Is the Bible TRUE?

Is the Bible true?

Does God Exist?

To decide is the Bible is true, you must first ask: Does God really exist? This is an important question, but the answer is simply we cannot prove or disprove the existence of God. Belief in God and the Bible is simply a matter of faith.

The Bible begins…”In the beginning God…” The Bible is the story about the relationship between God and man, and faith is an important element in that relationship because the Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Need to desire faith and be willing to seek God

For those who have faith, or desire to have faith, the answers to most questions are provided by the Bible. So finding answers is simply there for the reading. Also, it follows that, the answer to the question does God exist is yes.

For those who demand scientific proof, they will likely be disappointed, because if proving the existence of God were merely a scientific exercise, there would be no need of faith.Then everyone would know that God exists and and seeking Him would become irrelevant. We all know that gravity exists on earth whether we believe in it or not. We don’t need to seek it or believe in it.

If science could proof the existence of God then we would not need to seek God or read and study the Bible.

Lots of proof about the existence of God and that the Bible is true

Still, there is plenty of proof, if you choose to look for it. But understand that two people can look at the same evidence, study it and come up with opposite conclusions. Therefore, if you look at the evidence in terms of God putting it there, things fall into place. If you are just looking for answers, in the absence of God, your information may not line up. Again, it is a matter of faith.

It’s probably easier to understand God or the existence of God, in terms of order and design. All of nature, for example, functions. Because of God, plants and animals do what they were designed to do. There are 24 hours in the day, and we know to the minute, when the sun will rise and set every day of every year.

Just the air we breathe is perfectly balanced. Most people understand cause and effect and that suggests something caused everything to come into existence. Something caused that to happen. That something is God.

We were created in the image of God

Man has the ability to reason, to create. We have an inner sense of right and wrong. The Bible states that we were created in the image of God, which would explain where our sense of right and wrong comes from.

Evolution is a lie and most scientists know it

But, men and women may not believe the truth, no matter how much evidence is put before them. Sometimes they would prefer to believe a lie.

A scientist once said, when asked about evolution or the biblical account of creation, that he knew evolution was a scientific impossibility. But because he refused to believe in God, he chose to believe in that which he knew was not true.

Denying God and believing in evolution requires an act of faith. Evolution is a religion which endeavors to explain the origin of life in the absence of a creator God. Man has long wanted to put himself equal to or ahead of God.

The three major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, endeavor to explain the origin of life in terms of God. Christianity goes one step farther than the two others, in that it explains all of existence in terms of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible is TRUTH

Christians and Jews believe the Hebrew Bible to be God’s word, and so they accept the creation account in Genesis. God spoke the universe into existence, therefore we exist. That account sets the stage for everything else that is to come.

God blesses those who believe in Him

The Apostle Paul write in Romans, Chapter 10,

“As Scripture says,

Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?

And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

How can anyone preach unless they are sent?

As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.

For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Belief in God and His word the Bible is an act of FAITH

It is a matter of faith. Reading the Bible is a good way to build knowledge, but at the same time also to build faith.

The Bible is a living document, just as alive and vibrant today as it was when each book was first written. It is the inspired word of God, given to man for wisdom, guidance and encouragement if he has the faith to seek it.

How does Communion relate to Passover?

Many followers of Jesus, Christians, do not understand that their faith is actually deeply rooted in Judaism and that their practices and traditions are, in fact, Jewish. Take for example the Sacrament of Communion.

For Roman Catholics, it is the centerpiece of their liturgy and mass, with many practicing Catholics will take Communion every day, or at least every week. Protestant churches often have Communion on Sunday, but many do it once a month. But seldom to people really think about where it comes from.

Jesus becomes the blood of the Passover Lamb of God

Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel writes about a traditional Passover meal called a Seder. “The third cup of wine celebrating the meal is poured and drunk after reciting a blessing. Remember, the third cup is a reminder of the blood of the Passover Lamb, which was sprinkled three times on the doorposts of the children of Israel in Egypt so that death would not take their Firstborn.

During a Seder meal there are four cups of wine which are symbolic the steps of freedom from Egypt. The Four Cups represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God Exodus 6:6–7: “I will bring out,” “I will deliver,” “I will redeem,” and “I will take.” The third cup is the cup of redemption.

During the Last Supper, it was this third cup of the Seder that Jesus raised, blessed, and declared to be a representation of Himself, the greater Passover Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.

It reminds us of the blood of the greater Passover Lamb Jesus, who took the third cup and added even greater spiritual meaning when He said: In the same way, He took the cup after His final meal, saying,

This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you (Luke 22:20).”

Jesus’ Last Supper was the first Christian Communion

Communion is understood in different ways, depending on the church. It is generally accepted that it is based on what is called “The Last Supper,” when Jesus took his disciples into a private room for what is believed to be a Passover Seder. After the meal, he took great care in illustrating what was going to happen in the hours ahead.

It was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On that first day it was customary to sacrifice the Passover Lamb.

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:14-23)

Jesus used the Seder to make his point.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke says “he gave thanks.”

The blessing He likely used was from the Seder it translated,

Blessed are you, Lord our God, who brings forth bread from the earth.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Again, the blessing was likely, “Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.”

God brings redemption to the world through Jesus

Interestingly, what comes from the earth is wheat, which is harvested and turned into bread. This illustrates redemption, just as the third cup of the Seder during Passover also symbolizes redemption.

God gives us the raw materials. God has given man life and opportunity. God worked through Moses to bring freedom from bondage in Egypt. God worked through Jesus to bring salvation and freedom from sin to all who believe. God chose to use Jesus to bring redemption to the world.

Jesus celebrated Passover throughout His life on earth

Jesus would have celebrated the Passover every year of his life, as well as observing all of the Jewish holidays, which are many. He told people that He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. He was not putting His Jewish faith aside by any means.

Still, there are those who want to separate followers of Jesus (Christians) from the Jewish people. There are different understandings of Scripture, differences in who Jesus was. Christians regard Him as the promised Messiah, while non-Messianic Jews believe that He could not have been the Messiah, as He did not meet their expectations. So most Jews and Christians do not understand their common beliefs, worshiping the same God.

Christian view the Communion as sacred

The Sacrament of Communion is sacred, as it reminds us of the sacrifice that God made, in sending His own Son to die on the cross. It is a representation of faith, a remembrance and a way of giving thanks. It honors Jesus just as He requested during the third cup of His Seder dinner during the His final Passover when He was crucified and then resurrected by God.

For more information

For a full understanding of Passover and the richness of the Jewish/Christian faith, go to FUSIONGLOBAL.ORG and learn from Rabbi Jason Sobel, author of “Mysteries of the Messiah.”

Forgiveness in the Bible is a gift from God

Forgiveness in the Bible if a gift from God

It’s so misunderstood, forgiveness. Forgiveness in the Bible is very different then how we see it;. We tend to look at forgiveness in terms of our own values, as if forgiveness is something that must be earned and not given without some kind of compensation. But to assess some kind of price for forgiveness, putting the onus on the other person, is to miss the point entirely.

Jesus shows us how to forgive

When Jesus was dying on the cross, he cried out, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He was praying for those who had turned on Him. He was asking His father to forgive those who whipped Him and forced Him to carry the cross through the streets of Jerusalem.

Jesus asked for forgiveness for the soldiers who nailed His hands and feet to the cross. Then, He wanted forgiveness for the crowds who shouted “crucify him” during His trial before Pontius Pilate. Jesus asked for His Father’s mercy for the religious elite, who refused to accept God’s gift of eternal life through His son.

He saved the thief on the other cross who asked to be remembered when Jesus entered into His kingdom.

For the entire world, it was forgiveness for the unforgivable.

So difficult to forgive after trauma

People who have been on the receiving end of brutal behavior, who have been physically and emotionally traumatized, are so often haunted by the events of their life, held captive by the person who brought on the damage. Because of what they have experienced, they suffer through the pain and torment over and over again in a never-ending cycle of misery.

They are robbed of even the smallest measure of comfort and human dignity. Their feet are stuck in knee-deep mud and they can’t move forward. To forgive the person who did this is inconceivable.

Why forgive them for doing this when they don’t care about the pain they have inflicted? Just thinking about it brings up terrible memories and the anger wells up inside. But what if forgiveness for those who have harmed you is more about bringing peace to your soul.

Forgiveness in the Bible

According to Psychology Today, “Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. One doesn’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from an offender.

Forgiveness is vitally important for the mental health of those who have been victimized. It propels people forward rather than keeping them emotionally engaged in an injustice or trauma.

If we can forgive it has been shown to elevate mood, enhance optimism, and guard against anger, stress, anxiety and depression.”

Forgiveness is easier said then done

Forgiving is easier said than done however. But you ask, “Why don’t you just forgive them?” They reply, “Because I can’t.” Or they may say, “I don’t know how.”

But forgiving isn’t about letting the other person off the hook. When we sin against God, or against each other, there are consequences to our actions. God is, after all, paying attention and knows what is happening in His presence.

Not knowing how to forgive is just a part of human nature. We have our own sense of right and wrong, and our own sense of justice, but that doesn’t necessarily line up with God’s view of any given situation.

Don’t believe other person DESERVES to be forgiven

Sometimes we just don’t forgive because we believe the other person or persons don’t “deserve” to be forgiven. They have done nothing to EARN forgiveness.

When people are released from prison, it because they have “paid their debt to society.” However, they still aren’t forgiven and all too often getting out of jail is worse than being in jail because there’s that criminal record, which is never expunged, regardless of the efforts one might take to repay his/her debts. They come out owing lawyer fees, court costs and reparations. They did the time, but they aren’t forgiven.

God tells us that He will not remember our sins against us. Total forgiveness is foreign to the human mind. Because we can never pay the sin debt, because we cannot earn God’s forgiveness, and because we do not deserve His forgiveness, we are left completely powerless to change the circumstances, defenseless against any charge of sin, and helpless to effect any solution.

By own own doing, it is a bottomless pit that we fall into. God’s grace put’s a safety net into the bottomless pit and those who accept His offer of eternal life through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, are not only forgiven, but washed clean. When God views His children, He sees the righteousness of His own Son.

Don’t see it the way God does

Still forgiveness is difficult because we can’t see it God’s way. We want to pay own own way. Even if we can forgive others, we often cannot forgive ourselves for the mistakes, the sinful actions and the bad decisions.

But God does forgive those who need forgiveness. He wants to forgive, and so, despite our own roadblocks, He freely gives that which we cannot fully comprehend. In spite of ourselves, we are forgiven. Therefore, to not forgive ourselves is to tell God that His forgiveness has no bearing. That is illogical.

If forgiveness brings relief and freedom, the promise of renewal and hope, then to turn it down is extremely short-sighted. Forgiveness in the Bible is a gift that each of us should accept.

Jesus went to the cross to pay the sin debt in full. Because of that, God put all of the blame on His own Son, allowing us to go free, with one, small caveat. All God requires of us is to accept His gift… His son.

We are free to reject it, and so, any separation from God that is the consequence of that action is entirely our own doing.

In short, forgiveness in the Bible, i. e. the forgiveness of God is powerful beyond our comprehension in its complete and eternal transformation of the human soul.

Sin in the Bible

Sin in the Bible. We don’t want to hear about it: We don’t want to talk about it: We don’t know what it is, unless it applies to somebody else.

Sin is a controversial subject, but its definition is simple enough to understand—it is a purposeful act of disobeying God’s law. But at the same time, its definition is complex, because most people do not know where sin came from.

The root of sin is pride. From the very beginning, men and women had to deal with their own thoughts, words and deeds.

Sin in the Bible: Where It All Started

It did not take long for the first sin to occur in the Bible. In the very first book, Genesis, in the third chapter, we are told of the first sin.

Adam and Eve had been given the Garden of Eden, a utopia from God. There was no sin there, no death, no disease. Animals did not attack the two people, nor did the strong feed on the weak.

God had given them everything in the garden, except for the fruit of one tree. All was theirs for the taking, but God wanted that tree left alone. The explanation of this is found in Genesis 2:15,

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

God created woman

Right after that conversation, God put Adam to sleep, took one of his ribs, and made a woman, Eve, to be his wife. It all came apart in Genesis 3:3-7, which states,

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.

5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Serpent used pride to introduce sin

Eve was deceived. The serpent appealed to her pride. He suggested that God did not love them and was withholding things from them. Even though they had the whole garden to chose from, the idea of not being allowed to eat from the tree that God forbid them to eat from was seen through their prideful eyes as God withholding something.

She allowed herself to be deceived. She listened to the serpent and bought into the life. She embellished on God’s word by staying, “and you must not touch it.” God did not say that. He said “don’t eat of it.” Eve relied on her own thoughts to make a decision. She did not ask God, or think about God. She thought only of herself.

Both deceived because of their pride

Then there was Adam, right there with her. He did not step in and tell her not to eat the fruit, nor did he warn her about going against God’s rules. He watched. When she offered him the fruit, he ate it too.

When questioned about this by God, he blamed her for what he had done. She was created to help Adam, but he showed no desire to protect her, even though he knew as well as she that eating the fruit would have consequences.

Once sin entered everything changed

When they ate the fruit, as the Bible says, their eyes were opened. They realized they were naked and quickly covered themselves. They tried to hide their action. God, of course, saw it all and knew what had happened.

When God warned them about dying, he did not intend to strike them down when they sinned. God killed an animal and gave them skins to cover themselves. But the perfect life was gone. Sin has consequences, sometimes immediate, sometimes delayed, but always a reality.

Missing The Mark

The Apostle Paul wrote,

all have sinned and fall short of the glory mof God.” (Romans 3:23).

An archer picks up the bow, pulls back and fires. The arrow falls short of the target. That is a good example of our problem with sin. No matter how hard we try, we still sin. Paul goes on to say, in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Roots of Sin

Long before Adam and Eve, there was a rebellion. God created Angels to serve him. The most glorious among these heavenly hosts was Lucifer, the shining one, who stood at God’s throne.

Being the top angel was not enough for Lucifer, who decided that he wanted the glory. He and about one-third of the lesser angels waged war against God. They lost.

God cast them out of heaven and to the earth He had created. Being Angels and not human, they were not killed, but became demons and their leader was Lucifer, now Satan. Having lost the battle with God, Satan, which means accuser, set out to destroy God’s most precious creation, man. He his also known as the devil, meaning adversary.

Satan’s main purpose is to corrupt man and separate him from God.

Isaiah 14:12-15,

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

The prophet Ezekiel wrote,

You were in Eden, the garden of God.… I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire.

You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. … and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire.

Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground.  (Ezekiel 28:13-17)

Lucifer was a creation of God and was given a free will to serve God or to disobey. He chose to rebel. Likewise, for the same reason, PRIDE, man chose to rebel.

Our Struggle With Sin

Even those who follow Jesus, or dedicate themselves to following the Law, sometimes balk at the idea of being a sinner. Our pride gets in the way.

We rationalize our actions by trying to convince ourselves that while we may be sinners, the other guy is worse.

Even loyal church members cringe when a pastor talks about sin. People don’t want to hear it, so they try to change the narrative. In an effort to justify their own bad choices, they put the blame on God, for being bigoted, narrow minded, hateful and unloving.

God must be wrong if He disagrees with our choices. As a result, people put themselves on a slippery slope. By rationalizing their own perceptions, by watering down the Word of God in the Bible, they block out the truth, the absolute, eternal and never changing truth.

The Bible tells of this conscious decision, saying that good will be called evil and evil good. The Holiness of God, the beauty and majesty of God becomes corrupted in the minds of those who will not accept His Word, who pick and chose what they will believe out of the Bible and what they will reject.

Sin is a part of Human nature

Sin is a part of human nature. God understands this completely. That is exactly why Jesus needed to leave heaven and come to earth to do that which we could not do for ourselves—defeat sin.

Mary Magdalene

There are three prominent women named Mary in the New Testament. Of course, there was Mary, the mother of Jesus. There was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and a friend of Jesus.

Then there was Mary “Magdalene” a loving a devoted follower of Jesus. Magdala is the town she was from. Magdala was on the western side of the Sea of Galilee. So the reference to Mary Magdalene is like Jesus of Nazareth.

An early follower of Jesus

We first see her early in the ministry of Jesus, when He cast out seven demons from her. People have been taught that she was a prostitute, but there is no Biblical evidence of this. Pope Gregory I made this claim in a sermon he gave in 591 AD.

Gregory tied three women together into one teaching. In the Gospel of Luke, there is Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had been cast out. There was Mary of Bethany, sister of Martha and a friend of Jesus, mentioned in Luke 10.

Also, there was the woman who washed the Lord’s feet with perfume and her tears and dried them with her hair in Luke 7. Finally, there was an unnamed woman caught in adultery, who was protected and forgiven by Jesus. There is no evidence this was Mary Magdalene.

Images are more a myth

The images we have of Mary Magdalene are more myth than anything else. If you have seen the television series “The Chosen,” it portrays her has being possessed and eludes to her being a prostitute before she was healed by Jesus, but that is more for dramatic effect. Her “post possession” portrayal is probably closer to the real story.

Mary Magdalene first to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus

She was a female disciple, and traveled with the group. She, along with the other women, provided support. She is mentioned in all four Gospels, but more importantly, she was there for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

This remarkable woman was the first to proclaim the risen Christ and took that message to the disciples, who were in hiding at the time for fear of being arrested.

Not the wife of Jesus

There are some who believe that Mary was the wife of Jesus and had His children, but that is completely false, and an ugly rumor to discredit the Biblical account. Through the years, there have been stories attributed to her, but not substantiated. In short, although few words are said about her, she will always be remembered as the first to see the risen Christ and to proclaim the resurrection.

Biblical references to Mary Magdalene

Matthew 27:56

Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Matthew 27:61

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

Matthew 28:1

Jesus Has Risen

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Mark 15:40

Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.

Mark 15:47

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Mark 16:1

Jesus Has Risen

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

Mark 16:9

[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.] When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Luke 8:2

and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

Luke 24:10

It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

John 19:25

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

John 20:1

The Empty Tomb

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

John 20:11

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb

John 20:18

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Ten Commandments in the Bible

ten commandments

When people think of the Ten Commandments, they often think of the film by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Charlton Heston as Moses. They may also think of lessons learned in Sunday School, but rarely are the Ten Commandments thought of in terms of God reaching out to man to form the basis of an eternal friendship.

God brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt in 1446 BC, and immediately gave them the rules to follow to have a moral, well functioning society even as they lived in the wilderness for forty years. Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai and God inscribed the tablets with the Ten Commandments.

The commandments are the rules that God wanted the Israelites and all of us to follow.

Here are the Ten Commandments from the King James Version of the Bible:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Ten Commandments define a moral society

People have debated the meaning of these commandments for centuries. Some regard them as a rigid set of rules and regulations, while others describe them as suggestions. Most would agree, that they are a set of morals that we all should follow to live a joyous and free life.

If we love God, then we will want to follow His commandments. God, as our creator, knows what is good for us and striving to follow these commandments helps us to live well.

Impossible to follow on our own

The Ten Commandments are the perfect set of standards one must adhere to in order to gain entrance into heaven. Disobeying the commandments is how sin is defined. If we covet what our neighbor has, we are sinning. If we worship false idols or prophets that is also sin.

Jesus knew, of course, that nobody can keep them, we as fallen humans are not able to avoid sinning and breaking the commandments. He also knew that only perfection would be allowed in His Father’s kingdom.

That is why we needed Jesus, our Messiah, to be willing to die on the cross and rise on the third day for us. His death and resurrection allows us enter into God’s kingdom with our sins covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. It all starts by understanding God’s law as outlined in His Ten Commandments.

Judaism is defined by the commandments

The Commandments were given to the Israelites, three weeks after their exodus from captivity in Egypt, the beginning of Judaism was taking shape. God directed Moses how worship was to be done, sacrifices to be made and from those original Ten Commandments, 613 individual laws were established.

The prophets over the ages would warn the people when they were falling away from God. After God gave Israel the commandments in the desert, the rest of the books of the Old Testament describe Israel’s disobedience. The Bible outlines a long history of Israel turning to God, turning away from God and then turning back again. The relationship between man and God was formalized.

God introduced sacrifice as atonement for sin

Because it was not possible to keep the commandments, God established a system whereby people could offer a sacrifice, a substitution shedding of blood to cover their sins.

Before fleeing Egypt, the first Passover was established. The people were instructed to take a perfect lamb, a first born, male, without blemish from the flock. God was very specific about this. The sacrifice was made. The blood was painted on the doorposts of houses and angel of death would pass over the house.

This became a yearly ritual. The shedding of blood to cover sins. It was the same thing that God did in the Garden of Eden, when He killed an animal and gave the skins to Adam and Eve to cover themselves. It was a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus, for all who believe.

God said He would write His commandments on our hearts. That is, for those who chose to follow Him, the Law is something to be embraced, a goal of heavenly perfection, shrived for our of love and desire to belong to God.

Ten Commandments give us a mirror into our lives

The Ten Commandments can also be like a mirror. By embracing the commandments men and women can look at themselves and see the truth of their lives. It is a warning system, reminding people to turn back to God and rekindle their relationship. It is a way for man to see the Holiness and perfection of God.

Because perfection is required for heaven, and because people are incapable of reaching that perfection, it becomes obvious that what separates man from God is man’s sin. Man’s debt for that sin cannot be repaid. It is impossible. Because of sin, man does not deserve heaven, can’t earn his way to heaven and cannot buy his way into heaven.

Jesus and His Resurrection redeem us from our sin

The penalty of sin leads us to the major point of the Bible—the Lord Jesus Christ. God loves us. He does not desire that we should perish. But He is Holy and perfect and the price for sin must be paid, otherwise He is a liar.

Rather than sacrificing man, God chose to sacrifice His own Son. The ultimate purpose of the Ten Commandments is they point the way to the Messiah.

The Ten Commandments, often overlooked as a lesson for children, are so much more. They point to Christ. They bind us to God. They are meant for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Self-control in the Bible

self control

Self-control, generally speaking, is the ability to regulate emotions in a difficult situation. Psychologists would say it’s the ability to manage impulses. There are web sites devoted to self-control. They offer tips or strategies on how to develop this skill. Self control in the Bible is a gift from God for believers.

An old man was talking to his young friend, trying to share some of life’s challenges. He told him events in his life and selected a few of them to pass on. Then he was hoping the young one will heed the warning and avoid the calamity that surely will follow.

He talked of those events, including the details of his thoughts and emotions. At one point he paused and said, “You know, I’ve always been my worst enemy because I just couldn’t control myself.” That statement is usually followed by, “If I only knew then what I know now.”

The Bible references self-control as something which the Holy Spirit helps us with:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

We are not wired for self-control

Humans are not necessarily wired for self-control, so how would self-control be considered a fruit of the Spirit? That’s simple. Also, self control in the Bible show us that because we are not able to fully control ourselves, we are in need of help—God help, not self-help.

In the first chapter of his second letter, Peter explained the power of self-control that God, through His Holy Spirit, shares with us in saying:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. If you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Self-control in the Bible is part of God’s divine nature

Peter talked of participating in the divine nature. We receive this opportunity. The divine nature is shared. It does not belong to us. The Messiah Jesus came to earth as a man and gave up His divine power. His works were based on the power of the Holy Spirit, not His own power.

Also, Peter was a first-hand observer and understood this power source that is available to all believers through the Holy Spirit. Also, Peter himself experienced Holy Spirit power in his own ministry. He was the one disciple who was always ready for a fight and displayed intemperate behavior at times. Then, over time, he learned self-control by the gentle guidance of Christ. We are no different.

Self control in the Bible shows us how to gain control

Paul writes in Titus 2:2:

It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

Everyone values self-control

Secular writings teach us the value of self-control. In the famous poem “If” Rudyard Kipling wrote:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you….and if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too;

“Also, If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or being hated, don’t give way to hating,…

“Finally, if you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,..Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

Kipling’s description of earthy wisdom pales in comparison to the self-control and wisdom that God offers, but his famous poem helps us understand. So much more self-control in the Bible through the workings of the Holy Spirit, to help us become more like Christ.

Gentleness in the Bible

Gentleness in the Bible

There is not a lot of gentleness in the world today. Gentleness in the Bible is often displayed by God. Call it a zero-sum game, or an “us against them” battle of wills, but there is little room for gentleness anymore. Even when the intentions are good, we can lose our perspective, or the very reason for our action.

Evangelical Christians are encouraged to share their story with friends and acquaintances. They have come to know Jesus as their personal savior and Lord, and part of that means telling others.

Excited and enthusiastic, they tell of their encounter with God, only sometimes the other person fails to understand, or is not interested in hearing, or completely disagrees. The frustration mounts. They wonder how their friend can’t see what they see and isn’t excited about the message. They may even get angry.

The Apostle Peter warns of this when he writes in 1 Peter 3:15:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

Being gentle is not being weak

Gentleness does not mean weakness. But, gentleness is related to kindness, another fruit of the Spirit, as it is based on strength given by the Holy Spirit and the love of God. Gentleness is related to patience, because we are encouraged to put others first. Gentleness requires strength. Jesus was gentle with most people.

Of course there are events in the Bible when Jesus was not at all gentle and even displayed righteous anger. When he saw the money changers at the Temple, he overturned the tables in rebuke of their turning God’s house into a business enterprise:

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of robbers.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)

Jesus often gentle

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and told her about her life, he approached her with gentleness and love. He did not criticize her, accuse her, or chastise her in any way. It was a tender moment of complete forgiveness, understanding and compassion. She was so moved that she ran back to the village to tell the others.

Paul encourages people to:

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5).”

He also writes in Collisions 3:12, “ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

The Bible has many examples of gentleness

The Old Testament has many examples of gentleness, no one more poignant than Isaiah 53:7:

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

The imagery of the “Lamb of God,” used throughout the bible, is very much in keeping with gentleness. With great love and compassion, Jesus offered himself to pay for the sins of many.

Jesus was completely confident of the outcome, the need for His sacrifice, and so with gentleness, he carried the cross. The gentleness of Jesus was in a very real way, the ultimate example of strength and power.

Through that gentleness, Jesus accomplished what was completely impossible for anyone else.

Patience in the Bible

Patience in the Bible

There is common saying “patience is a virtue” and indeed it is. We see being patient as being tolerant of each other, or not getting angry when someone says something we don’t like. But the Bible has a lot to say about the patience of God, who loves us in spite of ourselves.

Helping us to understand patience in the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 9:22:

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?”

God shows His divine patience

Man sinned against God, a deliberate act of pride and disobedience, an affront to God’s Holiness and perfect love, yet God did not strike Adam and Eve down for such an egregious offense.

Throughout all of human history, God has given us the freedom to exercise the free-will that He gave us. We think of free will as our own decision to do as we like, but free will was God’s by design to allow us to think, reason and come to Him.

A man once told me about his pets. He said the dog comes when he calls him because he is trained to do so and is obedient. Then he calls his cat and the cat ignores him. Finally, he told me that when the cat comes to him he takes particular pleasure in the action, because he knows it was entirely the cat’s idea.

God is patient with us, because He desires a relationship with us when we choose to turn toward Him .

We are always testing God’s patience

We test God’s patience, and we test each other. It’s nothing new. The prophet Isaiah said:

Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? (Isaiah 7:13)”

It’s interesting that he talks about the house of David, because out of David’s line comes the Messiah Jesus.

Man’s sin over the centuries challenged the patience of God, yet in His love for us, He held back His wrath, electing instead to allow His own Son to take our place. God’s grace is enhanced by His patience.

Be patient with yourself

Patience also means giving yourself a break. We have all been patient with another person at one time or an other, but are we patient with ourselves? In Christ we are a new creation, a work in progress. But we live in an age when people want what they want and they want it… right now! No delayed gratification, immediate results.

Patience is learning how to wait on God. Children learn the skill of waiting for gratification, the wisdom to know that if you wait, better things might happen.

Forbearance is also a gift from the Holy Spirit

Patience and forbearance are very similar. Patience may be more like putting up with something, while forbearance is delaying or refraining from enforcing the law, collecting a debt or seeing that an obligation is met.

They are not entirely interchangeable, but they work nicely together. Patience is easier to understand because it is more commonly used.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 states:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

Our pride and arrogance cause us to lose sight of God’s plan for our lives, the most essential part of that being His desire to bring us to Him, but on His terms, not ours.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 2:4:

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

We tend to reject the very thing that will give us eternal happiness and security, instead of being patient and allowing God to follow His divine plan for us with His timing.

Goodness in the Bible

Goodness in the Bible

Goodness is almost a throw-away word in the modern vernacular, but goodness in the Bible is not. Also, the dictionary definition reads, “the nutritious, flavorful, or beneficial part of something.”

In addition, for people, goodness is not a natural part of our character. We are, by nature, sinners, wired to turn away from God and disobey him. A standard argument for many is that man is “basically good.” The Bible disagrees.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Goodness comes from God

Goodness is not man-made, it is God-made. Also, goodness is something that God puts into us, and that means goodness is only given to those who have put their trust and faith in His provision, His Son.

Being good does not necessarily mean that people who do good have goodness. Even those who do not believe in God, or who hate God, can be good to other people.

When we come to Biblical faith in God, we step into God’s amazing plan to transform our lives and make us a new creation. But, we are inclined to sin and resist His will, but God’s will is for us to develop goodness.

Believers do good as an act of love and appreciation

Believers are called to live a life of righteousness, to put aside the old ways and go on a new journey. Additionally, God’s Holy Spirit directs believers to do good, not as an obligation, but as an act of love and appreciation. In 1 John 4:13, the Apostle John writes:

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us use of His Holy Spirit.”

Goodness, therefore, is of God.

Through the Holy Spirit, we share in the nature and character of God, his Holiness. God’s goodness can not be paralleled or duplicated, only imitated. As sinners we cannot become “good” on our own power, but we can become more God-like in our behavior.

God credited Abraham with righteousness for his faith. Jesus demonstrated God’s goodness by serving people, doing good works. James says believers should be “doers of the word.”

This means to live out one’s faith. The Apostle Paul wrote:

through love serve one another”

Believers become transformed into the likeness of Christ

People are called to obey God’s law, but a key component of that calling is the work of the Holy Spirit, transforming us into the likeness of Christ. That transformation is our being “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10).

The goodness is not for our glory, but for the glory of God. In addition, keeping the law is not a prerequisite for being acceptable to God, because no one keeps the law. Rather, the love of the law, the willingness to be transformed, the desire to please God is the key to understanding the true meaning of goodness.

Actions show sign of inner transformation

Our actions are an outward sign of an inner transformation. But even when people honestly try to follow God in this way, there are invariably moments of failure, followed by those who would take advantage of this opportunity to call them hypocrites. Also, the desire for goodness will lead to criticism, or as the old saying goes: “no good dead goes unpunished.”

Since the time of Christ, people can also be deceived by false teachings, or fall away out of self-interest. Even 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah wrote:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Dwelling in goodness and love

One of the most recognizable references to goodness is in Psalm 23:6:

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

That promise is the ultimate example of the goodness of God. Also, even when we turn away, when we disobey Him, when we intentionally sin against Him, He loves us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).