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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Compromising Convictions For Maturing Children

Pr 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, you may have to alter your standards in order to say he has not departed from it.

Oh, I’m sorry I got it wrong. Please excuse me. Pr 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

There is that better?? No?? Why not?? Oh, you do not believe that. You think there are exceptions to that? So in fact you actually like the second rendition but live by the first.

I don’t mean to be arrogant Lord knows I have absolutely no room for arrogance. It is not about arrogance it is about truth. It matters little how people are affected by it, myself included. Truth is intended to cause us to feel open and naked before the eyes of him with whom we have to do. If we feel a little naked and vulnerable at times that is not a bad thing. It is an uncomfortable thing but not a bad thing.

I know this verse is one that is a source of great consternation for a good many people. I know there are those that say great parents can produce terrible kids. I don’t agree, mainly because I don’t believe the Bible agrees. This is a classic example of where we tend to allow our experiences to determine Scripture instead of allowing Scripture to determine our experience.

There are some things I have come to believe about the child rearing process.

Parents will give account for their child rearing.
Parents will not give account for their children’s decisions.
Children will give account for their decisions.
Children will not give account for their parent’s parenting skills.
There are no perfect parents.
What is good enough to establish one child may not be good enough to establish the next.
The scripture is clear; if we train them in the way they should go they would not depart from it.
I have no interest in altering the words of this verse by my interpretation even if the words end up condemning me.
We should not be surprised when bad kids come from good families we should be surprised when good kids come from any family.
Yet, I also believe that we can raise our kids with confidence that they will love and honor God and live for him and walk in the ways that we have raised them.

Proverbs 22:6 is meant to provide hope. It is meant to convey to us that it is worth the effort, the energy, the sacrifice to get the job done right. It may be hard; there will be some bumps along the way, but due diligence here pays off. It is worth it to stay after it. Having three grown children two of which are married and one that is still at home I can bear testimony to two things.

There will be some bumps along the way, sometimes some big bumps.
It is worth staying the course.

You see the problem with bumps is they tend to cause us to lose control. Especially if the bump is high, hard or we hit it at a high rate of speed. If we lose control it is easy to be diverted from the proper course. The bumps are going to be there. Every child will have them to one degree or another. How we handle the bumps will determine the final destiny of our children. Far too many hit a bump and the course is slightly altered and they simply accept the alteration as the way it must be. But none of us do that in our automobiles. If we hit a bump and the wheel shifts to left or right so that we are moving off course we take corrective measures to get the car back on a true course. Many seem to be unwilling to do that with their children, especially adolescent children. It easy to scare toddlers and little boys and girls, but somewhere along the way, parents, even Dads, become afraid of their kids. This is an unhealthy relationship and the child will actually suffer the consequences of such an arrangement.

Parents are slow to admit that they were inadequate, that they made some fatal mistakes, when their children go astray. Instead of examining the failure in order to learn from it, they justify the child to save face. Nothing should trouble us more than to see even the slightest moral decline in our children. Our desire should be to see children that exceed us in holiness and piety. A couple of generations of slight moral decline and it is not long before you are looking at wholesale apostasy. I have now lived long enough to see this very thing happening before my eyes. Yet, instead of parents holding the line when it comes to standards with their maturing children, they forsake the standard so they won’t lose the child. Not realizing that when the child abandons your standards, you have lost the child. The child is not what you intended for them to be. Many pride themselves on their children staying true, when in fact they have not. When they tested the limits the parents, particularly the father, gave way. He failed to be a father, a leader, instead he became a pacifier for a quickly maturing child that was in desperate need of some strong leadership.

I know there is a tendency for parents to lower their standards when they realize their children are not inclined to live up to those standards. I have seen it with my own two eyes. It is a temptation that I am painfully familiar with. In lowering their standards they can continue to talk about what great kids they have even when they are living at odds with their upbringing. They are fooling no one except the absolutely unobservant. I determined a long time ago that if it is wrong, then it is wrong no matter who is doing it. If my own child slips into worldliness, worldliness is still an ugly thing. It has not been sanctified because a good kid is involved in it, my kid. A good kid is not a worldly kid. If our children become worldly in their dress, speech, music, appearance, entertainment, etc. we should not take a more lenient view of worldliness but a less favorable view of our children. If my children are worldly, then they are not godly. There is no place where we want to have it both ways like with our own children.

Parents take strong stands and then as their children get older they relax the standards because they are being tested more severely by their adolescents. These relaxed standards are justified by many as growth, understanding, letting go, maturity, and a host of other terms. In the Old Black Book it is compromise. Dads, instead of showing some backbone, become a jellyfish and they cease to be the standard setters in their very own home. Oh, but the kids are happy, and we have a great relationship all at the expense of truth and righteousness. The fact is there are way to many Dads who fear their adolescents more than they fear God. The Bible reminds us that the fear of man bringeth a snare. They snort, and stomp, and bluster, and pontificate, but in the end the adolescent goes their way and does their thing. Dad is seen as a hysterical, irritable, grouch and the adolescent is deprived of the privilege of having someone with enough courage to stand up and say, Son (daughter) this is not the way it will be in my house. You will not dress this way. You will not talk this way. You will not listen to this music. You will not go to those places. You will not spend time with those people. But it’s convenient for Dad. My children have not rebelled, is that so. Have you crossed them about anything? Have you stood true to your convictions when push came to shove or did you cave? Too many cave.

I have observed that often times it is the oldest child. Which by the way I believe there are reasons for that. If the devil can get the first in a long series of children and the parents deal lightly and make allowances for the child the devil almost automatically gets the rest of them by default. Why, because the parents loses the moral authority to set standards. The child has been allowed to set the standards in order to maintain the fellowship. The Dad relinquished control over his own home, in order to appease a child that he had not effectively won to his cause and standards. Shame!!

The fact of the matter is that for most parents their fellowship with their children is more important than convictions and truth. Come on folks, we all know that there is no fellowship expect around truth. Seems like I read somewhere, at some time, how can two walk together except they be agreed? We cease to make an issue out of our convictions in order to maintain fellowship with a child who has departed. They haven’t departed? Well, sure they have. They may still be living in your home. They may still be eating at your table. They may still be sleeping in your bed, but they have departed. They are not living according to the standards you raised them to have. So instead of requiring submission from the child, we alter the standard. Shame! The message we send is that what I believe is not all that important. You are more important than truth, and this is the wrong message to send. You say they won’t submit, they will fly the coop. If they won’t submit, they have already flown the coop in their heart. Your pacifying them and making allowances for them simply allows the child to make a chicken coop out of your sanctuary.

This is nothing more than a plea. Dad be a man. Your kids are counting on you to take a stand, show the way, to manifest the reality that truth cannot be compromised for anyone, and that you love them so very much that you would never compromise on their behalf.

And if it seems like it is turning out really bad, don’t get scared, I say this as one who has been really scared before. When your convictions are tested, when your faith is tried, stand tall and in doing so you will establish that fact that before you are anything you are a man of truth and that cannot be sacrificed on the behalf of anyone, and that in fact it is upon that basis that you have the means whereby to bless others.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Law Our Schoolmaster

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:24

The objective of the law is clearly set forth in Scripture. Both its function and its purpose are identified. Those who believe in works for salvation have a skewed view of the purpose of the law much like the Jews of the first century. Really the only difference between the two groups is the Jews (ancient legalist) emphasized circumcision while the modern day legalist emphasizes baptism. In both cases there is a tragic misunderstanding of the purpose of the law. They both believe to one degree or another that obeying the commandments can merit salvation. To this premise the Scripture lends no support. The law was never intended to be an instrument of salvation. To the contrary the law was provided to reveal our need of salvation through the commandments. It was provided to manifest the consequences of not having salvation through the judgments. And it was provided to point the way to salvation through the statutes.

The important thing to keep in mind is that although the ultimate purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ and as a result we no longer live in fear of the judgments and have no need of the statutes, the commandments remain an accurate and relevant expression of God’s will concerning what is right and wrong, evil and good, righteous and unrighteous.

The law is in every respect our schoolmaster. A schoolmaster was one who was charged with the rearing of a child. He was responsible for the child’s development intellectually, socially, and religiously. The schoolmaster was constantly watching over the child that had been committed to their stewardship. It was the schoolmaster that was responsible for the development of the child. Likewise the law serves the same function in the hearts of men. Where the law is not preached it cannot fulfill its function. How can it serve as a schoolmaster when it is relegated to a dusty shelf as unnecessary and offensive? Of course it is offensive, just as the ancient schoolmasters undoubtedly made them selves offensive to those under their care. Yet the law is instructive in the hearts of men when preached with vigor. It teaches us that we are sinners. It teaches us that we are condemned and judged. It teaches us that there is a savior.

There are two areas that are worthy of our attention in light of these thoughts. What is the function and purpose of the law?

Function and purpose do not address the same areas. Function has to do with the act of executing or performing activity, duty, office, or calling; performance. Purpose has to do with that which is the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure, or exertion; end, or, the view itself; design; intention. The law has a function in that it performs a certain duty, or office. The law has a purpose in that it is aiming at something; it is given with intention.

The purpose is to direct us to Christ. The function is to identify sin and its penalty. It fulfilling its function it achieves its purpose. It is the purpose and function of the law to which we will direct our attention over the course of this chapter.

Powerful thought-provoking words from Spurgeon

Of all the Spurgeon messages I have read and I have read several hundred, these words have been lodged in my mind, my only desire is that they could be lodged in my heart! I am quite certain that when we stand before the nail pierced hands all of our well reasoned excuses will evaporate into thin air.

My opinion, my fullypersuadedopinion

Again: we have not enough self-denial, and that is one reason why we do not prosper. Far be it from me to say aught against the self-denial of those worthy brethren who have left their country to cross the stormy deep and preach the Word. We hold them to be men who are to be had in honour; but still I ask, where is the self-denial of the Apostles now-a-days?

I think one of the greatest disgraces that ever was cast upon the church in these days was that last mission to Ireland. Men went over to Ireland, but like men who have valour's better part, brave bold men, they came back again, which is about all we can say of the matter. Why do they not go there again? Why, they say the Irish "hooted" at them. Now, don't you think you see Paul taking a microscope out of his pocket, and looking at the little man who should say to him, "I shall not go there to preach because the Irish hooted me?" "What!" he says, "is this a preacher?—what a small edition of a minister he must be, to be sure!" "Oh! but they threw stones at us; you have no idea how badly they treated us!" Just tell that to the Apostle Paul. I am sure you would be ashamed to do so. "Oh! but in some places the police interfered, and said that we should only create a riot." What would Paul have said to that? The police interfering! I did not know that we had any right to care about governments. Our business is to preach the Word, and if we must be put in the stocks there let us lie; there would come no hurt of it at last. "Oh! but they might have killed some of us." That is just it. Where is that zeal which counted not its life dear so that it might win Christ? I believe that the killing of a few of our ministers would have prospered Christianity. However we might mourn over it, and none more than myself, I say the murder of a dozen of them would have been no greater ground for grief than the slaughter of our men by hundreds in a successful fight for hearths and homes. I would count my own blood most profitably shed in so holy a struggle.

How did the gospel prosper aforetime? Were there not some who laid down their lives for it; and did not others walk to victory over their slain bodies; and must it not be so now? If we are to start back because we are afraid of being killed, heaven knows when the gospel is to spread over the world—we do not. What have other missionaries done? Have they not braved death in its direst forms, and preached the Word amid countless dangers? My brethren, we say again, we find no fault, for we, ourselves, might err in the same manner; but we are sure we are therein not like Paul. He went to a place where they stoned him with stones, and dragged him out as dead. Did he say, "Now for the future I will not go where they will ill-treat me?" No, for he says, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, thrice I suffered shipwreck." I am sure we have not the self-denial of the Apostles. We are mere carpet-knights and Hyde-park-warriors. When I go to my own house and think how comfortable and happy I am, I say to myself, "How little I do for my Master! I am ashamed that I cannot deny myself for his truth, and go everywhere preaching his Word."

I look with pity upon people who say "Do not preach so often; you will kill yourself." O my God! what would Paul have said to such a thing as that? "Take care of your constitution; you are rash; you are enthusiastic." When I compare myself with one of those men of old, I say, "Oh that men should be found calling themselves Christians, who seek to stop our work of faith and labour of love, for the sake of a little consideration about the 'constitution,' which gets all the stronger for the preaching of God's Word."But I hear some one whispering, "You ought to make a little allowance." My dear friend, I make all allowance. I am not finding fault with those brethren; they are a good sort of people; we are "all honorable men;" but I will only say, that in comparison with Paul, we are less than nothing, and vanity; little insignificant Lilliputian creatures, who can hardly be seen in comparison with those gigantic men of old.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Death Of My Best Friend by C. H. Spurgeon

There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came hard by a spot forever engraven upon my memory, for there I saw this Friend, my best, my only Friend murdered.

I stooped down in the sad affright, and looked at him. I saw that His hands had been pierced with rough nails, and His feet had been rent in the same way. There was misery in His dead contenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, His back was red with bloody scourges, and His brow had a circle of wounds about it: clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns.

I shuddered, for I had known this Friend full well. He never had a fault; He was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy. Who could have injured Him? For He never injured any man: all his life long He "went about doing good." He had healed the sick, He had fed the hungry, He had raised the dead: for which of these works did they kill Him? He had never breathed out anything else but love -- and as I looked into the poor sorrowful face, so full of agony, and yet so full of love, I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His.

I said within myself, "Where can these traitors live? Who are these that could have smitten such an One as this?" Had they murdered an oppressor, we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy, it might have been his desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition, we would have said, "Bury his corpse: justice has at last given him his due."

But when Thou wast slain, my best, my only-beloved, where lodged the traitors? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death! If there be torments that I can devise, surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy; what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers, what would I do with them! And as I looked upon that corpse, I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand!

It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, whenever I put out my hand, I could not meet with him, for he was nearer to me than my hand would go.

At last I put my hand upon my own breast. "I have thee now" said I -- for lo! he was IN MY OWN HEART -- the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my INMOST SOUL.

Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harbouring the murderer -- and I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over His Corpse, and sang that plantive hymn --

"Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
and unbelief the spear."
Amid the rabble rout which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentaitons, fit music to accompany that march of woe. When my soul can, in imagination, see the Saviour bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women, and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief, cause lying deeper thatn those mouring women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die -- but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn.
My sins were the scourges which lacerated those blessed sholders, and crowned with thorns those bleeding brows; my sins cried -- Crucify Him! Crucify Him! -- and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders. His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity; but my having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.

Taxing Big Business

This is a letter to the editor and my response. I do not yet know if our local paper will publish the letter but I do know that it will be published here.

Big business not paying its fair share of taxes

The price of gas has leveled off. Great, huh? Well, the only reason it has done so is a bill put forth in Washington that was finally going to put a stop to big business not paying their fair amount of taxes. Alas, the Republicans already are working very hard trying to put loopholes in the bill that will allow business to reduce the amount of taxes they would have to pay. They still aren’t going to pay their fair share, but the citizens are going to go right on paying their fair share or go to jail.The minute that bill is voted down or has been torn apart to the point that business still doesn’t have to pay fair taxes, the fuel costs are going upward again.Let your representatives know you are tired of carrying the tax burden for big business. It’s time for them to start paying their own way, just like we citizens have to do each and every day at the cash register and on April 15.

Jodie Gross, Freeport

My response:

Jodi Gross’ desire for big business to pay more taxes would end up having the opposite effect on her bottom line.

Big business is in business to make a profit, as large a profit as the market will bear. When expenses go up for big business does anyone really think that they are going to watch their profit margin dwindle? It does not matter whether the increased expense is in raw material, labor cost, distribution, fuel cost or taxes. Yes, taxes. Taxes are a business expense. When you raise taxes on big business you raise the cost of them doing business. Big business will in time pass along that increased expense to their customers. The increase always gets passed along to the consumer.

Where do you think big business gets the money to pay their taxes? They collect it at the cash register in the price they charge for their product.

The consumer has always carried the tax burden for big business. If you increase their taxes you ultimately increase your burden.

My fullypersuadedopinion

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Law - Its Divisions


It is important to recognize that there are several elements to the law. Everyone seems to readily accept that premise, at least in regard to the Ten Commandments. No Bible believer would deny that the Ten Commandments are to be obeyed, that they are still relevant for today and timeless in their application. Yet while saying that there is in fact one commandment that is no longer considered valid for the New Testament age.

Exodus 20:8-11 - Remember theSabbathh day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is theSabbathh of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed theSabbathh day, and hallowed it.

We do not believe that we are under the law of the Sabbath, even though it is one of the Ten Commandments. We do not observe the Sabbath but instead utilize the first day of the week for our worship. While we may draw some comparisons between the Sabbath and the Lord's Day no one would venture to conclude they were the same. I even have doubts about the term, Christian Sabbath. There is only one Sabbath and that is on the seventh day. The scripture is quite clear on this point. Within the Ten Commandments we have made a distinction even though all ten were Old Testament law. The point is how are the distinctions to be made.

There are three areas of Old Testament law. They are as follows:

1. The moral law
2. The civil law
3. The ceremonial law

The Scripture itself allows for a three-fold division of the law. The divisions are referred to as commandments, statutes, and judgments. The commandments are the moral law. The statutes are the ceremonial law. The judgments are the civil law.

Deuteronomy 6:1 - Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:

It is important to note the distinction between these three terms. Again Gill is helpful in understanding that a distinction exists.

Not the ten commandments repeated in the preceding chapter, but all others, whether moral, ceremonial, or judicial, afterwards declared; . . . .

Let us take a closer look at the three words used to express the respective divisions within the law.

Commandment is from mitsvah mits-vaw ; a command, whether human or divine (collectively, the Law):(which was) commanded(-ment), law, ordinance, precept. It comes from the root word tsavah tsaw-vaw; to constitute, enjoin:appoint, (for-)bid, (give a) charge, (set) in order. So that we understand that the word commandment has reference to what is commanded. It identifies behavior that we are bidden to enjoin or in which we are forbidden to participate. The commandments establish the behavior of right and wrong.

Statutes is from choq khoke; an enactment; hence, an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage):appointed, bound, commandment, convenient, custom, decree(-d), due, law, measure, X necessary, ordinance(-nary), portion, set time, statute, task. It comes from the root word chaqaq khaw-kak; to hack, i.e. engrave; by implication, to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (gen.) prescribe. We see that a statute is an appointment that is made and an enactment that is provided for direction and to be observed as a custom. It is something that is prescribed. In this case the statutes were appointed to establish their religious customs. The provided the prescribed means of approaching Jehovah.

Judgments is from mishpat mish-pawt; a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or divine law, individual or collective), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly, justice, including a participants right or privilege (statutory or customary). It comes from the root word shaphat shaw-fat; to judge, i.e. pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication, to vindicate or punish; by extension, to govern. The judgments have reference to the punishments that were assigned to the infractions. The judgments instructed the people how they were to govern themselves under God's authority. He assessed the penalty or judgment. The elders were responsible for executing the sentence.

The law consisted of commandments, statutes, and judgments. The commandments were an expression of what God expected from his people. The statutes were God's prescribed method of approaching him. The judgments were God's penalties that were assessed to the transgressions. So that the law provided the people with a complete means of governing themselves in relation to behavior, religion, and punishing the evil doer.

The moral law is the expression of right and wrong as found in the books of Moses. The moral law is the never changing expression of God's mind on a host of moral issues. The civil penalty is the judgment that was attached to the law. The nation of Israel was founded as a theocracy. God was their king and it was his moral precepts that were the basis of their penal code. God committed the execution of the penalty into the hands of the people. Where there was a breech of the moral precepts the penalty was to be enacted in most cases by the elders of the city. Then there is the ceremonial law. This law had to do with the practice of their religion. It involved everything from priesthood, to sacrifice, to divers kinds of washings, to certain things that God put in place to be illustrative to the people. Because we do not live under a theocracy and are no longer worshipping by a system of sacrifice does not negate the simple declarations of what is right and what is wrong. The moral precepts stand unchanged.

The moral law is that which expresses the mind of God concerning moral issues. The issues can concern a man's relationship to God or a man's relationship to his fellow man. The Ten Commandments provide a concise example of how God speaks to both concerns.

Exodus 20:3 - Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:4 - Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exodus 20:7 - Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

These are moral precepts that denote ones responsibility to God.

Exodus 20:12 - Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:13 - Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:14 - Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:15 - Thou shalt not steal.
Exodus 20:16 - Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exodus 20:17 - Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

These are moral precepts that denote one's responsibility to man.

It does not seem that there should be that much disagreement about what constitutes a moral precept.

Exodus 22:25 - If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
Exodus 22:28 - Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
Exodus 23:1 - Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.
Exodus 23:2 - Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:
Exodus 23:6 - Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.
Exodus 23:9 - Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Leviticus 18:12-16 - Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
Leviticus 18:22 - Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 19:13 - Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.
Leviticus 19:14 - Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:15 - Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Leviticus 19:16 - Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:17 - Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Deuteronomy 19:14 - Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
Deuteronomy 22:1 - Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
Deuteronomy 22:4 - Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
Deuteronomy 22:5 - The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Deuteronomy 22:8 - When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

These are given merely as an example of some areas where it is clear that God is dealing with moral issues. The last one is especially interesting because it is often sighted by those who are seeking to discredit those who appeal to Deuteronomy 22:5 as forbidding women from wearing men's apparel. The question is, ' do you stand so strongly on verse 5 and seem to ignore the surrounding verses like verse 8? It is my opinion that verse eight is just as much a moral precept as verse 5. There are two things to keep in mind here. One is that we do not commonly use our roofs as places of entertainment in western culture. If we did I think it would only be morally right to build a rail around the roof to secure those who gathered there from any unreasonable danger. Another thing to keep in mind is that where there is an equivalent concern in our society the intent of this precept is often made into law or ordinance. For example where there are raise balconies. Is it not the code and common sense for that matter to provide railings. Where there are stairs is it not code and common sense to provide railings. Another place where the principle is found is in the ordinances that exist concerning the securing of swimming pools. Failing to provide for the reasonable security of visitors to your property is morally wrong. In the same way it is morally wrong for a woman to wear a man's apparel and for a man to wear a woman's apparel. This moral precept is designed to maintain a distinction between the sexes. The blurring of these lines in our culture has led to a host of other ills. It is not much of a jump from considering clothing gender neutral to simply considering gender itself neutral.

It is likewise self-evident that the civil penalties attached to the law were the result of their form of government. Israel was a theocracy and God determined the punishment for each offense. It was committed into the hands of the people to execute the penalty.

It is the responsibilities of government to legislate and assign penalty. The closer governments move to embracing the mind of God on the issues the more social order there will be. But governments are commissioned with that responsibility. That is why we do not take it upon ourselves to execute witches, adulterers, and rebellious children. When the Lord Jesus Christ reigns from Jerusalem whose laws do you think will be implemented? We are told on several occasions that he will rule with a rod of iron. I am convinced that it will be his law as given in the Old Testament. That governments are charged with this responsibility is beyond dispute.

Romans 13:1-4 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

The point is that we have no obligation to execute the punishments that are laid out in the Old Testament law. While we should support our government in the execution of just laws we are not to take the law into our own hands.

The ceremonial law was for a purpose that has been fulfilled. The book of Hebrews goes to great length to express how that Christ fulfilled both the priesthood and the sacrifice.

The entire ceremonial law saw its culmination in Christ. As a result we no longer need the priesthood or the system of sacrifice and all its attendant washings and cleansings.

Colossians 2:16,17 - Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect ofSabbathyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

All of the ceremonial law was nothing more than a shadow that Christ was throwing back over the Old Testament.

There is also that aspect of the law, which was primarily illustrative while at the same time possibly having some practical advantage. For example:

Leviticus 19:19 - Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

It is difficult to assess any real moral implications to these precepts. Again there may be some practical advantage but it seems that the primary purpose is to provide an object lesson for the people about separation. All around them there were precepts like this that were to be obeyed and they would all serve to remind the people that God expected separation. If he expected separation in these areas how much more would he expect separation among godly and ungodly men? Gill's commentary is helpful on this point.

. . . to teach the saints not to mix with the men of the world, in evil conversation, or in superstitious worship; . . . or good and bad men may be signified by the mingled seed; good men, who are made so by the grace of God, and are the good seed, or the good ground which receives it, which hear the word, understand it, and bring forth fruit; bad men, such as are of bad principles and practices, these are not to be mixed together in a church state; bad men are neither to be received nor retained: . . . the design of this, as of the other, seems to be in general to caution against unnatural lusts and impure mixtures, and all communion of good and bad men, . . .

It can, I believe, be agreed upon that the ceremonial law was fulfilled in Christ. The civil penalty was the result of the form of government under which they existed. It is the moral law that demands our attention. While there may be a few exception most of the time it is clear when God is dealing with moral precepts. The moral precepts are those that have to do with a man's behavior, whether it is his behavior toward God or his fellow man. When God speak concerning these area the commandments are, as a rule, timeless. What was wrong for men in Moses' day is still wrong. The application may be slightly different but the precept is still relevant.

Another important question to be asked is, what is the function and purpose of the law? This two-pronged question is easily answered from the scriptures. There is no ambiguity in this area. Having firmly established the divine nature of the law the next chapter will be devoted to the reasons for the law.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Grandpa Again

We picked up my daughter and our three grandchildren yesterday in Louisiana. They met us half way so they are here for a couple of weeks to visit. Consequently I feel like a grandpa again. I always know I am a grandpa but it is hard to feel like one when there are no grandkids in your life on a regular basis, especially when you are still in the process of getting your own children raised.

It is hard to believe we ever had kids that little that demanded so much attention. I am glad I was in my 20's instead of my 40's.

grandpa mcentire

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Law - Its Character


Again it should be pointed out that the character of the law would not divulge from the character of the author. In the scripture the law is never looked on as a bad thing. It is always looked on in a good way. The testimony is quite clear. There are certain things the law can do and certain things the law cannot do. Our relationship to the law will depend on our relationship to Jesus Christ. But underlying all of these important issues is the reality that the law is good. Again, not meaning to be redundant the scripture declares.

Romans 7:12 - Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

There are not too many ways in which to understand this simple statement. The law is holy. It only stands to reason then that it would be just. If holy and just how could it be anything but good? The law is good because it is holy and just. The law is never a bad thing. It is always a good thing. It must be noted that a good thing can be used in a bad way. The law, even human law, can be used unlawfully. Likewise, the law of God has the potential to be used unlawfully.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 - But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Clearly the law can be used in such a way that it is rendered not good. It is not that the law ceases to be good but simply that it is used unlawfully. Using the law to condemn a man who has been justified is an unlawful use. If a man has been justified there is now no condemnation. Under no circumstances is it appropriate for men to indicate that in some way they must achieve some standard in order to have favor or maintain favor with God. Christ did that for us. Yet, that reality is not to be stretched to mean that the law does not identify certain unlawful things. Things like lawlessness, disobedience, ungodliness, sinfulness, the unholy, profanity, murder, immorality, oppression, liars and a host of other things. Now a man being justified by faith in the finished work of Christ does not separate himself from the realities of what the law identifies as sin. If it is unholy it matters not whether the man that committed the act was saved or unsaved, the act is unholy because the law says so. The difference is that that law condemns the unsaved man while that same law in Christ justifies the saved man.

Referencing the law to determine what is holy and what is unholy is not a misapplication of the law.

In fact Paul goes on in Romans chapter seven to make the argument that the problem is not with the law but with himself, or with us. The law is good we are not.

Romans 7:14 - For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

There is no problem with the law. There is a problem with us. It is not the law that is faulty, but we who are faulty. The law is spiritual. The word “but” denotes a contrast. Paul was not like the law, he was not spiritual, but he was carnal. It is amazing how men seek to find fault with the law because the law finds fault with them. Paul adequately expresses his assessment of the difficulty that exist between him and the law.

Romans 7:16 - If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

What was it that determined what he would not do? Was it not the law? Yet when he found that what he would not do he did his conclusion was not that the law was bad but to the contrary that the law was good. His failure to live up to it revealed something about his inability. It did not manifest a problem with the law. In spite of his difficulty and the laws penetrating affirmation of his inadequacy he did not develop an antagonist view of the law by saying such things as, “Well, that’s in the law.” In fact it appears that his esteem for the law was elevated.

Romans 7:22 - For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

He did not come to despise it but he delighted in it. That is in the inward man he did so, the flesh never delights in the law of God because the law always runs contrary to the flesh. I do not understand why there seems to be so many bible-believing people who are so quick to judge the law instead of allowing the law to judge them. It is as though just because a moral precept is discovered in the law then it is rendered invalid. Or could it be rendered invalid simply because we do not want to be faced with the daunting task of conforming our life to the revealed will of God? For a believer to delight in the law of God today is to run the risk of being labeled a legalist or a Pharisee.