"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel - Jacob

Someone recently pointed out to me that years ago in small groups, whether it be Sunday School or independent Bible studies, Christians would talk openly about the dangers of living like a Pharisee. It seems, however, that many of us in evangelical churches struggle with a subtle rise of Pharisaical feelings toward sinners who cry for mercy from God. Jesus taught on this subject very clearly in Luke 18:9-14
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Some might ask, "But is not the shame and guilt of sinners such that God would want us not associate with them, even if they cry out for mercy from God?"

I am reminded of the story of Jacob. He lied and deceived the people closest to him. He sought instant gratification instead of patiently finding contentment in his relationship with God. He failed his family, including his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham. He was by adulthood, in almost every sense of the word, a failure. 

Yet God loved him, and God pursued him.

In a wrestling match with God, Jacob found the very thing upon which he relied (his own strength), God broke. God crushed Jacob's hip. Literally, Jacob became a cripple. Yet, it was in his brokenness and through the crippling process that an utterly crushed Jacob "met God face to face." So it is that often in our brokenness and pain caused by sin we really meet our God. 

Interestingly, after the breaking, God changed Jacob's name to Israel. The lying, deceiving, and self-absorbed man God pursued became the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel, the chosen people of God in the Old Covenant.

Yet, throughout the Old Testament, when the prophets would urge the nation of Israel to repent, they never identified God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Why? It seems God Himself wished to be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Listen to how God revealed Himself to Moses and the people of Israel on Mt. Sinai - at the very moment of entering into a covenant with them.
"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." Exodus 3:6
Israel is who Jacob became, but God kept Jacob's name before His people to remind them that He loves and pursues sinners. I believe it is always helpful for us to remember that God identifies as the God of sinners who cry for mercy.

He is the God of Jacob.

37 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Terrific observation. God seems to have, once again, hidden a real truth in plain sight.

This post ties in nicely with the thought that those without sin should cast that first stone. Whether that's literal or figurative.

In fact, something else just came to mind: probably the most awe-inspiring experience I ever had was sharing the Gospel with a class of juveniles at a boys' prison ... inmates who were convicted felons and would have been in a regular prison but for their ages ... in Indiana. It was the first time in my memory that God ever used me to do something, and it was wonderful.

Don said...

One way to go deeper into a story in Scripture is to put yourself in the place of each of the characters in the story and ask yourself how are you similar and different from them? When I do this with Jacob I find I easily can find times I have been like him, while others are harder to do this with. So Jacob has become one of my heroes as God striving with him gives me hope.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I see this as a continuation of your previous post. The hero of Luke 18:9-14 is the sinner that asked for mercy.

Did Jesus know he asked for mercy so he would feel good about continuing in sin?

Or did Jesus know he asked for mercy with him turning from sin?

Big difference.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Much appreciated.

Tom Ross said...

If one reads the Book of Jasher, they will learn that Esau while still a young man rushed home from killing Nimrod and stealing Adams skins which had been fashioned by God from off of Nimrod, and demanded Jacob give him some food to eat to give him a alibi if those who where with Nimrod came looking for him.

In the Book of Genesis we are told that Isaac preferred Esau because he liked to eat wild game which Esau went and hunted for him so that he could eat of it. In the story of Isaac blessing Jacob instead of Esau, it is obvious that Isaac had forgotten God's prophetic word given to Rebekah while she was pregnant with the twins that Jacob, the younger, would be Lord over the older sibling by a mere minute or so, Esau, by God.

It was not until Esau returned and learned that Isaac had given his blessing to Jacob instead that he claimed that Jacob was a cheat and had stolen his birth right around 14 years earlier. It was Esau who caused concern for his parents by his choice of wives whereas Jacob obeyed his father and mother and returned to Rebekah's family to find a wife for himself. Jacob was sent because Esau was planning to kill Jacob.

Jacob was cheated on by Rebekah's brother, Laban when Laban sent Lear into Jacob on his wedding night. Jacob did not like Lear because she had weak eyes like his father Isaac. Laban attempted to cheated Jacob out of his wages so in the last six years of the forty years he lived and worked for Laban Jacob separated the flocks according to his word which he had given to Laban.

Jacob grew up in a dysfunctional family situation and when lose came his way, he did not know how to care for his other three wives while he grieved for the loss of the wife he loved the most and trouble entered into his family.

The sad part is that Jacob was accused of being a cheat by his brother who did not care for God's special covenant over their family made to Abraham, Isaac and eventually Jacob. The truth of the matter is that Jacob was cheated on rather than actually cheating others. This myth of Jacob being a cheat has persisted over many years right up and until the present time when it is repeated verbatim by many who have not truly considered actual story of Jacob's life.

It should be remembered that Jacob overlapped Abraham's life by 16 years and he remained within the home and he developed a working relationship with God whereas Esau was a wild boy/man who had no regard for a relationship with God.

Jacob entered into a solemn covenant with God and he walked in that relationship for all of his life.

Shalom

Anonymous said...

In all honestly I personally cannot say I've ever met someone crying out for mercy so they can feel good about continuing in sin.

Now, I've met plenty who claim to be Christians while living in persistent willful sin. Claiming to be a believer and being one are two different things. These will claim their sin is not sin.

I've met (and been one myself at times) those who know their sin is sin indeed, cry out for mercy, and know they cannot stop that sin unless God grants them the ability. And sometimes He does and we stupidly don't use it and go right ahead and sin. But we know it is sin, and admit it is sin and cry out for mercy again and with baby steps at times, battle that sin as sin.

Big difference. What scares me as a Baptist-at-heart-if-not-by-official-membership is that we have lost grace and substituted works. We comfort ourselves about our own salvation by looking not to Jesus and trusting His promises but by looking to our works and deciding "yep, good enough, and better than most."

I suspect someday it will shock the socks off some good Baptists to wait in line for their crowns as they watch the IRS folks and hookers enter ahead of them. See, the very best work we can ever do is to believe Jesus.

I want to obey Him, to please Him, to serve Him, to be a good witness for Him, etc. I want that because I love Him. I love Him because He loved me first. But I am so far from "there yet" it is pitiful.

And still I enjoy a wonderful relationship with Him, where He showers me with love and beauty and acceptance. And I wonder why we find it so hard to accept grace? Why it sticks in our collective craw? Why we want to see the other person get what they deserve but want grace and mercy for ourselves?

Part of why I chose the Baptist church as a teen over the choices family members had made were that the SBC did not require you to check your brain at the door when it came to science, that no one was going to be checking my hem length, hair length, color of lipstick, etc and try to make me believe those somehow affected my salvation. Now I keep my granddaughter away from the SBC because here someone will make those issues.

Did that freedom make me run out and hem my skirts to micro mini's, slather on the pancake makeup, put enough red on my lips to look like a clown, and figure the cosmos is all there is or ever was or ever will be? Of course not. If anything it allowed me to come naturally to a conservative world view much more ingrained in my being than one imposed from outside could ever be.

If I could make just one change in the evangelical world, especially the SBC today, it would be to toss out all those Puritan books so popular now. Good grief, those folks used to persecute and even kill Baptists.

Instead I'd like to see some really good Baptist history books for SS, Wednesday night, bring back January Bible Study and do it then, etc.

Linda

Bill said...

Wade I have a question that continuously bothers me about our sin and the sin of very bad past and present individuals.Guys like Hitler and Stalin who committed some of the most horrible atrocities in history.Seems that if we look at their upbringing there seems to be events and circumstances that greatly influenced their actions as adults.Most of these events they had no control over and had to endure what happened to them and had no choice in the matter.Do you think God looks at some of these men and somehow understands the reason for their actions and somehow forgives them just as we have been and are being forgiven for our sins?Surely we all have our secret sin that we need to repent of but simply don't.We let the sin somehow slide by and never take care of it.We,like the so called super bad guys, probably always have unrepented sin in our lives so what makes us any different from the tyrants.Surely God forgives even the secret unrepented of sin in our lives or we are in real trouble.

Wade Burleson said...

Linda,

Once again, your comment is really profound. Really, really good stuff. I'm going to have you come and preach for me one Sunday!

Wade Burleson said...

Bob and Don,

Couldn't agree more with you both!

Rex,

Cries for God's mercy are always accompanied by repentance. See Linda's comment. Couldn't have said it better.

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Ross,

Going to chew over what you've said. Some stuff to think over.

Wade Burleson said...

Bill,

Since I am of the believe the cross (and God's forgiveness) always precedes any repentance or confession on our part, I would agree that all sins are forgiven - even those secret, often unrepented of sins (that we may not even fully realize we have), but God in time will remove the sins from us "for He shall save His people from our sins." (Matthew 1:21).

Tom Ross said...

Wade a little more to chew over.

Isaac was around 100 years old when he decided that he needed to bless his son(s) before he died. Jacob's eyesight at this time was rather poor and his hearing was not that good either. His memory may not have been as good as it could have been or was selective. Was God's hand in this with Isaac? More than likely. God orchestrated Isaac's circumstances such that Isaac ended up blessing Jacob before he was able to bless Esau as he was intending to do.

It was Isaac's wife, Rebekah, that stopped Isaac from sinning against God's prophetic word that the elder brother would serve the younger twin. Isaac was intending to do the opposite.

It should be noted that Isaac lived to be 180 years old and that he died 10 years before Jacob went down to Egypt because of the famine. Jacob possibly spent 38 years living near his father before He and Esau buried Isaac in the cave that Abraham had brought. We also know that Jacob buried his wife Lear in the cave, some time before he went down to Egypt and possibly that even occurred before Isaac died.

Another misconception is that Jacob only spent 20 years in Laban's company, however, Jacob spent 7 years working for Laban so that he could marry Rachel and a further 7 years for Lear as well, he lived in Laban's house for 20 years and then moved out to earn his wages for a further 6 years before he left the area around Haran. For their to be four generations of Jacob's descendants to go down with Jacob to Egypt, around 48 years is needed between when he return to the Land of Canaan and when he left Canaan to go down to Egypt. It should be noted that Joseph was given authority in Egypt around 14 years before the time of plenty began, not at the start of the time of plenty as is commonly claimed.

But enough fat for you to chew on.

Shalom

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You said: “Cries for God’s mercy are always accompanied by repentance. See Linda’s comment…”

Yes! I thought her first sentence was the best of all that’s been said. She wrote:

“In all honesty I personally cannot say I’ve ever met someone crying out for mercy so they can feel good about continuing in sin.”

That means she agreed with my saying about the ‘Tax collector’ that Jesus knew he asked for mercy with him turning from sin.

Wade, can’t you see her statement disagrees with you giving ‘comfort’ to the man that divorced his wife and married another?

He has NOT cried for mercy because he chooses to continue in his sin.

He said it made him ashamed, but you told him not to feel ashamed. You gave him “it’s OK for divorcing his wife and marrying his girlfriend since all sin is sin.

I noticed you had no answer to Wayne quoting three Scriptures:

1. Romans 16:17 “…those who…introduce temptations to commit sin…Turn away from them.” [Wade, by you not turning away from this man might temp others to do the same.]

2. 1 Cor. 15:11: “…you should not associate with a person who calls himself a believer but is immoral…”

3. 2 Thess. 3:14: “…if anyone does not obey what we say…do not associate with him so that he will be ashamed and repent.”

I have a friend who divorced his wife as he wanted to be free to court other women. After a year he asked her to take him back. They got married twice.

Wade Burleson said...

"Wade, can’t you see her statement disagrees with you giving ‘comfort’ to the man that divorced his wife and married another?"

Rex,

The man who divorced his wife and married another came to brokenness over his sin and cried for mercy. I displayed grace toward him while he was in his sin, but when he became broken and cried for mercy, I helped him reconcile with those he'd harmed. My point is simply "It's the goodness of God that leads to repentance." My goodness to this man led him to repentance; not shunning and running. Granted, those people in pain because of his sin didn't run after him in love - they aren't expected to, nor are they able to do so. There is way too much pain. However, WHEN he came to repentance and cried out "Be merciful to me a sinner," those hurt by his sin forgave him. I think we may be saying exactly the same thing. Hurt people wait for brokenness and cries of mercy. People who don't need anything from the person in sin can pursue in love for the good of the sinner.


Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade, no way will I ever come preach for you. I'm not profound at all--but Mrs. Chaney in Sunbeams was. So were Bros. North and Pratt. So were Sister Ruth and Bro. Rick and Bro. Henry and Sisters Faye and Rowena.

In short, I'm just repeating what I was taught in the SBC 40-50 years ago.

But I might drop in and hear you preach someday. We love to run away east to the Ozarks. So far the nearest we've been to Enid on a Sunday on one of our trips is Springdale Ark.

Off topic but we share a common bit of history. My family came from East Texas. They were there (possibly one in the building, possibly some doing rescue) living very close to the New London explosion.

I've watched what you say about radical grace work. In my childhood a man from the Baptist church got his secretary pregnant. He left his wife and kids and married her. Both the new wife and the man lost their church membership over it. The first wife was tenderly cared for by the church. The whole community shunned the couple---except the ladies in WMU and the men in the Baptist Brotherhood. Some 20 or so years later the second wife came to the church in repentance and was restored to membership, although with the understanding she would not return to teaching SS. Don't know if the man ever repented, as we moved away. So know the "other woman" had a tenderness and love for Jesus I hope someday to grow up to have. When I think of "godly woman with a great witness" she comes to mind. I've never seen anyone so humble and with such a careful conscience.

Truly those who are forgiven more love more.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign my comment above. Off topic anonymous is Linda.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Linda’s comment:
“In all honesty I personally cannot say I’ve ever met someone crying out for mercy so they can feel good about continuing in sin.”

That subject is well covered in (Matthew 3:7-8 Living)”

“…When he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to be baptized, he denounced them…prove that you have turned from sin…”

John gave them no mercy and neither would he have given mercy to the young man.

Anonymous said...

People still trek down to the front at 1st Baptist and seek baptism. That is not the same thing as crying out for mercy.

Linda

Anonymous said...

Isaiah 45:19. "I, the Lord, did not say to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek Me in vain.' My words bring salvation, my words give life."

Hebrews 10:19,22 . "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus....let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith."

Gordon

Rex Ray said...

Linda and Gordon,

I’m not sure what your points are. Do they apply to the young man?

Gordon, the verse 22 in Hebrews in the NLT states: “…For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean….”

Has the young man’s guilty conscience been made clean by his confession but doing nothing to correct his sin?

What’s the different if any in what the young man did and King Herod marrying his brother’s wife?

Rex Ray said...

Sometimes a clear conscience is helped along by a bad memory.

Jenn Trimmer said...

Rex
I really do not understand what qualifies you to judge the young man that Wade decided to love and counsel to help him in his time of need. It very much to me from everything Wade wrote that the young man is doing what he can to make things right seek forgiveness from those he wronged and with God divorcing his current wife to go back to his former wife would be just as wrong it would add more pain and even according to Deut 24 it would not be the right or acceptable thing to do. Why don't you concern yourself more with your own life than the life of others. Wade shared this story as encouragement from his experience. Wade seems to me to be a wise loving gracious man who seeks to do right according to God and to others
24 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2 and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.


Anonymous said...

Rex--I reread Wade's other post re the young man. Looks to me like the young man IS repentant. But only God can know for sure.

What is it you want the young man to do to prove his repentance to you? As Jenn pointed out, to divorce this current wife and attempt to remarry the first wife would be unbiblical.

Would Christ be better served to not allow him to attend church? Stone him? Make him wear a scarlet A? He and his wife came and sat with the offenders, clearly showing they get it that they did wrong.

Do you believe Christ has forgiven him? What do you think he needs to do to gain the forgiveness of Christ? What fruit do you want to see??

Me, I'm so thankful Jesus forgives me even when others don't. He alone can look on the motives and intents of the heart. And I have His promises, and take Him at His Word. So if He tossed some on their proverbial heads for not bearing the fruit of repentance, He gets to judge, being God and all that. But humanly speaking I don't see evidence of lack of repentance in the young man, and am curious why you seem to see no sign of repentance.

Linda

Wade Burleson said...

Jenn and Linda,

Good words indeed. I love Rex though I've never met him - but soon will - for he's going to Israel with us), and always appreciate his comments. In my experience, not everyone agrees with the process of restoring a repentant sinner. Some question the repentance. Some resent the grace and forgiveness. Some feel the punishment should extend further because "the sinner hasn't hurt enough." Usually, these feelings occur because of someone's own pain, including either being the person wounded by the sinner's actions, or a person "picking up the pain" of someone they love whose been wounded by the sinner's actions. I'm not speaking about Rex, because I have no idea his motivation, but I've learned in 35 years of pastoral ministry to be as gracious to those who disagree (like Rex) as I am to those who are receiving my forgiveness. Thank you both for demonstrating the same character.

Rex Ray said...

Hey guys!

None have answered this question, so why should I answer yours? :)

What’s the different if any in what the young man did and King Herod marrying his brother’s wife?

First of all, Wade could give us more information on how the people involved feel.

Does the divorced wife feel ‘good riddance’ or does she still love him? Are their children? Does she receive any support?

Did the second wife know she was dating a married man?
Jesus gave a just cause for divorce. Did she not care he had an ‘unjust divorce’?

How these questions are answered would inform how much she deserves being jilted if he went back to his first wife. I mean is she so dumb she fells no danger if he gets tired of her and treats her like his first wife.

John Trimmer,
You asked what qualifies me to judge the young man. I’m going a lot on how Wade treated a staff member many years ago whose only sin was to kiss a woman with her consent ONCE. A year went by before Wade knew about it. Have you heard: “There’s no fury like a woman scorned.” She told Wade the kiss bothered her. The man told Wade he had asked God’s forgiveness and his wife had forgiven him, and it would never happen again. Wade said he had to make a decision on the spot. He told the congregation the man had relations other than his wife and would be fired for a year. Wade did not correct their thinking he had committed adultery. Can you imagine the damage to his reputation? In my opinion, Wade did not give this man forgiving love…more like hell. I believe he should have told the complaining woman she was a trouble maker. A weaker man would have crumbled but he worked as a janitor and the end of the story turned out good. Not because of love but because of the man’s outstanding character.

Wade,

I hope my slant on the story above was not too out of line. The only sweetheart that broke my heart is the one I married 18 months ago. :) :) :)

Wade Burleson said...

"What’s the different if any in what the young man did and King Herod marrying his brother’s wife?"

1. When confronted with his sin, the young man listened (to me), and never "cut my head off" (literally, like Herod did John the Baptist), and the young man eventually broke and "repented of his sin."
2. The young man is a believer in Jesus Christ, but King Herod was a key official in the public rejection of Jesus Christ.
3. The young man sought forgiveness of those he wounded, but there is no recorded instance of King Herod seeking forgiveness of anyone.
4. The young man continues to serve the Kingdom of Christ, but Herod seemed to serve only the kingdom of self.

So, what's the difference? Their sins may be similar, but it's the change in heart and attitude after the sin that's different. There are other details that I am unable to share due to privacy.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Yes to all of your reply, but they both continued to stay married to the ‘wrong’ woman.

The axe I was grinding in the punishment of the ‘kiss man’ was influenced by the punishment received by my brother-in-law by the pastor removing him and others from the church by new bylaws that established his “Leadership Board”.

The only reason given to the church was: “We can’t tell you; it’s too embarrassing.” Those removed were three men and one woman. Wonder how many rumors that started.

Before they were removed I attended one of their two morning services. Their attendance was around 5,000. I had planned to hear both services but was escorted out; past a policeman by three men to my car. They said if they saw my car again, it would be impounded.

All I heard in the first service were roars of laughter over funny stories about the pastor’s golf. I thought these people are frogs in boiling water and don’t know it. His preaching ended with his therapist demonstrating with weights how she helped to improve his golf swing. (He got his PHD in the shortest time on record at SWBTS. He let it be known he’d been trained how to run a church and he’d run this one.)

During the break between services, I showed the pastor 700 slips of paper. I said I had planned to pass them out, but he was the only one that could do anything about it; so I handed him one. He became very angry and said, “I know this man; he is evil!” (He had read my letter in the Baptist Standard.)

My note read:
1. Leadership dissolved the xxxxx Senior Adult Bible Explorers Class on 11-6-05.
2. The teacher was fired because he would not promise to always support the Senior Pastor.
3. However, about 50 long time members have continued to meet with their fired teacher.
4. Consequently, they have been denied Sunday school literature and a Christmas party.
5. If the Board rules their disobedience is “disruption”, they may be ejected from the church.
6. Is it sad the new bylaws prevent anyone standing for them? Outsider, Rex Ray 11-17-05.

The real reason these four were ejected from the church is because of the pastor’s revenge. The church voted NOT to sell and move their church 20 miles away.

These four did not obey when told to stop handing out reasons to vote NO at the four doors of the church.

The woman was a widow who had given 30 acres of land for the church and a Board member at Dallas Baptist College.

The next year my brother-in-law was selected “Citizen of the year”, and the pastor was fired when the Leadership Board realized too many members were leaving. Looks like Haman hung on his own gallows all over again.

Anonymous said...

Rex--I am so sorry we believers do not always act like we have even heard of Christ. I too have been in one of those takeover churches, and chose to walk away. Easy for me, as it was not our means of support. So even though I wasn't there and had no part in it, let me apologize to your and your family for the Body behaving poorly.

Pastor Wade has answered well the difference between the young man and Herod.

I would say my beliefs are we do not bring fruits meet for repentance in order to be forgiven, but that in God's timing, not our human timing, there will be fruit of genuine crying out for mercy.

And agree with Pastor Wade the ones most hurt by sin are not the ones able to minister reconciliation and radical grace and love. For their own sakes, of course, and again in God's timing, they need to bundle up all the hurt, the pain, the justifiable resentment, and desire for revenge and just give it all to Jesus. Let Him do what he will with the sinner. That does not mean I believe I have to be an endless doormat to some sick wounder. It means I take back my right to happiness, peace, security, faith, and the deepest shalom of God. I choose not to let them keep stealing it again and again. I put an end to the suffering.

And yes, our family has been victims of crime, some of it pretty horrendous, and victims of cruelty such as you described. It doesn't come easily or quickly, but Jesus is just plain stronger than the bad guys if we give it all to Him. I'm wording this badly I know, and praying I don't get another chance to live this out any time soon :)

May you find peace in letting go.

Linda

Tom Ross said...

Perhaps this passage from scripture says it all: -


Ezekiel 33:10-16

"And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'This is what you have said: "Our rebellious acts and our sins have caught up with us, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?"' Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but prefer that the wicked change his behavior and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil deeds! Why should you die {the second death}, O house of Israel?'

"And you, son of man, say to your people, 'The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him if he rebels. As for the wicked, his wickedness will not make him stumble if he turns from it. The righteous will not be able to live by his righteousness if he sins.' Suppose I tell the righteous that he will certainly live, but he becomes confident in his righteousness and commits iniquity. None of his righteous deeds will be remembered; because of the iniquity he has committed he will die {the second death}. Suppose I say to the wicked, 'You must certainly die {the second death},' but he turns from his sin and does what is just and right. He returns what was taken in pledge, pays back what he has stolen, and follows the statutes that give life, committing no iniquity. He will certainly live - he will not die {the second death}. None of the sins he has committed will be counted against him. He has done what is just and right; he will certainly live {for all of eternity}.
------

If we sin and do not repent of it, then at the time of Judgement we will be judged as to our righteousness and those who repent of their sins will live but those who are not righteous will be thrown into the Lake of fire which is the second death.

"He who has no sin let him cast the first stone" rings in my ears as a warning for me that I should be careful about judging another for their "sins" as my sin in judging that person is far greater and condemns me before the judgement seat.

It is not our place to judge/condemn a person for in judging/condemning that person we are effectively "killing" that person which is a sin and his blood will be upon us and will be required of us by the Lord.

It is better for us to show mercy towards a sinner and help that person to become repentant so that he may live for ever within God's Grace of forgiveness.

Shalom




Wed Dec 21, 01:37:04 PM 2016

Rex Ray said...

Linda,

I appreciate your very thoughtful and wonderful words. We all have a ‘filter’ that processes our thinking and actions. That filter is far more different than our fingerprints or DNA. Thus the statement: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

Wade said, “…the young man revealed to me...we asked him to step down from his leadership position.”

I believe “we” was far better than Wade saying, “I had to make a decision…” with the ‘kiss man’. Did “we” ask the young man to come back, or only Wade?

Yes, Wade answered very well the easy question on the difference between the young man.and King Herod. A harder question would be how they were alike.

I asked Wade about six other questions, but he said, “There are other details that I am unable to provide due to privacy.”

I respect what he said, but sometimes a blog is like a jury trial based on facts. It’s like a jury being told, ‘We can’t tell where the defendant was when the murder occurred because of his privacy.’

The young man on cold paper is far different than meeting the young man in person.

They say ‘time will tell’.

How much time has gone by since they started attending the church?
Is the church friendly with them?
Is she a member?
Has their attending hurt the church?


Tom Ross,

You quote Scripture that I agree. We are to forgive people of their sins. The real question is; does God forgive them if they keep doing the same thing? If divorce and marry is adultery, when does it stop being adultery…the second day, second week, second month, second year etc.?

Yes, we are not to judge, but what about “identify”?

Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:20 NLT)

Well, I said all this, and I realize I don’t practice what I preach. It has nothing to do with divorce, but its ‘forgiving sin’ far worse. Last week, I asked a man I didn’t recognize if I’d given him a paper: “When’s my daddy coming home?” He said I’d given it to him the year before. Then he said, “I hope my son grows up to admire me as much as you do your father.”

You see; it was a sin I didn’t know about until eleven years after my father died at 93. It can still make me cry.

Anonymous said...

Rex--I completely agree with you that we all have different filters.

We have an extended family member who is bi polar. When depressed, his filter makes him see all things as doom and gloom and pain and finds it impossible to let things go and move on.

His shrink is challenging him on that point. He is to actively use cognitive behavioral therapy to reject those negative ways of seeing the world. Truth is, we all face the choice to cherish stinking thinking or to let it go and choose positive thoughts. Even bi polars can choose the positive, although in the natural it is much harder for them.

It is sort of like physical therapy for the brain. If my arm is weak I can complain about it and wait for someone to make it right. Or I can do what my therapist recommends, hit the weights, and build some strength. Might never be as strong as a body builder but I can be stronger than I am. I may have to use compensation of other body parts if I am paralyzed.

In the same way, we can train ourselves to reject the constant nurturing and fondling of past hurts. We really can choose that. It will be harder for some, but we can begin to learn to fill our minds with healthy positive thoughts.

There are many tools to help. I'm struggling with physical pain, and when it is really bad, I put some lively southern gospel on, bop to it, and sing along. I cannot focus on both the pain and Jesus at the same time.

Praying you find the pain relief you need!

Linda

Rex Ray said...

Linda,

Thank you for your information and nice reply.

I relate to your mentioning physical pain. I have faith now to be over a venous ulcer on my ankle for our tour of the Holy Land this March. I feel like the woman in Mark 5:26 “…suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years…gotten worse.” I’ve gone to eight doctors including four transfusions of medicine, a skin graph with three days in the hospital which only cost me $500. The worst cost was a blood clot removal that Medicare paid $11,000. I believe that doctor is guilty of fraud for his thirty minute procedure in his office. His bill to me was almost $3,000. I wrote him I was paying him twice the amount his anesthesiologist charged and mailed $140. They still send the bill.

As Judy and I were soon to be married, I joked if I couldn’t walk, she would carry me down the isle piggy-back and we’d call it Sadie Hawkins’ Day.

Good News! A week ago my ankle looked as bad as ever, but with a salve it looks almost well. A lady in our church who helped take care of my first wife for five years asked me to try her homemade horse medicine. “It cures cuts on horses.” Today I sent pictures of my ankle a week apart to my relatives and some friends. I told the lady I didn’t know if I should kiss or choke her. :)

Anonymous said...

Now if that horse medicine worked on problems in the spine!

Hoping this last procedure works. I do not want to leave the area where my family is, but a lower altitude would and does help relieve the pain immensely.

Merry Christmas to all, and especially you Rex.

Linda

Anonymous said...

Rex

I attempted to reply to your response but lost what I had typed when I tried to publish/upload it in the comments.

Our primary sin with respect to God is our turning away from him. A sin which is hidden from the view of others This becomes evident by the manifestations of other types of "sin" like adultery, stealing, etc. which are openly visible for others to observe. We can change our behaviour such that the manifested sins are harder to observe by others but the consequences of these manifested sins remain with us even when we seek restitution of our relationship with others or repent of those sins with the people we have offended or hurt.

When we repent of the primary sin of turning away from God, i.e. acting God like, all of our sins committed through turning away from God, i.e. the manifested sins, are forgiven by God but this forgiveness of our primary sin only becomes evident through the observation of the new fruit of our actions after we have repented and this may take year to become obvious to others because of peoples memories of the manifested sins while we were turned away from God.

Now I do agree with you, that seeking forgiveness from those we have hurt during the time of our manifested sins occurring, by repenting of our sin(s) against them is a step in the right direction, but unless we are the aggrieved party, then whether or not the person has repented of their particular sin(s) against another party is really none of our business when we are looking in from the sidelines.

If we are counselling the person with manifested sins, then we should be encouraging the person to seek forgiveness and leave it up to God to sort the person out, otherwise we also commit the same sin as the person we are counselling and turn away from God by acting God like. There is a very fine line that is crossed often by people when they are counselling another in the area of the sins whether it is the primary sin or the subsequent manifested sins.

Our fruits are often rather sourer when we show no grace towards another sinner like ourselves.

Shalom

Tom

Rex Ray said...

Linda,
Merry Christmas to you also!

Oh! ‘Back problems’. I used to get out of the car at red lights for a few seconds so pain would stop. I ate with one knee on the floor. When I was confined to bed, my father said, “What sin have you done that God is punishing you?”

“NOTHING, daddy, NOTHING!”

Well, that wasn’t quite true. I didn’t use a lift to load a forging that weighed 160 pounds to be cut to shape. It was a ‘hook’ that stopped airplanes on aircraft carriers.

Through the years, I’d get a ‘catch’ and it’d take days for relief. I’ve lost count the number of chiropractors I’ve been to. About 8 years ago, I went 4 times to a chiropractor near here. I’ve not had a pain since. GLORY!

Tom,

I appreciate your lengthy reply, and you make a lot of good points. I think our disagreement is about NOT showing grace upon a sinner asking for mercy under different circumstances.

It boils down to present circumstances.

John the Baptist did not give King Herod mercy because he stayed married to his brother’s wife.

If the young man has done all he can do to relieve pain he caused his first wife, than he deserves mercy.

We don’t know the facts because they are personal.

Anonymous said...

But we are not told that King Herod repented Rex, so this example is irrelevant to the discussion. Perhaps you are focusing on the manifested sins more than the primary sin. If the primary sin is forgiven by God then all of the other manifested sins are also forgiven by God.

However, it is the fruit of his repentance that you are seeming to be judging and as you have been saying, we do not have the facts with respect to how this younger man is working through the consequences of his manifested sins that occurred while he was turned away from God. The sad truth of the matter is that because we are being judgemental of the younger man we are in effect committing the same primary sin. We must be careful of that fine line between God having forgiven the younger man and our attitude of being unwilling to accept God's decision to forgive the younger man when we have been told that he has repented of his sin(s) by a reliable witness.

Taking our hands off of a situation like this is one of the most difficult things we can do.

Shalom

Tom

Shari England said...

Is this what it is written, "This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face—EVEN Jacob." Psalm 24:6

I always wondered why it added "even".