115) Judgment Begins At The House Of God

The disciples’ Q&A in Matthew 24 flows directly from the documented actions in chapters 22-23 of

  • the multitudes’ joyous acceptance of Jesus as their rightful king
  • followed by the religious leaders’ rejection of him
  • followed by Jesus’ curse on Jerusalem.

In that context, there can be no doubt that the disciples expected the takeover of the temple at the hands of Jesus’ followers in the next few days.

herods-temple

After all, the disciples knew their history.

“the LORD appeared to Solomon…I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually…

  • But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them…
  • Then this house…will I cast out of my sight; and everyone that passeth by it will which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss…Because they forsook the LORD  their God…” (I Kings 9:2-9)

And Jesus had already started repeating history.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna / Save we pray! to the son of David / Our rightful King!”

Did they praise God and accept Jesus as the Messiah? No.

they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? This is a revolt against our rulers…and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (Matthew 21:12, John 11:48)

Jesus’ actions were not ignoring this assured response by the Romans.

He was throwing down the gauntlet! To the rulers of the Jews! They were educated in the scriptures. They knew the right response.

“thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Isra-el, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters [attack by the enemy], I will be with thee; and through the rivers [outbreaks encouraged by the damage done by the flood], they shall not overflow thee…

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen:

that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God…and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?

But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel…thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities…Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.” (Isaiah 43)

This first occasion of this punishment was incurred about 1200 BC on the men who refused to trust YHVH to save them from the Canaanites after he had just saved them from the far more powerful enemy of the Egyptian Empire. “A generation” sets the precedent for the length of the sentence. Forty years was the average remainder of the lifespan of the responsible parties, the mature adults, from age 30 and upwards, who live, on average, until seventy years of age. Punishing only one generation, like limiting a beating to 40 strokes, was established within the Mosaic code as a mercy.

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

True to Moses’ warning, the fledgling nation of Israel was constantly harried by their neighbors.

After the Israelites ignored Isaiah’s reminder given ~750 BC the Israelites were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 BC.

Still, in southern Judah,

“Manasseh…did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, [made political / religious / marriage alliances with his neighbors] after the abominations of the heathen

  1. For he….worshipped all the host of heaven, and served themAnd he set a graven image…in the house
  2. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another…” (II Kings 21)

True to Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Jews were taken into captivity by the Babylonians about 150 years later, with the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC

The 70 years’ of living in Babylonian culture had as profound an effect on the generations born during those 70 years as America culture has on the offspring born to immigrants to America.

Child Adolesc Psychiatric Clin N Am 19 (2010)

Acculturation refers to the process that occurs when groups of individuals of different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, which changes the original culture patterns of either or both groups. The encounter causes cultural diffusion of varying degrees and may have one of 3 possible outcomes: (1) acceptance, when there is assimilation of one group into the other; (2) adaptation, when there is a merger of the 2 cultures; and (3) reaction, which results in antagonistic contra-acculturative movements…

Second-generation children (…offspring of immigrants) have been found to be at higher risk of more behavioral conditions…

The exile brought about a number of significant changes to the way Judaism was practiced

When the Babylonians expelled the Jews from Judea, they destroyed the Temple completely. Jewish law stipulated that certain important aspects of Jewish religious life — most notably animal sacrifice — could only be performed at the Temple in Jerusalem…

This new focus gave rise to a new class of professional clergy within Judaism, the rabbi…a spiritual leader tasked with explaining God’s expectations to the common people. Early rabbis compiled the Talmud, a series of writings that further explain the Torah…

During the period of captivity, Jews continued to…develop their religious traditions, many of which became distinct from their origins, due to the influences of the local culture…

the deportees…personal fortunes were undoubtedly better than thse who remained behind…

Many of the exiles, finding themselves in comfortable circumstances, assimilated into Babylonian society in ways that concerned the pious among them. Ezekiel denounced such men as “a rebellious house,” and parts of the Book of Isaiah written during exilic times likewise expressed concern over the aoption of Babylonian traditions.

“For thus saith the LORD God; How much more? when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And…ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the LORD God.” (Ezekiel 14:21-23)

We can deduce from the extended length of chastening that there was exponential rebellion against the righteous lifestyle demanded by YHVH, not just from increased numbers but also from increased exposure to the influences of the heathen culture in the Exile. By the end of the original 70 year judgment there was more damage that needed reparations and more voluntary bondage that needed redemption from their chosen masters.

The population growth of Jews in the 70-year Exile can be understood in comparison to America’s Baby Boomer Generation, They would have far out-numbered their wartime parent generation. In the midst of peace and plenty they had even less motivation to feel a need for repentance.

Consistent with the loss of faith and commitment to Israel’s unique place in the world, not many Jews answered the call to return to the Promised Land when they were freed from the Exile – only about about 15% of the total number taken into captivity. This would have been a much smaller percentage of the total population explosion during the post-war captivity.

As regards the number of Jews deported by Nebuchadnezzar...12,000 men, or in all 36,000 to 48,000 souls…about one-fourth of the population…was led captive into Babylonia…The actual return of the exiles was consummated by Ezra, who assembled at the river Ahava all those desirous of returning. These consisted of about 1,800 men, or 5,500 to 6,000 souls…Ezra and Nehemiah succeeded, after great difficulties, in establishing the post-exilic Jewish community…

And even for the people who returned to re-establish YHVH’s temple and worship, once they got back home, many didn’t change their cross-cultural ways. Especially religious toleration. What had served to preserve their religion in exile was distorted into destroying their religion at home.

“the princes came to me [Ezra], saying,

  • The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands,
  • doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
  • For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands:
  • yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass… 

Clearly, for political / military alliances. Abominations that make desolate. Again!

I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said,

  • O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.
  • Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day;
  • and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.
  • And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail [fastening, permanence] in his holy place,
  • that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 
  • For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving,
  • to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments… behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” (Ezra 10)

Nothing had changed by the end of the extended period of chastening on the returned exiles. So while it would have been a grave disappointment to the disciples, but not a shock, to learn that Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years punishment which had been extend in Daniel’s prophecy to 70 x 7 years punishment was extended yet again by Yeshua.

And not just to 70 AD. Jesus simply noted that THIS rebellious generation would experience that awful event, not that everything would be wrapped up in 70 AD. The retaking of Jerusalem by the Christ was delayed indefinitely.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39)

And sure enough, the next day it is crystal clear that Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet.

No-one who encounters the Christ gets to remain neutral. There is a war going on, and anyone found in no-man’s land gets caught in the crossfire.

“Take heed, and beware…for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth…Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment….your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves…a treasure in the heavens that faileth not…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching [not FOR his coming, but OVER his lord’s affairs]

  • Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?…
  • But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day…and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
  • And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
  • But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled [by the importunate actions of his subordinates]?” (Luke 12)

In the timeless strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a political alliance forms against this dire threat to their authority, composed of disparate groups who normally would be at odds with each other.

“Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders [respected authorities] of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.” (Matthew 26:3-4)

Like the prophets of old, Jesus did not immediately bring down judgment on Jerusalem as soon as her rulers corrupted themselves. He told the religious leaders that judgment would fall on “this generation”.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?…Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon THIS generation. (Matthew 23:29-36)

Jesus then reinforced this time frame for the disciples who hadn’t heard, or hadn’t immediately clued in to, what he had told the religious leaders.

“THIS generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

And fulfilled it was, 40 years after the beginning of YHVH’s Savior’s ministry, with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

Knowing the backstory of Jesus’ statement, the disciples were surely filled with frustration. Another 40 years!

Why? 

“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26)

Where would the Gentiles be if Saul the enemy of Yeshua and his followers was beheaded before he repented? Shall we keep the salvation of our loved ones as our priority rather than losing our comfort zone?

Can we not recognize how un-right behavior is destroying our world, and that to fix it we can’t just bemoan what others are doing but we must change our ways? If we dispose of trash in the oceans and it washes back up to our beaches and we clean it up only to dispose of it back in the ocean, what have we accomplished?

garbage_barge

juhu23-50

The equivalent situation occurs in relationships.

Think of the effects of a married couple divorcing. There is exponential damage over time on not just on them but on their children and grandchildren and society as a whole due to the divorce limiting the parents’ ability to put time and attention and effort into not only child-rearing but positive activities in society as a whole like recycling and volunteerism. This spreads like a disease and takes exponential effort over the passing of time to restore to rightness.

As anyone who has experienced a broken relationship knows, a relationship can’t be restored single-handedly. Until both parties want the relationship, it won’t happen.

The End of this world doesn’t come until God’s ministers are prepared for the transition of power. 

Surely we understand this on the lesser level of human government. When Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, his existing staff made it possible for him to immediately take over the government.

Concurrently with writing this post, President Trump has been refusing to cooperate with a peaceful transition of power. This raises serious concerns for the ability of the incoming leaders to maintain the stability of the American government.

President Trump declined an opportunity on Wednesday to endorse a peaceful transfer of power after the November election…before saying there would be no power transfer at all.

Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly…suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses…

“He’s clearly accelerating his effort to set up a challenge to an outcome that is unfavorable to him…”

“Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus,” Mr. Romney wrote. “Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”

177561-us-capitol-hill-riots

Surely we understand that on the far more higher plane of existence we mere mortals need to develop our spiritual abilities. Read a few of the Dresden Files books if you are drawing a blank here.

In God’s kingdom, we are meant to transform into the likeness of our Savior by following the same process he underwent – submitting our will to the will of the Father. And it’s not any more comfortable than a drug addict trying to kick a heroin or methamphetamine habit!

It is no different from any child developing social skills and self-control through mastering self-will through ever higher levels of practice, practice, practice. As one of my son’s high school teachers explained, “You decide if you want to work at a fast food restaurant or in a profession by how you apply yourself now.” You have to give up the comforts of sleeping in, staying up late to watch captivating television programs or play video games, and partying with friends. You have to withdraw into your own wilderness to study and acceptance rejection of family and friends who resent your changes. And frankly, only a small percentage of humanity does develop increased levels of ability and knowledge we call professionalism.

college graduation rates OECD.xls

I had to quit going to prayer meetings, and every time someone asks me to pray for someone’s affliction, I have to bite back my response. “Please pray for God to….” How about you personally put yourself out to take a meal, spend time comforting and exhorting the afflicted, provide some financial support? God is not a vending machine! Christianity has devolved into a Name it and Claim it magical process even by the most devout.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God…

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office…according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teachingOr he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulnessNot slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.” (Romans 12:1-14)

hamster_wheel_vovv0vSo, we are stuck on a hamster wheel until spiritual leadership muscles up.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them…all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet…(Matthew 24:6)

Comes to pass” describes a circular wheel passing over and over again, as in a printing press.

The past informs our knowledge of the future. The Savior didn’t come up with new prophecy in Matthew 24. This list of catastrophes is the standard MO of biblical chastening of God’s people, whether the geopolitical state of Israel or the international body of believers.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement…then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:4-8)

Ideally, these disasters drive humans from every walk of life, not just the Jewish religious leaders, to call out to the Most High God for salvation who they learned about from those who have merged their identity with YHVH’s savior.

“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth…I will publish the name / ways of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he…

For the LORD shall judge his people…See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward / pay back them that hate me / my name / my family.” (Deuteronomy 32)

Let’s make sure we understand the context for “house of God.” Peter gives it right in the accompanying sentences:

  • “us”  – that would be the Apostle Peter and the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God.
  • them that obey the gospel of God,
  • the righteous.

That’s not rebellious Israel.

“remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But nowhe is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us…to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace…For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the SpiritNow unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” (Ephesians 2:11-22)

“These things write I unto thee…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (I Timothy 3:14-16)

Can anyone really make an argument against the house of God being the assembly of saints from all time who put their trust in YHVH / Creator and his Promised Deliver?

Crucial to this era’s understanding of the end times, the house of God is defined as a Jewish assembly / church into which Gentiles were added. Paul himself, the Apostle to the Gentiles, defines this without question when he refers to the church prior to the inclusion of Gentiles as “the church of God.”

“I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (I Corinthians 15:9)

“ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion…I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:” (Galatians 1:13)

“ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:” (I Thessalonians 2:13-15)

So what’s this judgment that starts with the Church?

As detailed in multiple posts immediately preceding this one, Moses is the primary source for all things biblical. His take on judgment is where we should start.

“And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up…Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them…

  • He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.
  • 3596056440_8c98596e25And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.
  • And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
  • Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” (Exodus 19:20, 21:1-25)

And so on. We can recognize that judgment is exactly as we understand it in “Law and Order.”

6ebe19c7d95cb07335b764fe5afcaf05What! That’s completely against Christian doctrine! Jesus paid the price of my sin!

Death for death, yes. But Christians are not  immune from obeying human laws against murder, drunk driving, theft, etc. are they? What makes you think that there are no consequences for breaking God’s laws? And in fact, scripture explicitly states that there are.

“Wherefore we / believers labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:9-10)

The logic that Paul uses to explain that salvation by grace is different from payment for works can only be true if the reverse is also true – we get paid for our work.

“if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself.” (I Corinthians 3:13-18)

Awake to righteousness, and sin not.” (I Corinthians 15:34)

“I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)

Can we not understand that salvation is not a “get out of jail free card?” Deliverance from the law of sin and death is achieved through being merged with the source of life.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk / live daily life not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law / authority, control of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death…That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:1-6)

It is a privilege to be identified with Creator God. He doesn’t take it lightly when that privilege is abused.

if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)

Do you really think you can get away with accepting the Son of God’s tortuous death on your behalf just to keep on sinning against God with impunity?

This perspective of salvation from sin is completely at odds with the pervasive belief that saying a prayer absolves one of all sins, including unrepented sins in which one plans to continue engaging. Do you think its OK for a pedophile’s case to be dismissed at court on his witness that “I’m a Christian, I don’t have to account for my sins anymore.”? Do you really think state court standards are higher than God’s?

I don’t think so. I’ve heard of too many cases where harden criminals took the law into their own hands when a pedophile was incarcerated with them. They didn’t think a prison sentence was punishment enough.

51-1024x1024-1Sinners saved by grace still need a good lawyer.

If you’ve ever had occasion to solicit the services of an attorney at law, you understand that the primary service they give is advice. What to do, what not to do, and what to stop doing. 

As our advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous doesn’t sweet talk the Father into letting us off the hook. He recounts our change of heart as demonstrated by our change of behavior.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for…the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know / are united with him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (I John 2:1-6)

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

The body of Christ is only faithful to her appointed role as Christ’s partner in salvation by enduring chastening, tribulation, suffering and death.

“I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darknessthe Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak…his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak…

  • I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
  • Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.
    • If they have persecuted me, they will so persecute you…
    • These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation…

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee…I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

  • As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world…
  • Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: “(John 12:46-50, 15:19-20, 16:33, )

when ye [his disciples] shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh…

  • these be the days of [God’s] vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled….
    • there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
    • And they shall fall by the edge of the sword,
    • and shall be led away captive into all nations:
    • and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles,
    • until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled
    • And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
  • And when these things [great distress and wrath upon this people] begin to come to pass,
    • then look up! and lift up [don’t hang them in despair] our heads! for your redemption draweth nigh!!” (Luke 21:20-24

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…and joint-heirs with Christ; IF so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:16-18)

“be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holdingforth the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-17)

the end of all things is at handthink it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you…For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? [So get out there to save the ones you love!]” (I Peter 4:7-18)

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