Archive for the ‘Bible Commentary’ Category

Why Matter Vibrates

Saturday, 12 Jul 2014 Leave a comment

This is something to just get you thinking. I don’t have a scripture to “prove” why matter vibrates, but consider the following.

The physical universe was spoken into existence (read Genesis 1). This means words – sound. But sound is a vibration. Isn’t it entirely possible that matter vibrates since its creation due to the source of its creation – the voice of God?

If you wonder whether the laws of physics were in place before the universe existed, hang in there. Discussions about natural law in the spiritual realm are to come in the near future. If you just can’t wait, start with the writings of Henry Drummond, especially “Natural Law in the Spiritual World” which is freely available on Google Books.

Categories: Bible Commentary

How God Perfects or Completes You

Tuesday, 1 Jul 2014 Leave a comment

Often an idea or concept related to our relationship with God is changed from what it should be. I am not sure how this happens. Perhaps we remember that the Bible says something about the idea but rather than being careful to see exactly what the Bible says we just carelessly apply it to whatever situation we are dealing with.

A perfect example of this (pun intended) is the idea of God perfecting us. Specifically, some people will say that God uses sickness to perfect us. Not only is this incorrect, it is disturbing since it calls evil good (Isaiah 5:20) and attributes evil to God (the Message translates part of James 1:13 as God “puts evil in no one’s way”).

The verses that convey the idea of God perfecting us come from the book of II Timothy. If we would like to understand the means by which God helps us to be perfect, read what the Bible says. It is His Word to us that tells us about His nature, His means, and His covenant with us.

16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(II Timothy 3:16-17)

First let’s make sure we understand what the word “perfect” means. It doesn’t really quite mean “without flaw or imperfection” as we typically use the word today. In Old English it more has the sense of being complete. The Amplified Bible translates the Greek word artios as “complete and proficient” and the HCSB and ASV as “complete.”

So, how does God make us perfect or complete? The word “that” at the beginning of verse 17 indicates verse 17 contains the result or consequence of verse 16. The result is that a Christian will be complete. What is this is the consequence of? Scripture. The Bible. The Word.

God uses His Word to perfect or complete you. It is given for you to learn about the nature of God and His ways and His covenant with you (doctrine). It is given for you to learn what mistakes you are making in your life that hurt yourself or others or leave you open to attack from the enemy (reproof and correction). It is given for you to know who you are in Christ (you are righteous in the eyes of God).

Never view an evil circumstance as sent by the Lord to perfect you. That is a lie. And, if you have a specific area in which you desire the Lord to complete or perfect you, turn to the Word. It has the answer for you. Whether its sickness, depression, a struggle with a particular sin, or difficulty loving, God will complete you with the Word.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Healing and Miracles Did Not End with the Apostles

Friday, 20 Jun 2014 Leave a comment

With the Healing in Every Book of the Bible series hitting its stride in the Gospels and Acts, this is a perfect time to explain why the pattern seen in the book of Acts is supposed to be continuing today.

Consider first the following scripture from the book of James.

14Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
(James 5:14-15)

Please stop and think carefully about the question posed by James. The simple fact that he asked this question – Is any sick among you? – means that there should not be any sick people in the church. Let that sink in. God wants you well. It is very simple. And, if you are not well, then a prayer of faith will heal (save – Greek sozo) you. Prayer leading to healing sounds like a miracle to me! Healing and miracles are for today. It is very simple.

As stated in the post on Healing in Acts, at the end of the book of Mark, Jesus told us that healing of the sick would be one of the signs that would follow those that believe (Mark 16:15-20).  This is exactly what we see occurring in the book of Acts, and it is what we should see occurring today.

But a problem sometimes occurs when we get to I Corinthians.

8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
(I Corinthians 13:8-10)

Some have argued that this passage says that prophecy and speaking in tongues passed away when the last apostle died. This is because they interpret “that which is perfect” to be the Bible and the last apostle to die was John – the author of the last book to be written for the New Testament, the book of Revelation. It has been said that once the Bible was complete, prophecy and speaking in tongues ceased, and just for good measure so did all other kinds of miracles, healing, and the gifts of the Spirit.

If you think this is what the passage says, take a second look. It also says that when that which is perfect has come, knowledge will pass away. So when the Bible was completed, knowledge passed away with miracles and the like. Really?! Seems like I know at least a few things, so I really don’t think that knowledge has passed away. Isn’t it now obvious that there is a problem with this interpretation?

“That which is perfect” actually refers to Christ. When Christ returns, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and (human) knowledge will pass away because they will no longer be needed. These were all partial, imperfect provisions to help us until Christ returns. Verse 12 talks of seeing “face to face” and knowing even as also I am known. These are references to Christ – His face and knowing as He knows me. This interpretation makes much more sense.

So, rest easy. The gifts of the Spirit have not ceased. God is healing today through His presence in His children. He is the same yesterday (in the Gospels and the book of Acts), today, and forever. He is in you as a Christian, touching you this very moment, wanting to heal you or heal through you just as He did to and through those in the Gospels and the book of Acts.

To further see that God wants to work through ordinary Christians like you and me, consider Acts 8:5-8. Philip was a table waiter. He was not an apostle, but an everyday Christian. But, God healed others through him. The book of Acts shows us how things should work in the New Covenant. It has no ending, and we should see works like this one continuing into our day.

Finally, consider Acts 10:38.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)

The word “for” at the end of the verse means “because” or “due to the fact that”. The following phrase therefore gives the reason or means by which Jesus was healing all that were oppressed of the devil. The reason was because God was with Him. But, God is with you too. Doesn’t Colossians 1:27 say that Christ (God) is in you? Therefore, you satisfy the prerequisite for God to heal other people through you – simply that He is with you.

God always works through people. If we do not follow in the miracle-working steps of those in the book of Acts, people in our generation will not be able to have God work miracles and healing in their lives when they are unable to receive on their own.

For additional teaching and a more complete treatment of God’s healing nature, read the teaching resource Acts Chapter 29 (Miracles and Healing Still Happen).

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

The One Word Difference

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014 Leave a comment

Unfortunately, at times, one word can lead to a lot of trouble. Consider the following verse.

32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32)

Notice the word “men” is in italics. In the King James Bible this means that the word is not explicitly present in the original language and was added to make the English proper and clear. In Greek, I believe the text would read something more like “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me.”  Notice the what will be drawn to Christ is implied and not explicit in the original language. The King James Bible translators interpreted the object of the verb to be humanity. But, is this correct?

I believe this verse has been used to argue for universal salvation (every one is or will be saved). It makes everyone feel better if we know all will be saved and we need not argue about such things. But, what if this doctrine is wrong? That would be a pretty huge mistake.  Obviously, this is a controversial doctrine and a key point of understanding in Christianity.

So, reconsider the verse again. What is being discussed in the surrounding verses?  Meaning, what is the context?

30Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.
33This he said, signifying what death he should die.
(John 12:31-33)

Farther back in the passage Jesus does mention people serving and following Him.  But, in the immediate context, judgment is what is being discussed.

Is Christ beckoning all to come to Him? Sure. Will He succeed in drawing all to Him for salvation? No. This is very simple if you read Matthew 7:13-14. So this verse is not speaking of universal salvation. It is speaking of Christ taking on the judgment for sin for all of humanity so that all can be saved if they so chose to accept this provision by their loving Father.

It is a key point of understanding for all people – Christians and unbelievers – that Jesus took the judgment for all of your sins – past, present, and future. This was the nature and purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. He drew all judgment to Him so you could be restored to a love relationship with your Father for eternity.

The lesson here – learn to read your Bible. Use a translation that allows you to see and investigate nuances when necessary. Know the heart and nature of God so that when you read something contrary to His nature you will get a check in your spirit and be prompted to dig and learn what the verse or passage is really saying.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Categories: Bible Commentary

Are you sure you want to disbelieve in divine healing?

Saturday, 22 Sep 2012 Leave a comment

Paint with me the following picture in your mind. A man has a chronic condition or disease, or perhaps he has multiple chronic conditions and consumes dozens of different medications each day. He is a Christian but does not believe in healing. He may even believe that God has given him the problem or problems he suffers from. From day to day, life is different. Some days he feels better, some days he feels worse as his body fights to be well and his condition yo-yos. Virtually every doctor visit results in a shift of the medications he takes or the conditions he has. These shifts cause further daily changes in how he feels and his ability to function. Nothing is ever certain in the future. He is constantly wondering how he will feel tomorrow or what new change may come upon him in the days to come.

Is this really God’s will and desire for this man?

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
(Matthew 7:24-27, from the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount)

If we hear the words of Jesus and act upon them, Jesus says that our life will (as a general pattern) be as a stable house built solidly on a rock. If we hear the words of Jesus and do not act upon them, our life will (as a general pattern) be as a house built upon sand that a storm can easily cause to shift or crumble. These statements result in an equivalence relation: having a stable life is equated to acting upon the words of Christ.

If we look at the three incidents immediately following the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew (these are not chronological but occurred in near proximity of time to the Sermon), in each incident Jesus made it perfectly clear that He wanted to heal (Matthew 8:3, Matthew 8:7, and Mark 1:30-31 in the parallel account of Peter’s mother-in-law being healed). The author is making a clear point – God wants you well and He will take action to make it so if you will let Him.

Returning to the picture we painted, the man’s life is unstable, unpredictable, and ever-changing because of his sicknesses. His house is resting on constantly shifting sands. Why? He is not acting on the words of Jesus. What did Jesus say? Yes, I will come and heal you. When you believe Him and act on His provision for you, your life will become a house fixed on a rock – the Rock.

Do you really want to disbelieve in divine health and healing? Do you really want that portion of your life to be built on shifting sands? God loves you and has provided much better for you through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. “By His stripes you were healed.” (I Peter 2:24) Move your house (your temple for the Holy Spirit, the body your spirit lives in) to the Rock and receive all that the Lord has provided for you.

 – Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Categories: Bible Commentary Tags:

God Demonstrates His Ways

Friday, 21 Sep 2012 Leave a comment
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

Often we have trouble facing the truth and reality of the promises of God. The ways of God are often contrary to the ways of the world that we have unfortunately become so accustomed to. His ways are at times so contrary that we have trouble just simply trusting Him and doing what He says with the expectation of receiving what He has promised. Give and I will receive? Give when I am in need myself? Our tendency would be to save and hoard when we are in need. How can this possibly work? Turn the other cheek? Forgive when we are hurt? At times these things seem completely backwards from our human logic. But, I would argue that God often does not ask us to do something that He Himself is not willing to do. Through His highly effective and successful demonstrations we can understand and believe that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways really are higher than ours.

Consider John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” To His creation that had effectively turned their back on Him or fallen into self-righteousness, God gave His Son. Shouldn’t He have given us judgment or punishment or swept us from the face of time and space? Did this make any sense? Would it work? To answer this, look at the result of God giving – God received. He received what He wanted in the first place – people to love. By giving away a person, His Son Jesus Christ, He received people – those who have accepted Christ and turned their heart to God as redeemed sons and daughters. And His return was not just 30, 50, or 100-fold. His return is well into and well beyond the millions.

By giving, we receive. It is God’s system for our provision and for the provision for others. Time for time. Love for love. Money for money. Friendship for friendship. And, in the case of God and us, life for life.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

Categories: Bible Commentary

How to Have Assurance of Salvation

Monday, 18 Jun 2012 Leave a comment

One important aspect of our salvation is how we continue to view our salvation after we are initially saved. This is often called “assurance of salvation” or “eternal security.” Peter discusses this topic at the beginning of his second letter.

3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  (II Peter 1:3-10)

The verse to start with is at the end, verse 10, where Peter exhorts us to make our calling and election sure (to be assured of our salvation). This verse is a perfect example of the dangers of reading a scripture out of context. Taken on its own, our human nature easily focuses on the fact that we are told to “make your calling and election sure.” If your relationship with God is contaminated with legalism and religion, then your mind will immediately begin trying to figure out what you must diligently do to be sure of your salvation. Often this takes the form of striving (in your own strength) to lead a “good, moral, Christian life” with the thought that success in doing this is what assures you of your salvation.

This is simply wrong. This is a works-based, legalistic, religious approach to Christianity, which is supposed to be a relationship, not a religion. The context of this verse illustrates this exact point. If we fail to understand the context of verse 10, we easily fall into our own human perceptions of life which are so often contaminated or plainly wrong.

Peter says in verse 10 that you will never fall away if you “do these things.” What are these things? Working backwards, verse 9 ends the explanation: do not forget that you have been purged from your sins.

A person who is not assured of their salvation has some level of guilt, shame, or condemnation in their life. These things create doubt concerning your relationship with God. They are poison. You are in a state of sin consciousness. But, Hebrews 10:2 is emphatic that once a perfect sacrifice has been offered, a worshiper should have no more conscience of sin. A perfect sacrifice has been offered for you – Christ, the Lamb of God. Therefore, you should never have to think about or worry about sin ever again; you should no longer feel guilty or condemned – all of your sin has been paid for.

This is what Peter says you must not forget. You must not forget that you have been purged of your sins. (Peter says “old sins” but I John 2:2 and Hebrews chapters 9 and 10 make it clear that all sin has been dealt with past, present, and future.) If you understand this, you will not have guilt, shame, or condemnation; and, you will therefore be assured of your salvation.

The other “things” Peter mentions besides knowing your sins are forgiven are also related to an understanding of your salvation. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and charity are largely part of another familiar list – Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit. Once you are born again, your spirit nature is changed. Your spirit is now the same as Christ’s – the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:17). You have all of the fruits of the Spirit on the inside of you in your born-again spirit. The challenge is to renew your mind to your new nature and these will be released into your soul and body. This is what Peter says in verse 3 – we have already been given all things that we need for life and godliness. Knowing your sins are purged is related to fully understanding your salvation. Understanding your salvation, not self-effort, leads to all of the things listed in verses 5-7. They are realized in your life by knowing who you are in Christ.

So, to summarize, assurance of salvation comes from not being sin conscious, from knowing who you are in Christ, and from renewing your mind to know what (and who!) lives on the inside of you. It is not something you must work for or work at. It comes from knowledge and rest (see Hebrews 4 where we are told to labor to enter rest).

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing