If you say you are an atheist, and that it means you have no beliefs about god, do you believe the statement you just made? If so, that is a belief. Regardless of what you are insisting, you have made a statement about God. Guess what? That is a theological belief. So you have a religious belief. Which by the way is not what the word, “atheist” actually means. It does not mean to have no beliefs. The English word, “atheist” comes from the French, “athéiste” which comes from the Greek, “atheos.” Theos is Greek for god. Adding the prefix, “a” to the word, “theos” changes its meaning to, without god, or no god.
To Live Is Christ
“21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.”
Paul, while in prison for preaching Christ crucified, wrote this for the Church in Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ.” Then in v.22 explains what that means, “if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me;” His life was for the glory of God. He was living, and working to produce fruit. We know this to mean increasing the Kingdom of God by means of the gospel of Christ, the preaching of the word of God, and the teaching of the word of God. Paul had reason to want to depart this life. He says, “I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;” Consider from 2 Corinthians 11 how he was suffering for the gospel, and how even now he is imprisoned for it. “…in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches…” This was from Paul after being criticized over his Apostleship by the Jewish believers who were welcoming false apostles, but were opposed to Paul due in part to his lack of eloquence. Paul had suffered for his Lord. Jesus was His master, and he loved Him. For him to stay and work was fine, but you can truly understand why he would also want to be with his merciful God. Paul instructs the Church in Philippi to, “…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” in v. 25 and explains why in v. 26, “so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with on mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for the, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God…” As the Church today, we should also follow Paul’s instructions to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. In our testimony to the lost, as we live it out, If it be God’s will, they will also see that we have been, “granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,” If we suffer for Christ’s sake we will share in the suffering of our brother Paul as well as our Lord Christ Jesus, and all martyrs, to this age and beyond until the return of Christ. Maranatha!
The Holiness of God.
As we will be studying what God’s word has to say about His holiness, I thought I would quote some of what our elders have said on the topic of holiness in this brief preface to our study. We can learn from their wise counsel. Also, We would be remiss to do a study of holiness without first acknowledging the source. The holiness of God is not merely, or solely, an attribute of His among many others. To quote Charles Hodge, “The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others. It is rather a general term representing the conception of God’s consummate perfection and total glory. It is His infinite moral perfection crowning His infinite intelligence and power.” There is no other quality of God that the seraphim angels praise three times, time and again in eternity. [Isa 6:3 NASB] “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” To know God, we must know He is holy, and we are not. “Only one attribute of God, in sacred Scripture is emphasized three times. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love; or mercy, mercy, mercy; or wrath, wrath, wrath; or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy, that the whole earth is full of His glory.” R.C. Sproul.
God, Being distinct, other than, separate, set apart, in moral perfection, transcendent in His holiness, cannot be fathomed by man. This holiness also manifests as majesty. The chasm that separates us from Him due to our sin is so great, only the cross can bear us from one sin to glory. R.C. Sproul wrote, “The most violent expression of God’s wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice, it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath of God, let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused.” The only way to please the holy God, is for Him to provide what is pleasing. In Christ, He has provided righteousness for our justification. In Christ, we are separated from sin, and set apart for His use. We are consecrated to and for the glory of God. Jonathan Edwards wrote, “Never did God so manifest His hatred of sin as in the death and suffering of His only begotten Son. Hereby He showed Himself unappeasable to sin, and that it was impossible for Him to be at peace with it.”
Our problem is that we are not holy. Here is a quote from R.C. Sproul, “Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.” It is evident that we must come to the knowledge of what holiness is by contrasting our dire lack of it with its perfection in God’s being.
A.W. Tozer had this to say, “We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire God’s wisdom, but His holiness he cannot even imagine.” This is the transcendent holiness of the Creator. It is on display for us, in the natural creation, in His word, and personally in His Son.
“Without such a vision of God’s holiness, true worship is not possible. Worship is not giddy. It does not rush into God’s presence unprepared and insensitive to His majesty. It is not shallow, superficial, or flippant. Worship is life lived in the presence of an infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His holiness and consequently overwhelmed with his own unholiness… If you have never worshiped God with a broken and contrite spirit, you’ve never fully worshiped God, because that is the only appropriate response to entering the presence of Holy God.” John MacArthur.
“God’s holiness means He is separate from sin. But holiness in God also means wholeness. God’s holiness is His “God-ness.” It is His being God in all that it means for Him to be God. To meet God in His holiness, therefore, is to be altogether overwhelmed by the discovery that He is God, and not man.” Sinclair Ferguson.
“If every attribute of the Deity were a distinct member, holiness would be the soul to animate them. Without holiness His patience would be an indulgence to sin, His mercy a fondness, His wrath a madness, His power a tyranny, His wisdom an unworthy subtlety. Holiness gives decorum to them all.” Puritan, Stephen Charnock.
The predominate cult determines the culture. Until the last one and a half centuries, Christianity was the predominate, “cult” if you will, in America, and much of the civilized world. Post-modernism, and secular humanism have had their sway for the last 50, or more years. This has culminated in a Post-Christian, atheistic, and ever increasing antichrist cult, and resultant culture. The views of this cult are evident in the dogmatic doctrines of the leftist, otherwise known as socialists/communists. God is replaced by the state, because you shall have no other god than the state according to the enemy. After all, if they knew they were outright worshiping satan, the couldn’t immediately stomach it, or convince others to do so either. Give them the state as god, and they will rend themselves into a bloody foundation for it to set atop as a glorious, and gory crown to their sacrifice of neighbors, friends, and brothers. Its gaping maw ever open, ever consuming the human chattel like chafe tossed into a boiler furnace to further power the all-consuming monster of human suffering.
The god they worship has given them a sliding rule of right and wrong, that is more often than not, an inversion of God’s created order. This blasphemy, rebellion, and idolatry is no accident. It is engineered by the most infamous of totalitarian rulers, the devil himself. Our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but rather are spirit. Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Like unto marionettes dancing on the silken black threads of their malevolent master, they dance the dance of demoniacs immemorial. They have taken what is good, by force, blackmail, coercion, deceit, fraud, and theft, and corrupted it. They have convinced the world of the dead, enslaved to the satanic system that what is good, is actually evil, and that what is evil, is actually good. Good has become such an evil it requires the ultimate humiliation and punishment. They cry for blood, and have swift feat to carry them along to its macabre end. It is a slight of hand that should not work, but does.
For who can blame the deaf, blind, and dead, for not being able to discern the truth from a lie? From their state, there is no excuse. They remain fully culpable for their estate. God is just, and those who remain dead in their sins and trespasses will experience God’s wrath eternal. Would you like to change the world? Are you greatly vexed, as I am with the insanity, and immorality of the leftists? You won’t find the solution as a politique. Much like the politique of 16th century France, if you believe you will find the solution in human policies, and national strength, you will be disappointed.
The solution for our current debauchery lies in the miraculous power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation. It quickens the dead soul to life, true life, life eternal! It makes the word of God come forth and dominate the darkened mind, it illuminates it, bringing light into the darkest man! O there is nothing more grand and glorious than the power of God displayed saving a wretch from his defiled and putrefied body of death except for God Himself! Preach the gospel to all the Earth, make disciples of all men! By His stripes we are healed! God commands all men everywhere to repent! Preach repentance and faith in our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ! For when a dead sinner becomes our true brother, he cannot help but to be changed in spirit, and soul! He will begin to hate the sin that he reveled in, and love the glory of God above all else! [1Co 6:20 KJV] 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. [Psa 115:1 KJV] 1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth’s sake.
[Eph 6:10-24 KJV] 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, [and] how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and [that] he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace [be] to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace [be] with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
[Isa 53:1-12 KJV] 1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him [a portion] with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
[Act 17:22-34 KJV] 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead. 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this [matter]. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which [was] Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
[Rom 1:15-32 KJV] 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 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. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 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. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Let’s look a little closer at what the RCC believes about Mary. Here is a quote from the RCC(Roman Catholic Church) Catechism that was included in a Cripplegate article;
Catechism of the Catholic Church. In Article 9, section 6, paragraphs 966-969, it says:
966 “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.
967 By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church.
968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.”
969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”
In the first sentence we see that Rome claims Mary was not born with a sinful nature like all other humans were after the fall. This is false. Mary did have a sinful nature just like the rest of us. The RCC also claims that Mary was taken up body and soul instead of awaiting the resurrection and the judgment, and that she is the “…Queen over all things…” reasoning that in so being she would be more conformed to the likeness of Christ. This means that she is more like Christ than any other Christian could ever hope to be. Many in the RCC insist that the, “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” means that she did not die, but rather was taken up like Enoch. This is also wrong as witnesses in the first century were at her funeral and recorded it in writing. Many other Catholics believe that she died, and here body was taken up. “we must remember that the Patristic Fathers defended the Assumption on two counts: Since Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin, she could not suffer bodily deterioration, the result of original sin, after her death. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification.”1 Much more erroneous is the insistence that this assumption was part of Christs resurrection and that of Christians who would die after them. Regardless of whether she initially died or not, they believe that she was bodily alive either by resurrection, or not dying to begin with, when she ascended to heaven. We read this NO WHERE in scripture. It is solely a doctrine of man created by the RCC. We know from the record of scripture that Christ had younger siblings sired by Joseph with his wife Mary. This is not debatable. The RCC claim that she remained a virgin after the conception, and birth of Christ is completely fallacious, and without merit. They misunderstand what it means to be the mother of Jesus, and place an import on it that corrupts proper Christocentric theology, and conflates the role of Mary with that of the Savior. This is evident by the next claim that it is her prayers that, “will deliver our souls from death.”
Understanding that they believe Mary to be perpetually sinless it follows that they would also believe that she accomplished, “complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit,” This ignores that Biblical fact that she was sinner, and needed a Savior just as much as the rest of us. It is yet another contrived tradition of the RCC. Because of this doctrine they elevate her to the model of faith and charity, thus supplanting Christ, and robbing Him of His due glory. To further elevate her the catechism states, “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus) of the Church. In other words when the Church is referred to in the Bible as the bride of Christ, Mary is to be understood as the fulfillment of that type instead of the Church itself, thus ostensibly setting up some incestuous relationship between Mary and Christ, equating in blasphemy.
If these blasphemous heresies were not enough, they go even further into their doctrines of the devil by stating this, “968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.” This is blatantly and abjectly satanic! The glaringly obvious and grievous error of attributing Mary with regenerative work quickening the human soul, replaces the Holy Spirit with a mere mortal woman! In this heresy she becomes our mother due to her regenerative work. What happened to being sons and daughters of God, through adoption? I guess now, Mary is the wife of her son and God. Notice the switch from, “For this reason” referring back to her, “work of restoring supernatural life to souls” to being, “mother to us in the order of grace.” The switch is explicit in line 969. It completely disregards the earlier clause, “for this reason” which made clear that it was addressing her regenerative work in regards to the soul.
The annunciation is the RCC tradition that surrounds the Biblical account of the angel Gabriel informing Mary of her coming conception, and motherhood to Jesus. According to the catechism, because of her consent to this (as if she had a choice) Evidently, due to her being the mother of Jesus, she suffered as He did during the crucifixion which earned her merit with God, and apparently still suffers until all the number of God’s elect come in. The next sentence leaves me bewildered how anyone can read it, affirm it, and claim to be Christian. “Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation” Wow! Who knew Mary had a saving office, and made manifold intercession? Here I always thought there was one intercessor between God, and man, and that being the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Of course then there is a, “therefore” and we must ask what it is there for? “Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” According to the RCC catechism because she is our intercessor, and savior, she must be blessed and recognized as our advocate, helper, benefactress, and mediator. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t at least a couple of those attributes of the Holy Spirit? Just sayin’… Come on Patrick!
Having unpacked all of that, I’m wondering how the jam pack such a small statement with so much heresy? I am also pretty sure that is why people don’t refute it more often. It would take them forever to get through it all. If you obfuscate epochally enough the pile of manure you’d have to dig through to get to the bottom of it would be so large it would become its very own repellant to discovering the true extent of their lies.
Our sinful attitudes towards God’s judgment.
Have you been waking up still exhausted, and forcing yourself forward through the drudgery of your morning, and work day? Do you feel despair, hopelessness, and futility? Have you ever thought to yourself, while at the brink of tears, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep going to that place, it is killing me a bit each time I go.” Are the only things that keep you going, the thoughts of your obligations to your family, some moral code you learned as a kid, or a, “someday I’ll retire.” Kind of attitude? You’re not alone. All of us have been there, are there, or will be there in the future. It is not uncommon to mankind for us to feel this way, and have these thoughts. I’m not making excuses for them, just explaining that it happens.
We don’t like to hear it, but the reason we feel this way, and have these thoughts is that we are responding sinfully to God’s righteous judgment, and punishment of original sin. God told Adam what his punishment would be in Genesis 3:17-19,
“17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying,
‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
This punishment that God righteously, and justly applied to Adam, also applied to all his progeny. All mankind is under a curse due to sin, but there is hope in the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
“15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:22,
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
We must be in Christ for this to apply. Simply put, we must be born again, repent of our sins, and trust in Christ’s work on the cross to justify us with God. When we have done that, we will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and we are in Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus what it meant to be born again in John chapter 3,
“1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.””
Peter the Apostle explains what it looks like to be born again in 1 Peter chapter 1,
“1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.”
Due to sin, we will survive by toiling, and in that toil is inherent suffering. Daily survival for mankind, whether you are in a technologically advanced society, or one where finding clean water is a daily challenge, will not be easy, pleasant, or comfortable all of the time. If it isn’t the physical struggles to survive against an untamed environment, the elements, and wildlife, it is the often mind crushing struggle against the busy, disconnected, overthought, modern lifestyle. We have subdued parts of the Earth, and brought things that make modern life easier physically. We have sewer systems, agriculture, housing with heating and cooling, clean water, schools, hospitals, light by night, and so on. These advances make life easier physically, but our physical struggles are replaced with new ones. It is impossible to escape the curse of the fall, but we are commanded to strive against human suffering, and the challenges of living.
It is easy for us, looking back, to see Adam’s sin, but do we see our own? Can we see how our pride in possessions has caused us to forsake God for idols? Can we see how our family can become an idol? Can we see how our intellectual musings can be idolatrous? In our hubris, and pride at what we have done in conquering the Earth, we miss that we have left God behind, and become the gods of our own small castles of sin and rebellion.
What can be done? How can we be content in this life? There is hope for our sinful responses to God’s justice. That hope is in Christ. If we have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, repented of our sins, and trusted in the perfect atoning work of Christ, we will no longer be subjects of the flesh, and the sin that is in it. We will become servants, slaves of Jesus. He has given us the power to subject the flesh to righteousness, for the glory of God.
“1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.
22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”
1 Corinthians 10,
“1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say. 16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? 19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?
23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. 25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; 26 FOR THE EARTH IS THE LORD’S, AND ALL IT CONTAINS. 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.”
We only know work to be toil, but one day in eternity with Christ our labor will be joyful. We will do His will only, and not sin. Sinful temptations will be gone. Groaning under the curse of toil will be over. For those who are in Christ, we will be with Christ forever. What we do here, we must do to our best ability, and with the motive of bringing glory to God, the one who made us, and who saves us. We must labor for our own sustenance, and provide for our neighbors deficiency. Not because government mandates it. That would be unjust, but rather out of the new heart. With this in mind let us subject the unredeemed fleshly complaints, to what we know about God, and our hope in eternity with Christ. Let us live as though we are already there, loving, forgiving, and working, all for the glory of God.
Crossway, for a long time now has been manufacturing terrific quality premium, and value Bibles, as well as helpful Christian books. Oft overlooked are the study resources they publish. Today we are going to look at the, ” ESV Exhaustive Concordance.” If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably already know what a valuable aid a good concordance can prove to be.
If you don’t know what one is, let me tell you. A concordance has every word in the Bible, no matter how small it is, listed in alphabetical order, along with every occurrence of that word, and where in the Bible it occurred. This one goes a bit further and includes Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek glossaries, with entries for those words in the original languages. There is also a list of the words followed by their scripture references only, so you can find every occurrence quickly.
If you aren’t quite sure what to do with a concordance here are a few suggestions; Do a word study. Check to see if the English word being used is translated from one or more different Greek words. Verify the veracity of someone’s claim. Trust me, once you start using a full concordance instead of the very abridged on at the back of some Bibles, you never want to be without one.
This concordance is well made for many years of use. It is a hardback edition. The spine is sewn, and rounded for easy use, and durability. There are black head and tail bands. The paper is 36 g.s.m. and opaque. I think it was about as thin as they could go without sacrificing legibility, considering the 6.5 Lexicon font. It strikes the perfect balance for a book of this size. The paper is white, and the type is clearly, and uniformly printed. Concordances, as you can imagine are not small books. This one is a hair thinner than my Strong’s. In the front of this concordance in the introduction you’ll find helpful diagrams of how to use this tome properly, as well as a Preface by Drayton Brenner who compiled it.
You should always have a hard copy of your most important books. Electronic copies, and apps, are nice, and convenient, but they can be changed in one update overnight. Some apps make it difficult to browse to the information you want. Sometimes, it is just easier to look it up in a book. To that end, I encourage you to go out and pick up this concordance for your ESV Bible. You can purchase it on Amazon, Christianbook, or Crossway’s page. To see more pictures of this concordance please see my flickr album.