1 John 3:16

"By this we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Corinthian Babes

There are passages in the Bible that speak of maturity, but before we get to them we look at how we often misunderstand maturity. Maturity is sometimes the opposite of what we think it is and we have frequently inserted our thoughts into scriptures, where they have not been the thoughts of the author.

In 1st Cor 3:1 Paul spoke of spiritual babes. We thought that Paul taught that there is a long process from spiritual babyhood to adulthood, whereby we become more and more spiritual and thus climb up to higher levels. This is the exact opposite to what Paul taught.

Paul explained that the Corinthians were babes, not because they neglected spiritual exercises, but because they adopted them. This affected their marriage relationships and brought them into legalism and self-exaltation. Paul’s response was opposite to our natural thinking. Their spirituality was their problem. They were carnal (not trusting in the spirituality of Christ) and they were divided among themselves, trying to be more spiritual than the other (1 Cor 3:3-4).

Their problem was not that they had not grown enough, but that they had gone backwards. They had fallen from that which Christ had already given to them as a free gift. They were trying to do it themselves. They had done exactly what the Galatians had done. They had gone from the spirituality of Christ back to their own spirituality, from simplicity back to complexity, from faith back to works:
But I fear, lest by any means…your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Cor 11:3).

Their problem was the spirituals, the false apostles who had a so-called superior spirituality. These tried to make a show in the flesh, by being more spiritual and thus showed themselves to be carnal. We study this more fully in the chapter on spiritual gifts. The Corinthians rejected Paul because he was not spiritual, i.e. he did not follow their devotional rules (2 Cor 10:3), which Paul condemned in Col 2:16-23.

We claim that there are spiritual conditions we must meet to please God, but we cannot keep these conditions, laws and resolutions and we feel guilty about it. This may be why we sometimes adopt a theology of trying and progressive sanctification, because it explains and excuses our experience.

If we say that there are conditions that we must meet to be sanctified, when did we ever meet them? The message of Paul in Corinthians is that we should not be spiritual, but we should rather love. We should love one another fervently, not judge one another by religious standards. In trying to be spiritual, the Corinthians missed what spirituality is: the love of Jesus Christ.

…and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. (Phil 3:9).

Notice the difference in translations here. The NKJV, “faith in Christ”: The KJV, “the faith of Christ”. Your faith is not your work. It is of Him. Translations are at times impacted by the translator’s theology.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


Jesus was quite distinct from what people expected. John the Baptist had a programme for his disciples, which included teaching them how to pray and fasting.

Discipleship programmes often set these things into a daily routine. Now, if Jesus was holy, then it was expected that He should teach His disciples the same way.
But He did not. He avoided John the Baptist’s approach to spiritual life. That is not why He came. Eventually His disciples had to ask Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). He probably did not make a point of “praying with them”. He preferred to be with His Father alone. When they asked, He taught them heart attitudes in prayer and did not give them a method of praying or a programme. He did not give a discipleship programme. He gave His life.

He did not tell them what time to get out of bed. He did not tell them how many minutes each day to pray. He ate and drank at people’s houses. This is not what they expecting. “John was not like this.” We like a programme, a set of laws, so we can fulfil them and be secure that we have done all required. But Jesus came to give new wineskins and relationship from the heart with the Father. If He had given a programme He would have defeated His own witness, which was of Himself.
We talk of prayer in another chapter. The best way to learn to pray after being filled with the Spirit is to pray. It is a personal relationship. Discipleship programmes are law. We are not called to them. We are called to give our life, through new birth and living in Him.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Daily Water Collection

Jesus told the woman at the well that she would have to come daily for that water. Jesus was not speaking of the water in that well. He was referring to her religion, which she relied upon to help, but which obviously was not working. She adhered to the rituals each day, but it did not change her life. She kept having the same problems.

She understood His point and so asked in response, “Should we worship on this mountain or that?” (John 4:20). Jesus said He came to give living water so that she would not have to draw dead water again through the law. Then He said to the disciples, “I have meat to eat that you do not know of.” (John 42). This is the same point. “I have life that is sustained by Me and My Father, not by human effort.”
Some people think that we need some daily experience to have life. This is modern charismatic religion, just like the woman had. It does not change our life. Then we need another experience the next day. We become junkies. They call this “the river”. This is not the river. You can tell because the same issues repeat themselves in their lives. They do not overcome sin. Jesus is the river. Jesus is the living water.

Then Jesus said to the multitude: Labour not for that which perishes, but for the meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you. (John 6:27).

We used to think that Jesus was speaking here about physical food. This is not what He meant. The food that perishes He was referring to was their Jewish religion. He was not speaking of physical bread or meat. He told His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, meaning their religion. The essence of it was hypocrisy, doing the same things when it is evident that we have not changed.

Jesus had just performed the miracle of the loaves. Now He is making His point about their religion, their spiritual sustenance. In response they asked, “Ok, if we do not need all this religious paraphernalia, what are the works of God?”. Jesus answered, “This is God’s work. That you believe on Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:28-29) There is not much work in that. Who would understand that?

This is offensive to self. The first lesson in truth is showing that we have no part in God’s gift to us. It is only when God brings down the foundation of self, that He can lay the foundation of Christ. Then He builds on that foundation, through grace and faith. This process can hurt. It is against everything we naturally think. This is the trouble they had in Jesus’ day.

There is so much labour in religion. We think “we have to do something”. We labour for fresh anointing, but it does not stay fresh for long. The experience soon gets worms like the manna, or leaks out with the pressures of the day. So we have to observe our religious exercises again. The New Covenant came to change this. We still pray, but our prayer is with joy and power. The difference is faith verses unbelief.

This message of Jesus turned the tide against Him. They saw what He said about their whole system of religion. They wanted their religion and not Him. He said all they did in their religious observances was vanity and flesh. He said the religion was supposed to point to Him so they could come to Him and receive the fullness. But they would not. They would rather trust in what they knew.

It is the same today. Many men would prefer to trust in their animistic mindset, or evangelical traditions and work for their faith or sanctification, which are gifts. We are not saying that we should not pray, worship and petition God with thanksgiving. We are speaking about working to gain acceptance with Him, faith, sanctification, life, power or spiritual protection. These are all His gifts to us. Our call is to walk in them, by walking in Him.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Life Continues

Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water I shall give him shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14).

In contrast to their religion, Jesus said he that comes to Him shall never thirst again. He shall have a well within forever springing up. The well is in us and keeps springing up. It is an everlasting well. It never runs down or runs dry. It is based entirely on Jesus’ blood, so nothing we do depletes it or increases it.

This is not complacency, but a genuine supply by the Spirit of joy, love and faith, which are always in us through the merits and gift of Christ. We live by Christ’s supply, not by our merits. “The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Gal 2:20).

There’s a well of life flowing out from me. It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. It opens prison doors and sets the captives free. There’s a river of life flowing out from me! (Chorus).

This is His baptism. The opposite position for us is to think that His work on the cross was not sufficient and He needs to come down and do it again. Unbelief says, “Who shall bring Christ down?” Faith says, “The word is in my heart and in my mouth.” (Rom 10:8). Thank God, His baptism put His living word within us. It is a terrible thing that after all Christ did, we say, “It was not enough, come down and suffer again”.

I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger and he that believes on Me shall never thirst. (John 6:33).

When people lack contentment there is something wrong. And songs such as “I am desperate for you” have nothing to do with Christ’s salvation. They are opposite to the gospel. We cannot turn Jesus’ invitation to those under the law into a perpetual need for those already in the New Covenant. He came to fill us:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Matt 5:6).

This is said to those who recognize the insufficiency of their religion, to those whose hearts are open, to those who do not take offence.

Come to Me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28).
This is said to those who are burdened by the works of the law. We have met so many Evangelicals/Charismatics who have been weighed down by such a burden and who were set free by the gospel.

If any man thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink. He that believes on Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-38).

All these verses are in direct contrast to Old Covenant religion.

It is true that circumstances may still weigh us down at times. We are still often pressed without measure. Life is not a bed of roses. We are speaking here about the supply of God’s Spirit.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Daily Manna

Before discussing our growth and maturing in Christ we discuss the observance of religious traditions. In the Old Covenant they observed many different ceremonies, but had to repeat them because the activities did not help. The obvious point is that if what we do fixes a problem finally, we should not need to repeat it. We can apply this to a constant call for revival among Christians.

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance of sin every year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. (Heb 10:3-4).

The same problem occurs today when we think that it is our observance of religious duties that make us right with God, or enables us to ensure some help from Him, or facilitates our growth and maturity in Him. When we feel that we have not fulfilled enough of these duties, or that the efficacy of our last “sacrifices” has worn off, then we must start over again.

This type of worship is according to law. Jesus claimed that it could never work, because we are not able to do enough in this way. This is where we see the difference between the Old and the New Covenant. The New came to do what the Old could never do. Jesus was saying, “I have come to give you what the law could not give you, so you will not need to go over the same ground again and again. It will be done.”

We cannot worship God the Old Covenant way. This is what Jesus stressed and what Paul said, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son (meaning the law and the reliance on the flesh), for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.” (Gal 4:30). That is, Isaac and Ishmael cannot dwell together. A believer cannot live by both grace and law.

Jesus portrayed His life by contrasting it with Israel in the wilderness. He said Israel collected manna every day. But they still hungered. So they had to go back each day to collect manna again. He used this as a symbol of Old Covenant religion. He said that in contrast He is the living bread, so that any one who would eat of Him would never hunger or thirst again.

Some have tried to make the New Covenant walk like the wilderness wanderings. They have said each morning we must collect new spiritual manna by observing certain devotional exercises. The problem is this is law. Devotion is from the heart, from relationship. When we make it law, then as soon as we do not fulfil it we have no life. Then we have a “wilderness experience”.

So Jesus explained, “It is the Spirit that makes alive. The flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63). This was Jesus’ point to Nicodemus. “That which is born of the flesh (what we do under law) is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit (grace) is Spirit (life).” (John 3:6). Jesus was kindly, but brutally, showing Nicodemus that his ministry was no good. Thank God when we are shown such things truly!

Jesus rebuked their religion very abruptly by saying it did not help them. It did not help their sin. It did not solve their problem:

Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. (John 6:58).

The Old Covenant did not save. It did not meet the need. Just as they collected the manna each day, they repeated their ceremonies each day. But they were not filled. When we live Christianity this way, to be refilled spiritually and emotionally, it shows we are in religion. This is not Jesus. The baptism of Jesus is such that it solves the problem. It meets the need. It is of such a quality that it does not need repeating.

“Of His fullness have we all received…” (John 1:16). Some say, “But Paul said he wanted believers at Ephesus to be filled with the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:19). Yes, to come to the knowledge of their fullness in Christ. Repetitive religion and tradition kept them blinded to it.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Sanctification in Scripture

To arrive at a meaning of the term sanctification we need to see how the word is used in the New Testament. So we must go through each verse that uses the word and see how the word is used. This alone can inform our doctrine on the subject.

Acts 20:32 speaks of “them which are sanctified”. Here it means to be a saint, which means sanctified by the blood of Christ and members of His body. “Saint” comes from the same Greek root as sanctified. Paul addresses some of his epistles “to the saints who are at…” and he names the city.

Saint or sanctified means to be in Christ. It means new birth. New birth is an instantaneous event. It is not a process. We do not grow into new birth, though there may be a period of being drawn by God towards the day it occurs. But we are either a saint or we are not a saint.

In Acts 26:18 Paul records Jesus’ words to him, regarding “them that are sanctified by faith that is in Me”. Sanctification is by faith, not our faith, but the faith that is in Christ. Both these verses in Acts put sanctification in the context of new birth. They speak of a faith that sanctifies us at new birth and which preserves us in Christ. It is both past tense and a continual preservative in Christ.

Rom 15:16 states the Gentiles were sanctified by the Holy Spirit and the gospel. Again, this is new birth and is clearly Paul’s meaning.

1 Cor 1:2 states “to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” Sanctification here means to be set apart to God by new birth and to be members of His body.

1 Cor 1:30 tells us that Jesus has been made unto us “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption”. Our sanctification is of Jesus just as much as our redemption is. He is our sanctifier. Sanctification here is a person, Jesus. It is not a method or a list of rules.

1 Cor 6:11 speaks of the new birth, “And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of the Lord God.”. This shows that in Paul’s mind sanctification occurred with justification at new birth.

1 Cor 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife…”. Paul uses sanctification to mean that the marriage is accepted by God, because of the believing wife. The word is used in the same way as justification would be used. The marriage is judicially clean. Justification and sanctification are different ways of expressing the same thing. (This does not mean we should marry unbelievers.)
Justification may be seen as a consequence of sanctification. We are justified (just- as- if-I’d never sinned), because we have been cleansed through sanctification, washing and renewing of the Spirit. If sanctification was progressive we would be in trouble, because we would not be justified yet! Justification is not to all by the cross, but by faith, meaning new birth and actual cleansing (Rom 3:28).

1 Thes 4:3 states, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication.”. Here sanctification refers to our life style. It is God’s will that our life reflects the sanctification God granted us and glorifies Him. But life style sanctification does not affect our sanctification in Christ, if we remain in Christ. However, those who are sanctified in Christ will not continue in sin (Rom 6:1-2).

1 Thes 5:23 states, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of the Lord Jesus.”. Here sanctify is used in the sense of keeping, sustaining and preserving. Paul commends us to God, the Alpha and Omega of our sanctification, through Christ. This keeping is not just of our spirit, but also of our mind and body.
Sanctification here relates to the whole person, which also includes our life style. This is a commendation for us to live as saints. It is not part of a complicated teaching on the “how to” of a drawn out process of sanctification. We are to simply look to Him in living His life.

2 Thes 2:13, states “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth.”.
At new birth there is sanctification of/by the Spirit, which includes our whole person. It is not just our spirit that is sanctified at new birth. Col 1:22 says we are presented blameless and unreprovable by Christ in the gospel. This is because His blood also washes our soul and body.

2 Tim 2:21 states “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use and prepared for every good work.”. Paul is saying here that if a man separates himself from error he shall be useful to God in good works. Sanctified here refers to being useful to God in service.

Heb 10:10 “By this testament we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”. This verse shows that we have been sanctified by the blood of Christ and that we cannot add to it. This includes our whole spirit, soul and body.

Heb 10:14 “For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.”. This again shows that Christ sanctified us by the offering of Himself. It also shows sanctification is past tense. It is not something in a process.
Heb 10:29 “…the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified…”. This verse again shows that we are sanctified by His blood. It also shows that sanctification is past tense for the believer.

Heb 13:12 “Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”. Again, we see here that we are sanctified by His blood. This is why Luther’s cry “the blood alone” is correct, both for justification and sanctification and why we should add nothing to it.

1 Pet 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus…”. Sanctification here is by the new birth in the Spirit, which causes us to willingly obey, due to our new heart. It is through the blood of Christ.

Jude 1 “…to them that are sanctified by God the Father and preserved in Jesus Christ and called…” Here again, we are sanctified and kept by the Father through the finished work of Christ and not of ourselves.

These are the verses in the New Testament that use the word sanctify or sanctification. Not one of them speaks of a progressive work. All of them relate to the new birth and the finished work of the cross and show that we are sanctified by the blood of Jesus alone. We are exhorted to walk in sanctification, since God has freely changed our nature. No works of religious tradition are commended to help us to do this, but obedience through faith alone.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Sanctified in Christ

The idea of “progressive sanctification” has some problems. It suggests that we have to achieve it by personal effort. The call of Peter to “be holy, even as He is holy” is answered by faith and not by the flesh (2 Pet 1:16).

Progressive sanctification suggests that the power to walk in holiness is somehow dependant upon us. It suggests that perfection is achieved by what we do, rather than by what Christ did on the cross. The power to walk in Christ is the power of the resurrection. It has nothing to do with a religious exercise.

It suggests that the power to live a sanctified life can be increased. The power of Christ does not increase or decrease. No hungering for more will increase it. The power of God is the new birth and once Christ comes in He stays in and He does not grow or reduce. The faith in us does not change one bit after the moment we are born again. Its freshness also does not change or depend on what we do.

Christ is always fresh! His resurrection is immortal. It is always available for us to walk in. We do grow by understanding our faith, but the faith itself does not grow. It is the faith of Christ and once we are born again His faith is in us. God’s gifts are without repentance. The quality of that faith has nothing to do with what we do. We must stop living by our own resources.

We are sanctified because we are dead and buried with Christ and that is a constant. It has nothing to do with anything that we can add. Our faith is not based on any other merit. What keeps us from sin? It is Christ in us, who quickens our mortal flesh.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Foolish Galatians

O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth…This only would I learn of you, Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:1-3).

The first point that we see here is that receiving the Spirit is new birth. Paul is speaking here about the beginning of our Christian life. What makes us Christians? We have received the Spirit of God.

But how did we receive the Spirit? Was it by fulfilling certain conditions, or was it by the hearing of faith? The hearing of faith means Jesus speaking into our heart, to give us His faith. It is an unconditional entrance of faith into our heart, by which we believe and by which our heart is changed. This is hearing, the entrance of His word/faith by grace.

Paul is pointing out that the Galatians were not born again by meeting a list of conditions from law, i.e. by their own efforts in the flesh. The Christian life begins by grace without us having anything to contribute to it. Paul then rightly asks, “If that is how you began, why do you think you can continue some other way? Why do you think that you can sustain yourself, if you could not start yourself?”.

This teaches us that we walk the same way that we start, through the faith of Christ. Sanctification is given and sustained the same way as justification, by Christ’s merits and not by our merits. Just as we are not born by the law, neither do we live or walk by the law. Sanctification is part of the finished work, just as justification is. This is our correct biblical heritage as Pentecostal/Evangelicals.
We will find this difficult to understand if we do not have a gospel foundation. If we do not know that repentance is a gift then we will not see that sanctification (continued lived out repentance) is a gift.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Galatians

Hudson Taylor came out of the Keswick movement, as did other fine missionaries. Taylor struggled with “process sanctification” for a long time, never feeling that he had arrived or even made progress. The more he followed that course the worse he felt about himself. The Lord finally set Hudson Taylor free by showing him that Christ was his holiness and that he could stop striving and rest in the finished work of Christ. He realised that he was sanctified by faith. In a letter Taylor stated:

"I thought that holiness, practical holiness, was to be gradually attained by a diligent use of the means of grace…when my agonies of soul were at their height a sentence in a letter was used to remove the scales from my eyes and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus."

Paul said to the Galatians, “You began well, who hindered you?” (Gal 5:7). The Galatians began in faith, but then tried to perfect themselves by works. When we think that we begin by our own faith and not the faith that Jesus provides as a gift, then we suppose that we continue by our own efforts and not by the sanctification that Jesus provides as a gift.

Sanctification must be taken as a gift and walked out by faith, just as salvation is.

The whole problem in Galatia was that they tried to add to Christ. They did not deem the life and faith of Christ sufficient for sanctification. They thought that after receiving Christ by faith, they must go on and be sanctified by works. This is a common attitude. We are essentially confident in our own flesh (ability).

Christians sometimes hold to a three stage approach to salvation doctrine (soteriology), including new birth, followed by baptism in the Spirit, followed by process or progressive sanctification, until we reach a state of perfection, or at least come close to that state.

Such teaching is based on a concept of personal holiness, which we attribute to those who fulfil a level of devotional qualities that we deem to be necessary, but we ourselves never seem quite able to achieve. This is law and it takes away our joy, by putting us under a curse.

Then we condemn ourselves, thinking that any temptation or impurity of motive displays a bad heart. So to remedy this we add rules to try to “change our heart”. There is nothing that we can do to change our heart. Temptation is not sin, but it should not point us to further works, but point us to Jesus Christ, who is the source of our holiness and perseverance. When we feel our infirmity we go to Jesus by faith, not to works.

Sanctification is a part of salvation. Jesus comes to circumcise our heart and set us free. This is not achieved by our level of devotion, but by His power and life within us. Jesus said, “Whom the Son of man sets free is free indeed.” (John 8:36).

Friday, 22 January 2010

John 20

The text in John 20 is as follows:

Then said Jesus to them again, Peace to you; As my Father has sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.

Whosesoever sins you remit are remitted and whosesoever sins you retain are retained. (John 20:21-23).

Just as Nicodemus was not born again in John 3, neither the woman at the well in John 4, or any at the feast in John 7, so also the disciples were not born again in John 20. This encounter was preparatory. It was prophetic of the Day of Pentecost, as were all the earlier chapters. John carries the same theme throughout his whole Gospel concerning Christ the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.

Some have said that this act of Jesus in John 20 highlights the divinity of Jesus Christ. He breathed into Adam at creation and would breathe His Spirit into man once again for a new creation. Certainly this is true, as Christ is identifying Himself as the giver of the Father’s promise. This was not when the disciples received the Spirit, but a teaching for them on the resurrection power they were soon to enter.
The real essence of the text is that it is a Great Commission passage. At the end of each Gospel there is a Great Commission passage that highlights two aspects:

1. The reception of the Holy Spirit, power or authority. This power is Christ residing in us through new birth. Matthew, “All authority is given to Me…”; Mark, “These signs shall follow…”; Luke, “Tarry in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father…”. All of these speak of the power in which the Great Commission is to be carried out.

The message of Jesus in John 20 is the same. “Receive the Holy Spirit” for the Great Commission! We know that they did not receive the Spirit then, for why then would Jesus have said in Luke at His ascension, “Tarry for the promise after I have gone” (Luke 24:49) and in Acts 1:4, “wait for the promise of the Father”?

So John’s record of Jesus’ “receive the Holy Spirit” was an instruction to tarry in Jerusalem. It is John’s record of the Great Commission, a synopsis with the other Gospels. This makes the most simple and straight forward sense of the passage. John just words the same instruction differently.

2. The remission of sin. The second aspect of the Great Commission was that after receiving this power they should preach the gospel to every person. Mark, “Preach this gospel to every creature, those who believe and are baptized shall be saved…”; Matthew, “baptizing them” for the forgiveness of sins…; Luke, “Preach repentance and remission of sins.”.

So John records the same aspect in the Great Commission, “Whosever sins you remit, they are remitted.”. This is not a personal authority given to the disciples, but as ambassadors of Christ they would declare remission of sins by the gospel to those who believe. This is what all the Gospel accounts say in relation to the Commission.
John adds, “Whosever sins you retain are retained.”. Again, this is not our personal authority, but a declaration to those who reject the gospel that their sins are retained. We are simply declaring by faith what we see the Father doing through the ministry of His word. We say it on earth, because it is already said in heaven. This does not give us power over any people.

Some pastors have used this verse to say that members must do what they say or they will not forgive their sins and so neither will God forgive them. Our sins are not in the hands of man. There is one mediator between man and God, the man Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5).

The promise of the Father in the Old Testament was Holy Spirit baptism. It is the whole point of the Gospel of John. This is the distinction of the New Covenant which the Father said was coming. This is why Jesus came.

And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49).

But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:39).

Therefore being at the right hand of God exalted and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has sent forth this which you see and hear. (Acts 2:33).

Fallen From Grace

God’s salvation is complete. It includes the grace to walk a sanctified life. So long as we think that it is up to our performance, we are outside of the gospel of Jesus Christ, or as Paul put it, “You have fallen from grace.” (Gal 5:4). Paul said to the Galatians, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from the grace of God.” (Gal 1:6). Paul was addressing their view of sanctification.

If we live under religious legalism, then we live in torment under a curse: as it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in every aspect of the law.” (Gal 3:10). This does not have to be the Law of Moses. It can be any law we make. Being under a curse means that it is impossible for us to live up to the conditions that we think we must achieve to be right with God. So long as we try to, we are under a curse.

The gospel is Jesus plus nothing, His blood plus nothing. Once we add works to the blood of Christ we have departed from the gospel. In Antioch, even Peter and Barnabas were drawn away from the gospel, not eating with those who were uncircumcised (Gal 2:9). If Peter and Barnabas did not recognize that the gospel had been completely compromised, then the same thing could be happening in our day in a different way, without us seeing it.

Luther claimed that both our justification and sanctification are gifts in Christ. Just as we are justified by the blood of Christ, so we are sanctified by His blood. The Galatians felt that the blood of Christ was sufficient for forgiveness of sin, but claimed that to be holy they had to keep the Law of Moses. They unwittingly (some knowingly) opposed the gospel stealthily, not a frontal attack against Jesus.

We may not think of circumcision, but may have some other traditions, a whole list of do’s and don’ts, by which we judge spirituality and judge others. But by judging others our conscience condemns our self, for we too cannot keep our list. Also the world sees that these many traditions and rules are meaningless in regard to real faith and love. They call it hypocrisy and they confuse these laws with Christianity.

The kingdom of God is not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17).

Monday, 18 January 2010


“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, it is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which the Father has put in his power. But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1: 6-8

Some disciples of Christ believed that the kingdom of national Israel was to be restored to them by Christ during his public acceptance and exultation by the multitude and during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. They thought this was the time they were looking forward to according to their judgment and expectations. His brothers were disappointed when he couldn’t declare himself as the Messiah publicly at the feast. When the Roman cohorts came to arrest him the disciples were also disappointed, they believed it was time to take up arms and restore the nation Israel: given the content of one of the discourses of Christ thus, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”(Matthew 10:34) and his instruction to them to sell their cloaks or garments and buy swords if they had none in their possession (Luke26:36).

One of them took up arms in defence and by extension to provoke the long awaited revolution and cut the ears of one of the cohorts. Christ returned the ear and told them not to respond. (Matthew 26:51-52, Mark 14:47, John 18:10-11). They were at a loss as to the purpose of his earlier instruction to buy swords. Their hope that Christ was he who “should have redeemed Israel...” (Luke 24:21) was buried when Jesus died the type of death he did without a commensurate insurrection from his followers, if not including the entire nation of Israel.

However their hope was ‘temporarily’ restored when Christ rose from the dead. They saw that he had garnered enough power for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, having come back to life. Therefore, they had to confront him with that question when he said they should wait for the promise of the Father, thinking that was to be the time of the restoration. The nationalist thought came alive with the resurrection of Christ. The disciples of Christ were engulfed in this nationalistic mind set of their time, a natural tendency prevalent throughout Jewish growth and development, away from the divine instructions given to Abraham that he “shall be a blessing…and in him shall the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).

This was pronounced at the time of Abraham’s call by God, which was passed onto Isaac (Genesis 25:11), and Isaac in turn to Jacob (called Israel).(Genesis 28:1-4) It was further reiterated to Moses and the entire nation of Israel when God said they “shall be to me a kingdom of priests…” (Exodus 19:6) The word ‘priests’ implies that the Israelites were to be mediators between themselves, other nations of the earth and God. They were made a peculiar treasure and a holy nation to be an example of what God wants his people to become.

Israel failed in this regard and isolated themselves from other nations, for whom they were meant to be a blessing. Through their stumbling the knowledge of God came to other nations as they went into captivity. It is excellent to expand the blessings of God to others through right and absolute obedience to the oracles and directions of God.

Christ showed the disciples what they should focus their attention on - the reception of the Holy Spirit which will empower them to serve as witnesses from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Then will the ‘mamlakah’ (Hebrew word for kingdom) come for it does not come by observations. Where ever they went they were having dominion inspite of the oppositions.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


“And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, of which he said, you have heard of from me. For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Act 1:4-5

In the one hundred and six occurrences of the word ‘wait,’ its first occurrence is “And if a man lie not in wait, but God deliver (another) into his hand; then I will appoint you a place where he shall flee to.” (Exodus 21:13). The word ‘wait’ means ‘to chase, hunt, to lie in wait, and by implication it means to make desolate or destroy. This really describes the lack of a restive nature in man since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Man does not wait for God for anything. He thinks and acts ‘independent’ of God. The consequence is disastrous.

Man sought for a covering for is nakedness, without consulting or waiting for God to come with his solution. This is the nature of the flesh, which permeated the Old Testament cultures and traditions including Israel’s who had the oracles of God. They failed to wait because they lacked understanding and their actions were fleshly.

But the disciples were men of the flesh, why were they able to wait? The verse in view shows that they were instructed to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. They were able to wait and they did not go the way of the flesh- disobedience. They did not go chasing or hunting after the promise to bring it pass, as depicted by the nature of religion. They were enabled through grace, due to the call of God: “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness through faith.” (Galatians 5:5).

Paul, while writing the last use of the word ‘wait’ to the Thessalonians, gives an insight into the Christian life. He said, “…wait for his Son from heaven” (1 Thess 1:10). They realised the importance of establishing the Church on the foundation of Christ. The Church of Acts waited for the promise of the Father which gave them the triumphal victory they had in the first century. This is repeated in the reformations till now. No human can have such successes without the Holy Spirit having a place of prominence in the life of the person.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


“You shall not commit adultery” Exodus 20:14

“And you shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:21-22).

Here we will look at an example of God’s intention and expectations in giving the Ten Commandments. He asks Moses to prepare a place to keep the testimony along with instructions on how to carry out the construction. Then follows an instruction concerning what is to be done there. It is a place where anybody who sins against the law can come for mercy at the mercy seat. The place of meeting, where God “will meet….and …will commune” with Moses concerning “…all things which he will give him in commandment.” (Exodus 25:16-22)

They were not meant to portray God as mean and wicked, who displays his supremacy over his creation without mercy. When the Lord gave his Ten Commandments, it was to serve as an introduction to the person of Christ. We have discovered that Jesus Christ is the reality of the Ten Commandments in person, thus also here Christ is “the mercy seat”. Through him God looks at us with mercy even though we sin.

The New Testament saw the manifestation of the expectations of God. When “the mercy seat” was manifested in person, it was no longer stationed in one place, where people resorted for mercy. He is now a ‘mobile mercy seat’ where he meets with the people who need mercy. This was illustrated in the New Testament record of the incident where a woman was caught in the very act of adultery. This naturally does not require any further interpretation. The law was clear about this issue, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).The consequences of breaking this law is death by stoning. (Leviticus 20:10)

But because Jesus Christ is the law or Ten Commandments as well as “the mercy seat”, the mercy seat is now in his place (John 8:2). When those who would stone the woman went to the ark of the testimony (the law) they discovered the real mercy seat, Jesus, a life giving person. They were divinely guided to meet with the mercy seat as he moved “into the temple…and he sat down, and he taught them” (John 8:2).

When they looked at the law they said “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned…” (John 8:5a, see Leviticus 20:10), “…but what do you say?” (John 8:5). Mercy said no! “I will have mercy and not sacrifice”. The adulterous woman was given a gift of life.

You can have the same experience today no matter your sin or problem. Don’t remain hiding in darkness, like the woman’s partner in the act who was not brought to the mercy seat by her accusers, maybe due to their religion, culture, traditions or ignorance. Come to Christ, for in returning shall be your strength and salvation.

Friday, 15 January 2010


“You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, wife…manservant…maidservant…ox…ass, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:13-17.

These verses expressed God’s expectations in the relationships that should exist between men. The relationship must be based on love, with God in view “for God is love”(1 John 4:8) Jesus elaborated on these verses saying, “And the second is like it;” You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

The basic and ultimate expectation of God for Israel is the expression of love for God and for fellow men. Murder, adultery, stealing, false witness and covetousness are done out of hatred or wickedness. When you love a man, you cannot do any of these acts mentioned above against him. When the love for God from within renews your mind, wickedness will be away from your thought. “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love”(1 Corinthians 13:13).

God first shows us how to love by sending his Son to die for us. “But God demonstrate his own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8). When a child of God is endowed with love from God for his fellow man, what will come out of him is not wickedness but love streaming out from within toward him. Your own interests should not dominate your heart, but the interest of others ahead of you also. (Philippians 2:1-4)

Jesus Christ demonstrated this love practically to the woman caught in the very act of adultery. Instead of killing her, he gave her life. Even the would be executors were guilty of breaking the commandment (John 8:1-11).

The New Testament calls those things the works of the flesh but he who walk in the Spirit walks in love (Galatians 5: 19-25). When you walk in love, you fulfil the mind or expectations of God in his Commandments.

Thursday, 14 January 2010


Jesus presented the Ten Commandments to the people according to the intent of the heart of God. Jesus analysed the commandments saying, “Do not think that I come to destroy the law and the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5: 7-48). What he taught the people from the commandments was more biblical than the Pharisaic view.
For example, the law said thou shall not murder, but he interpreted it that “whosoever is angry with is brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement” (Matthew 5:21-22). This is to say that anger was considered by religious men as a common thing because it was not spelt out in words by the commandments. Anger has a great role before the crime of murder is committed and the Pharisees, as all men, are guilty of this.

For this reason he further stated that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of a scribe and Pharisee you will by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5: 20). Jesus stated further that the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat. Therefore what ever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do. (Matthew 23:2-3)

The contrast between the religious view and the truth as presented by Jesus shows that righteousness is not a product of good works but good works are a product of righteousness. Obeying the commandment will flow from within. In other words we do not obey the commandment to be righteous, but righteousness through Christ produces obedience, for righteousness is a gift by faith and not by works. (Ephesians 2:8-9). “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) For this reason everyday is a holy day not only on the Sabbath day and so we continually obey God’s commandments.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


“Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

This verse begins the second phase of the commandments, which is relationship from man to man. God chose to begin with the home. He started this commandment by saying honour your father and your mother, without referring to any age. The responsibility of honouring the father and the mother is on all people and all ages. When children lean how to honour their parents from the home it will show in how they also honour others outside of the home.

It is contrary for a secular government to cast aside the Scripture and teach society how to raise children humanisticaly. Government policy separates the children from being raised responsibly by Christian parents, and separates the aged to be cared for in its social systems, all the while taking power from the home. The Pharisees and the Scribes also set aside Scripture on the family unit, but Jesus rebuked them openly (Mark 7:10-12).

God encourages parents to train their children. The word train in Hebrew is chanak meaning “to narrow”. The verse can be read, narrow (initiate, discipline) a child in the way he should go… (Prov.22:6). These instructions are not for the government but the parents. God expects children to have training from home then bless the society. A better society starts from the homes.

Apostle Paul preached in the New Testament that this commandment is with promise and this promise is longevity (Eph 6:1-3). This does not mean that parents cannot be wrong, they may be but a child can learn to correct them in wisdom and in love. When this part of the commandment is ignored, the future will be in a mess. God has forbidden its occurrence to them that believe and obey.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

Keeping of the Sabbath day is a very controversial aspect of the Ten Commandments. Some argue that the Sabbath day is Saturday, to some it is Sunday. It is obvious in the Bible and without controversy that Saturday is the Sabbath day, but the early church fathers agreed to observe the Sabbath day on Sunday. However, fighting over which day is the Sabbath day or its celebration is not the issue. The issue is that, if the Sabbath day is Saturday or Sunday and the purpose is to keep it holy, what will happen to the rest of the days of the week?

The purpose of the Sabbath is rest and the rest brings to their remembrance of how God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day (Exodus 20:11). The rest on the Sabbath day was temporal, but for the Israel of God (Gal 6:15-16), Christ has provided rest forever. “For we who believed do enter that rest,” (Hebrew 4:3-10).

Those who believed have entered rest; everyday is a Sabbath and must be kept holy. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “It is right to good on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:12). In this regard if you only do good on every seventh day, you are still in the Old Testament Sabbath day. The New Testament Sabbath is everyday because we have really entered into our rest in Christ forever. Let all nations, tribes and individuals know that Sabbath day is person, the Sabbath (day) is the Lord Jesus Christ. In him we have ceased from our every labour that originates from us for salvation (Hebrews 4:10). No more labour or works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Monday, 11 January 2010


“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” (Exodus 20: 7).

The Jews practiced or adhered to this commandment in its literal sense. Since the Lord (Jehovah) is known to them as the man of war, they did not call his name mundanely, because whenever they called his name he acted (Exodus 15:3). But looking at this Commandment with a New Testament view, we will discover God’s intention was not what the Jews practiced, but it was a symbol of the reality in the New Testament.

Not “taking the name of the Lord in vain…” means to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour (John 3:8, 18). “In his name the nations will put their trust.” (Matthew 12:21) “Jesus name had become well known…” (Mark 6:14) “Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9-10) (See also John 8:18, John 5: 43, John 10:25, John 12: 28, John 14:13, 14, 26, John 20: 31, John15:16, John 16:23-24, 26, Acts 2:21, Acts 17:26)

When a sinner believes in his name he stands justified and God is glorified. Taking the name of the Lord in vain means calling the name without believing in it. A sinner who called on the name of the Jesus seven times everyday and does not believe in the name for the salvation of his soul, is in vain because the name does not mean anything to him, it does not transform his life. “For the Lord will not hold him guiltless…” means if you keep calling the name without believing in him, in your death you will remain guilty before God.

Such a person will be guilty because he did not believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord and saviour. Compare Exodus 20:7 and Philippians 2:9-11. No matter the nation one belongs to and how sweet the name sounds to them if he or she did not believe in the name of Jesus he stands condemned before God (Proverbs 18: 10).

Sunday, 10 January 2010


“You shall have no other gods” Exodus 20:3

God understood the pretence of the Egyptians and their corruption in worshipping idols. God took it upon himself to let them know that those things they worshipped in Egypt were not gods worthy of worship. For example when Aaron threw his rod before Pharaoh and it became a serpent, the gods of the Egyptians also did the same and their rods became serpents. However, since the “I am” was involved the Egyptian gods never recovered their rods (Exodus 7:10-12). God hates people giving glory to things that are not God or to themselves, as he said, “I am the Lord, that is my name; and my glory I will not give to another.” (Isaiah 42:8).

This aspect of the commandment shows the believer whom he should worship and whom not to. He made the distinctions between the I am and images of any kind. The purpose of these distinctions was that the children of Israel should avoid being deceived and worshiping things other than God (Yahweh). Like Jesus said “God is a Spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

We see God through his faith, not images or imaginations, and we worship him through the Holy Spirit who resides in us. In as much as Jesus became a human being and Mary his mother, this is not a call to make images as their representations for worship. You shall not bow down to the images of Jesus and Mary. This shows outright disobedience to the commandments of God. “If really you love God keep his commandments” (John 14:21). According to Jesus, keeping the commandments is not based on the fear of punishment, but based on the love you have for the LORD your God.

The god of self is the greatest image in the minds of men. This idolatry is the default of human nature, thus the fist commandment is against it, to show us our selves and lead us to Christ. Only the gift of his faith through new birth destroys this idol.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


“And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 20:1-2 (See also Exodus 20:1-17)

The Ten Commandments are divided into two major parts; one part deals with the relationship of God and man and the second deals with the relationship between man and man. But let us first look at the relationship between God and man. It is no doubt that the commandment were given by God telling the children of Israel the kind of God he is (verse 1), expressing God’s introduction of himself to the children of Israel. Except God introduces himself to a sinful man he or she cannot understand the God he is. Yes, the children of Israel might be tempted to take him like one of the Egyptian gods. They may also attribute all those exhibitions of power over the gods of Egypt to one of the superior gods of the Egyptians. For example, the staff of Moses in the hands of Aaron which swallowed the Egyptian sorcerers’ staff turned snakes; the ten plagues which the Egyptian sorcerers imitated to an extend; the division of the Red Sea; and the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.

So he said, “I am the LORD your God.” It was the confirmation of the God whom Moses introduced to the Israelites when he went back to bring them out of Egypt, the house of bondage (Exodus 3:13). It is the same I AM that spoke to Moses through “the flame of fire” (Exodus 3:4-5) saying “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” As at the time when God was speaking to Moses he did not know this God personally. The only gods they knew and have seen were the gods of the Egyptians. So that causes God to start with them afresh. God, in other words, engages them into an introductory lesson, to introduce himself personally without any intermediary. At this introductory level they could not stand the voice of God, they asked for an intermediary (Moses) whom they later refused to listen to.

Jesus similarly introduced himself to Thomas saying “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Till today God has not stopped introducing himself to people. That is why we are witnessing people turning over to Christ. As it was in the beginning so it is now and forever. (Hebrew 13:8). The relevance of God introducing himself to men is the continual growth of Christianity in the world till this present age.

Friday, 8 January 2010


“And by this word you shall prolong your days in the land where you go over Jordan, there to possess it.” Deuteronomy 32:47

The word sustenance means something, for example the food that supports life or the provision of the necessities of life. The word is a noun, but Christ is not comparable to this definition because he is far above this human description of ‘life sustenance’, though he said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48) that sustains or provides all life sustaining necessities (Psalm 107:9), (see John 6:33, 35, 48-51, 53-58). But his sustenance is himself given in us, not just the material things.

He further said he is ‘the life’ (John 14:6), but he is not sustained nor provided for by any of his creatures. “If I were hungry I will not tell you for the world is mine and the fullness of it” (Psalm 50:12, see also Psalm 24:1-2, Psalm 89:11).When David and Solomon desired or thought to build a house that is fitting for the God of heaven, the Lord said “Shall you build me a house for my dwelling?”(2 Samuel 7:5, 2 Chronicles 6:18), since the Lord himself is the house of his dwelling place (John 2:19-22, Revelation 21:22).

To neglect Christ is to unsuccessfully ‘kick against the pricks’ (Acts 9:5) i.e. the centre point of life or the divine impulse, as Apostle Paul did earlier. When Saul was persecuting the church or the apostles and disciples Jesus accosted him saying “I am Jesus Christ who you are persecuting” (Acts 9:4-5). He further reiterated this in other words “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When man neglects God’s provision of life he is dead, just as it happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


“For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life…” Deuteronomy 32:47
“When Christ, who is our life...” Colossians 3:4

Moses in the review of the Law did not plainly declare the substance of the Law. This accounted for the way the Israelites viewed the Law or Ten Commandments and its attendant ordinances. They have always viewed it as unrelated fragments, isolated and individually separated. They see the offering of grains, animals and observances of certain ordinances as individually separate and unrelated to a substantial whole. They did not see it as holistically substantiated in a personality i.e. the person of Christ. This attitude was reflected in their eventual dealings with the offerings whereby they offer it without regard to the substance. However, in the New Testament, Apostle Paul implies that “your life” that Moses is referring to is “Christ, who is our life.” (Colossians 3:4).

He further stated that Christ has taken away our sins by, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principality and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Colossians 2:14-17 (see Colossians 2:1-23). Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the Law. The word of God said “All have sinned …” He became our sin, was made sin in our place. The Law said “the soul that sinneth shall die.” This requires justice from a just and merciful God, he provided Christ as our justification, sanctification, righteousness, and redemption.

Furthermore, Christ is the sacrifice for our sin, the altar upon which the sacrifice was offered and he is the high priest who offered the sacrifice, having offered himself for our sin. It therefore does not matter if you are not naturally descended from Israel. What matters is being in Christ, that by the faith of God you believe in Christ and his holistic redemptive work for you on his cross. Any man, nation, tribe, or religion which fails to see the Ten Commandments as a whole in its panoramic view, will live a fragmented life.

Listen to what Paul said emphatically that “Your real life is Christ.” Seek to attain to this divine substance of the Ten Commandments. “See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil…therefore choose life that both you and your seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15- 20). This implies that the Ten Commandments is a whole (entire or complete, including all parts or aspects with nothing left out, not divided or regarded as consisting of separate parts). Christ is the whole, the ‘life’ which Moses set before them, and which God has set before every man in the gospel. Any other choice is death. ‘Therefore choose life.’

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Not a Vain Thing for You

“And he said to them, set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over Jordan to possess it.” Deuteronomy 32:46-47

Whatever the intention of God for giving the Law, it is obvious that it was never meant to be a vain thing (Deuteronomy 32:47) to the Israelites and all believers in God (Deuteronomy 31:9-13). “Vain” here means “empty or worthless without substance.” In many nations, cultures, tribes, religions, there are various regulatory principles meant to guide and give hope to those that practice them. Yet none have been able to attain to that initial hope. Instead we have ended up frustrated while attempting to strengthen ourselves to help God to achieve the requirements of the Law through religions, cultures and traditions. Many have tried and failed.

No human was able to live up to God’s expectations after the fall, and the glory of God was further away from man, because of his ignorance of the worth and substance of the Law (Romans 3:23). The substance of the Law is Christ. It was the neglect of it that accounted for the chaotic nature of the nation and of human lives without him. Christ the substance of the Law means that he gave and kept the Law for us to enter his rest by faith.

When a group of sabbatarians perished in a southern African country, a journalist interviewed many Christians challenging them to recite the Ten Commandments, which many could not. He asked, “If you can not recite the commandments, how can you remember to keep them?” He responded that Jesus Christ has summarily kept and delivered only one law for us: “You shall Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”(Matthew 22:37-39).

Jesus had earlier said to his listeners on the mount, “… do think that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17). This verse is variously translated in other versions: “I didn’t come to set aside but to make them come true.”; “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scripture…either God’s Law or prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.” (The Message). Christ has fulfilled all the requirements of the Ten Commandments, including other statutes, and ordinances. Note that as it was in the Garden of Eden when man left the ordinance of God continued sin was inevitable. Therefore, nations, tribes, religions have to understand this, and return to Christ so that life can be easier according to God’s design and destination for them.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


“To till the ground from whence he was taken.” (Genesis 3:23)
The word ground is used in various ways throughout the entire Bible. First, its Hebrew equivalent is adamah meaning soil, country, earth, ground, husbandry, land. This means that man was sent back to his original form without the Breath of God to search for himself. This is a difficult task because he cannot find the exact place from which he was brought out. The Lord said, “Ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged”. (Isaiah 51:1)
So it will be a fruitless search to look for self where he could not be found. Man forgot that the LORD is his life “….Christ, who is our life.” (Colossians 3:4) The implication of Christ being our life is that whenever we look for our life anywhere else we are doomed. A life of independence from God is dangerous. The nature of Adam was that he will not seek for help outside himself, which is a phenomenon that is prevalent amongst all nations made manifest in their search for self, by representing God wrongly in images of his own creation. This indicates that man has the impression that he has a Creator, but has lost the memory of His Likeness. It was this scenario the Israelites depicted in making a molten calf to show their gods who delivered them from Egypt (Ex 32:4).This outright disobedience to the Laws of God; “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…”(Exodus 20:3-4).

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Monday, 4 January 2010


“Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden.” (Genesis 3:23)
After the fall of man and the judgement which followed, the Lord furthermore sent or banished man from the paradise of God, His presence. This has a multiplier effect on the activities of man upon the face of the earth, his first homestead to which he was sent. It was a homecoming for man. It was a familiar ground of self governance, culture, tradition and religion. Man did not make any effort to repent or return to God, even when God made the move for reconciliation and redemption. Man wanted self-rule, independence, which formed the basis for his choice against God’s instruction. Despite the intelligence man possesses, and the engagement of the same to the study of himself, he failed to come to terms with who he actually is. Plato in frustration said but for the feathers man is no different from the birds. Socrates in refuting this proposition removed feathers from a bird and said, “Behold the man of Plato.” That is a man away from God, it does not matter from which nation: developed or developing, the same delusion and confusion is prevalent. The solution to man’s problems is not in his struggles to find himself, which he cannot. Man’s only way of escape is stated by God to all nations “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: in returning and rest shall ye be saved…” (Isaiah 30:15)

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Sunday, 3 January 2010


“Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The LORD God called to ADAM, “WHERE ARE YOU?” (Genesis3:8-9 NLT).
These verses implied that something contrary has happened since the declaration of the intent for the creation of man, which made him to hide himself from God even when he heard God calling him. After the creation of man God gave him instructions concerning the garden on how to keep it and what not to touch, but man went ahead to disobey God, by eating the forbidden fruit thus introducing himself into an era of self-governance, fear and uncertainty. He was in this state when God visited. Man was familiar with God’s voice and walk, but now having disobeyed His instruction he was in a state of fear and confusion of thought because the knowledge he sought without ‘good understanding’ gave him unfavourable standing in the presence of God. Before now, the creation, man and all that which constitutes his environment was “…very good”, as long as the order or principles of man’s traffic on earth was on “the ancient path”(Jeremiah 6:16) ordained by God. When “the man” (Genesis 3:22) sought for ‘another’ knowledge which seemed right in his sight, it eventually led man (every nation) and all that are in ‘the man’ (Adam’s race) to destruction, environmental degradation, diseases, sicknesses and death. Man’s search and choice for a saviour since then has been leading him astray into outer darkness. Inversely, any search of man must ultimately begin and end in Jesus Christ if our confusion of thoughts should be right in every stratum of our lives and environment.
Man has been in search for the Man who will stand in the gap or make up the hedge. None presented by humanity is able to meet up with God’s standard or requirement. But man was returned to the ground from whence he was taken to till it (Genesis 3:23), implying that man has returned to his based form. Hence the great confusion of thoughts arose amongst the philosophers who sought to study man. However, “I sought for a man, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30) was God’s exclamation. God’s hands brought salvation for us. When Herod declared ‘Behold the Man’ (John 19:5) indicating Jesus as the Man God has been waiting for all this while.

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Saturday, 2 January 2010


“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God Said…”
Genesis 1:1-3a, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29.
Within the period of six days God spoke all His creation into existence and their sustenance therefrom, using the phrase “And God said…” on each day. Whatever God created came into being without fail, e.g. “Let there be light: and there was light.” With a resounding affirmation that all that God said came to pass, “…and it was so.” All creation other than man has been obedient to their Creator since then, but man chose to become something else. When God created man he did not decline from coming into existence, but man refused to take heed to God’s commandment to him not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man chose to differ with God, through Man’s abuse of the privilege of choice given to him by God. However, God came to the rescue of man even with his blatant rebellion in refusing to seek God for salvation. At God’s appearance to man for redemption he ran from the presence of God, The Creator’s redemption still came to man. By the time of Moses God made known to man the way of life and death, for his good and for the generations ahead. Man still did not go God’s way.
When God’s redemption manifested in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, man still grasped his habit of rebellion by refusing to accept him as Lord and Saviour. Despite Jesus Christ’s declaration of himself as the only Way back to God. Man everywhere is no different from the attitude displayed by the man Adam. We are rebellious through our religiosities, cultures, traditions and the recent advancement in science and technology. Man has lost himself, he stands in need of the Redeemer which is far from our various ways; religions, cultures, traditions, and knowledge. The sword and the Cherubims are there to ensure the way is secured from all human ways; this “…Turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Genesis31:23-24). When Christ came He did not only open the way, but declared himself as The Way saying“I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

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Friday, 1 January 2010


“In the beginning God…Amen” Genesis 1:1, Rev 22:21
These few words did not adorn the opening and closing of the Holy Scripture by sheer coincidence. The choice and placement of the words in their various positions was meant to teach or reveal to all nations or mankind the eternal sovereignty of God. These two verses are explicit revelation of the Source of all creation, all nations, etc. and the ultimate ending of all creation. When God started his creative activity, he put forth his self revelation. Moses thus declared God as the Beginning. (See also Rev. 1:8, 11, 21:16, 22:13).
Jesus Christ declared himself to be the beginning of all things: creations, nations or mankind. It is pertinent to note that the phrase “In the beginning God…” has the implication of God being the self existing one, “Before the day was I am he.” (Isaiah 43:13). God is the beginning of life and he is “the Life” (John 14:6). In taking a close look at the verse as quoted above “In the beginning God…Amen” shows that whom or whatever God is, he is presented as the One entity in the Beginning, i.e. God was the Beginning, in the Beginning, from the Beginning, and through to the Ending.
No where did God allow any nation to begin on its own accord without Him and through Him no matter their present situation, religion or creed. Some major religions of the world have acknowledged that to Jesus Christ all mankind shall ultimately return as their judge and end, but not all nations have agreed what He said as follows;
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev.1:8). This revelation was repeatedly mentioned in the following verses:
“I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. (Rev.1:11)
“Fear not, I am the first and the last I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death…” (Rev.1:17-18)
“The first and the last, which were dead and is alive.” (Rev.2:8)
“He that hath the keys of David, he that openeth no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.” (Rev.3:7)
“The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev.3:14)
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”(Rev.21:6, 22:13).
“Amen.” (Rev.22:21.
These scriptures are indicative that all things, mankind, nations, or people groups “live…move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Source and from whom all derive their existence and sustenance. Any nation, culture, man who has a contrary source other than the Lord Jesus Christ will “move and have their being” witnessing evil. That is to witness life in the reverse order and upside down living.

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