… the goal of Christian instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Three things from the heavenly Father’s treasury.
Faith is a grace thing and that scares up no filthy rags
1 Timothy 1:6-8
6) For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7) wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 8) But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,
Why do the just want law?
It must be abominable to have YAHWEH as one’s righteousness. Accepting in childlike faith even the crumbs that fall from the table elicits a commendation unheard of with reference to people complying with written instructions. (Luke 7:6-9)
The do not admit the basic truth about law.
9) realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10) and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11) according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
I have yet to find the Gentile community with whom God made a covenant of levitical character or the individual who has not been condemned by the law (Romans 3:19-26). God never did.
It is not likely that there is a class more despicable than a hypocrite. A truly despicable person, an undisciplined public leader for example, who thinks he can make his poverty of character disappear by making allegations about the voices that are asking relevant questions is a rootless tree and a ruthless shepherd.
Because someone is despicable or loathsome does not mean that we get a license to despise them. We can see with our own eyes where cultures embracing hatred end up.
Vigilantism is a pretext for the murder of a neighbour.
The shepherds with God’s heart
Remember that saying about how excellent the Lord’s name is in all the Earth! The sentiment is prominent – in the first and last lines in a song by David. Do we not know with certainty that God has an offer for all the peoples of earth? Do we not know the world categorized as Black and White is an insult to God? What we have been hearing is a repeat attempt to Christanize the Mosaic legacy as a global (composite) template for morality or nation building. It is not that searing consensus of the early church. Christ is all we need.
Shocked that Gentiles are acceptable to God
All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
Some men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
Do we not know with certainty that the uncircumcised nations were also deemed hopeless? A moral house built on that foundation – race and tribal tradition- is temporary and juvenile by design. Our diligence calls for the recognition that trees planted by the etetnal waters grow up time.
But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”
Christ spent a lot of time with the people who were despised by the caretakers of his generation. Anyone with any respect for the facts of Judean life and anyone expecting something better than a broken temple-based regime and economy would be found seeking out the Son of man because they knew the racket run by the religious parties and the guardians of the sacred sites had run its course. The man who announced the end of the prophetic tradition also voted with his feet. He chose to live in the desert over being true to his priestly pedigree.
Shocked that Jews have trouble being Jews
We will always have people pushing scandalous fables, scoffers and mockers. We will find them sitting near the seats of power. The devil hates competition and will make the lovers of lies a spectacle so distasteful people will smirk every time mention is made of conservative and traditional values. The pains through which Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, China and Japan, have put the world are due to them following the malignancy in human nature that makes us want to dominate our neighbours. Those pains are also due to a deliberate imitation of ancient Israelite patterns. Jews have had trouble being Jews, not only in the view of others, but Jewish sages in Scripture testify to the fact.
we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances.
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
What we have to say about the modern state of Israel includes the same things the ancient witnesess said. The atrocity being perpetrated in East Jerusalem, the malicious intent against Palestinian rights, the courting of foreign powers, and the absence of an equitable and functioning political system affirm the rootlessness and ruthlessness of the current condition.
“Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”
People who cannot relate to the facts of the ancient experience will miss the wonder of the ending. The two pages of human existence come in order, first the natural. This takes in all the philosophies and traditions of human history. The Father of our Lord seeks worship from us without regard to any mountain or stronghold. This also encompasses the earth itself; its ecosystems and their changes over time. The second page of human existence is spiritual; only a new creation matters, and that is the outcome of God’s Spirit cleansing the human heart of the guilt of our futile traditions. The ending uses the beginning as admonition to avoid the manners and catastrophe of the old ways. Everyone comes from an empty tradition. God’s character is not to be confused with condemnation. The gospel and the covenant it proclaims are not to be confused with Moses, Sinai, and fables of loyalty, cheap and lying traditions of xenophobia and misogyny. New is not old. All the things that people have not done do not amount to a millilitre of righteousness.
Fortresses constructed on the sand will meet a catastrophic end as Yeshua teaches in Matthew 7:26-27. People who can find no call to action in His words are like foolish persons who build their houses on the sand. The rains will fall, and the floods will come, and the winds will blow and slam against their houses; they will fall–a great fall follows”.
A vigilante is a person or community with a license to kill a neighbour
Did God not foresee that the creation of humans would go wrong quickly? Creation was the beginning. Salvation is the essential need in human life and the core of divine majesty because its guarantee is God’s own death.
Trouble and uncertainty end with messianic intervention 2000 years ago
Not with the image of God in Adam and Eve
Not with the clothing of animal skin
Not with expulsion from Eden
Not with call of Abram
Not with Sinai covenant
Not the wilderness journey
It is a loud noise about yesterday that identifies the loveless chants of people who have not been impressed by the eternal inheritance that is available in Christ. Until Christ came no-one had seen God, and therefore his loving interest in humanity did not appear. Does Scripture ever say there is a greater virtue than love? No! Does God’s love get highlighted in the creation of man? No! Does God call people into an intimate relationship with him in the creation narrative? No! We consequently know that it is a fool’s gold medal that people are pursuing when they give you Messianic benefits based on the creation story.
Restoration needs to be bound to the Restorer
11) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12) instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13) looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14) who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
We see that grace is not for turning people into compliant little children. That, all by itself, does major damage to the plan that is unveiled in Scripture. Grace brings salvation, Grace enables denials (a consistent “no” to the world’s recommendations), a sensible, righteous and godly lifestyle.
A convincing love touches what we have seen
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20
Let us remember how the Gentiles were strangers – not because of a resident or insider bad attitude or behavior – because the covenant under scrutiny in most of of the biblical narratives divine was a Jewish concern. We can find no point in anyone attempting to embrace a defunct (due to consistent violation) covenant and we can conclude that it is absurd beyond any doubt when Gentiles embrace it and try to impose it on Gentiles as some kind of moral standard. Are people to believe that in addition to the Hebrew people Gentiles are invited to be above all others? Let’s not try creating a narrative about God giving the Sinai Covenant (or some version of it) to all of earth’s nations. There is no question that the offer of a special relationship and superior rank is a Jewish matter.
High above all nations
18) The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 19) and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.”
As real as the animal skin clothing in Eden (Genesis 3:21) was the forgiveness of Adam’s sin was not followed the gift of the Holy Spirit and no grave to be opened in fact or in recognition of the gift of life from the dead.
Getting back in is not a return to Eden’s trial and error
Sins forgiven but the sinner shut out.
23) therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24) So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
If God arranged for airliners and cruise ships to take Africans back to Africa and reverse the effects of the transatlantic slave trade many descendants of the slaves would be shocked and not see the point of such an intervention. We assumed that all of the democratic governments had committed themselves to legislative supremacy and yet the political parties vilify and excoriate each other. Every astute observer knows that judges, lawyers, police officers, religious leaders, business owners and ordinary citizens know that corruption and cover has kept alive the deception of virtue and philanthropy. Some nations spare neither effort nor resources to keep their populations in the dark and in chains. Aborted revolutions and republics, failed kingdoms, unfulfilled promises and covenants, have no daylight spotlight, and simply swell the list of deaths by denial.
Evangelical vanity and Catholic insanity
It is no laughing matter that religious people in Canada and the United States of America want to impose their beliefs and practices on their neighbours. None of the ancient religions succeeded in expanding beyond the geographical borders of its origins with the outcome of a welcoming civic society. Ghettos do not cut it. Even though migration has fed the march of both civilized and uncivilized populations wrangling the freedom to travel is the latest twist in the emptiness and insanity of two branches of Christianity.
Hurricane and ostriches
Every summer we see more of the same in north American. The high court and the weather speak with finality and people pretend that both developments are just more of the same and there are no commitments to changing our course. Winds from Africa crossing the Atlantic and wreaking havoc on the Caribbean islands and the United States are divine utterances. Canada sometimes feels the power of the wind, but it is the United States that suffers especially from denying the facts. The US has failed to reckon with everything originating in Africa. Just as Israel had the demands of one God over the gods of every high place, so the US has had the demand of treating its slaves and their descendants with humanity. Perhaps as long as a jurisdiction can oppress its citizens under a cloud of capitalist privileges there is no judgment or chastening.
Another African phenom illustrates the plight of the American people. The talk in the highways and back alleys is that there is no climate change crisis, no right to one decent job, no right to practice one’s religion, no procreative rights, no inbred Antisemitism, no genocidal practices in government and business, and no systematic racism. A judge or pastor does not get to decide what people think (even if they are sober theologians). The Supreme Court of the United States is often a spectacle of corruption, constitutional variability, and conspiracy. The justices, at least the majority, are often ostriches, burying their heads up the rear end of one or the other vocal litigant, whether that is religious, business, or government agency. Today the rich, tomorrow the poor. “Never women” and “never the Black people” seem to be the background and backbone of the civilized chant. Being the greatest military power and the largest economy does not register in God’s accounting. How long does anyone think they have to get their act together? While the court is in recess American jurisdictions can legislate all kinds of abominations, pretending to fight for the unborn, as if they really cared about the living. Let us simply remember that not all nations have a firm grip on life even when they have non-stop business. There is death in denying the simple facts of life and Christ has no interest in any government posing as a born-again entity.
Having failed to take the path to maturity as believers, many Christians repeat the elementary sayings of the faith or any good-sounding slogan or maxim, without so much as a second glance. In this they are like man’s best friend, dining on regurgitate and putting up signs to announce their nourishment. At the juncture where they should be establishing their fidelity to Christ and their calling we find them clinging to the cheap and unhinged evangelical playbook. They find foes where there are none and report victories when no battle had been fought, all the while the supreme accomplishments of Christ’s sscrifice is merely a popular blip in slogans and soundbytes.
Church and state conflict?
When we read about a “church and state conflict” from these cowards we are not surprised. We know they have been drinking.
And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.
It is obvious that a scholar who tries to create a facade of warrior mentality while showing no interest in the priority of the written words of Yeshua the Messiah is not worthy of any attention.
This level of feeding is not a 21st century phenomenon. Isaiah gave a full-bodied tour of this descent into darkness. The salient points in Isaiah’s guide are these.
They are full of talk. Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, Isaiah 29:13
There is intoxication in the picture. And these also reel with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment. Isaiah 28:7
They do not read. The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” Isaiah 29:11
Are these guys not the same people who say that believers do not protest, that believers must honour the “king” and obey government? These are the same cowards who never lifted a pinkie in defense of African dignity, never cared for Jewish people, Muslims or First Nations (except as a talking point about loving and giving thanks for all humans)
They love themselves “more than these”
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
2 Peter 2:18-19 tells us about a class that enjoys “speaking arrogant words of vanity enticing by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, (19) promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
Drunk with their own meagre accomplishments, they quickly run out of fantasies and theories. I prefer any day a “Yeshua told us so” than an “I told you so”. The authentic struggles and progress of the kingdom life eludes most (75%) Christians. Solomon’s maxim that he is greater who conquers his own soul (desires) is greater than he who conquers a city aligns with the apostolic teaching that uncontrolled lusts (desires) put a damper on spiritual growth.
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
Faith and civic society
There is a canyon between the antics of any civic society and faith in God that no argument can bridge. Filthy dreams and fantasy, sometimes disguised as faith in the God who does impossible things, will never pass the smell test. What a waste that so much energy is spent on enemies that do not exist!
There is a guy who is so eager to be seen as conquering hero, so committed to his own self-evaluation, is so positive that he sees “no” when the King of Truth says “yes” and “amen”. No to God’s offer leads to a “nope” attitude and eventually to being drunk with the social concoctions of our times.
Deadly drink from a doomed giant
And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
Earth’s population intoxicated
with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”
Revelation of John 17:2
A thoroughly detailed warning
1) But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2) Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3) and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Peter 2:1-3
Peter is not being negative. If the pastors of the modern era spent any time learning the fundamental concepts of church and pastoral work they would stand in contrast to the growing mass of hucksters and marketers, posing as the repairers of broken human lives.
“Nope” is the main street of empty religion
Great, swelling, and passionate words may not only be based on selfish pride, they also tend to be deceitful. Maybe the speakers have forgotten to be examples of their message. What to do and not to do in order to be free is not the lube of the spiritual life. Christians are not freed beings because of their performance. Who though can believe that a messenger in the grip of the common ups and downs of life is a liberated soul? Peter said “Do not buy it”. Corruption is their companion.
18) For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19) promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
2 Peter 2:18-19
Observation not accusation: capitalism sinks the ship
14) having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15) forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2 Peter 2:14-15
Having shrunk from accepting what God has to say about his creatures we should expect to end up drunk with the wine of prostitution. Whatever concepts we can cobble together serve as our safe places. Man, are we intoxicated!
The gospel makes no cowards. The Spirit may be heard saying “Shush” but we are authorized to speak and act as liberated people, warriors whose Commander has defeated death, defanged the Devil (destroyed his works), and assured us peace with God.
An admonition from the extreme
Ezra was a great scribe and preacher (7:6, 10, 11), but an activist for the causes of justice and philanthropy he was not (9:14). The gospels mention scribes 60 times but Acts contains 3 references. They may look like a dying breed, but Christ assures us that He will raise up scribes too for the church. Scribes can tell you what the Bible says but way too many, like Ezra, fall off the truck in their zeal to defend the past without checkimg the full range of history.
You would go crazy if you ever stepped back from the fast and furious lists of moral imperatives and stared Christ right in the face, even briefly. The number of people calling themselves believers and distancing themselves from the gospel and the more sure prophetic word is being revealed as the huge multitude on the broad road.
We have a high priest
We do not read the book of Hebrews and come away telling ourselves that God sent his own Son in order to establish the conventions of the levitical system. As surely as David’s lord – the expected priest-king – belongs to an order outside the Jewish tradition, the glory and benefits of which fade into irrelevance for the human family.
High Priest #1 Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
High Priest #2 Hebrews 8:1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
High Priest #3 Hebrews 10:21-22 21. and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22. let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
A Soul Anchor Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
Confidence Hebrews 10:19-20 19. Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20. by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,
No single operative can demand our undivided attention!
A cloud of witnesses Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
An Altar Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
A Good Conscience Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.