The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘atonement’

Living & Dying Unto the Lord

Posted by israeliteindeed on January 29, 2017

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My husband and I have entered the longest, darkest valley we’ve ever been in. He was diagnosed with cancer. We were told he was cancer-free after surgery, but shortly after that, 5 tumors were spotted in his abdominal soft tissue. We went the all natural route with a very clean diet and supplements, detoxing, etc. But a month ago, the unforeseeable happened. A tumor burst through my husband’s skin. Until then, he was doing very well, even working full time. After this, his health rapidly declined, and the tumors began to grow extremely fast, bursting through the skin one by one. In one month’s time, he went from feeling “normal” to seemingly at death’s door. He spent 8 days in the hospital. We are beginning new treatments this week, along with continuing to try to nourish him with foods like moringa, turmeric, coconut oil, etc.

Nothing can prepare you to watch someone you love lose his strength, his muscle, his size, his energy, his skin (the tumors are eating the skin off his stomach).  Even his voice has been reduced almost to a whisper. I have to remind myself that even “Jesus wept.” It hurts.

But…God has saved him. He is redeemed. He is my brother. He has eternal life. He is committed to Jesus.  How do we assign value to this? Even as I weep off and on during the difficult days, I see the value of my husband’s redemption, and I feel its tremendous comfort.

And so into the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death, a Light shines. A Light bright enough to carry us all the way home if necessary, goodness and mercy trailing behind us. Some truths we understood in part; now we more fully understand. I expect the picture will grow clearer and clearer over time.

Unfortunately, sickness has a way of bringing miserable comforters to your side. They have good intentions, but they don’t understand what God is doing. See the book of Job. His friends insisted Job must have some sin in his life, or he would be healed. God corrected them. I’m so glad that book is in the Bible. Job still speaks comfort to the righteous all over the world who are suffering!

Someone gave us a book that claims physical healing is included in the atonement, and therefore any Christian can demand a physical healing, and God MUST heal them. If they don’t get healed, they must not have the right faith. This doctrine is false.

If we can command God, then we are God, and He is not God. He is God, and we are His sheep. He commands us, and He leads us where He wants because He’s alot wiser than we are. Sometimes He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death because it will bring a greater good whether we are eventually healed or not. Those who love Him follow Him wherever He goes, and He sustains them whether they live or die.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. (Rom. 14:8)

We will have neither sorrow nor pain nor tears nor death AFTER WE ARE RESURRECTED.The “second death” has no power over us (Rev. 2:11). But all are appointed  to die once in this temporary life, and after that the judgment (Heb. 9:27). We have all been dying since we were born.  One day, something–or many things– will quit working, and these bodies will expire. If you have not yet realized that all flesh is like the grass, quickly fading, in time you will see this truth. It is hard to truly grasp until it happens to you.

The doctrine that if you aren’t healed, you lacked faith, very often condemns the just and makes the heart of the righteous sad, whom God has not made sad (Ezek. 13:22). Thankfully we have the Truth upholding us and the presence of Jesus surrounding us like an impregnable fortress. It’s ironic that we have to hold our shields of faith up to stop the fiery darts of the wicked one (that come through professed believers) saying, “You must have no faith.”

He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. (Prov. 17:15)

Satan has created a false “faith” that says we can, like God Himself, name it and claim it. That’s not faith; it’s paganism.  Faith trusts in God’s promises–all of them–including the ones that promise we will suffer, but one day our sufferings will cease forever.

God has been preparing me for these days for two years. I didn’t understand the preparation time until now.  He’s been tearing away from me all obsession with this life. This life is beautiful even in a sin-cursed world, and yet the redemption of sinners and the building of God’s kingdom is the ultimate goal as we dwell in tents of perishable skin. I haven’t always had the right priorities. The world teaches us to seek after food, clothes, health, wealth, power, beauty. These are nothing but dung compared to knowing Jesus and making Him known. If I knew this before, I know it better now.

I believe God can do anything. He can heal with a Word. He does heal today. And He WILL heal if it brings the most good to the most people. But He alone knows what will bring the most good. I know if it was up to me to wave some magic wand and get everything I thought I needed, I’d be a self-centered narcissist. That’s not good, and it’s not what I need. I would never elect to go through the fire, but God knows we need refining. God values our souls more than our temporary bodies. His ways are higher than our ways. We are invited to have the mind of Christ, and to assign our bodies and souls the same value He does (Matt. 10:28).

I know and confess that God is good even if He doesn’t heal my husband of cancer. He has forgiven us our sins. He has reached through the confusion and pain of this life to give us the truth that healed our rebellious hearts. He has given us such a beautiful marriage, and precious children and grandchildren.  Even now He continues to bless us, but we need our spiritual eyesight sharpened to see it. That’s ok. On the days our eyesight is poor, He sends a godly friend with a word in season, and the picture clears. He is a good Father, our Healer, our Redeemer, our Provider, our Life, our peace, and our joy. The Friend that sticks closer than a brother. The One who wept at the tomb of Lazarus is not forgetting any labor of love we ever did, and our tears are in His bottle. “My soul magnifies the Lord”!

If you love the Lord Jesus, will you please pray for our family? Pray that my husband’s faith does not fail, and that our lights continue to shine brightly no matter what. Pray we glorify Jesus in this trial, as we should. Pray for the unbelievers in our lives that we may influence because of our circumstances. I am asking my Father to touch and heal my husband and give him more years here, but I trust that He knows what is best and will do it.

God bless you!

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What is Self-Righteousness?

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 12, 2013

I was reading a devotional book by Rod and Staff Publishers*, and came across a statement which concerns a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Here is the statement:

“To continue in our own way is an expression of self-righteousness.”

That statement has the ring of truth!

I readily admit this is not the definition of “self-righteousness” we generally hear. I have told family members that they need to stop doing their own thing and obey Jesus, and they accused me of being self-righteous!  Clearly, their definition of the word is the exact opposite of that which is written above. Self-righteousness is one of several words that seems to have been re-defined to fit popular cultural ideas.  In this post, I’d like to explore what self-righteousness looks like Biblically.

Speaking of the Jews who had rejected Jesus, Paul wrote, “They being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Rom. 10: 3)  There is much confusion about what this means, especially with all the sin-excusing, so called “Christian” doctrines abounding today. Many people think Paul was accusing the Jews of trying to obey God too much, whereas they would have found true salvation “resting” in an assurance that “Jesus did it all.” Their dangerous response to their false problem is being a lazy and compromising “Christian” with no standard, and refusing to judge any matter by the Word of God.

It is true that Jesus Himself made the only atonement that could wash our sins away, and it is by faith in Him that we are saved.  It is true that all the law and prophets pointed to the forgiveness offered and made possible by Jesus–and this is something many Jews were unwilling to accept.  But God has never been angry with people who obeyed Him from the heart, and in fact He earnestly desires this.  Obeying God from the heart is never self-righteousness. 

 
Psalm 50:23 declares that to him who orders his conduct aright, God will show His salvation. The man who orders his conduct aright does not save himself (atone for his own sins, or force God to forgive him)  by doing so. But his contrite heart is accepted by God, and because he has met God’s condition of repentance, he will be shown God’s salvation (Jesus), which he then can enter into by faith

The Jews that went about trying to establish their own righteousness were Christ-rejectors precisely because they first refused to order their conduct aright (repent). They had the writings of the law and prophets, which contained excoriating rebukes that applied to them and exposed their hypocrisy, but they did not humble themselves. It is no coincidence that both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries preaching that men must repent, and both preached against the religious hypocrisy that was so prevalent in their culture. These Jews were not called “self-righteous” because of their careful obedience, but because of their disobedience and hypocrisy. 

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  (Luke 12:1)

They failed to understand that all the law and prophets pointed to Jesus, the real sacrifice for sins. Why did they fail to understand? Again, I say it is because they refused to order their conduct aright, and so they stumbled over the Stumbling Stone. There were Jews who did come to understand these great spiritual truths, both in the Old Testament and the New. All of these were saved by their faith. The Pharisees and other Christ-rejecting Jews cherry-picked the Scriptures they had, so they could major on what profited them, and ignore what did not.  And as Jesus accused them in Mark 7:6-13, they outright rejected commandments of God in order to further traditions they had created to benefit themselves.

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do;  but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (Matt. 23:2-4)

In Matthew 23, Jesus detailed the many hypocrisies of Israel’s “blind guides.” But such hypocrisies were not limited to the spiritual leaders. There were many Jews who likewise went about trying to establish their own righteousness. They brought temple sacrifices and offerings, and claimed to be God’s people, while their hearts were far from God, and in fact in love with idols (Isa. 29:13).  They compared themselves to Gentiles and thought they were justified just because they were circumcised “children of Abraham,” and knew the one true God.  By insisting that they were already righteous as they were without a full submission to God, and while refusing to let God show them what would truly please Him, they traded in the righteousness of God for their own useless “righteousness.”  

What about those Jews who were doing their best to obey the law of God without hypocrisy? While such a life was pleasing to God, even one transgression must be atoned for. A return to obedience after disobedience, while commanded, cannot atone for transgressions. The law was never meant to forgive sins, but to bring the sinner to the One whose blood was shed for him!  Indeed, if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain (Gal. 2:21). If the law could make sinners righteous again, we could just preach the law to everyone, and once people returned to obedience, they would be saved. But Jesus was lifted up from the earth to draw all men unto Him. And He becomes righteousness to all who come to Him (I Cor. 1:30), not by imputation of His personal obedience to our account (as some teach), but by forgiving our sins and washing them from us in His own sinless blood.  Unless one comes to Christ, the only Way God has provided, one who has sinned can never be truly righteous, though he may have a form of fictitious, self-created “righteousness.”  

Therefore self-righteousness can rightly be charged against anyone (Jew or Gentile) who insists he can be acceptable to God any other way than by the Way God prescribes. 

  • The orthodox Jew that rejects Christ but practices Hebrew law-keeping, cannot, by these habits, appease Him; he has no faith in God’s Way of salvation, and without faith it is impossible to please God. 
  • The Gentile that goes to three church services per week, sings in the choir, and supports building funds and missionaries–while he still lives and thinks in his heart any way he chooses, is not accepted by God.  Oh, he may talk about the blood of Jesus, but that very blood he has been trampling by his willing disobedience will testify against him and prove him a denier of Christ (Heb. 10:26-29; Titus 1:16), and his righteousness a counterfeit. 
  • The Muslim meticulously praying  and washing according to man-made standards God has not commanded, will never find himself closer to God by these deeds. 
  • The atheist who thinks he is righteous by adhering to a standard of morals he has created for himself, has likewise created his own “way.” 
 
All of these ways, though they seem right to each man from his own perspective, will end in death (Prov. 14:12). 

There is only one Way that leads to life, and the Way is Jesus. To be a follower of The Way is more than acknowledging Jesus as a historical figure, or claiming to follow Him. It is  trusting in His merciful provision of atonement for our personal offences against God, and receiving His forgiveness; and then willingly walking in all His commands. Joining with Him in death (to self and the world), and joining with Him in a resurrected life that bears holy fruit unto God.

There are multitudes of self-righteous people that consider and call themselves real Christians.  Some don’t associate with the organized church, but many do. They judge themselves by standards that are man-made, or they judge themselves only by cherry-picked Scriptures to the exclusion of the whole counsel of God. Some are more moral than others. What connects them is that they will not submit to letting God Himself teach them what is right and wrong, and will not submit to His washing and regenerating influence. They insist they can decide for themselves what is right and how they will live, and resent anyone’s assertion that they should change. Some are masters at justifying their false way with little twistings of Scripture;  they know just enough of the Word to thoroughly damn themselves.

I will share a case in point:

I have an unsaved brother that hates homosexuality.  He is right to hate this sin, but he does not hate his own drunkenness, fornication, blasphemies, racism (he is a member of the KKK), and pervasive selfishness that continually hurts alot of people. He boldly told me he was a Christian.  He condemns the homosexual while claiming he is righteous. Jesus condemns all of the above, and calls both the homosexual and the heterosexual fornicator to acknowledge their own personal crimes against God. My brother will “preach” against homosexuality if the subject comes up, but if I preach against his own list of crimes, using the Word of God as the authority, then I am rejected. Why? He has not submitted to the righteousness of God, but is going about to establish his own. His life may be vastly different than the life of the orthodox Jew who carefully avoids fornication and drunkenness, but both are excluded from the kingdom of God together because neither is submitted to the Word of God.  When the Word is rejected, salvation is rejected. The Word of God is sent to heal us (Psa. 107:20), but disobedience to that Word leads to stumbling (I Pet. 2:8).  The wrath of God abides on all who continue in their own way.

A person like my brother can acknowledge that Jesus was a historical figure, and he might even say Jesus was a good man or a prophet, if he were pressed. A good Muslim would agree with these sentiments about Jesus, as would most Americans. But as long as men insist on deciding for themselves what righteousness looks like, they will never be saved, even if they live relatively moral lives, as do some Jews, Muslims, atheists, and professing Christians. Am I saying morality is inconsequential?–Absolutely not.  The law of God written on a person’s heart, and the Spirit of God directing a person’s steps, will produce a moral life because God is moral. But this will be a true morality borne out of a Spirit-led life, rather than a hypocritical, self-serving morality, such as the morality my brother walks in–or the morality some Jews, Muslims, or false Christians walk in. 

Returning to a point I touched on earlier, those who earnestly plead with sinners to abandon their self-led lives are not being “self-righteous.” It is the self-led sinner who assumes his own spiritual safety that is self-righteous.  But many sinners will hastily slap this label on the truthful witness that testifies against them and calls them to repentance.  Ear-tickling false doctrine streaming from too many pulpits facilitates this deception;  unfortunately many a false shepherd would agree with them and verbally crucify the witness!  Nevertheless, I think it helpful for the faithful witnesses to remember what self-righteousness really is, so that we are not intimidated by false accusations.

God bless you, readers!

Adult Bible Studies, Studies in Romans.  Crockett, Kentucky: Rod and Staff Publishers; January, February, March 2013.

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God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 2

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 21, 2011

In this post, I would like to present you with Old Testament Scriptures which demonstrate that God deals with people on a day-to-day basis. He makes conditional covenants (agreements) with people, but if the people violate the conditions for blessing and refuse to repent, God is not bound to bless them still. The covenant has essentially been broken. Though God is merciful and loves to forgive, He does not blind Himself to the future sins of His people, allowing them to sin all they want and still remain under His protection and grace.

Some will argue that the Old Testament has no bearing on the lives of New Covenant believers, but this is error. We must remember that Jesus and all the New Testament teachers taught new believers from the Old Testament! It is applicable because God changes not. His character in the Old Testament is still the character He has today. There is a newer and better covenant in place, with a greater High Priest and more precious promises, but God remains the same covenant God, whose conditions must be met if one is to remain in His favor.

The Old Testament Judaic law was a shadow of things to come (Heb. 10:1)–meaning it was a type, from which we can draw truth and parallels relating directly to the present gospel time. Paul wrote exactly that in I Cor. 10:1-12, warning Christians that although the Old Testament Israelites had exited Egypt (symbolically: separated from the world), lived under the cloud (symbolically: enjoyed the protection of God), were baptized in the cloud and the sea (symbolically: old man crucified in baptism, resurrection to a new life as God’s child), ate spiritual meat (symbolically: partook of the True Bread, Jesus), and drank of the Rock who is Christ (received living waters), most were still overthrown in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Why? They lusted, committed idolatry, fornicated, tempted Christ, and murmured in continual complaint, being unthankful. All these things happened to them, and were carefully recorded for examples to us, according to Paul!!

Therefore, we under the New Covenant can be sure that if we do the same things the Old Covenant people did, we will suffer the same fate. Though we have at one time separated from the world, enjoyed God’s protection, been baptized in Jesus, and feasted at the table of God, it is possible that because of our future sins, we will not receive the promise.  For this reason, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us,

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

It is imperative for those of us who have faith in the promise of God to DO THE WILL OF GOD with PATIENCE–BEFORE we receive the promise!

Listen to the promise of God given to Israel in Deut. 31:8–

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Right after Moses delivered this wonderful promise to Israel, God gave him a snapshot of the future; Israel would “rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” What would happen next? Would God overlook their future sin and “never forsake them”?–

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deut. 31:16, 17)

When Joshua’s men suffered defeat at Ai, he sought answers of the Lord. Hadn’t the Lord promised to be with them? Why was He not keeping His promise? The Lord’s answer:

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Josh. 7:11, 12)

Clearly, God’s promise to be with Israel was conditioned upon their remaining separate from “accursed things.”  God’s present favor is not a promise of unconditional future favor, no matter what you do.

If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh. 24:20)

The same warning was given to Solomon, a man gifted with wisdom from God:

Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.  (I Chron. 28:9)

Azariah, speaking by the Spirit of God, said the following to King Asa, and the people of Judah and Benjamin:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron. 15:2)

Let us not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, the shepherd king chosen to replace the backsliding King Saul. When he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed, “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Sam. 11:27)  The Lord did not overlook the sins of the man He had chosen. Many people believe that David remained in a perfectly safe, “saved” condition during the long period of time before he repented, but the Bible does not make this claim–contrarily, it claims that unrepentant adulterers and murders will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8). Certainly, God’s mercy was extended to David in that he did not die in an unrepentant state, and His hand was heavy on David leading him to repentance. David could have hardened his heart at Nathan’s rebuke; thankfully, he did not.  We should not conclude from this story that David was an adulterer who was saved (unbiblical), but that God saw David’s sin and expected repentance.

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet was encouraged by God to look upon the wicked abominations–and greater abominations than these–being committed in the house of God. Was this not the house that once had the glory of the Lord resting upon it? (I Kings 8:11) But now God was angry at what the people were doing, so angry that He said,

Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezek. 8:18)

Dear reader, God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11).  He does not turn a blind eye to the future deeds of those who are presently considered “righteous.” In fact, He declared that if a righteous person turns from past righteousness  to future sin, none of his past righteousness will even be remembered! (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12) A righteous person’s future sins are not invisible to God! Dare you say to the all-seeing God, “You can’t see what I’m doing”?

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa. 29:15)

The Lord says to His chosen people that turn to sin, “I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins.” (Amos 5:12) Not only does He know them, but “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14)  If you cover your sins (perhaps with unbiblical arguments like “God doesn’t see my sin”), you will NOT PROSPER, but if you confess AND FORSAKE them, you will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

Although Israel had a covenant agreement with God whereby his sins could be covered and forgotten, his refusal to obey God’s voice, and his continuation in wickedness made his iniquity to be remembered (Ezek. 21:24). Because the people refused to restrain their wandering feet, the Lord no longer accepted them, but would now “remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” (Jer. 4:10)

This doctrine that “God doesn’t see my sin” grieves the heart of God, who desires to heal backsliders of their ways if only they would “consider…in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.” (Hos. 7:1-2)

Apostasy was so rampant when the prophet Jeremiah was preaching, that the Lord directly said to the people, “I will utterly forget you…I will forsake you…and cast you out of my presence.” (Jer. 23:39)  Because the people transgressed the covenant and “cast off the thing that is good,” counting the “great things” of His law “a strange thing,” the Lord would no longer accept them, but would remember their iniquity and send them back to Egypt! (Hos. 8:3, 12, 13)  Because the people went whoring away from the God who loved them, and insisted upon corrupting themselves, He would “drive them out of His house,” “love them no more,” and “cast them away.” (Hos. 9)

The Israelites were taught by God, through the Levitical system, how costly sin was by seeing their innocent beasts die for their sins. Whatever sins were remitted by the shedding of blood would not be remembered against them. It was not a one-time deal, but a lifestyle of obeying God’s voice, examining themselves, and making appropriate offerings to God while seeking His forgiveness and favor. A man who became careless with the things of God was “cut off from his people.” Although the blood of animals cannot take away sins, these things were written for examples to us, and for our admonition (I Cor. 10:11).  Our offering for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ (shed once for all time), but this does not negate the fact that we must live lifestyles of obeying God’s voice, heeding His correction, examining ourselves sincerely, confessing and forsaking sin while seeking the Lord’s forgiveness, and looking to the crucified & risen Lamb of God with faith in His blood.  Carelessness and callousness can still result in being “cut off.” I will discuss this same theme in New Testament Scriptures in the next post.

God bless you!

Go to Part 3

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Eat Those Things with which the Atonement was Made

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 30, 2009

An Interesting Parallel

The Old Testament priesthood of Aaron had to “eat those things with which the atonement was made.”

Then Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy. (Ex. 29:32-33)

True Christians are priests unto God under the new covenant:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (I Pet. 2:9)

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God. (Rev. 1:5-6)

Jesus Christ is both High Priest and the Atoning Sacrifice:

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb. 9:11-12)

Like the priesthood of Aaron, we “eat those things with which the atonement was made.”

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”  The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.  This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:51-58)

The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;  and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (I Cor. 11:23-25)

Did you notice in Ex. 29:32-33, “an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy”? Those who are disqualified from the New Testament priesthood also must not eat of the table of communion, or they bring judgment upon themselves:

I Cor. 11:27-32  Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’sbody.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

God bless you!

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Spiritual Blindness

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 28, 2009

Spiritual Blindness is a curse reaped by one who has sown disobedience to the voice of the LORD:

Deuteronomy 28:15, 28-29 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.

Zephaniah 1:17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.

Isaiah 56:10-11 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Isaiah 59:9-12 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them.

Repentance–turning from sin–is necessary before God will restore spiritual sight:

Isaiah 59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 42:6-7, 16 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house…And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

Isaiah 29:18-19 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

To the meek, the poor in spirit, those who turn from transgression:

Isaiah 35:1-10 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Jeremiah 31:8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Jesus healed many physically blind people:

Matthew 9:27-28 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us. And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

Matthew 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

Matthew 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:

John 9:25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Jesus testified to John the Baptist:

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Jesus’ physical miracles pointed to His ability to heal and restore the soul.

Lazarus was not raised from the dead simply to live 40 more years on this earth, but to demonstrate that Jesus IS the Resurrection and the Life (able to give spiritual life).  Likewise in Luke 5, the paralytic was raised physically in order to show what Jesus could do for a man spiritually:

Luke 5:23-25 [Jesus speaking] Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

When we recognize we are spiritually lame, blind, dumb and maimed, let’s cast ourselves at Jesus’ feet!

Matthew 20:30-31, 33-34 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David…They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

CRY OUT TO JESUS—HAVE MERCY ON US, LORD!! He will have compassion on us and heal our eyes too.

What about those who do not recognize their blindness, and refuse to repent? Jesus said of the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:5-7 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Matthew 23:11-13 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.  (God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble JAMES 4:6) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

  1. Matthew 23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
  2. Matthew 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
  3. Matthew 23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
  4. Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
  5. Matthew 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

JESUS SAID OF THESE MEN, WHO EXALTED THEMSELVES AND THOUGHT THEY KNEW SO MUCH, THAT THEY WERE BLIND—5 TIMES!

Luke 6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?  WALK BY THE LIGHT—JESUS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD—THY WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET—JESUS IS THE TRUE LIGHT THAT GIVES LIGHT TO EVERY MAN, JOHN 1:9

John 9:39-41 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

John 12:35-36 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

WARNING!!! IF YOU DON’T WALK IN THE LIGHT AND BELIEVE IN THE LIGHT WHILE THE LIGHT IS WITH YOU, DARKNESS WILL COME UPON YOU!!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN BLINDNESS!

John 12:37-40 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 12:44-46 Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. (spiritual sight) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. (spiritual blindness)

Paul, speaking of the Jews who rejected Jesus the Messiah:

2 Corinthians 3:14-15 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

The veil/blindness is done away in Christ! Those who come to Him will be healed of their blindness.

Isaiah 25:7 And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.

Satan blinds the minds of the lost (but we are still responsible for our blindness.)

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Romans 1:21-24 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (THOSE WHO EXALT THEMSELVES WILL BE ABASED) And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

After being saved and having our eyes opened, we can return to blindness!

Ephesians 4:17-19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Jesus and Peter (among others) taught that a previously healed person could return to an even worse condition through SIN:

John 5:14 See, you have been made well [physical healing]. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.

2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [spiritual healing], they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Peter and John admonished Christians as to what they should do so they would not return to blindness:

2 Peter 1:1, 5-10 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. [UNFRUITFUL = BLIND] Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

1 John 2:10-11 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

Loving our brother will include keeping God’s commands:

1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

Jesus Christ, speaking to the church of Laodicea concerning their blindness:

Revelation 3:15-19 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

According to Jesus, if we–after being saved–pass into a state of spiritual blindness, we can be restored through repentance!  Jesus will give us “eyesalve” for our blind eyes, if we admit our blindness and our need for His healing.

Psalms 146:8-9 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: the LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

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