Deep Passions!

Vol. 3, No. 25 – June 24, 2018

They were entrusted with the oracles of God. Romans 3:2

Nothing causes an unfavorable reaction like spitting on, tearing up, or burning the Bible – at least for the Christian, religious, and the few unchurched that react.

Blood boils, tempers explode, men and women blow their fuses, and the entire world reacts according to their own juice flow. Historically empires have fallen; nations have been divided because of their treatment of God’s Word, the Bible.

The stronger the position held, the deeper the passions will flow.

Unfortunately, the deeper the passions flow, there is also a further point toward which arguments stray from objectivity. Paul had opponents that often used verbiage of the “politically correct” in his day. Listen to how the conversation would begin:

• How can you, Paul, possibly say that . . .?
• Are you trying to tell me/us . . .?
• What are you attempting to say, Paul?
• Did someone on the right wing water your brain?

In Romans 3:1-8, there are objections in the passage, along with answers.

These eight verses contain a red herring. You have heard that term; it means something used to divert attention from the basic issue. In hunting, it is the practice of drawing a smoked herring across the trail to distract the hounds. Thus it presents something that is not easy to understand.

Stuart Briscoe tells of a religious man who struggles with ritual without reality; privilege without perception; objections without objectivity. In the first century this is found in the battle for the Bible.

To be custodians of God’s revelation is a high honor; a privilege. This was the ancestral heritage of the Jews. The Lord’s pronouncements or utterances are called oracles; logia.

John Calvin called them: The treasure of celestial wisdom.

Those are God’s oracles and they are rock-ribbed. There are prophecies for mankind who sincerely want to know their future and how to make good choices for the days ahead. Yet mankind tends to use human reasoning or philosophy to determine what is in store:

The cut of the cards, the toss of the coin, the fall of the dice, the reading of tea leaves, the lines in the palm of the hand, the movement of stats, or the flight of the birds. Even logic is not on their side. I read an article just the other day depicting a woman living in England who “reads” feet to determine personalities. Talk about logic smelling — this is it!

Quite in contrast, and for Israel its great glory, is the possession of the revelation of God.

Possessing a Bible and not using it is like going on a long trip with a Road Atlas or a GPS, and not using them. You do not know where you are going to wind up.

If we gauge value, putting our stock into what we have learned from science, or our ability to earn lots of money, or in our social position, or vocational position, we will come to a place one day that we will wish we had read the map!

I had a professor in seminary who once spoke of the deep emotions of Alexander. Alexander south to conquer the then known world; however, he came to a place that all the maps ran out. He had no place to go. His maps were of no help; he had missed or ignored God’s map.

Our eternity depends on the Divine road map. God wants us to master the reading of His Book, and to be Mastered by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Love the Bible supremely; meditate upon it heartily; keep it faithfully; taste it wholly; understand it thoroughly; live by it resolutely; pray about it reverently, and set your heart upon the oracles of God continually. –F.E. Marsh

How are you doing with God’s Divine map? Do you have a passion for the Scriptures?

Hypocrite!

Vol. 3, No. 24 – June 17, 2018

You who boast in the Law, through you are breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? Romans 2:23

Paul seems to focus on what we say. It is as if Paul writes: You say, do not pray to idols; then you make money your god instead!

It is a revealing heart that attempts to make others believe something about us that is untrue, because we hide the evidence that would speak against us. This is nothing new – many Christians and Christian Leaders have become adept at covering the secret things.

Hypocrite is the right word, even though it sounds harsh.

Hypocrite /hipo, krit, from Latin hypocrita; from the Greek hypokrites – an actor on the stage, wearing a mask, an outward show, false, one who pretends to be what he/she is not, or to have principles or beliefs that he/she does not have.

Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus indicates the word represents an actor, faker, fraud, masquerader, phony, sham, and one who is oily or smooth-tongued. Wow! Those seem like useful equivalents.
In the second chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul is hitting hard on the religious, yet charlatan person of the earth.

They have ritual without redemption, works without worship, form of service without the fear of God, profession without either confession or possession, and religious precepts and practices; plus all the attitudes that go with such attachments to themselves. These “crowned” hypocrites are alien to the grace of God. –Donald G. Barnhouse

Did you hear the question that screams out from the above? Are you practicing what and who you teach/preach/lead/supervise? Is your walk the same as your talk? In the words of an old-time song:

Heap big smoke, but no fire
Him talk a lot; him not so hot

On display is self-righteous arrogance at its height:

• We are so sure of the way to God, that we can lead a blind man
• We think of ourselves as a beacon lights to men who are lost
• We believe we can teach even children in the affairs of God
• We are just sure we are full of extended knowledge and truth (Romans 2:17-20)

Yet . . .

• We teach others; then why not teach ourself?
• We tell others not to steal; yet how do we measure up?
• We say it is wrong to commit adultery; and then we lust after what is not ours
• We say, do not pray to idols, yet we have money for a god
• We say we worship God, but in reality everything is about ourselves

The text is a challenge for God’s reality.

• Truth, not counterfeit
• God expects us to be the real deal, the real thing
• Being a Christian and not living like one is sad; tragic
• Acting like a Christian and not being one is deadly

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves        –James 1:22

How are we doing?

God’s Take on Respect of Persons

Vol. 3, No. 23 – June 10, 2018

For there is no partiality with God. Romans 2:11

No partiality is not acting out in respect of persons. God does not show favoritism; there are no “teacher’s pets with God.”

H.G. Wells, historian, looked over the miseries, problems, and heartaches of mankind and wrote: Either God has the power and does not care, or God cares and does not have the power.

Our Lord is not cold and calculating in His impartiality. He is rich, warm, and caring. It is true that life is not fair; however, that is a reflection on people of the earth, not God. There are differences among people; there are generals and there are privates; there are those who sit at the head of the table, and others who sit near the swinging door of the kitchen. There are leaders; there are following leaders and followers; there are geniuses and there are those who are a long way from there. There are top-floor executives, and there are basement employees who hide from their work.

However, we ought to clearly recognize that God says spiritually, mankind begins on equal footing, and that He will never recognize any judge mankind offers to be determining at odds with the standards of His righteousness and judgment. Mankind makes their own personal difference, choosing to live in a way that pleases man, rather that a way that pleases God.

The “Goddess of Justice” in the Greek idol/god system wears a blindfold. She carries a set of scales, absolutely balanced, and she carries a sword with no scabbard, to strike all guilt alike. She stands on her feet, at the ground – level for all to see her.

The ground is also level at the foot of Calvary’s Cross.

In the court of law, the sage and the simpleton will be on the same footing; the Governor and the gunman have an equal chance in the court. In the church, the holy and the harlot can both enter, if the church bases its truth from God’s non-partial Word.

The sinner and the saintly, the powerful and the powerless, the judge and the judged, the lawyer and the lawless, the noble and the nobody. The proprietor and the pauper, the doctor and the dune, the strong and the stripling, the glamorous and the gawky, the sophisticate and the savage, the worthy and the worthless, [the leader and the follower] . . . all may be saved from whatever their supposed class background. –Donald G. Barnhouse.

It is a matter of the heart!

  • God is totally impartial
  • God loves them all
  • God sees them as equal
  • There is no plea-bargaining with Him
  • There was no respect of persons with the Lord when He went to the Cross

How is our partiality (or impartiality)? Does it line up with how the character of God operates? Perhaps standing in front of a mirror would bring out for us what is really operating in our hearts. If we try it, we may not like it, but we may be changed from the experience!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. –Revelation 22:17

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