Posted in absolution, jesus, pope, prophecy, sins

Pope’s powers have expanded to forgive abortions. Sweet!


Did you know that priests in the Catholic Church are called alter Christus? It means another Christ. They have been granted certain powers by the church to forgive sin. This is called “absolution.” According to the Catholic Encycolopedia,

Absolution is the remission of sin, or of the punishment due to sin, granted by the Church. (For remission of punishment due to sin, see CENSURE, EXCOMMUNICATION, INDULGENCE.) Absolution proper is that act of the priest whereby, in the Sacrament of Penance, he frees man from sin.

It’s nice for the priests to have the powers to be “another Christ”, including being able to remit sin. Did you know that though priests can forgive run-of-the-mill sins, there are some sins so heinous that only the Pope can absolve?

[S]ince 1179, a Vatican tribunal has met in secret to evaluate sins so grave that they can be absolved only by the Pope. The sins in question involve defiling the Eucharist; attempting to assassinate the Pope; a priest abusing the confidentiality of the confessional by revealing the nature of the sin and the person who admitted to it; a priest who has sex with someone and then offers forgiveness for the act; and a man who directly participates in an abortion – even by paying for it – who then seeks to become a priest or deacon. Only the Pope can lift the excommunication incurred by these sins,

The Pope is called ‘vicar of Christ’ which means Christ’s substitute. The Catholic Encyclopedia again,

the title Vicar of Christ is more expressive of his supreme headship of the Church on earth, which he bears in virtue of the commission of Christ and with vicarial power derived from Him.

Wow, so nice of Jesus to bestow some of His powers to the pope so that the pope can be Christ’s agent on earth. In his “powers” the pope decided last week that the heinous, pope-forgiving-only sin of abortion can now be forgiven by priests and will not necessarily include an excommunication from the Catholic Church. How terrible for the Catholic Church to withhold what Jesus freely offered.

Pope Francis has decreed that priests may absolve women of the “sin of a procured abortion” during Holy Year next year. In Catholic teaching, it is normally only bishops or the Pope himself who may absolve the faithful of the sin of abortion, which leads to excommunication from the Church. In keeping with his ministry of mercy, however, Pope Francis has extended his powers of forgiveness to those “missionaries of mercy” priests who will visit Catholic dioceses and parishes during Holy Year.

Of course, all the above is nonsense. Any believer is the same as any other believer, we are all priests of the faith. (1 Peter 2:5-9). The pope does not have special powers from Jesus and charged by Him to act in his vicarious stead on earth. The pope is not the head of the church. The Catholic Church isn’t even IN the church.

That news headline came at a time when I was feeling burdened for the many, MANY people who refuse the truth. Who are lost in their sins and not ready for the imminent return of Jesus. I was saddened for the many, MANY who are straying from the faith, perhaps at the given moment to reveal by their going that it was not an unfortunate temporary drift, but a permanent going out from us, proving they never were of us. (1 John 2:19). It feels like fiery agony to watch all this.

It truly feels like the sins of the world are piling up to heaven, and that the outcry of the saints are  reaching top volume. What is being done in the name of Jesus, as the Pope claims his special powers for example, is tremendously burdensome. I hate my own sin and I hate the sins of those who do terrible things in His name. It’s holy torment.

The Pope cannot forgive the sins of others.

And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Luke 5:20-21)

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”
(Luke 5:24)

The sins of the cities was so great the people cried out. I wonder as the sins of those four cities of the plain were so heinous that the outcry reached heaven, what does the outcry today sound like since all the world is just as heinous as they were then?

Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:20-21).

Matthew Henry says of this verse,

Though God long forbears with sinners, from which they fancy that the Lord does not see, and does not regard; yet when the day of his wrath comes, he will look toward them.

The sins pile up, the outcry grows greatly, God deems the time to be right, and judgment cometh-

[Babylon]for her sins have reached even unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:5)

We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed. Forsake her, and let us go each to his own country, for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. (Jeremiah 51:9)

They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10)

Though what is done in His name is heinous, and though sins have grown putrid in their excrement, I remember that Holy and Pure Jesus came DOWN to earth and lived among all that. He lived with sin all around Him, to seek and save the lost sinner. Me.

It makes me love Him all the more. Grace, Mercy, Patience, He is the very definition of those things. I long for the day when my sin-anguish ceases via His glorification of my body and mind. However I also know that when the day of the rapture glorification comes, it means doom for those who reject Him, for the judgment will have begun. In one sense, I can’t wait for the pope to be judged. He does terrible things in the name of Jesus, bringing reproach onto Christ’s Spotless Name by his continual blasphemies. Uzzah was smote for less. On the other hand, I plead in prayer for the pope to be given the gift of repentance and conversion to the faith, so that he also will benefit from a relationship with Jesus that is no longer at enmity, but is in friendship.

The burden of the heart is surely a trial in days like this. I know the outcry against Sodom has come from my own lips in this little apartment. ‘Lord, how long?’ contests with ‘Lord, a little longer so that he or she or they may come to the faith…’ In all, the Lord’s gracious timing and perfection in providence will carry the day, and my outcries at last will still, with the next breath shouting hallelujahs and hosannas to the Lord face to face in praise and adoration. What a day that will be. Soon, I hope.

Posted in catholicism, seven deadly sins, sins

Is there such a thing as the "Seven Deadly Sins" in the bible?

To answer the question in short form: no. There is no list of ‘7 deadly sins’ in the bible.

It’s one of those things that’s been around so long it seems as though it should be in the bible. Like, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. That’s not in the bible either. Or “This too shall pass” or “There but for the grace of God go I.”

So where did we get the notion of seven deadly sins? Roman Catholicism, with a lot of help from Renaissance painters, novelists, poets, and cultural icons, which embedded the false notion of 7 deadly sins so that it carries weight even to this day. But first, let’s go back to the bible.

Malachi lists 6 sins the priests did that brought destruction upon the nation. As John MacArthur lists them in his introduction to Malachi:

1) repudiating God’s love (1:2–5);
2) refusing God His due honor (1:6–2:9);
3) rejecting God’s faithfulness (2:10–16);
4) redefining God’s righteousness (2:17–3:5);
5) robbing God’s riches (3:6–12); and
6) reviling God’s grace (3:13–15).

Paul makes several lists of sins, but they’re longer than 7. (Galatians 5:19-21, for example).

Proverbs 6:16-19 lists six things the Lord hates, no, seven, but those sins are not the same as the renowned ‘Seven Deadly.’

So why seven? And why are these deadly? Isn’t all sin deadly? (Romans 6:23)

John MacArthur explains the general origin of what we know today as the list of 7 deadly.

Now some medieval monks, you know back in the medieval times between 500 and 1500, took all the sins and sort of spread them out over a table and they drew them all together in groups and they decided that they all sort of got reduced down to seven sort of motivational sins that were behind all sins and they were called the “Seven Deadly Sins.” The seven deadly sins are: pride, covetousness, lust, anger, envy, gluttony, and laziness. These medieval monks said all sin kind of fits into those categories. And these were the categorical sort of underpinnings or attitudes of the heart that led to all kinds of sin. Now that wasn’t a biblical group but it was sort of a classic group by those medieval theologians.

To be more specific than MacArthur, the generally accepted originator of the first list is Monk Evagrius Ponticus (345-399AD). He listed them as ‘seven evil thoughts’. In 590, Pope Gregory I revised this list to form the more commonly known Seven Deadly Sins.

The Catholic Church divides sin into two categories: venial sins, in which guilt is relatively minor, and the more severe mortal sins. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation. (Wikipedia).

That’s why there are 7 ‘deadly’ even though Protestants know that ALL sin is deadly.

Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516): The Seven Deadly Sins.

The 7 deadly sins were increasingly codified into Catholic doctrine and then gravitated to the culture. In other words, because we live lists so much, the list of seven deadly sins really caught on. When the Renaissance came, they became even more deeply ingrained in the culture. Medieval writers and artists such as Dante Alighieri wrote of them in his “Divine Comedy”. Hieronymus Bosch painted The Seven Deadly Sins. Printmaker Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) depicted them. Poet Edmund Spenser used them as a theme. And so on.

Today we have Lawrence Sanders’ Seven Deadly Sins series of detective novels, Se7en the movie, and the manga series The Seven Deadly Sins.

So that is the history of the Seven Deadly Sins not being in the bible (as a list, or as a sin that’s any more special than any other sin).

Remember, all sin kills. That’s why we must kill IT. We cannot engage in a program is sin management, as Jared Wilson says in the Sunday School curriculum “Seven Daily Sins.” In an interview with Trevin Wax, Trevin asked Jared about the difference between sin-management and sin-killing.

Trevin Wax: Why are Christians tempted toward sin-management instead of sin-killing? What’s the difference?

Jared Wilson: Sin-killing is more painful and requires more self-honesty. Any schmuck can change his behavior. The Pharisees did. Buddhists do. The unsaved working the program in addiction recovery can do that. But it’s the desire, something much more elusive, much deeper, more rooted in our interior life and worship-wiring, that has to be fixed.

It’s the difference between mowing over weeds and actually uprooting them. And it’s a pain to pull weeds; we’d all just rather mow them down. Over and over and over again. It takes some grit to manage our sin — and then we can feel proud of ourselves — but it takes grace to kill sin.

We must kill it. There must be grace to do it. Don’t mow over your sin, whether there are “seven” or not. Uproot them! The best sermon I’ve heard on sin-killing is John MacArthur’s “Hacking Agag to Pieces.” I recommend it.

Posted in confess, encouragement, forgiveness, sanctification, sins

Oliver Cromwell, "Warts and all"

BBC History describes Oliver Cromwell as:

an English soldier and statesman who helped make England a republic and then ruled as lord protector from 1653 to 1658. After overthrowing Charles I and then successfully defending the republic from his son Charles II, Lord Protector Cromwell reorganised the national church, established Puritanism, readmitted Jews into Britain and presided over a certain degree of religious tolerance. Abroad, he ended the war with Portugal (1653) and Holland (1654) and allied with France against Spain, defeating the Spanish at the Battle of the Dunes (1658). Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 in London.

Such an august person would naturally sit for a portrait, and in the Puritan days, Flemish painter Peter Lely was the go-to court painter. Wikipedia says,

Lely was of Dutch origin, whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court. … His talent ensured that his career was not interrupted by Charles’s execution, and he served Oliver Cromwell, whom he painted …

In the days before photography and social media, controlling one’s personal image was easy to do, and common. Leaders commanded idealized portraits, paintings, or statues, as opposed to realistic depictions. As this blogger opined about idealized portraiture,

It goes back as long as portraiture itself, of course; early classical portraits of emperors and such tended to cycle through emphasis on either a rugged, realistic appearance (as would befit a warrior and statesman) or an angelic, unblemished appearance (as would befit a god). In the same way, later emperors (such as Constantine) saw value in associating themselves in the public eye with prior, well-regarded emperors.

In modern times, photographic airbrushing was common as well. See the official photograph of Mikhail Gorbachev, last Secretary General of the old Communist Party of the USSR (it was to Gorbachev that President Reagan urged, “Tear down this wall!”)

Where is Mr Gorbachev’s birthmark?

Oliver Cromwell was a not too attractive man whose ruddy complexion and wrinkles was studded with pimples and warts. Cromwell commissioned Peter Lely for the official portrait. Lely sketched Cromwell and then presented the proofs for perusal. There were no warts.

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)

In one of those 100-years-later (mis)quotes, Horace Walpole allegedly captured Cromwell’s reaction,

“Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me; otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”—Anecdotes of Painting in England (1763) by Horace Walpole>

It seems that the quote is likely somewhat accurate, since the final portrait did indeed to have been controversially painted in realistic and not idealistic fashion. Whatever Cromwell actually said, it is generally accepted that this incident is where the phrase, “warts and all” comes from.

I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

We’re all vain to some degree. We all want to put forward ‘our best face’ as it were. Just think of Facebook. We all put out our best sayings and our most cordial attitudes but our warts still show.

He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You’ (John 21:17). Peter did not conclude from Jesus’ knowledge of his heart that he knew all things; rather he concluded from the omniscience of Jesus that he knew his heart.
See, that’s the thing. There is no point in hiding our warts. Cromwell’s were on the outside but ours are on the inside. It makes no difference to Jesus, He sees all of them. Nothing is hidden from Christ. He knows all our sins, all our flaws, all our foibles, all our proclivities. Our Father loves His children anyway. That is really the miracle. Our Holy Savior loves His sinful children.

There is no point in hiding from Him. There is no point to airbrushing away our flaws. We really are like little children when we fail to go to the throne and confess our sins. It’s like we’re toddlers who scurry to the bed and pull the covers up to hide from mom, thinking if we can’t see mom, then mom can’t see us.

Source, CC

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

Since He sees us as we are, and He has already forgiven us, it glorifies Him to approach Him and confess our sins. This is our part in participating in our sanctification, where He is conforming us to His likeness.

Live humbly before Jesus, with no pride or vanity. Live before Him warts and all. I believe we will find in the end, that the more we do this, the more beautiful our face will become, because it will be like His.


Further Reading:

John Piper: Nothing is Hidden from Christ

GraceGems, Arthur Pink: “Nothing Is Hidden

Posted in glory, sins

We love Lord Jesus for who he is

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16)

Hans Memling: Christ surrounded by musician angels

Our love for Him does not rest on positive circumstances. It does not rest on signs or gifts or prosperity or works. It rests on the simple fact that He is the only One deserving of all glory. He is the Sinless, Perfect One, and He came down to the dirt and the mire to life a life under submission to God and to die an unjust agonizing death so our sins would be propitiated.

Be humble in yourselves but boast of Jesus. Be meek in attitude but be confident in His promises. He is coming soon, and all promises will soon be fulfilled. Won’t it be awesome when we see Him as He is?

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

Posted in end time, hell, judgment, sins

God is gracious, He won’t chase you forever

Did you know that you already know about God? That you have known about God since you were small? Yes, you have! God put knowledge of Him inside us all. “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” We have a God-intuition, a sensitivity to a higher being that He puts within us, and goes a step further, and makes it evident.

He also makes Himself known another way, as well.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

What the verse is saying is that God’s attributes of creativity, intelligence, and love in preparing for us such a beautiful planet to live on are clearly seen simply by looking around. The verse also says that no one will have an excuse because it is so clear that God made the world.

He made this place for us, He loves us, and He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him through Jesus, and be made righteous. He does not like it when you know all this, and you deny Him anyway.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)

But wait! There’s more! He draw us to Him, too!! “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32). What He is saying here is that “After I shall have died and risen again, by the preaching of my word and the influence of my Spirit, I shall attract and illuminate both Jews and Gentiles.”

“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

When men suppress this knowledge, His wrath is revealed. Why? Because He also draws us to Himself, as well. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44). It takes work to suppress all this knowledge. It is hard to blot out the knowledge intrinsic within us, and external to us, and is being used to draw us to Him as well. Therefore those who suppress it, earn His wrath.

Wow. He goes to lengths and extremes to ensure that all people on earth have an equal chance to respond to Him. However, we know that some reject. Those who continually reject Him don’t have a lifetime to keep their option open. At some point it closes. Then He hardens your heart against Him.

“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” (Romans 9:17-18)

He also gives you over to your preferences, whichever sin it is that you are indulging in besides repenting and turning to Him. When you persist in remaining in your sin, after an unknown period of time, He lets you remain in them and refrains from drawing you to Him any longer. See the following block of text from Romans 1:21-28:

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,”

Three times it says that God gave them over. He gives you over to your lusts, your degrading passions, and/or your depraved mind.

Let’s use an earthly metaphor to make this initial pass at understanding the concept of hardening your heart and giving you over.

When you send in a resume for a job, and the prospective employer likes you, he calls you to set up an interview. If you receive the message on your machine, and ignore it, the prospective employer may become perplexed but if he is really interested in hiring you he may call you again. If you ignore his message a second time, how many more times do you think he will call you back? None? Likely. Even if he calls a third time and you exhibit no interest, it is more than probable that your prospects for employment in that company are now nil. And that’s OK. That is normal, and we give no quarrel to the employer because the lack of interest on the part of the potential employee was so firmly demonstrated.

Let’s say you had a date. You thought it went well, and you called back for a second date. But you do not receive a response. You may try again, and possibly again. How many times, really, will you continue to call, asking for a second date? Three? Four? Too many times and we’d likely call the police and resister a complaint for stalking. So it is normal to quit calling after one or two or possibly three tries.

So why do we charge God with abnormal behavior when He stops calling at the door of our hearts after a lifetime, decades of rejection? He instills within our hearts knowledge of Him, He imbues into the world knowledge of His attributes, and then He draws us to Him…over and over through the course of years. He goes the distance. We have no quarrel with Him when in His sovereign knowledge and power He decides to harden whom He will harden.

When you continually reject Him you run the risk of being given over to your sins, or having your heart hardened. As Barnes Notes says, “None can come at first, unless he be drawn by the Father; and none can continue, unless he continue under those sacred influences which God gives only to those who do not receive his first graces in vain.”

Are you failing to receive His graces? Do not think in your narcissism that God is a doormat beholden to pursuing you your whole life. He isn’t and He won’t. The problem is, we don’t know when the moment comes for each person who has rejected Him. I implore you not to take a chance. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Your death may come. Therefore you should “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). In other words, sooner rather than later. The risk is too great.

Just what is a person risking who puts off reconciling their sins with the Creator before they die? If they die in their sins, or have rejected Him frequently enough and are hardened and given over, also to die in sin, then “It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For “who knows the power of God’s anger?” (Sinners in the hands of an angry God“)

The call to your heart is ringing now. Answer it. Please.

Posted in end time, national debt, sins

National debt is piled up to the moon

I read this headline on Reuters the other day and it reminded me of something from the bible.

Pile of debt would stretch beyond stratosphere
“President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government’s debt would be about 67 miles high. That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall. In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.”

last update: 2008

On an earthly level, this news depresses me. The national debt is an issue that is pervasive and very negative on the US and the world, but it is so nebulous that most Americans don’t, won’t, or can’t wrap their minds around it. The numbers become meaningless, after all, who can understand a trillion? But the profligate spending of the last generations has brought us to this. Though Bill Clinton made significant progress toward reducing the debt, the US government budget has actually not been balanced since 1957. That would be Eisenhower.

What does the bible have to say about living beyond our means?

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.” (Luke 16:13-15).

It is plain to see that US citizens have served either one master alone (mammon) or have tried to serve two (Mammon and God of the Prosperity Gospel). The attitude of ‘more-more-more,’ of getting a bigger boat, wanton spending, shop till you drop, greed is good, Me generation has gone away from biblical principles of handling money. And our leaders (The Pharisees, metaphorically) love money even more and that is bad because they have control of the budget. Paul said that at the time of the end, we would be lovers of money:
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:2).
But we are also told that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

As of 2008

 America is pierced with many sorrows. When we see homosexual marriage legalized, abortion increasing,  pornography becoming accepted and ubiquitous, we recognize these social ills as sins. But the money problem…it is more invisible simply because it is so nebulous. You can’t see a debt. You can’t hold a debt. Who does debt really harm, we wonder.
Money issues, unpaid debt, borrowing, lending at usury (credit card companies who charge 30% or more) and interest are all addressed in the bible. In certain circumstances, they are sins. Here is a good study on the monetary system that includes lending and debt that God initially set up.

In biblical times the Hebrews failed to obey the monetary laws God instituted, and today we are failing in the same way. We are failing so badly that the debt has piled up to the moon. This headline reminded me of several bible verses:

“I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:5). The Lord said in the next verse that they shall be paid back double. They did not know that they were borrowing against their sins at double interest rate!

Lest we tend to say that we ourselves, individually, have not piled up debt, nor lent, nor borrowed, nor spent, Prophet Ezra had a holy shame for the state of sin his nation was in. He prayed: “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6). Gill’s Exposition of the bible explains “our trespass is grown up unto the heavens; being done in an open, public, and insolent manner, and in such numbers, that they were, as it were, piled up in heaps, reaching to heaven, and calling down vengeance from thence. Ezra includes himself as being one of the same nation; and these sins being so common were become national ones, which involved all the individuals, and exposed them to the divine resentment.”

If our debt is piled up as high as the moon, our national sin must surely crumble down upon our heads at double portion! Do you have a holy shame for the misuse of the wonderful assets the Lord gave us? His grace is such that in God’s economy, debt is forgiven- sin debt that is, and His love extends even farther than from the moon and back: it extends to us and through us and for all eternity. Be wise in your financial dealings, pray to the Lord for our nation that the Pharisitical leaders who run things would have wisdom, and that we repent of individual and national fiscal abuse. Our gracious Lord hears our prayers. “O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, ” (Psalm 80:14)

Posted in cross, end of days, forgiveness, prophecy, sins

Jesus did not die for you

I am working on a couple of other blog entries, plus the weekly newsletter, but this comes to mind now and I felt compelled to write it. I hear all the time, “Aww, Jesus died for me. He died for my sins. Just for me.” Actually, He didn’t.

Jesus died because God required a punishment for sin, and that punishment was a spotless sacrifice. Jesus obeyed God to become that sacrifice. He chose to become God incarnate and He chose to die. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” (John 10:18) and also John 6:37-40: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all … “. In this way, Jesus died for GOD. We are beneficiaries of His obedience.

I don’t know why God has it set up that a blood sacrifice is required to satisfy a sin-debt. We get a glimpse in Genesis and Leviticus, “But you shall not eat flesh with its life – its blood”. (Gen 9:4) “For the life of the flesh is in the blood…for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Lev 17:11)

Jesus kind of did die for us. I was being provocative above 😉 If Adam and Eve had not fallen from grace then Jesus never would have had to incarnate to die on the cross, shedding His blood for OUR sin. But first and foremost Jesus died to satisfy His father, in the universe’s ultimate act of obedience and love. It is why Jesus deserves all the glory and all the praise.

I find it helpful to keep this perspective, because it keeps the spotlight off me, my sins, and my decision to accept the benefit of His work on the cross. I am sinner, yes. But it was His choice to do this for us that I praise and I am eternally grateful for. It keeps the spotlight on Him. Which is as it should be!