Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, because the places where the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.” (2 Chronicles 8:11).
Ohhh, Solomon /smh/. But aren’t we all like Solomon? Dancing with a bit of sin over here, rationalizing that because we’re doing such and such correctly over there, this little bit over here will be OK. Petting a bit of sin, forgetting that it is a lion that will bite us in the end. Let’s go back a bit for context:
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8-9).
“The Garden of Eden” Jan the Elder Brueghel (1568-1625)
It’s July. It’s garden season. Everyone in this rural county in North Georgia has a garden, it seems. The tomatoes and yellow squash are coming in gangbusters. People around here are self-sufficient. They know how to fish for lunch, shoot dinner, maintain a garden, skin a deer, and BBQ a hog. They keep their tractors running and their farms afloat.
It’s pretty here, too. As a result from working the land, people cherish their land. They are good caretakers.
Freedom can be defined in different ways and has been, at different times in history. But as we celebrate our freedom today, 4th of July Independence Day here in the US, we celebrate the fact that on July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson, says History.com. We declared our separation from Great Britain, and from the oppressive taxes and micromanagement of the King’s governing of us. We wanted to be a free people.
For 246 years we have been enjoying the civic and political freedoms our Constitution has afforded us. But Christians know that the only true freedom is in Christ. Non-believers are slaves to their sin, there is no escaping the bondage to which they are joined. Believers are freed from our past sins, and freed from the power of sun as we progressively become sanctified, thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus’ life, who died on the cross.
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)
Christ freed us!
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1).
Slavery to sin is the worst slavery of all. But you do not have to be subject to its laws and its oppression. Repent, believe on the Son, and be free today!
What a wonderful wonderful day. We are so blessed as Christians, BLESSED!
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I sing praises to the Savior who hears prayer. I thank the Holy Spirit for moving in the two people at our campground ministry to be baptized in the river today. There is nothing greater than a regenerated heart, saved by grace.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John 3:8)
I praise and thank the Savior for drawing many to Him, some of whom are emerging from besetting sins to once again live a holy life in these last days.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
I praise Him for raising up good pastors who preach the word from the Living Water and edify their sheep.
What a refreshing, encouraging day. The Holy Spirit is moving in the world, maybe not widely, but deeply, soul by soul.
He is as ever, open for business.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. (Psalm 145:21)
When I was a kid I liked to do science experiments. Once, my parents got me a microscope kit with slides containing amoebas and stuff. Another time I took a pill from one of the prescription bottles in the bathroom and put it in the sink with water to see if it would melt. I had no idea that the capsule contained the medicine powder inside. THAT would have been fun to break apart and see.
Mamas. They are beloved in the south. I’m sure they are beloved elsewhere of course, but daughters here in the south call their mothers ‘mama’ and they set a great store by them.
Mamas here also seem to live a long time. 90, 100 years lifespan is common. These women are active into their 80s and 90s too. They can shoot a deer, process a pig, bake a pie, clean the house, and host the family reunion all in one day.
“I’ll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time.”
That is one of my all-time favorite movie lines. It comes from the 1987 Rom-Com movie “Broadcast News”, starring Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks. The line was spoken by Albert Brooks as character Aaron Altman, to Holly Hunter’s character Jane Craig. The two were colleagues at a broadcast news station, she was the producer and he was the reporter. They were close friends, who not only worked together but went out platonically (though Aaron wanted more. That was the ‘Rom’).
Has any marriage in the Bible based on murder and trickery ever gone well? Has any marriage not based on a mutual love for God gone well? I think no. The hot flush of infatuation wanes and then all the spouse is left with is scorn and disdain. The roots of the marriage, if not based on God, will wither and die and all sorts of misbehavior will influx and overwhelm the once passionate heart.
For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were brought to light by the Law, were at work in the parts of our body to bear fruit for death. (Romans 7:5)
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Far from it! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7).
Whattttt…? Romans is hard. Let’s look at an example that might make it easier.
I watch the TV program Border Security: Australia’s Front Line. In that reality TV show (a genre which is now called ‘factual television’ lol) different border control agents stationed in various locations of the Australian border detect illegal items being smuggled into the country. Banned are certain organic products that could introduce disease to Australia’s crops. So are weapons, and of course drugs.
The agents who are shown on the program work on the high seas, at shipping ports of entry, mailrooms, and in airports.
When the agents spot a piece of luggage, a nervous immigrant, or a package they suspect contains some contraband, based on certain indicators, they take the person, package, or luggage aside and give it a closer inspection.
When they open the item they suspect contains drugs, and it could be anything from a small statue to an engine piston to a picture frame, sometimes they discover a white powder. Is it drugs? Likely, but they have to test it to be sure. And it has to be an on-the-spot test so they know instantly whether to proceed to the next level.
They produce something called a NIK test. This is a Narcotics Identification Kit (NIK). It’s a field presumptive test kit, part of a drug identification system that is designed to rapidly identify substances of being illegal, or controlled substances.
They take some of the white powder, put it into a pouch that also contains some liquid in a separate chamber, and they break the chambers inside so the suspicious powder and the liquid will mix. If the liquid turns colors, it means the powder is presumptively a drug. Whatever color it turns is whatever drug it likely is. The agents then send the actual powder off to a scientific lab to determine its exact composition, but the NIK test was enough to arrest and hold the smuggler. Guilty!
The Law is a NIK test. It’s a mirror held up to the person’s thought, word, or deed, to determine what flavor of sin is lurking. It’s like a mirror.
The first purpose of the law is to be a mirror. On the one hand, the law of God reflects and mirrors the perfect righteousness of God. The law tells us much about who God is. Perhaps more important, the law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine wrote, “The law orders, that we, after attempting to do what is ordered, and so feeling our weakness under the law, may learn to implore the help of grace.”
Like a mirror revealing wrinkles, blemishes, age spots, the Law-mirror reveals our sin, our defects, our spiritual condition. Based on the fact that humans all have a sin-nature, the NIK test simply reveals what is already presumed to be there: sin.
Are Christians still under the Law like the Jews of Israel were? Yes, and no. No in that we New Testament believers are under a new covenant. We are released from the Jewish ceremonial laws such as the dietary restrictions, feasts, and ceremonies. The Law doesn’t justify. It never justified us.
nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified. (Galatians 2:16).
A mirror doesn’t make you prettier, it only reveals what is there. The law doesn’t justify, but only reveals what is already there, which is a totally depraved sin-nature. It reveals our helpless state.
The Galatians verse states that the Law can’t justify a person nor make anyone righteous. This is why God sent Jesus, for Him to completely fulfill the requirements of the Law for all those who would ever believe in Him.
Praise God for Jesus! Jesus is God’s mirror. When God looks at Jesus He sees His exact imprint (Hebrews 1:3). If we are saved, we are in Christ. So when God looks at us, He sees His Son.
He came to save us from the burden of our sin, to make us clean, to possess an imputed righteousness of Christ. We will be able to stand before God on the Day when we meet Him. If you have been saved by His grace then pray in thanks. If you have not yet been born again into new life, then pray to Him in repentance for your sins, sins which the Law reveals – to your condemnation. Then turn from them and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25).