Reprobate Mind - Out of context this verse is frequently used in claiming His promises under our own pretense. The context here suggests that God's promise is much larger in scope than to what we often selfishly apply it.
There seems to be quite an emphasis in the past couple chapters on giants being removed by the children of Esau and then children of Lot and now by children of Israel. God's hand is always at work in ways larger and all encompassing than we see from within our smaller circle of personal needs and situations.
How many times we think that God's intent is to completely drive out all the bad things in our lives so that we can live peaceably and prosperously and without trial; that we could live our lives as we see fit. It is of course a vain imagination. The proving that God required here of Israel may not have been for His own satisfaction but, for they themselves to see and learn of. He knows our heart, that we will only call to Him when there is no other way out of our self induced troubles. It would be wise for us to know that and thus the proving.
Some of the greatest sins for which we are judged are not in us performing the acts ourselves but in us not restraining those we know who are performing them. The judgment is the same. So the next time you think "I have not sinned" think back on whom it is your responsibility to restrain and have not.
kjv@1Samuel:3:13 extends sin to include those knowingly do not restrain others from sin. Here in kjv@1Samuel:3:17 we perceive a further guilt to those who have been given a special revelation of knowledge from the LORD and withhold it.
I take this to mean not that bad things won't happen to repentant believers, clearly we see that they do, but, that they will not be without salvation and God's hand. For Jesus suggests that it is not because of their sin that these two calamities happened, yet, repentance would have still been in order; it is always in order.
This peculiar passage does not quote Jesus as saying "your sins are forgiven" as He does so many times. In fact it says that she is loosened from the bounds of Satan. Not all illnesses nor healings are presented this way. We should not assume, we should approach from a preparatory base of prayer and fasting. Many say "why pray" or "why fast". It is precisely because we don't know what is ahead of us and we just can't simply assume that we know.
If connected in context to the rest of the remainder of the chapter we'd see that this astounding kingdom growth is a result of a caregivers' nurturing care towards repentance (even by calamity), the bounds of Satan being identified and loosed, legalism and tradition and religious expectation being loosed, certain adversaries being shamed in their confrontation, and praise of the multitude for what He has done. Not a bad summation of the Gospel...eh?
The Temple is not just a symbol of the nation, not just the hopeful dwelling place of the presence of God, not just a place for worship and ritual and ceremony and sacrifice, it is also a target for the Lord's enemies. It is almost as an extra burden and responsibility for it's devout. If this place is going to be called by the name of God it's attendants better well represent the God for which it represents. The poor overall historical context of Israel's attempt to do this is a warning and ensample for us today with our "Temple of the Holy Spirit" kjv@1Corinthians:3:16-17.
There is a vast difference between believing "in" God and believing "God". They are two different objects. The devils believe "in" God. The hard part is to actually believe that God said this thing or did this act or commanded that we obey that; that this is His certain Will regarding salvation. It is the difference between believing in a quaint notion and believing what proceeds forth and is emanated from the real person. Here we are told that God intends for the name of His Son to be the dividing line between the saved and the unsaved, that He has set His entire course of motion from eternity past to establish just that. He doesn't have to condemn be cause the soul remaining unborn to the Spirit chooses not to be born again thus condemning itself.
The teaching of the chapter is so profound that often we neglect it's obvious conclusion: doing. Knowing and doing go hand in hand. So why don't we always do this? What we are called to do is not just washing each others feet, that would almost be acceptable. What we are called to do goes way beyond that to the point of lowering ourselves beyond our respectability in the service of people we'd really rather not lower ourselves to. I think of all the stay at home Christians that have been hurt by other Christians. Whose feet are they washing there at home? Who are they lowering themselves for? How is our Lord's example being lived in their lives? Jesus said "each other's feet". Who are we to pick and choose whose other feet we'd be willing to clean?
The damage is done anyway. His previous influence remains even though he himself has changed. We see this in our own lives as well, friends that we've gone back to now that we've been reborn in Christ who see us as former shells of ourselves, turn coats to the truer rebellious faith, enemies to be reconverted or abandoned.
As compassionate and polite as the young mans plea to Job seems to be, it seems to be built of a similar argument; that Job has something major to repent of and that he is adding to it by not repenting, God doesn't just do this without reason, without one deserving it so the theory goes. There is also the notion that by contending with the counselors that haven't this problem that Job is somehow contending with God. We start to see how many forms the same argument can take on.
The Lord appeared and stood by Paul. This is the second time, once as a light on the road to Damascus, now bedside in Jerusalem. Note that Jesus did not appear to everyone there at the time of the testimony and riot in Paul's defense, Paul was there to appear in Jesus' defense and after word Jesus appeared in His own time to comfort Paul. This is an important distinction to grasp. Why Jesus does what He does and doesn't do what He doesn't is His masterful judgment to make and as His servants ours' to live within.
How Paul's nephew found out about the Jewish assignation plot we are not told. Being at the right place at the right time I suppose. It could be that someone from within the Jew's confidence sought him out as well; which makes the account all the more interesting.
...and should be converted... converted to what? The complaint is that Christianity is something new, that Judaism is being added to, the Law is being removed/diminished. The Law is not diminished it is being fulfilled in one person. It is not being added to, it is being completed in the manner it itself has long prescribed. It is not something new if it's leader is someone anticipated ever since kjv@Genesis:3:15.
Instruction often comes in the form of rebuke/reproof. Being willing to listen to it is the key to being wise. The rebuke/reproof has to wise of course otherwise it is mean cruel for it's own sake. Parents for instance need to be as wise or wiser than their own fatherly instruction, which many times means being wise enough to listen to our Father's rebuke as well.
If our hope is in something that has no possibility of coming forth or is not in the will of God or is not pursued in a manner pleasing to God or we never diligently pursued it the heart will remain sick. One must be honest about what is deferring the hope. Who, what, when, where, how, to what extent and to whose glory seem to be the appropriate questions.
There are those that can take advantage of others even in desperate times. Tragedy, catastrophe, evacuation, desperation always brings out those treacherous scheming thieves to prey upon the unfortunate and transitional souls.
This may sound easy to do now, but, who knows how they will react in times of great national fear and desperation, when the difference might mean food on ones napkin or a shelter for a cold night versus not. If it were easy during these times more people would be able to do it.
One is proven blameless and found to be of good report before being considered for the position of deacon; not afterward or by the process of. The job isn't up to anyone who thinks that he might be a good candidate, it is up to the few that have proven themselves to be in very substantial and difficult ways. The powers of deacon and bishop are too tempting otherwise for those who simply seek to obtain that power for their own glory.
It has been the doctrine of some cults (even the universal church at times) that the unlearned masses must be kept from the holy scrip based on the possible misinterpretation and destruction it might cause them identified by this passage. The context however of this passage in light of kjv@2Peter:2 is more properly of those who once knew of the Gospel/Grace of Christ but chose not to continue, turned to oppress and afflict and teach falsely after their own increased unrighteousness and gain. Paul's writings in particular are targeted by these cherry picking wicked souls as points of fierce contention, points of apparent contradiction, points to slander and attack. Peter here stands up for Paul in uncompromising fashion and therefore endorses the distribution of his works. The general masses are greatly helped rather by the availability of unfiltered scripture, their trust in leadership deeply enhanced in the things that are not easily understood by the things that are. Those who are going to fall away are going to fall away any way. Disputes and factions may arise amongst us over certain points as we try to become learned, but, even that is used to challenge and stir and put essential truths into our remembrance. Challenge does not mean destruction, challenge means hunger and thirst and utter trust in the most certain hope of an eventual divinely revealed answer.
Works? What works? I thought that everything was strictly by grace? The church at Sardis is of great concern. Individuals remain that have not left or deserted and they shall be rewarded, they are exhorted strengthen that which remains, but, what about the rest of them? Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved by grace however we that hear are exhorted to overcome. Our faith is planted in circumstances that necessitate immediate growth and action, from which our faith only grows stronger. If there are not these works and actions the local church body itself dies away. Avoiding and/or ignoring the work that must be done because of some personal tantrum is spiritually immature.
Laodicean, the lukewarm church, what a terrible thing to be. Many consider this church to be the closest to our modern American church. Some even suggest the the churches listed here in Revelations mark out specific church ages and that we are in the last age. The things that most identifies this church is that it is affluent and coasting not receiving much persecution but not extending itself outward into any situations that it might receive any reproof or chastisement. It is the polite to everybody, let's not stir anything up, we got it too good church.
A great many men (most of them well meaning) will be guilty of leading their own people into captivity; these men will not escape this captivity themselves. A great many men will kill by the sword either for themselves or for their kin or for their nation or for pure survival and necessity; these men shall not escape either. As short as the time left is, there is a time appointed for this be completely fulfilled. Here is a clue to what it will mean for those latter day saints to have faith and patience.
So this is where Paul twice and the author of Hebrews once get "the just shall live by faith". Now we have the original context. Given our tendency to box God into the corners of what we think He should and should not be doing, given our blindness to everything except what is immediately before us, given our own personal track record and what we ourselves are being chastised over, we if seeking through this to become just should live by faith. kjv@Romans:1:17kjv@Galatians:3:11kjv@Hebrews:10:38
The prophet concludes with a song. In context it comes to mean that we may not know everything about what the Lord is doing. We may think that He is doing nothing at all or that He is letting evil overcome good. If however we could see the Lord in all of His larger than life actions, the directions He comes from, the foundations He shakes at, the tireless march that He is on, His goings forth for the salvation of His people; then certainly our view of things here and now would be much different. The song is summed up kjv@Habakkuk:3:17-19.
Nearly the same thing is said kjv@Revelation:13:10. First in regards to the captivity of those who lead the peoples captive to the beast. Here in regards to the eternal smoke and torment from the pit of those who worshiped the beast and received his mark. The patience is in holding true throughout for as long as it takes.
A great many things are given and allowed in the garden. One simple thing is not. It is the one thing that often occupies our mind. People are to some extent defined by what they can't have, by what is forbidden just as they are defined by the fear of death. Not only is there what is forbidden, there is what is threatened, and there is someone readily willing to deceive.
The deception is a subtle twist of words over the meaning/extent of death. If the serpent had said that she'd die spiritually first, be exiled from the garden, live her and her generations in toil and turmoil, suffer famine and war and horrid transgressions from one another, and die a slow degenerating sometimes cancerous death, the deception would not have been as inviting. What is at question here is whether God would stand behind what He said and follow through; if so why? The why gets us into areas far beyond the thoughts of man.
Who is 'he' that saw this? Jesus or John? The reflexive pronoun suggest he himself; Jesus. John may have known his cousin's mission, may have known his role in preparing the way, may have known the prophecies surrounding, but, later he will ask for confirmation whether Jesus is the the 'Promised One'. Did he not see this divine confirmation? Perhaps not!
This understanding is not a matter left to human intelligence, it is plain and evident to persons of all IQ's/literacy/backgrounds. Satan is not omnipresent so he utilizes man's sheep like pack and conforming nature. He will twist and distort ones intentions and honest curiosity, even God's own words to produce doubt and apparent contradiction to foster rejection and rebellion. It is not understood because the heart has fattened and calloused against it. A mans own peers become the fowls of the air as much as any demon.
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