jesus of Nazareth,  is God.

* God raised Him from the dead- Jesus died as a human being on a cross of shame. But on the third day after he died, when they went to complete the embalming of his body, they found the tomb empty, and Jesus appeared to them very much alive. They handled him, ate with him, listened to him and walked with him until he ascended back to heaven.

The nation of Israel rejected Jesus for the most part, choosing instead a salvation of their own making, one that gives a works righteousness and that elevates the most pious among them, one that a man can glory in, and be exalted above others by.They have unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah,

“My people have committed two evils, they have forsaken ME, the fountain of Living waters, and have Hewn out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water”. (Jeremiah 2)

Posted in Romans 9-11) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

(To My Bride) She Said Yes

We stood before a beautiful altar didn’t we?

We had started outside,

but when the preacher spoke of the “Water of the Word“, it began to rain.

So we rushed into the Blue room,(where I first asked you),

I trembled when I saw you walk the Aisle,

towards me,

and towards the life we would live together,

Because you are so beautiful, and you were radiant in purity and loveliness,

How could I have gained such a beautiful woman?

(Truly He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor of the Lord!)

Who was I? And What were my prospects?

In the world’s terms, they amounted to nothing…(I worked at McDonalds!)

But you said yes…

Yes to God, first of all, and yes to Me also,

You said yes to bearing six beautiful children,

and to entering into all of our joys, battles, struggles, victories and sorrows together,

We have always had each other’s back! You’ve been my best friend…

We have served God together,

Neither one of us could have known, what we were signing up for,

What our vows would cost us, nor the full extent of what the journey would be,

You offered yourself so willingly, to be my friend, my partner, my wife, my lover,

truly a Help meet for me!

I so thank God for your Yes, Where would I be without you?

Jesus, the ultimate groom has said,

“Whoever lays down his life shall keep it, and whoever keeps his life will lose it”,

Dear Kristin, what an example of this scripture you have been,

God knows you have given of yourself to me,and to God,

even when it has been difficult, You have never kept anything back for yourself,

I thank God for you and that you said Yes!

“Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all” Proverbs 31

I Love you !

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments