Tag Archives: cross

Opposites and Equivalents – Part 5

Welcome to the church of the Galatians this riveting Sunday morning. This is must-see theater (or, more apropos, must-see theatrics). You thought the Church of Corinth was something? Well, Corinth has nothing on Galatia!

Some strange aliens from outer space (or rather some religios from Jerusalem) have invaded the churches of Galatia. For lack of a better cognomen, we call them the Judaizers. They have this pernicious doctrine about who Messiah Jesus is and what He does. They confuse Him with Moses, even though those two eminent men of God look nothing alike!

Oh, but we cannot get into all of that now. But don’t fret! We delve into it in detail in Galatians: Volume 14 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes, which is now available as paperback and eBook. For your convenience, simply click here to order.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5].

Now let us move on to the second major teaching in our Bible verse. Let’s read the pertinent words of the verse together:

He saved us…according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the Lord saved us (grace). We don’t and cannot save ourselves (Law). Having said that, the Apostle Paul explained what this entails. We learn this from the final part of the verse, beginning with the word “by”. God’s salvation entails two aspects, both of which are needed if we are to be truly saved. The two aspects are,

  1. washing of regeneration
  2. renewing by the Holy Spirit

To decipher the two aspects, we need to stay aware of what it is we are saved from. We are saved from a life of sin. We are saved from the sin nature inside each sinner. We are saved from being sinners.

Ergo, the Lord has to do two things, if He is to be successful in saving us. First, He has to get rid of the sin. Otherwise we have to die as the penalty for our sins, and that is the opposite of being saved.

But that alone won’t save us. No sooner are our sins removed than we are back in the pigsty committing more sins. To enable sinful man to live righteously, sinful man first needs a righteous life. So the Lord crucifies the old life of slavery to sin, but then He perfectly completes our salvation by giving us the new life of the Holy Spirit. And I can promise you, the Holy Spirit does live righteously!

When we wash our hands, we remove the dirt from them. When the Lord gives us His “washing of regeneration”, He removes the sin from us. After doing so, the Lord completes the salvation by giving us His Holy Spirit to live inside us.

This topic deserves much more of our attention. Indeed, it is exciting to delve into it! Accordingly we will pause and spend time alone with Jesus now, and return to the topic tomorrow to give it further attention.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Leviticus: Volume 3 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

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Opposites and Equivalents – Part 4

Welcome to the church of the Galatians this riveting Sunday morning. This is must-see theater (or, more apropos, must-see theatrics). You thought the Church of Corinth was something? Well, Corinth has nothing on Galatia!

Some strange aliens from outer space (or rather some religios from Jerusalem) have invaded the churches of Galatia. For lack of a better cognomen, we call them the Judaizers. They have this pernicious doctrine about who Messiah Jesus is and what He does. They confuse Him with Moses, even though those two eminent men of God look nothing alike!

Oh, but we cannot get into all of that now. But don’t fret! We delve into it in detail in Galatians: Volume 14 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes, which is now available as paperback and eBook. For your convenience, simply click here to order.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5].

When they obeyed a set of rules, a list of dos and don’ts, the Israelites outwardly recognized the fact that they were sinners. But inwardly, in the heart, they were good old boys and girls. God certainly must be pleased with them because He chose them and not the Gentiles! Intellectually, you see, they acknowledged they weren’t perfect. But what the hey. Nobody’s perfect! Right?

The prophet Isaiah portrayed this fact of the Law, that it was given to the Israelites because they were spiritually immature and couldn’t as yet handle grace:

To whom would He teach knowledge, and to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? For He says, “Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.” [Isaiah 28:9-10]

Such a flippant attitude betrayed their true heart condition. If they hadn’t such a heart condition, then the Law wouldn’t have been necessary. They could have begun and ended with grace and bypassed the Law altogether.

Hence the writer to the Hebrews declared that the Lord had no pleasure in the outward performance of religion. He gave it to the Israelites, yes. But that was to teach them their need for a new heart, not to engage them in religious exercises for the sake of religious exercise.

The writer to the Hebrews noted that the Lord had no pleasure in the works of the Law. This wasn’t because the works of the Law were evil. The Lord Himself gave the Law to the Israelites. Another reason was behind the words of the writer to the Hebrews. Let’s determine what the reason was.

The Law said, “Do these religious exercises and you will live.” The problem wasn’t in the Law. The problem was in the Israelites. They were sinners and sinners sin, not live righteously, which is what keeping the Law would have amounted to. Compare the phrase, “deeds which we have done in righteousness”. The deeds were righteous because the Lord commanded them. Their source made obedience to the works of the Law righteous.

Grace, on the other hand, says, “Receive a righteous life freely, i.e., by God’s grace. Then you can do righteous things.” See! Sinners cannot do righteous things and earn a righteous life thereby. A righteous life is first needed in order to do righteous things.

Ergo, the Law was given to show the Israelites that they weren’t able to live righteously. They needed a Savior to remove their sins and give them a righteous life in place of their sin nature. Only then would they be able to do righteous things.

This concludes our study for today. We have chewed on much, and it needs some more masticating. Let’s do so now in the presence of Jesus, as the Holy Spirit teaches us.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Leviticus: Volume 3 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Opposites and Equivalents – Part 3

Welcome to the church of the Galatians this riveting Sunday morning. This is must-see theater (or, more apropos, must-see theatrics). You thought the Church of Corinth was something? Well, Corinth has nothing on Galatia!

Some strange aliens from outer space (or rather some religios from Jerusalem) have invaded the churches of Galatia. For lack of a better cognomen, we call them the Judaizers. They have this pernicious doctrine about who Messiah Jesus is and what He does. They confuse Him with Moses, even though those two eminent men of God look nothing alike!

Oh, but we cannot get into all of that now. But don’t fret! We delve into it in detail in Galatians: Volume 14 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes, which is now available as paperback and eBook. For your convenience, simply click here to order.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5].

Yes, there are many significant differences between the North and South Poles, between the Arctic and the Antarctic. On the spiritual plane an even more significant difference exists, one in which man’s eternal fate is weighed in the balance. We learn of this difference in the Bible verse quoted above.

The subject is “salvation” (cf., “he saved us”). The contrast is between the Covenant of Law and the Covenant of Grace. Law is denoted by the words “not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness”. Grace, contrariwise, is brought into the spotlight by the words “but according to his mercy”.

Those two, viz., Law and grace, are polar opposites, dear friends. Both were given by God, but only one is God’s will for sinful man. The Scriptures teach us the same thing:

After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, “ Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second [Hebrews 10:8-9].

The point made by the writer to the Hebrews is that God gave the Law to Israel, but He didn’t have any pleasure in the works of the Law.

Someone is nonplused and blurts out, “Huh? That does not compute! Why would God give Israel a legal code which He wasn’t pleased with?”

I heard you say it with my own ears, so don’t try to deny it. When the writer to the Hebrews notes that God wasn’t pleased with the Law, he isn’t denigrating the Law. The Law is good when it is used according to the purpose for which God gave it. The Law is given to sinners to show them they are sinners, not to save them.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. God didn’t want the Israelites to be sinners. Even less did He want them to be sinners and yet be clueless that they were sinners! If the Israelites recognized their sins and were repentant vis-à-vis those sins, then the Law would not have been needed.

But the Israelites weren’t, so they needed the Law to teach them that they were indeed sinners. In this context we recognize what the writer to the Hebrews meant—or rather what the Holy Spirit taught by those words which He inspired the writer to pen.

Every time animals were offered on the bronze altar as substitutes for the Israelites, it was one more example of the Israelites’ lack of awareness of their sins. Yes, they did acknowledge their sins by means of offering those animal sacrifices. But no, they didn’t recognize in their hearts that they were sinners.

Oops! We are out of time again. In our next study we will continue vetting this subject. For now let us enter the prayer closet and come apart with Jesus a while.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Leviticus: Volume 3 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Opposites and Equivalents – Part 2

Welcome to the church of the Galatians this riveting Sunday morning. This is must-see theater (or, more apropos, must-see theatrics). You thought the Church of Corinth was something? Well, Corinth has nothing on Galatia!

Some strange aliens from outer space (or rather some religios from Jerusalem) have invaded the churches of Galatia. For lack of a better cognomen, we call them the Judaizers. They have this pernicious doctrine about who Messiah Jesus is and what He does. They confuse Him with Moses, even though those two eminent men of God look nothing alike!

Oh, but we cannot get into all of that now. But don’t fret! We delve into it in detail in Galatians: Volume 14 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes, which is now available as paperback and eBook. For your convenience, simply click here to order.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5].

In our last study we noted two different understandings of the significance of December 25 in contemporary USA. It may surprise you, but we are not really going to converse on the subject of Biblical versus cultural issues. Instead let us now consider the subject of the South Pole, or rather, of the differences between the North and South Poles.

There are many. For one thing, did you know that the South Pole has a significantly colder mean temperature than the North Pole does? The South Pole’s average temp is -56°, while the North’s is -29°. For you fair weather folks, that’s a lot of difference!

Another notable difference is the thickness of the ice between the two places. The North Pole’s ice sheet grows to about 12-15 feet thick in the winter. The South Pole’s ice sheet is roughly 9,000 feet thick, or 3 miles! Not a minor discrepancy, is it?

Another quaint difference between the two is that the North Pole is noted for its polar bears, while the South Pole has for its tourist attraction…penguins. Let’s see. On the one hand we have polar bears, on the other penguins. And the twain shall never meet because, if they did, the penguins would soon be extinct. Polar bears would have them over for supper, you see.

Still one more distinction has to do with energy. An estimated one-fourth of all untapped oil resources exist in the Arctic region. In contrast the amount of oil in the Antarctic is…goose egg.

And then there is the difference in population. More than four million folks inhabit the Arctic. Do you know how many call the Antarctic home? That would be zero! The Antarctic is the only place on earth where no one has a claim to the real estate.

There are many other significant differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic, dear friends. I have spent considerable time presenting some of these differences for a purpose. I trust you are familiar with the phrase “polar opposites”.

Well, what do you think is the origin of the phrase? As Maxwell Smart was fond of saying, “Would you believe…?” Yes, would you believe it stems from the vast differences between the North Pole and the South?

There is a distinction in our Bible verse which is just as notable as the distinction between the two poles. We might say that this distinction portrays polar opposites. Indeed, on the spiritual plane the distinction is far more pronounced, seeing how eternity is weighed in the balance. On the one hand we have time on earth, on the other time in eternity.

In our next study we will examine this distinction a bit. Hope to see you there. Don’t miss out! And don’t miss out on a chance to be with Jesus right now.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Leviticus: Volume 3 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86

Opposites and Equivalents – Part 1

Welcome to the church of the Galatians this riveting Sunday morning. This is must-see theater (or, more apropos, must-see theatrics). You thought the Church of Corinth was something? Well, Corinth has nothing on Galatia!

Some strange aliens from outer space (or rather some religios from Jerusalem) have invaded the churches of Galatia. For lack of a better cognomen, we call them the Judaizers. They have this pernicious doctrine about who Messiah Jesus is and what He does. They confuse Him with Moses, even though those two eminent men of God look nothing alike!

Oh, but we cannot get into all of that now. But don’t fret! We delve into it in detail in Galatians: Volume 14 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes, which is now available as paperback and eBook. For your convenience, simply click here to order.

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5].

If we ask a variety of people the significance of December 25, we will likely receive a variety of answers. Some would immediately point to the day being Christmas, the birthday of Jesus.

Though the depiction of Jesus’ birth in the Bible isn’t conducive to a winter day in the Middle East—which is what December 25 is there—still, historically it was suitable for converting a pagan celebration of nature into a Christian event. In that way, it was reasoned by human thinking, we can stop the pagans from worshiping their pagan gods on their December 25 celebration and worship Jesus instead.

Trouble is, pagans don’t worship Jesus. They worship pagan gods! And if said pagans were to be born again, then they would no longer want to worship the pagan gods on December 25. So the whole scheme amounted to an exercise in futility. Paganism wasn’t affected positively by the machination, but Christianity was certainly diluted in the process.

Notwithstanding this historical reality, the result has long since been finalized and no longer has anything to do with worshiping pagan gods versus worshiping Jesus. I didn’t bring the issue up as a prelude to declaiming an anti-Christmas diatribe. We are conversing about different responses to the query about the significance of December 25 on our calendar.

Another response would be that December 25 is Christmas, and that is when Santa Claus comes to town. According to this understanding, a certain Saint Nicklaus (aka Santa Claus) lives at the North Pole. He keeps company with an entire work force of elves, who make toys for little girls and boys all year long.

While they are doing this, Santa is busy snooping on the same little girls and boys. He keeps a minutely detailed list of their lives—must be similar to the Lord’s books, which will be opened at the Great White Throne judgment—noting just who has been naughty and who has been nice. The nice girls and boys get the gifts, the naughty ones not so much.

Well, come the night of December 24 and Santa boards his flying sleigh, which is fueled by a nine-reindeer-powered engine. Santa calls each reindeer by name, as they soar through the sky to deliver the toys to the good little girls and boys. Santa’s voice rings through the crisp atmosphere with a melodic charm,

Ho! Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Lead the way, faithful Rudolph, with your red nosed headlight!

And there we have two different answers about the significance of December 25 in contemporary USA. But let us take our leave of good ol’ Saint Nick at this time. The shadows are lengthening and the light is dissipating. We must betake ourselves to Jesus for a time of fellowship, and meet back here tomorrow.

To further research this issue, I direct you to my book Leviticus: Volume 3 of Heavenly Citizens in Earthly Shoes. To purchase my books please go to:
http://www.amazon.com/Randy-Green/e/B00507WC86