The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘priest’

Biblical Confession

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 12, 2014

The word, “confession” may conjure up all kinds of definitions in people’s minds, depending upon their religious background. Some believe that confession is merely saying “sorry” for your sins, and that this can be done once daily or weekly while sin is ongoing. It is generally believed that as long as this “confession” is being done, God is ignoring the sin. Others believe that confession is listing as many sins as can be remembered to a priest so that he can forgive those sins which are listed. Some believe that if some type of penance is added to the confession, or money is given to a church, this increases the likelihood of finding forgiveness.

I am thankful that despite our different religious backgrounds, we can know the Truth, and the Truth can set us free. We can be forgiven and redeemed, but we must learn what God requires. Following are some biblical truths about the confession God accepts.

1. When we realize we have sinned, we must humbly confess our own unfaithfulness to God, confess that God has justly judged us, and accept our guilt (and its consequences.) For many, they confess without humility, with excuses, and hoping only to escape the just judgments they are reaping in their lives. “Yes, I sinned, but here is why I am justified, and why I don’t deserve my circumstances.” This is not acceptable to God.

But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land. (Lev. 26:40-42)

2. Confession involves being fully exposed and honest, hiding nothing, coupled with forsaking what was done. If we are still hiding things from God or others we have wronged, we have not properly confessed.

I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psa. 32:5)

He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (Psa. 28:13)

3. Biblical confession is accompanied by turning from sin and being willing to learn from God how we should walk (repentance).

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk. (I Kings 8:35-36)

4. Confession is accompanied by doing God’s will and separating from evildoers who will lead us astray. If we continue to keep evil company, we will continue in sinful habits (I Cor. 15:33). Someone who insists on being the companion of fools will be destroyed (Prov. 13:20) because he will be led away from doing God’s will.

Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives. (Ezra 10:11)

5. Biblical confession should be accompanied by making restitution whenever possible. If we stole something, we should pay back with extra to prove we understand how unjust the theft was. If we lied about someone, we should do what we can to restore the person’s reputation. The “extra” demonstrates that we know we are indebted to the person we wronged. If we are truly humbled before the Lord, He will guide us in how to make restitution when it is possible. The restitution does not cancel our sin (this comes through God’s forgiveness and mercy), but proves our hearts are changed.

When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. (Num. 5:6-7)

Zacchaeus said to the Lord, “Look, Lord…if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Lk. 19:8-9)

6. Confession includes acknowledgement that Jesus is alive today even though He was crucified for your sins, and the honest profession that He is the legitimate LORD (Master) of your life.

…That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:9,10)

7. Proper confession, as it is defined by Scripture, is one of the conditions of receiving God’s forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I Jn. 1:9)

8. Biblical confession (along with its accompanying humility, forsaking sin, submission to God, etc.) must come before baptism. Baptism of an unrepentant, unchanged person means nothing to God (despite what many churches teach!)

Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. (Matt. 3:5-6; also Mark 1:5; Acts 19:8)

9. Biblical confession will be done by all people, sooner or later. But only those who voluntarily humble themselves and confess Biblically in this life will be saved. God is just, and will make all men acknowledge how they have rebelled and resisted His Truth. Isn’t it wise to make peace with Him now–through the means of salvation He has offered (Jesus)? Today is the day of salvation if you can hear His voice. He will not strive with rebels forever, but will close the door of salvation and punish them.

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Rom. 14:11; also Phil. 2:11)

10. After we are redeemed, we need to confess personal as well as corporate sin. This involves examining ourselves regularly to judge (discern) the rightness or wrongness of our actions. If we determine what we have done any wrong, we confess and repent. We should also acknowledge any sin the church is doing as a whole. There is no room, in Christ, for walking in darkness and hiding sin. Too many churches are covering up sin rather than exposing it. This is dishonoring to God, and brings injury and spiritual confusion to many people. We have the examples of godly men, Daniel and Nehemiah–

Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God…(Dan. 9:20)

…Hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. (Neh. 1:6)

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

11. All believers are priests in the spiritual kingdom the God (I Pet. 2:9), and as such, can confess sin to one another. This is for the purpose of accountability, praying for one another, and teaching one another (Rom. 15:14; Col. 3:16).

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (Jam. 5:16)

Please note: Nowhere in the New Testament are sinners commanded to confess their sins to a priest in order to be forgiven. Our healing, forgiveness and redemption comes from God, through our High Priest Jesus, not from any other man. Jesus is the only mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5). He alone is able to save, and we must come to God through Him. (Heb. 2:17; 4:15-16; 5:9; 7:24-25) If any person or organization teaches that you must come to God through a man (whether he calls himself a priest or not), do not believe it or submit to it. Believe the Scriptures.

God bless you!

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The Believer’s Relationship with Jesus

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 21, 2011

Knowing God and Jesus Christ is eternal life (Jn. 17:3), and eternal life is found in Jesus Himself (I Jn. 5:11; 20). There are several pictures in Scripture that illustrate the relationship we must have with Jesus Christ if we desire to have eternal life, and each depicts a different aspect in that relationship.

First, we are clay in the hands of a Potter, all of us being the work of God’s hands (Isa. 64:8), and woe to the clay that resists the Potter’s influence (Isa. 45:9). In Jeremiah 18, the prophet was instructed to go watch a potter at work. He noticed that when the clay vessel became ruined in the potter’s hand,  he started over and made it into another vessel. God likewise reserves the right to do exactly that with any lump of clay that He is working with which becomes ruined in His hands by resisting Him, but He gives the vessel a choice. It is written, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.   If a man therefore purge himself from these (dishonorable works), he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:19-21)  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10)

Second, we are branches abiding in a Vine (Jesus), and it is His life that is flowing up from the Vine itself to give us life. If there is a severance of this closeness, there will be no life, for remember:  eternal life is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Branches that remain connected to the Vine and produce fruit will endure pruning so as to produce even more.  Branches that do not remain connected to the Vine and become fruitless, will be cut off and receive no further benefit from the Vine–no eternal life.

Third, we are body parts directly connected to and under the authority of our Head (Jesus).  Just as the physical brain is the seat of authority in the body, and all body parts obey the commands of the brain and cannot remain alive if there is a separation between the head and body, just so we are utterly dependent on Jesus Christ to guide us and keep us alive and functioning properly. We also enjoy and benefit from interdependent body life, receiving nourishment from other body parts as each one functions in his/her own gift.

Fourth, we are a Bride-to-be being prepared and made ready for our Groom (Jesus), who has gone to prepare a place for us, and will soon return to take us to Himself. Just as a bride focuses on making herself as perfect as possible for her coming wedding, and remains faithful in her behavior and solely focused on the one she loves; so every man who has the hope of final redemption purifies himself just as Jesus is pure (I Jn. 3:3), being diligent to be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2 Pet. 3:14).

Fifth, we are citizens of a kingdom of which Jesus is the King. Just as citizens of any earthly country must obey and serve the authorities over them, Christians give 100% total allegiance to King Jesus, remembering that He will send forth His angels to gather out of the kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity (Matt. 13:41). Not only do we do the things that please our King, we act on His behalf as ambassadors to earthly men, beseeching them to be reconciled to God through Jesus (Eph. 2:19; 2 Cor. 5:20).

Sixth, we are individual stones in a great spiritual temple which is being built for a habitation of God.  The foundation of this building is Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone without which the whole building falls, and the apostles and prophets who gave to us His written Word and instructions (Eph. 2:19-21).  As stones in a building lean and rely upon the first-laid cornerstone, so we lean and rely upon Jesus Christ. Only those who hear and do His words will be properly founded upon the Rock and be saved from destruction (Matt. 7).

Seventh, Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession (Heb. 3:1) and our High Priest of good things to come, by the greater and more perfect tabernacle, who has Himself–as the Passover Lamb–obtained eternal redemption for us by His own blood (Heb. 9:11-12). Not only are we the redeemed from the earth, we fulfill the kingdom of priests and holy nation God has always desired (Exo. 19:5-6), being called by Peter a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and a peculiar people (I Pet. 2:9)Like the priesthood in the Old Testament which serves as an example of heavenly things (Heb. 8:5), we priests offer up spiritual sacrifices, presenting our own bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God;  and we lead outsiders to our High Priest Jesus–the only mediator between God and men–that they might be forgiven and restored.

Eighth, we are sheep following a Shepherd–not just any hireling who is in it for personal gain and abandons the sheep at first sign of danger, but a Good Shepherd who has already laid down His life for His sheep. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him, and He gives to them eternal life (John 10:27-28). Psalm 23 wonderfully paints the details of how our Shepherd cares for our needs as we continue to follow Him. When any sheep goes astray, He is faithful to seek for the one which is lost, and rejoices greatly with all of heaven whenever a lost sheep is found and brought back under His care! (Luke 15:4-7)

Ninth, Jesus is the Bread of Life to us, and we must be partakers of Him to live. He is the Word of God made flesh, and man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Lk. 4:4). He is the living bread which came down from heaven and gives life to the world (Jn. 6:51).   We must, like the prophet Ezekiel, eat the scroll, feeding upon the Word of the Lord to the health of our spiritual man. We must take in this daily bread–this manna–that may not be as titillating to our flesh as the leeks of Egypt, but nevertheless is exactly what is needed to nourish us up in the words of faith and good doctrine (I Tim. 4:6).  Jesus instructed us to labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you (Jn. 6:27).

May Jesus be glorified as we properly relate to Him as our Potter, our life-giving Vine, our Head, our Groom, our King, our foundational Rock, our High Priest and Passover Lamb, our Good Shepherd, and our Daily Bread.

God bless you!

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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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