Category Archives: Bible Study

A License to Sin?

That’s a question that has a much deeper response than just the obvious of “certainly not!”  The former part of the question might be, “Does Salvation allow a license to sin?” which brings to the forefront the debate of once saved always saved.  Is this statement biblical?  Does it always hold true?  What if the murderer of the late-term abortion doctor had accepted Christ as Savior (I don’t know if this is true, just posing the question), would he still go to heaven after committing such an act?  It’s an interesting discussion, one that deserves reverence and a detailed look at scripture, along with an examination of 2 somewhat contrasting doctrines of theology.

The Apostle Paul asked in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”  This is the same question I asked at the beginning; Paul’s answer to his own question is a resounding, “By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:2 The answer seems clear, but in order to fully understand it, we have to look at both this question and answer in context.  To do that, we need to look back at chapter 5.  Beginning in verse 12, Paul is contrasting the death of man that followed the sin of Adam with the life through Christ that came through His death and resurrection.  He states that the original sin brought judgment, but the gift that came by the grace of Jesus Christ brought justification.  Paul states in Romans 5:20-21, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It’s to this statement of grace increasing with an increase in sin that Paul asked the question above of whether we should continue sinning so that grace might increase and resounded emphatically, “NO”.  We know that none of us are perfect, we weren’t perfect before salvation through Christ’s saving grace and though we were justified and purified by the blood, we didn’t become perfect afterward because we still have our sinful flesh.

If we continue in Romans 6, we learn that Paul is teaching that those who have accepted Jesus as Savior are dead to sin, but alive in Christ.  Romans 6:6-7, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”  As being no longer slaves to sin, we then become slaves to righteousness, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”  Romans 6:18  But just as I alluded to earlier and as I have in previous posts, there is a duality taking place within us, an internal spiritual war that is constantly raging.  Paul speaks to this in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  The Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul knows full well of this battle and inspired Paul to provide insight into his own personal battle in Romans 7.  As we pick up in verse 21, “So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” Romans 7:21-23 Each of us have to understand just how critical this battle is and how important it is to never stop fighting, to “run with endurance”. Hebrews 12:1  What if we stop?  What if we try to fight the war that rages ourselves and it overtakes us?  That is when we fall back, slowly creeping into sin, or by taking a drastic step backward such as the murderer I alluded to earlier.  Is one sin any greater than another?  If as a Christian I lust in my mind is that any less than an outward sin of murder?  The Bible states, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” Romans 3:10 It doesn’t state that those who do this sin and not that one are righteous, no, everyone, anyone, all, but Jesus, are unrighteous.  To further emphasize this point, lets again look at Romans 5, “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.” Romans 5:14 Did you catch that?  Death reigned over everyone, even those that did not break the commandments.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 We are all worthy of death.  The murderer, the prideful, the greedy, the idolater, the luster, the drunkard, you and me, all of us.  But thanks be to God, through His saving grace that each of us, regardless of our sins can be saved if we believe in Jesus, call on His name in repentance of our sins, and receive Him as LORD and SAVIOR of our lives.  In closing, one final inspired passage by the Apostle Paul that gives us hope in our battle, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 Nothing can separate us from Jesus as our Savior, He died once for all. I Peter 3:18

It’s on this point that I’ll pick up the next post on the 2 doctrines of theology I mentioned earlier and how they relate to this discussion, as we go more in depth on “A License to Sin?”

Prayer: If you are not living the life you should be, trapped in the snares of sin, holding on to self, let go.  Give full control to God, repent of your sins and turn back toward Jesus.  We cannot fight the battle alone, we’ll lose.  Just as Paul concluded his own personal battle, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24 Only Jesus can rescue, He is our Victor.  Pray now and ask that He intercedes in your battle.  Pray that you submit your will to His and offer Him full control.

Additional Study: Romans 7:7-25, Romans 6:1-23, Romans 5:12-20, Ephesians 6:10-20

Saul vs. David: The heart of man vs. the heart of God

 

Recently while reading and teaching a small youth group lesson on Saul’s life, specifically his disobedience and the consequences he faced, God revealed a passage of truth to me in His Word.  As you may recall (and from a few posts I’ve made), Saul was Israel’s first king, anointed by Samuel, chosen by God.  I’ve discussed the warnings that God passed on through Samuel to the Israelites about their demands for a king and how they were not only rejecting Samuel, but ultimately rejecting God as their king.

For this lesson, we’ll pick up the story where Saul was about to engage in battle with the Philistines after Jonathon had defeated a garrison of Philistine troops in Geba.  I Samuel 13:3 As the tensions mounted and the Philistine troops were amassed, the Israelites found themselves cowering in caves and holes, those with Saul at Gilgal were likewise fearful.  I Samuel 13:6-7

Samuel had instructed Saul to wait seven days before taking any actions.  Because of his impatience, Saul decided to do what he thought best and offer a sacrifice to God, despite the fact that it was in direct contradiction with what God had commanded him.  In verse I Samuel 13:12 NKJV we hear Saul’s explanation for his disobedience, “Therefore I felt compelled,  and offered a burnt offering.”  Therefore I felt compelled….  Think about this for a second, we use this same excuse only worded differently when we sin.  Why did you do that?  Because I felt like it, because it felt good to me, because I wanted to, because I felt compelled, therefore I felt compelled.  This is the sinful nature of man’s heart.  To do what it is that we want to do, when we want to do, no matter the consequences.  Just as the Bible says in Judges 21:25b, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” and Saul was a perfect and fitting example of this point.  This is the world in which we live in today.

But there is hope.  For after Saul came Israel’s great king.  After Saul came a man after God’s own heart. I Samuel 13:14 After Saul came King David.  David was also chosen by God and anointed by Samuel.  But instead of cowering when it came time to assume the throne, David waited on the Lord.  Just like Saul, David sinned, but his reaction was far greater.  With Saul, we learned that he sinned because he felt like it.  With David, we learn what it means to have heartfelt remorse, to pour out ones soul over the pain that we’ve caused our heavenly Father.

God used Nathan to “wake” David up from his sinful slumber.  After Nathan’s rebuke, David’s immediate response was, “I have sinned against the Lord.” II Samuel 12:13 Notice the difference when confronted by their sins. Saul said to Samuel that he felt compelled to do it.  David said to Nathan that he sinned against the Lord.  This is what is meant by being a “man after God’s own heart.”  David recognized his sin and through his heartfelt change, desired to become a better man in the Lord each day.  In fact we can read about his changes and about his remorse throughout the Psalms of David.  Take Psalm 25 for example:

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

4 Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

6 Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
9 The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12 Who is the man that fears the LORD?
Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity,
And his descendants shall inherit the earth.
14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses!
18 Look on my affliction and my pain,
And forgive all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are many;
And they hate me with cruel hatred.
20 Keep my soul, and deliver me;
Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all their troubles!

A far cry from, “Therefore I felt compelled.”  There are far too many people today with the heart of Saul and too few with the heart of David.  Whose heart represents yours?  One who callously shrugs off their sins, with a passing repentance of words?  Or the heart of the Lord, whose heartfelt remorse and repentance leads to a life change and a desire to live more like Christ each day?

By Faith

Essential to a Christian’s relationship with Jesus Christ is Faith. Faith that God created the world for His glory. Isaiah 43:7 Romans 1:20 Faith that God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. John 3:16 Faith that He rose again on the third day. I Corinthians 15:17 Faith that if we repent from our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9 Faith that our repentance and belief in the name of the Lord Jesus creates in us a new life. Ephesians 2:8-9 Romans 10:13 And faith that our Savior will return and reunite with His church. John 14:2-4

But what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” KJV That’s a pretty profound verse! “The substance of things hoped for”, what does that mean? Well, we use faith in our every day lives, but probably don’t give it a second thought. When we put the key in the ignition of our car, we have faith it will start. Cross a bridge and have faith that the engineers designed it to not fail. Going to sit in that chair? Better have faith that it will support you. The “substance” of what we hope for in these instances is in their reliability to not fail us, even though we really have no evidence or proof that they won’t. The difference is that these “things” will eventually fail. It is a faith in man, in things of this world.  One day your car won’t start, that bridge won’t last forever, it’ll one day need repairs, and that chair’s likely lifespan is only a few years if you’re lucky.

The only thing worth having faith in, that will not fail, is the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. He is where the substance of our hope should rest. Even though we have not seen Him with our eyes, the evidence is all around us. The Bible tells us in I Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” As Christians, the importance of faith cannot be understated. Proverbs 3:3 tells us, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” The Apostle Paul reminds us to prepare ourselves for spiritual battle with the Armor of God, which includes the Shield of Faith, to extinguish the fiery darts from the evil one. Ephesians 6:16 In military terms, the shield allows for attacks to be deflected and kept away from the body. In fact, the 2nd century Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus states, “To lose one’s shield is the basest of crimes.” What a beautiful analogy to apply to the Shield of Faith. Keep hold of it! Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20 that faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain and that with it nothing is impossible. Hebrews 11 is filled with a history of faith that’s exhibited by a who’s who of biblical characters to complete many amazing feats. In fact, the word faith is mentioned 25 times (NIV) in this chapter alone. But for all of their faith, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 The promise that they did receive because of their faith was eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Not only is it important to realize the power of strong faith, but it is perhaps even more important to realize that our God is faithful. As I alluded to earlier, if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive. I John 1:9 The Lord’s faithfulness is magnificent and worthy of praise. The psalmist, King David, sings of God’s faithfulness in Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” David praises the Lord’s faithfulness throughout Psalms and does so elegantly in Psalm 57:10, “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” The Lord wants us to understand that His faithfulness is unconditional, as is His love. He abounds with love and faithfulness and expects us to model our lives in the same manner.

Many times in our lives it’s easy to talk about faith, especially when things are going well. But it’s when we’re in the midst of a storm that faith is most important. It’s at our lowest point when we grab hold of our faith. How then do we achieve it? The Bible tells us, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 Achieving faith goes back to our foundation on the Bible. http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?p=5 Paul’s description of the shield of faith was inclusive of the full Armor of God. Did warriors enter battle with a shield alone? No, it works in tandem with every piece of armor and we therefore are charged to, “…Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:13-18 Faith is so important in our daily lives. For Christians, we need only to open God’s word to increase our Faith. For non-Christians, you need to understand that faith in yourself, other people, and things of this world will inevitably fail you. The only infallible faith is that in Jesus Christ. It is available to you if you just reach out for it. In order to begin your journey into faith, you need only to step out of your worldly comfort zone and receive Christ as your Savior. To do so, simply click here http://voiceoftruthblog.com/?page_id=3 or click on the Knowing the Truth tab above.

Have a blessed day!