Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Romans 8:19-23 - The Groaning of Creation


Paul had last begun a discussion on the believers' adoption and the glory that would one day be revealed in them. Paul continued with this.

Romans 8:19-23 (KJV)
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

In verse 19 Paul stated that creation is earnestly waiting for the manifestation (revealing) of the sons of God. This manifestation will take place as believers receive their glorified bodies. The human fleshly, corruptible body will no longer exist, but will be replaced by the glorified resurrected body that is no longer subject to decay.

Paul's statement indicates that creation itself is in a condition of decay and is seeking a release. According to verse 20, creation's condition resulted not from anything that it did, but was subjected or cursed because God desired it. Verse 21 finishes the explanation as to why God would curse creation. It was to create hope, that with the glorification of the children of God (believers), creation would also be set free from its slavery to corruption and would realize the same glorious liberty as the children of God.

Verse 22 further illustrates that creation is groaning and suffering as if it were experiencing the pains of childbirth. Notice that Paul used the word, "now." Although creation is still groaning, something occurred and made a change.

Verse 23 alludes to the change. Creation, as well as believers, have the firstfruits of the Spirit. Prior to the death and resurrection of Yeshua and the coming of the Holy Spirit creation could only groan under the burden of corruption. But since then creation and believers have an installment that gives hope for the final adoption or redemption of the body that will take place at the end of the age when Yeshua returns.

Ephesians 1:14 (KJV)
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Although we can be saved spiritually now, the final redemption of the body is something that we have to look forward to. Creation joins us in that glorious hope for the future. What a glorious day that will truly be!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Excuse the Delay!

Dear Readers:

I will be away from my computer for a little while! In the meantime, please look over my archived articles.

Blessings to you all! Much love in our Messiah Yeshua!

Eclectic Christian

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Romans 8:14-18 - Adopted By God


Believers are to walk in the Spirit and are to discipline the deeds of the body. What more was Paul going to teach?

Romans 8:14-18 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 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.

According to verse 14, they, that are led by the Holy Spirit, are the sons of God. Here Paul again stressed that although all people are his children in a sense, true sons and daughters are only those that have entered into a relationship with God and are walking accordingly. There is a definite distinction between the majority of mankind and His own.

But believers have not received the spirit of bondage that results in fear (verse 15). They have received the Spirit of adoption which entitles them to call God, "Father." Traditional Christianity has thought that the spirit of bondage came as a result of being under the obligation of Torah. But based on Paul's glowing descriptions of the Torah, it would be unthinkable that he would consider obligatory Torah observance to lead to bondage.

Romans 7:22 (KJV)
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

John also agreed with Paul.

1 John 5:3 (KJV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

The spirit of bondage results from being enslaved to sin, which leads to fear of the judgment of God. For believers, however, their status has changed. They are no longer enslaved to sin, but to righteousness, where there is no fear.

Verse 16 assures believers that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within. He witnesses with their own natural spirit that they are children of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:5a (KJV)
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance...

And if believers are the children of God, then they are also heirs of God, just as Yeshua is (verse 17). Although this means that believers will suffer persecution and reproach because of faith, they will also be glorified like Yeshua. In fact, believers will be glorified together with Him! This statement was meant to be a great comfort for believers. Paul went on to compare the sufferings of this age to the glory that will eventually be bestowed on the believers (verse 18). Although the sufferings can be great, the glory far outweighs them.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (KJV)
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Paul would continue his thoughts in the next section. Stay tuned!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Where Does Your Help Come From?

Where do you turn for help? God, right? But do we always truly seek Him first with complete confidence?

Recently, as I was coming upon a stressful situation I early sought the Lord's help. Yet, as I went through the days leading up to it, I found that I was looking around in my circumstances for an escape path. I was seeking help externally, rather than truly seeking God. This is not to say that God can't bring outside help, but my focus had moved away from God to those possible outside helps.

Wham, I got that slap upside my head again! (See here:)

Look what my devotional reading for this morning was!

Psalm 121:1-8 (KJV)
1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Yes, my help comes from God. He may use some outside assistance, but He is perfectly capable of operating all on His own. After all, He is the creator of heaven and earth. Unless it is His will, He will not let my foot be moved. He never sleeps and He is able to keep me at all times. He is my shade to keep me from the sun or moon. He preserves me from evil and He preserves my soul. He preserves my going out and my coming in. His care is forever.

Whatever more do I need?! I will truly trust Him today!

Shabbat Shalom to all my dear readers!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Romans 8:12-13 - Debtors


Paul had contrasted life in the flesh to life in the Spirit. He continued in this theme.

Romans 8:12-13 (KJV)
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

According to verse 12 believers are debtors.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

They are bought with a price. It took the Creator God to offer himself as a sacrifice for the salvation of those who would believe. He took the penalty that sinful man deserved and was crucified. Through Him believers have eternal life. They owe Him everything.

Yet, believers are not debtors to the body with its fleshly desires. For if believers lived according to those desires, they would die (verse 13). Instead the believers were, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, to mortify (bring under control) the deeds of the body. Then they would live.

It is important to understand that the desires of the flesh refers to those attractions and pulls that lead to sin, and are not those desires that are acceptable to God. In other words caring for your body is not what is in mind here. Throughout church history believers have attempted to gain God's approval by some rather horrendous practices, such as climbing stairs on the knees, refusing food, and abusing the body. This was never God's intent.

Yet, these two verses pack a punch! Without question, salvation comes by grace through faith. However, these verses clearly indicate that continuing to live according to the desires of the flesh is inconsistent with true belief. When the Holy Spirit lives within believers, desires and behaviors change.

This behooves us to examine ourselves carefully! If we are living in habitual sin, or have the idea that God accepts us in our sinful state and we do not change, we are likely not saved!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Parable of the Two Sticks

This morning I was reading the Haftarah portion for Vayigash. It was Ezekiel 37:15-28. In it Ezekiel was told by God to take two sticks. He was to write "For Judah" on one of them and "For Joseph" on the other. These sticks were to represent the divided Kingdom which was made up of Judah (the southern kingdom) and Israel (the northern kingdom that was also known as Ephraim, which came from the name of one of the sons of Joseph). Ezekiel was to put these two sticks together, although it doesn't say how he was to do that. Perhaps he joined them in some way, or perhaps God miraculously joined them. Anyway, in their joined state, this single stick represented that the divided kingdom would one day become one again.

Ezekiel 37:21 (KJV)
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:

In verse 21 God explained how this joining would take place. He would bring back to the land of Israel his Jewish people from wherever they had been scattered. This prophecy is being fulfilled during our own days. Beginning with the statehood of Israel in 1948, Jews have been going back to their own land.

Ezekiel 37:22-23 (KJV)
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

Verse 22 adds that there will be one king over the reunited Israel. This has not yet been fulfilled, but verse 23 gives us a clue as to the timing of this one king. In this joined Israel, the Jews will no longer defile themselves with their idols, their detestable things, nor their transgressions. God will save them and cleanse them, so that He would be their God and they would be His people. This is depicting a time that Paul speaks of in Romans. Eventually, all the Jews will be saved and they will recognize their Messiah.

Romans 11:26 (KJV)
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Ezekiel 37:24 (KJV)
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

Verse 24 of Ezekiel specifies that the king will be David. This is not David in some reincarnated sense, but rather indicates that the Messiah King will be a descendant of David. That King will be Yeshua. This verse also points out that the Jews having been saved will walk in God's judgments, observe His statutes, and will do them. What are God's judgments and statutes? Any Jew will know that God's judgments and statutes are found in the Torah. Since they will be saved, they will have the indwelling Holy Spirit that will enable them to observe the Torah. Let me say this again. After salvation, God's people will observe and obey the Torah.

Ezekiel 37:26 (KJV)
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

Lastly, Ezekiel repeats that God will make an everlasting covenant of peace with the Jewish people. This is not a new covenant that abolishes the old, rather it is the renewed covenant that is spoken of in Jeremiah. Notice, too, that the dwelling place of the Jews will be in the land of Israel, where God will set His sanctuary in the midst of them. This will be their covenant and dwelling place forever.

Jeremiah 31:31 (KJV)
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

The time that Ezekiel has been speaking of is after Yeshua's return, when He establishes His Milennial Kingdom. However, the covenant that God makes with Israel and their homeland will last forever. This means that the time goes beyond the Milennial kingdom into eternity.

If we Gentiles want to be a part of God's people, we can only participate through the Jews. By grace through faith, God grafts us into Israel. There is no other way. Although God has intended that both Jews and Gentiles are a part of His Kingdom, they are identified only by the term Israel.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Romans 8:9-11 - Walking in the Spirit


After discussing walking in the flesh, Paul next turned to the walking in the Spirit.

Romans 8:9-11 (KJV)
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Paul reminded his believing readers that they were not held in bondage to the flesh any longer, but were in the Spirit because the Holy Spirit dwelt within them (verse 9). If the Holy Spirit was not dwelling within, that person was not God's. So often today in churches there is talk about a universal gospel, where, basically, everyone is saved (except maybe for the worst sinners, i.e. Hitler). But this concept is unknown in the Scriptures. Clearly, unless a person is born again (repented and believed), he or she is not God's, but is lost in sin.

And if Yeshua (through the Holy Spirit) is within, the body is dead because of sin (verse 10). Paul was reminding his readers that because of sin, the body must die (the wages of sin are death).When someone becomes a believer, he or she is joined with Yeshua in His death, and in a certain sense the believer's body is then dead, too. The good news is that then the Holy Spirit can dwell within, giving life because of Yeshua's righteousness.

And because the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer, the Holy Spirit will quicken (or make alive) his or her mortal body, just like Yeshua was raised from the dead (verse 11). The body is enabled to live in righteousness and walk in the Spirit.