Sacrifice of Christ for our sin foretold

Posted by admin on 29 March 2020 in Isaiah |

Isaiah 53:1-12

Sacrifice of Christ for our sin was foretold in verses 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 in Isaiah 53 as underlined as below.

1 Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Solomon

Posted by admin on 22 March 2020 in 1 Kings |

Solomon’s life gives us the lesson that even wisest men can be gone astray by women. How?

1 Kings 11:2 describes this as below:

They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

Even when women were spiritually wrong, Solomon continued to hold fast to them in love…

Adam also took the forbidden fruit from the woman even when she had already been captivated by the snake (Genesis 3:6).

a spring of water welling up to eternal life

Posted by admin on 15 March 2020 in John |

See John 4:13-14.

    13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Let us think about what ‘thirsty again’ means.

Our physical body is mortal. Our body has physiological needs. So, we drink physical water and eat physical food.  We have to repeat this. We value physical things and do not know they can’t satisfy our soul. This misunderstanding can put us in pursuit or competition for the limited resources. This pursuit or competition can make us tired of the repetition. ‘thirsty again’ expresses this. But if we drink the water Jesus gives will never thirst, giving eternal satisfaction and eternal life. It will become a spring of water welling up forever.

This water satisfies our soul and does not require repetition

People who depend only on physical water will be continuously thirsty. Either ignorant or resentful of their God-implanted need for spiritual water, they will always look in the wrong direction for satisfaction. Jeremiah had proclaimed this truth centuries earlier: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). [2]

God Himself is the spring of living water (Jeremiah 2:13). The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross qualified us (His believers) to retain inside us this spring of water welling up to eternal life.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition, Jn 4:13-14). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Gangel, K. O. (2000). John (Vol. 4, p. 76). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Being born again

Posted by admin on 8 March 2020 in John |

John 3:1-16

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

(Message)

Nicodemus was one of Pharisees. This means he was a religious leader. Also he was a member of the Jewish ruling council. Therefore, he was a political leader. That is, Nicodemus was a very successful man. He was successful enough to be an idol of young generation in the society. Even though he was extremely successful, he was incomplete. So he came to Jesus to get help. He came to Jesus at night to avoid the attention of the crowd because of his high position in the society. He confessed that Jesus is a teach who has come from God, based on his observation on miraculous signs that Jesus performed. What is the reply of Jesus? See v3.

3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

Nicodemus was not spiritually reborn. As a result, he was in fact spiritually blind. Therefore he can see miracles Jesus performed but he couldn’t see the kingdom of God. What he knows about Jesus was his reasoning from what he hears and sees using his physical ears and eyes, but he was spiritually ignorant.

What was the response of Nicodemus? See v4.

4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

He thought born again means physically being born again. So he couldn’t understand how it could happen. We can see Nicodemus was spiritually ignorant. We can learn academic achievement does not entail spiritual enlightenment. How does Jesus help Nicodemus? See v5-8.

5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Here being born of water means ‘repentance of sin’. This emphasizes the human action of repentance. Sin includes any attitude or tendency that makes us away from God or church of God or work of God. Repentance means 180 degree turning away from sin and setting the direction of life toward God. Here, the water is originated from Baptist John’s water baptism, which is baptism of repentance. Baptism was performed in the river. By sinking in the water, it is declared that my sinful body is dead and my sinful life has ended. By coming out of the water, it is declared that brand new life in God has started.

Being born of the Spirit means ‘forgiveness of sin’. This emphasizes the help of God’s power to burn off the sin. Holy Spirit can burn our sin away.

Jesus explained the Spirit using example of the wind. We can’t see the wind but we can tell the existence and work of the wind based on movement of leaves. Likewise, we can tell the existence and work of the Spirit based on changes made by the Spirit.

What is response of Nicodemus? See v9.

9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

Nicodemus was still ignorant. Now, Jesus rebuked Nicodemus.

10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (10-12)

Now Jesus predicts his death on the cross.  See v13-15.

13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

The story regarding to v14 is written at Numbers 21:4-9. Israelites were impatient and complained, so God sent venomous snakes and many of them died by the snakes. When people repented and Moses prayed, God let Moses make bronze snake and put up on a pole so that anyone bitten can look it up and live. Here the bronze snake represents Jesus on the cross. This story gives us lessons. First of all, we learn complaint is serous sin. Secondly, we learn how to survive by looking at Jesus when we have deadly problem while we will not survive if we look at our problems and struggle by ourselves.

See v16.

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 is the key verse of the entire Bible.  This is love story of the creator. All we need is God’s love.

When I was a teenager, I met Jesus, I felt his love, and I was so happy. So I know what I really need is love of God. Then, the Holy Spirit revealed my sinfulness and selfishness. I felt the hurts of others by my selfishness and sinfulness. I cried many days and hated & blamed myself.  I totally repented and I was so moved by the love Jesus had on the cross to forgive my sin. And I totally surrendered to the Lord Jesus. I know it is all about love. Jesus is real. I pray that all of you here may repent your sins with tears, open your heart, receive Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit burn your sins away.

I share a great illustration of John 3:16 I found in [2]:

God The greatest Lover so loved The greatest degree
the world The greatest company that he gave The greatest act
his one and only Son The greatest gift that whoever The greatest opportunity
believes The greatest simplicity in him The greatest attraction
shall not perish The greatest promise but The greatest difference
have The greatest certainty eternal life The greatest possession

REFERENCES

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition.). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe (p. 86). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books

Creation or Evolution?

Posted by admin on 1 March 2020 in Creation, Genesis, Hebrews, Timothy |

How did we come to exist? This is the primary question of philosophy. But philosophy does not give us correct answer but leaves a question mark in the end. The origin is a matter of belief (faith). What you believe does matter. What is your belief on our origin? Let us study about two beliefs in the world and choose a right one today.

There are largely two different beliefs in the world. One is theism and the other is atheism. Theism is a belief that there is God. Atheism is a belief that there is no God.

Theism explains the origin of humans with creation. Atheism explains this with evolution.

Let us start with evolution. First of all, evolution is a hypothesis. And evolutionists are believers on this hypothesis.

Evolutionists believe we were evolved from one cell animal, called Amoeba.

Then we have a question to ask, “how did Amoeba come to exist?” Evolutionists explain that Amoeba was spontaneously formed from chemical reactions between elements like H (Hydrogen), O (Oxygen), and C (Carbon), ignited by the lightnings.

Amoeba has one cell but if we examine the cell, its cell contains three major macromolecules that are essential for all forms of life. They are RNA, DNA, and proteins. As the science learns more things, it realizes RNA is more complicated than any machinery that humans ever developed. So ‘spontaneous formation of life’ became harder to believe. In addition, evolution does not explain where elements like H, O, and C are from.

Even though evolutionists cannot convince spontaneous formation of Amoeba, they insist Amoeba evolved into advanced animals by mutation. Mutation is a permanent change in the DNS sequence of a gene. But during mutation, DNA keeps or loses the existing genetic information but never add new genetic information. Without adding new genetic information into DNA, evolution is not possible. Evolutionists ask us to believe ‘evolution by mutation’ is happening all around us, but this is clearly false. ‘Evolution from Amoebas to humans’ simply cannot work.

Also if evolution were correct, we should have found fossils of intermediate species between two different species to show evolution process. But scientists could not find such fossils, which are called missing links.

So evolution is a theory and the theory in crisis.

Modern science supports creation more than evolution.

Based on evolution and atheism, we cannot understand the preciousness of our life and it cannot explain why we have righteous mind and love and what is the purpose of life.

Instead, it leads us into wrong principles like the money almighty principle, the success almighty principle, communism, hedonism, nihilism, and debauchery.

Then, now, let us discuss about how creation explains this.

We can find the answer from the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible consists of 66 books. These books are written by many people of different backgrounds and times but the theme of each book is one, that is, the Messiah (Saviour), Jesus Christ.
Therefore the author of these 66 books is God who wrote each book through different people (writers), inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Genesis, the first book of the Holy Bible, declares God’s creation of the universe.

This book is called “Gate of the Holy Bible”. It is because we can understand the other books of the Holy Bible through this book. As we can enter a house through the gate, we can enter to the world of the Holy Bible through Genesis.

Genesis is also called the book of beginnings. Genesis lets us know the beginnings of the universe, creatures, marriage, sin, and many other beginnings.

See Genesis 1:1.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Here, “In the beginning” means the starting point of time and space, beginning point of creation. “God” is Elohim in Hebrew. Elohim is the plural form of Eloah, which means Almighty God. The fact that God was expressed in the plural form is the basis of the Trinity. God is Triune God, existing as three persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in one being. “created” is ‘bara’ in Hebrew, which means creating something from nothing. “bara” can be used to describe the unique activity of God only.  It is distinguished from human activities like ‘design’ or ‘build’. “the heavens” is in the plural form and means the whole universe. “the earth” is in the singular form and means the earth where we are living.

So, the Holy Bible declares that

  1. There is God.
  2. God is almighty.
  3. God created the whole universe in the beginning (indicating that God has ownership & control, and everything in the universe has its purpose in God).

Genesis 1:3 reads

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Here, we can learn God’s word has the power of creation. God’s invisible word created the visible world. Shortly, the word created the world. The invisible created the visible.

Hebrews 11:3b says,

What is seen was NOT made out of what was visible.

Then, what made this visible universe? Hebrews 11:3a says,

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.

 Here ‘faith’ is defined in Hebrew 11:1.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Genesis was written by God through Moses nearly 5,500 years ago. There was no science or evolution theory. But Genesis chapter 1 tell the truth of creation against evolution by repeatedly saying “(God created…) according to their kinds” 9 times in Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25. So we can understand the diversity of each species is not by accident but by the plan, purpose, and design of God.

Genesis 1:27 Says

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

So, we can understand why we have the image of God that makes us righteousness and love oriented.

Q & A

Q: Where does ‘faith’ come from?

A: See Romans 10:17

17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Q: Where can we read the word of Christ?

A: All Scripture is God-breathed as written in 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

You are welcome! But how to receive a rich welcome?

Posted by admin on 23 February 2020 in 2 Peter |

Key verses:      2 Peter 1:10-11

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

Scripture:        2 Peter 1:1-11

1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Confirming one’s calling and election

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is short-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

(Message)

See v10.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,

Calling and election is yet another example of Peter’s use of a pair of words of very similar meaning. If a distinction is to be made between them, we can say that election is a prior decision to select someone from a group (as, for example, God selecting Israel out of the nations to be his people), while calling is the actual process of inviting the elected ones to share in the privileges and responsibilities of their election. The one who does the calling and choosing is God. These two terms stress the fact that it is through God’s initiative that people experience a new relationship with God. [2]

But how do people confirm their call and election? We should of course avoid translating this in such a way as to make the calling and election dependent on human action rather than on divine initiative. God is the one who calls, but those who are called must show by their action that their call is real and that their election is absolutely certain. In this way they themselves, as well as people from outside the church, won’t have any doubt regarding the genuineness of God’s call. [2]

This emphasis on the importance of the human role in the Christian life serves to remind the readers that there are teachers who would like to lead them into a morally lax existence. In such cases it is possible to restructure the ordering of these clauses completely and say, for example, “My brothers, God has called you to follow him and has chosen you to be his people. So, if you want to insure that this experience lasts permanently, you must try even harder than you have up to now” or “… Therefore try even harder to act in a way that will prove to yourselves and others that God has really called you to follow him and has chosen you to be his people.” [2]

If you do these things can refer to what comes immediately before, that is, making sure of your calling and election, or else to the virtues in verses 5–7, since literally this reads “if you do these things.” “Stumble,” in this context can refer to committing error or sinning, or falling away from the faith and becoming unfaithful to Christ. Some commentators take this in a future sense, taking “stumble” as referring to the inability of reaching final salvation. The Greek negative (never) here is emphatic, with the sense of “never, never,” or “never at any time.” [2]

  • If the translator understands the phrase if you do these things to refer to the virtues listed in verses 5–7, and stumble to refer to “becoming unfaithful to Christ,” an alternative translation model is the following; “If you follow these qualities you will never stop trusting in Christ.” However, if stumble is understood as committing error or sinning, then one can translate “if you follow these qualities you will never fall into sin.” [2]
  • However, if translators understand if you do these things to refer to what comes immediately before this text, an alternative translation model is the following: “if you insure that God has called you and chosen you, you will never stop trusting in Christ (or, never fall into sin).” [2]

See v11.

11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This verse continues the thought of verse 10 and mentions in a positive way the reward that comes to believers as they make sure of their call and election. It begins with the word and’, again referring back to the virtues mentioned earlier. In many languages this can be rendered as “By doing all these things …” [2]

 

Reference

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition, 2 Pe 1:10–11). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Arichea, D. C., & Hatton, H. (1993). A handbook on the letter from Jude and the second letter from Peter (pp. 83–85). New York: United Bible Societies.

Play The Armour of God VR Game during O-Week 2020!

Posted by admin on 10 February 2020 in Biblical Game, O-Week |

Artboard 1

Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus takes His followers to be with Him that they also may be where He is.

Posted by admin on 26 January 2020 in John |

Let us study John 14:2-6, which reveals His plan to take His disciples to His Father’s house (that is, heaven).

Let us understand the context, in which Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

(scripture)

John 14:2-6

 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(message)

See v2.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

As to the Father’s house, [2] says “The simplest explanation is best: my Father’s house refers to heaven, and in heaven are many rooms, many dwelling-places. The point is not the lavishness of each apartment, but the fact that such ample provision has been made, that there is more than enough space for every one of Jesus’ disciples to join him in his Father’s home.”

Rooms (‘monai’ in Greek) are mansions [3], or dwelling places [4].

‘My Father’s house’ is where Jesus was going. So we know where Jesus is now.

See v3.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

‘My Father’s house’ is where Jesus will take them to be with Him that they also may be where He is.

See v4.

‘You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Yes, I know. His Father’s house is where Jesus was going (v2), and He will take His followers there (v3). But v4 triggered Thomas’ question. Thomas, one of his disciple, asked in v5.

‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

This was very interesting conversation! Without destination, we are unable to get the route😊. Thomas was not familiar with the destination (His Father’s house). So, he wasn’t able to know the route well. Jesus answered to his question. See v6.

‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Jesus didn’t explain about the destination again. Jesus only answered about ‘the way’ to ‘the Father’, whose house has many dwelling places where Jesus and His followers will be.

Jesus Himself is the way, and the only way to the Father. Amen.

Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus takes His followers to be with Him that they also may be where He is.

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, pp. 489, 1991.

[3] Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B, pp. 103–104). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[4] Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John (p. 454). New York: United Bible Societies.

Without Jesus Christ, no one can truly know God

Posted by admin on 19 January 2020 in John, Matthew |

IT IS WRITTEN:

No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27c)

 Today let us study the fact that it is up to the Son (Jesus Christ) in order for us to truly know the Father (God the Creator).

John 17:3 says that ‘eternal life’ is knowing the only true God, and His Son, whom He has sent.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Let’s read

Matthew 11:25-30

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

See v27a

All things have been committed to me by my Father.

The Son (Jesus Christ) has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Now it is AD (Anno Domini: "In the year of (our) Lord") and the Lord (Jesus Christ) has all authority!

‘All’, of course, include everything necessary to the full execution of that trust—that is, unlimited power [3].

See v27b and v27c.

“No one knows the Son except the Father” (27b)

“and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (27c)

Knows (v27): in biblical thought, the idea of knowing supersedes mere knowledge, for it includes thorough, intimate knowledge that puts people in a special relationship to each other. In Amos 3:2, for example, the verb “know” is used of God’s election of Israel as his people: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” Jesus is here affirming that he and the Father stand in a unique and intimate relationship with one another: only the Father knows who Jesus really is, and only Jesus (the Son) and whomever the Son chooses to reveal God to possesses true understanding of the Father. [2]

Only the Son can choose to reveal the Father (27c).

“the Father and the Son are mutually and exclusively known to each other!” We would find no higher claim to equality with the Father. The proper divinity of Christ is beyond dispute. “But, alas for me!” may some burdened soul, sighing for relief, here exclaim. If it be thus with us, what can any poor creature do but lie down in passive despair, unless he could dare to hope that he may be one of the favored class “to whom the Son is willing to reveal the Father.” But rather, this testimony to the sovereignty of that gracious “will,” on which alone men’s salvation depends, is designed but to reveal the source and enhance the glory of it when once imparted—not to paralyze or shut the soul up in despair. Hear, accordingly, what follows: [3]

See v28.

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’

All who are weary” are all those who are trying to work out their own salvation, and the more serious they are, the more they will toil [5].

All who are burdened” are all those who have let others burden them down with what the others think will secure salvation. [5]

As no one can really know God without the help of Jesus, all efforts they are making are useless. Religious, philosophical, moral, financial, physical, scientific, even any toilsome or torturing efforts, all these efforts cannot let us really know God without Jesus. If so, we are weary (by oneself) and burdened (by others) in blindness, and hopelessness. But Jesus invites us and promises us to give us rest. Jesus Christ alone holds the sovereign key to the revelation, and the salvation.

See v29a.

29 ‘Take my yoke upon you’

It is the yoke of subjection to Jesus [3].

The invitation to come to Christ remains for all today, but it requires the recognition that persons cannot come by exalting themselves (Matthew 11:23), but only by completely depending on and trusting in Christ. [4]

See v29b.

‘and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’

As Christ’s willingness to empty Himself to the uttermost of His Father’s requirements was the spring of inexpressible tranquillity to His own Spirit, so in the same track does He invite all to follow Him, with the assurance of the same experience. [3]

See v30.

30 ‘For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

But how about the yoke? Is not the Christian profession a hard life, much harder than the other type of life? Here is the answer: “For my yoke is pleasant (χρηστός), and my load is light (ἐλαφρόν).” “What can be lighter than a burden which unburdens us and a yoke which bears its bearer?” (Bernhard Rothmann). “Christ’s burden does not oppress but makes light and itself bears rather than is borne.” (Martin Luther). The burden and the yoke are one, the former defining the latter. We take on a new Master, and he lays on us a new load—but what a difference! Since, however, we are bound to think of the cross, affliction, persecution, and hard trials entailed in coming to Christ, let us say that all these are more than counterbalanced by the power, help, strength, and consolation supplied by him. On the other hand, those who spurn Christ’s yoke have only dismay and despair when the judgments of God begin to strike them.[5]

Finally, let us read v25.

25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

“Little children” refers to those who respond to God by acknowledging their dependence on him. The “wise and learned,” as the opposite category of persons, must therefore represent those who feel they have no need for God. Verse 25 thus cannot be used as a proof text for anti-intellectualism. Jesus does not contrast “wise” versus “stupid,” but he does declaim a godless intellectualism. [4]

See v26.

26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

A possible translation for v26 is “Yes, Father, because that was what you chose to do.” [4]

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

[2] Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 343). New York: United Bible Societies.

[3] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 39). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Blomberg, C. (1992). Matthew (Vol. 22, p. 193-5). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (p. 456-9). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

[6] Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 342). New York: United Bible Societies.

What we can learn from the rule Paul laid down in all the churches

Posted by admin on 13 January 2020 in 1 Corinthians, Acts, Genesis, The Book of Romans |

Paul laid down the rule in all the churches in Corinthians 7:17-24.

17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. (1 Corinthians 7:17-24)

I underlined for clarity as below.

18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

But, as for a job situation (e.g., slave) in v21-24, Paul added “although if you can gain your freedom, do so.” (21b).

Now I can conclude that what Paul is teaching is that physical issues like being circumcised or not, or having beard (Leviticus 19:27) or not DO NOT MATTER, and DO NOT CHANGE. Rather, job situations like slavery matters more in comparison. So, focus on what matters more! BE WISE, BE PRACTICAL, BE REAL!

My short message is concluded as above. Only if you want to read more about circumcision issue, please read on:

Let us briefly review the origin of circumcision.

When Abram was 99 years old and childless, God gave him the new name ‘Abraham’ (the father of many nations) as shown in Genesis 17:1-8. On the other hand, Abraham and his descendants should be circumcised as shown in Genesis 17:9-14.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’

Abram fell face down, and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.’

Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.’ (Genesis 17:1-14)

 

When Jesus, the Messiah came to the world, taught us, died for our sins, resurrected from the death, and ascended to the heaven, the good news of salvation (the Gospel) started to spread to the whole world. When the Gentile accepted the Gospel, a question was raised: “Should the Gentile be circumcised?” and the apostles should make a decision about this. The details are written in Acts 15:1-35.

15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.’

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles should hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

16 ‘ “After this I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

Its ruins I will rebuild,

and I will restore it,

17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,

even all the Gentiles who bear my name,

says the Lord, who does these things”—

18          things known from long ago.

19 ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’

The council’s letter to Gentile believers

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

Farewell.

30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [34]  35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord.

Paul, one of the apostles of the LORD, Jesus, taught them in his letters.

25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a law-breaker.

28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. (Romans 2:25-29)

References

[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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