Since Jesus Was God, Does That Mean He Couldn’t Have Sinned?

October 15, 2020

This argument overlooks the dual nature of Jesus. Yes, Jesus was God, but He was also man (fully), and being a man opened up Jesus to doing many things that God (in spirit form only) cannot or does not do.

To quickly show the fallacy of the opposing argumentation, notice James 1:13 says "God cannot be tempted with evil," while Hebrews 4:15 clearly says Jesus "was … tempted like as we are." How can both verses be true if Jesus is God? The answer lies in the dual nature of Jesus. The divine, preexisting part of Jesus could not have been tempted / sinned, but the human part of Jesus was tempted and susceptible to sin.

Jesus is such a good example for us (I Pet 2:21-22). He could have sinned, but he didn’t (Matt 4:1-11).

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Is I Cor 6:9 Only Condemning The Abuse Of Homosexuality?

October 8, 2020

Since I Corinthians 6:9 in the KJV reads “abusers of themselves with mankind,” gay church preachers reason that only the abuse of homosexuality is wrong; but that so called legitimate homosexual relations are proper and right.

By this logic, someone could reason that Lev 18:23 (“Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith “) only condemns a “defiling” bestiality, but that “legitimate” bestiality relations (sex with an animal) are proper and right.

No, just like Lev 18:23 is saying whenever a man lies with a beast he defiles himself:

• I Tim 1:10 (“defile themselves with mankind”) is saying that whenever a man lies with another man (sexually) he defiles himself with mankind

• I Cor 6:9 is saying that whenever a man lies with another man he abuses himself with mankind

Actually both phrases, “abusers of themselves with mankind” in I Cor 6:9 and “defile themselves with mankind” in I Tim 1:10, come from one Greek word (arsenokoites) defined as:

· one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite (Thayer)

· a male homosexual, pederast, sodomite (Arndt and Gingrich)

Conclusion: The Bible condemns homosexuality – of every shape and form.

How Did God Open Lydia’s Heart In Acts 16:14?

October 1, 2020

How Did God Open Lydia’s Heart in Acts 16:14?  The question can really be restated – Does God Miraculously Force people to convert, or does He use Means/Agency to influence them to convert? Notice:

· God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), but is that done via a manna miracle or thru means (our jobs)?

· I Kings 11:4 says Solomon’s wives “turned away his heart.” Did Solomon’s wives turn his heart that by miraculous force, or was it through influence – still leaving Solomon with a choice?

· II Kings 13:2 says Jeroboam “made Israel to sin.” Did Jeroboam force them to sin, or did he lead them to sin by placing idols in Bethel and Dan – I Kings 12:28ff? Baasha did the same thing – I Kings 16:2.

· II Kings 23:29 says Josiah was slain by the king of Egypt, but II Chron 35:23 says archers killed Josiah. Which was it? The answer is the king killed Josiah through “agents” (his soldiers).

· John 4:1-2 Jesus baptized, but he did it through agents – his disciples.

· John 6:44-45 the Father draws sinners to Jesus, not thru miraculous force, but thru the teaching and learning of His word

· Nehemiah 8:1 God commanded Israel … through an agent (by Moses – verse 14)

· Matt 8:5 the centurion made a request of Jesus, but it was made thru agents, i.e. the elders of the Jews – Luke 7:3

· Acts 26:18 God sent Paul to preach to people to “open their eyes.” But Paul obviously didn’t do that thru miraculous force. Likewise God opens / enlightens hearts/minds/eyes thru the divine persuasion (Acts 28:23, II Cor 5:11) of his word (Psalms 19:8b), not thru miraculous force. The preaching of God’s word pricks/opens hearts Acts 2:37.

· I Cor 4:15 Paul had “begotten” the Corinthians thru the gospel – thru means, right?

The same is true for the opposite: God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exod 7:13, 9:12, 10:1), but Pharaoh hardened his own heart also (Exod 8:32, 8:15, 9:34). So obviously God didn’t harden Pharaoh’s heart thru force, but through circumstances. The choice was still Pharaoh’s. The same is true for us. God hardens hearts and blinds eyes (John 12:40), but also people harden their own hearts (Prov 28:14) and close their own eyes (Matt 13:15). There is no contradiction. It is done thru means, not force.

A young man “opens” a young lady’s heart, but he does it thru actions of love, persuasion, conduct, careful attention, etc., not through force. He doesn’t take away her free will, but nonetheless he does open her heart. Similarly, the gospel opened Lydia’s heart to obey God – not by force, but by inspired persuasion.

And that is how God opens all hearts – not by force but through the means of divine persuasion (I Pet 1:23, Rom 1:16, Rom 10:17, II Cor 5:10-11, John 6:44-45, Eph 6:17b, II Thess 2:14.).  God’s goodness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4); He does not force us.

Why Did The Acts 19:1-7 Disciples Need To Be Rebaptized?

September 24, 2020

Why did the Acts 19:1-7 disciples need to be rebaptized? I think Paul gives us a clue as to the reason in verse 4 – “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”

John’s baptism, when it was valid, required candidates to believe on the Messiah to come. When a person believed that, and repented of their sins, they received the remission of sins (Mark 1:4). But later, after Jesus had completed his ministry, died, and been resurrected, one had to believe in the resurrected savior Jesus Christ as the Messiah (Rom 10:9). Though believing in Jesus’ resurrection is required for scriptural baptism now, that would not have been possible when John the Baptist was baptizing, as Jesus had not been resurrected yet. Evidently the disciples of Acts 19:1ff had been baptized with John’s baptism, based upon a belief in the Messiah to come, after Jesus had been resurrected and the baptism of the great commission became requisite, and said baptism requires a belief in Jesus’ resurrection.

If someone today was immersed based upon a belief the Messiah was soon to come, we would immediately recognize that person’s baptism was invalid. Such would need to be taught Jesus Christ the Son of God has already come, died, and been resurrected (past tense). And then rebaptized based upon that updated truth.

And can we see the parallel to one who has been baptized, but not “for the remission of sins” as Acts 2:38 requires? If a sinner was immersed thinking they already had received the remission of sins at the moment they believed on Christ, then they would need to be retaught about the Biblical purpose for baptism, and then rebaptized with that correct purpose in (their) mind.

How Are We Purified In The Sight Of God?

September 17, 2020

A form of the word “purify” is used several times in the New Testament. One of the definitions of the word “purify” according to dictionary.com is “to free from guilt or evil.” That should be the goal of every person, but just how is that accomplished?

First consider from Tit 2:14 (“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”) that Jesus died for us that we might be purified. I think this is primarily talking about the forgiveness of sins we get from the blood of Christ, but notice that our response to that redemption should be that we are “zealous of good works”; our choices are involved.

Acts 15:9 reads “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” So for us to be purified by the sacrifice of Christ, we must have faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb 11:6).

But faith alone will not save (James 2:14-26). I Pet 1:22a says “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth.” See, we have to have faith (“know … God”) and “obey … the gospel of … Christ” to avoid being lost eternally (II Thess 1:8-9). “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9).

And after our souls/hearts are initially purified by obeying the gospel, we need to follow through on that commitment. James 4:8 reads “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The blood of Christ purifies us (washes away our sins, Rev 1:5), but God expects us to do our part in remaining clean.  We must “purify” our hearts; it is up to us to stay out of the mud, i.e., the sins of the world (II Pet 2:20-22).

What Does It Mean To Worship God In Spirit?

September 10, 2020

John 4:24 reads “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We know worshipping God in truth would mean worshipping God according to his word, because John 17:17 says “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” God’s word defines for us what the truth is. But what does it mean to worship God “in Spirit”? From the verse starting off with “God is a Spirit,” we know it must have something to do with worshipping God with our spirit. But the following three verses might shed some more light on just what it means …

Josh 24:14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

I Sam 12:24 Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

II Chron 25:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.

Three Cases Where God Does Not Forgive A Person Even If He Repents

September 3, 2020

Passages like Acts 3:19 and I John 1:9 teach that as a general rule, if a person repents of a sin, God forgives him of that sin (based upon the blood of Christ – Rev 1:5). But there are at least three exceptions to this rule …

First, it doesn’t matter how much a non-Christian repents of his sins, if he is never baptized “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), he will never be forgiven for all those sins he has repented of.

Second, even a Christian will not be forgiven of a sin, even if he repents of that particular sin, if he is not willing to forgive others of their sins against him (Matt 6:14-15, Luke 17:3, Matt 5:7).

And third, nobody can be forgiven of the “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” (Matt 12:31-32) no matter how much they repent of committing it – it is the unpardonable sin.

Comparing Ourselves With Ourselves

August 27, 2020

Many believers seem to decide what is right and wrong Biblically by what other believers they associate with believe and practice, instead of following the truth – John 17:17. Perhaps II Cor 10:12 refers to this attitude when it warns “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

Could this be the main reason the great majority in some denominations make the puzzling decision to accept the sprinkling of infants for baptism when the Bible so clearly teaches believers (Acts 8:35-37) should be buried (Rom 6:4) in baptism? Might it be because they have developed a confidence in the belief of their parents, their preacher, and/or especially those that are in their church circle of friends? “Sprinkling babies must be okay; the majority of my faithful church friends go along with it.”

And is it possible this is the main reason many Christians don’t work very hard at personal evangelism (Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15, Acts 8:4, II Cor 5:11), because the Christians they associate with the most don’t do it either? They reason – if those I respect as Christians aren’t diligently working to get studies with non-Christians, then it must not be important to God for me to do such either. This ideology makes for problems among Christians in other areas also, like the general disdain for public religious debating (Acts 19:8-10), ignoring God’s instructions regarding fasting (Acts 13:3, 14:23, etc.), the trend toward more immodest clothing (I Tim 2:9-10), and some never even studying the covering issue (I Cor 11:2-16). There are many areas this attitude could affect. We (myself definitely included) need to guard against this comfort trap. Instead of comparing ourselves to the church people around us, we should challenge ourselves with Jesus, his apostles, and their teaching (John 8:31).

How To Tell If Someone Is Criticizing To Help Or To Tear Down?

August 20, 2020

No doubt the Bible teaches faithful Christians are to warn others as they have opportunity (Acts 20:20,26-27,31). They do so out of love for the soul they are rebuking (Eph 4:15a) and because they want to deliver their own soul (Ezek 3:18). But we all know there are those that criticize, not really to help the one they are criticizing, but to tear them down; many times, perhaps out of jealousy, mistakenly thinking tearing someone else down helps bring me up (James 3:14-18, Matt 27:18).

How can we tell the difference? When someone is criticizing us, how do we know if their purpose is to help us or to tear us down? One strong indicator is if they do as much encouraging (genuine complimenting) as they do criticizing. A person who truly has your best interest at heart recognizes that God puts as much value in positive encouragement as criticism (Heb 10:24-25). Godly love is kind, does not vaunt oneself, seeketh not her own welfare, rejoices not in the iniquity of others, but rejoices when it finds someone practicing the truth (I Cor 13:4-6). True love not only rebukes when necessary (II Tim 3:16), but will also “encourage … and build … up” (I Thess 5:11 NIV, Deut 3:28, Judges 20:22).

As an example of someone who tears down, I once overheard (because a speaker phone was accidentally left on) a “Christian” lady say about another Christian lady – “I think she does so many charitable deeds because she feels guilty for the way she lived previously.”  That’s a terrible judgment of motives (I Cor 2:11a) about someone who was trying hard to do the Lord’s work.  Just maybe this gossiping lady was being made to feel guilty by the work of the good deeds lady, so in order to rid herself of guilt she chose to tear down the good image of the lady she was gossiping about.

What is the lesson for us? Yes, rebuke others when necessary, but always to help them get better, not to tear them down. And find the good in people around you (there is always some), and point out those good things to the person (as we see done in Rev 2:2-6). Praise (commend ESV) them as Paul did in I Cor 11:2. Balance is a key to helping them to see that you have their best interest at heart when it is necessary to correct them. “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ” (Col 2:2 NIV).

What Does “Heap Coals Of Fire On His Head” in Rom 12:20 Mean?

August 13, 2020

Romans 12:19-21 reads “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The obvious teaching from this verse is that when someone treats us badly, we should not do in like kind, instead we should return good for the evil. And in doing so, we will “heap coals of fire” on their head. But what does that mean – to heap coals of fire on someone’s head?

I Pet 3:15-16 confirms what we already inherently know from reading Rom 12:20 – our returning of good for evil should make the perpetrator “ashamed,” that is, feel guilty for their actions. If when someone treats us unkindly, we treat them unkindly back (Eph 4:32), they are likely to feel vindicated in their past actions. But if we return their meanness with kindness, then that tends to make them feel bad for their actions. If you want a person to feel bad for their harsh treatment of you, that is, if you want them to feel guilty and possibly repent (and that should be our desire), then your best course of action is to return their evil with kindness, gentleness, compassion, and benevolence.