Archive for sin

Shavuot/Pentecost/Feast of Weeks, 5782/2022

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Pentecost/Shavuot/Feast of Weeks, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2022 by paulthepoke

Leviticus 23:15-16 ‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord.

On a Gregorian calendar in the year of 2022, the holiday of Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Pentecost begins at sunset on Saturday, June 4. The God Appointed holiday ends at sunset Monday, June 6. The Feast takes place in the month of Sivan on the 6th and 7th of a Hebrew calendar. This is the Hebrew year 5782.

Exodus 23:14-17 “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD.

Shavuot is one of the three holidays where Jewish men are required to come to Jerusalem. The men were to make their presentation and sacrifice before God at the Temple. This holiday is one of seven holidays appointed by God.

Two loaves of bread are made from the new wheat harvest. The loaves are made with leaven. The Biblical symbol for sin is leaven. The two loaves of bread at Shavuot are the only sacraments made with leaven.

Some believe that one loaf represents the Jewish people and the other loaf represents the Gentiles. The loaves represent the church which is comprised of Jews and Gentiles. Sinful people, Jews and Gentiles, are formed with the first fruits of the wheat harvest. (And yes, the church was and is still sinful despite being saved by the grace of God.) The loaves are brought and waived by the Son, the High Priest, before the Father.

http://www.messiah3.org/pentecostfeast.htm

Ephesians 2:11-22 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands, remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Together, sinful Jews and sinful Gentiles sealed with God the Spirit worshiping God the Father through the sinless God the Son.

Which begs the question…

How long before the two loaves of bread, the church, are waived by our High Priest before the Lord in Heaven?

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

No Escaping Sin

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , on May 22, 2022 by paulthepoke

If we are at all honest with ourselves, we have some serious issues. The Mosaic Law has incredible standards. Who are we kidding! In our current state of humanity, we are all guilty. Adam introduced sin to humanity. The result was bodily death.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned…

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

Sin is the reason for illness and death. We don’t know when or how we are going to die. But we do know the reason for death, sin. Missing the mark or missing the moral standard is the reason we sweat for crying out loud. Weeds were not supposed to grow. A rose was not intended to have thorns. We were not originally created for hard labor.

So, the next time somebody asks, “Why does God allows bad things to happen? How could a loving God let that horrible thing occur?”

We need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and get really honest. Sin is why bad and evil things happen in the world.

Genesis 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

As individuals, it is not our place to judge others regardless of their actions. Every person on the planet has a lifestyle or mental attitude issue that can be taken to task. There is no sliding scale or grading on the curve when it comes to sin. “Well my sin is not as bad as…” Nonsense, judgment belongs to God.

James 4:12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

We are all in need of sin remission. Every single one of us is a sinner. We all have sin in our lives.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

We all (except a group of believers at the rapture) have a set time and date with the grave. It does not matter what our bodies look like. One cannot diet, vitamin, or exercise their way from the Pit. It does not matter if you are rich or poor. One cannot buy their way out of Sheol.

Psalm 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.

Psalm 49:14 As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd; and the upright shall rule over them in the morning, and their form shall be for Sheol to consume so that they have no habitation.

Job 26:6 Naked is Sheol before Him, and Abaddon has no covering.

The meaning of Abaddon is “destruction”. Sin is naked awareness before God. In the final analysis, there is no covering of sin apart from the cross work of Christ. God has always made provision for the sin of humanity. Apart from God, sin will be exposed, bare, and raw. Its path leads to destruction.

Proverbs 15:11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, How much more the hearts of men!

Death is knocking. The open throat and grave of death await.

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

A Simple Legal Argument

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2022 by paulthepoke

Excerpts taken from The Gospel 33 AD by Paul Lehr.

At the core of the need for the gospel message is a simple legal argument and matter. God made this very clear from the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden. Listen and obey God’s directions. “Eat all you want except for one.” There are consequences. Some consequences are good and some are bad.

Genesis 2:16-17 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

As time progressed, Moses was given the Law for the nation of Israel on Mount Sinai. God communicated His Law to Moses approximately 3,600 years ago. These directions were given to Moses approximately 1,600 years before Christ. In total, there were 613 laws given. This number includes the Ten Commandments. Jews have even broken down the number of negative and positive commands. 365 are negative commands and 248 are positive commands. Read the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) of the Bible for these laws or mitzvoth (Hebrew term).

As far as God is concerned, there is no separation of moral and legal code. Culturally and legally the United States is different. We have a separation of church and state. That is not the intended case with God and His nation Israel.

Well so what if we break God’s Law? What is the big deal? Sin is a big deal to God. It does not matter the offense. If you break the law, the punishment is death. It does not matter if one steals, lies, commits murder or adultery, covets, or whatever. There are no “shades of grey” when it comes to sin. There is not a sliding scale for sin. One sin is not more condemning than another. If you break one, you break them all. That is God’s standard.

James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Romans 6:23a For the wages of sin is death…

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law…

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The critic often says, “Well, the Ten Commandments are in the Old Testament and we live during the church age in the New Testament. Jesus took care of the Law.”

A message for the critic, the Mosaic Law is still present whether you believe it or not. The issue is whether or not you have Jesus to cover your mess. The Mosaic Law and the Ten Commandments have not gone away. Jesus Himself made this very clear.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

What Does God Think About Roe v Wade

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Trend Update with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2022 by paulthepoke
Wikipedia

Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed the leaked “Opinion of the Court” from Justice Samuel Alito is authentic. The majority first draft by Justice Alito sets the stage for each individual state to make a decision on abortion. Currently, the vote appears to be 5 (Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett) to 3 (Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan). Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote has yet to be determined as of the posting of this article.

A fence has been erected around the Supreme Court. Protests from both sides of the issue were taking place throughout the day at the Court.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Alito.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.” -Justice Alito

For those who want to read the complete “Opinion of the Court”, click on the link below.

For the original breaking story, see the link from Politico.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-00029473

See the YouTube link below for additional analysis.

This topic is an absolute lightning rod. This is an adult conversation. Passions are running hot. Please keep all comments to be thoughtful, respectful and considerate of others even if one disagrees with another. To brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, be mindful of Who we are representing. We are held to a higher standard.

For those who disagree, file your complaint with the good Lord. He can handle your opinion. You are free to launch your protest. He knows it before you utter your dissent. Keep in mind, His standards are fixed. He is not interested in redefining standards to meet your needs or moral platitudes.

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What does God think about the act of taking a life inside the womb of a mother? In the 20th and 21st century, this act is called abortion.

In our modern day enlightened culture, we would like to think abortion is a new and progressive issue. It may surprise many that this practice of taking life from the womb, as well as life from the mother, was occurring approximately 2,750 years ago as documented by the prophet Amos and by an unknown author (Jewish tradition suspects the prophet Jeremiah) in 2 Kings. We can’t hide what God says. There is nothing new under the sun.

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These are the words inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.

2 Kings 8:11-12 Elisha fixed his gaze steadily on him until Hazael became uncomfortable. Then the man of God began to weep. “Why is my lord weeping?” asked Hazael. “Because I know the evil you will do to the Israelites,” Elisha replied. “You will set fire to their fortresses, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little ones to pieces, and rip open their pregnant women.”

We will start with and focus on the Hebrew word for evil. It is ra’. The word means bad, adversity, or evil. The first time this word occurs is in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 2:9b The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the bearer of the forbidden fruit. In essence, God is explaining to humanity. If you want to know about evil, you will experience evil. God’s instructions to Adam were direct and to the point.

God’s way: to trust in God’s provision is everlasting life. And don’t forget, humanity was created eternal. Or humanity’s way: to know good and evil is death. And so it was, a simple choice.

Life or death?

Genesis 2:17 …but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

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So going back to our verses from 2 Kings 8:11-12. There were four acts of evil Elisha told Hazael he would commit.

  1. set fire to their fortresses
  2. kill their young men with the sword
  3. dash their little ones to pieces
  4. rip open their pregnant women

Taking life from the womb of a pregnant woman is evil. Taking the life of the mother is evil. Dashing and cutting babies to pieces is evil. It is murderous.

Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.

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These are the words inspired by the Holy Spirit of God to the prophet Amos.

Amos 1:13 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of the Ammonites, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead, that they might enlarge their border.

The Ammonites are clearly repeat offenders of taking the lives of pregnant women and taking life inside the womb.

Pasha or transgressions can also be translated as rebellious acts.

The transgressions or rebellious acts are defined by God: because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead.

God has consequences for Ammonites. And because of these events, God promises fire, a tempest wind storm (this could be translated as a whirlwind or tornado), and leadership into exile in Amos 1:14-15.

Scripture is clear. God does not approve of the act of taking life inside the womb of a mother. And God does not approve of taking the life of the mother. He is pro life.

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As far as sin goes, there is no sliding scale of severity with God. Abortion is no worse of an iniquity than any other sin. It is humanity who has redefined, ordered and prioritized which sins are worse, not God.

Remember that death, disease, pains, suffering, hard labor and environmental changes came into being because a forbidden piece of fruit was eaten. God takes any sin seriously to the point of death. As God sees it, sin is sin.

James 2:10-11 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Let’s be real. We are all sinners with many different issues. The end result of sin is the same, death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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The topic of abortion has brought a tremendous amount of pain, suffering and regret to many including unborn victims, moms, dads, grandparents, families and friends. The topic Roe v Wade has been polarizing and divisive for close to 50 years in the United States. It is ripping and tearing the fabric of our society.

To the body of Christ, this is an encouragement for us to offer the grace of Jesus we have been afforded in spite of our sins. Believers in Jesus are accurately accused of pointing fingers in judgment and condescension to those who are suffering in matters regarding the issue of abortion (as well as many others). Please be considerate and sensitive to the hurts of others.

Grace, mercy, and forgiveness…

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

Life or Death?

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

Stuck in Sin, God’s Not Listening

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2022 by paulthepoke

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

God says that one’s attitude towards sin matters. He is talking about the space between the ears. The verse above is conditional, If

If I had cherished… This is the Hebrew word raah. Strong’s Concordance defines the word as “to see”.

This is the word that is used repeatedly in the creation account in Genesis.

Genesis 1:31a And God saw (raah) all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

Iniquity or aven in the Hebrew can be defined as trouble, sorrow, or wickedness.

…in my heart… The heart or leb in the Hebrew is known as inner man, mind, will, or heart.

…the Lord would not have listened. This is the Hebrew word shama. Plainly stated, it means to hear.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear (shama), O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

We are talking about the fundamental senses of seeing and hearing. God sees what is going on in your heart and mind. There is no tricking God.

Personally, if an individual knows a mental attitude is wrong, if you are sinning (mentally or physically committing) and you know it. God’s not listening to you.

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Job 35:13 Surely God does not hear an empty cry, nor does the Almighty regard it.

Surely God does not hear an empty cry This is the Hebrew word shav. It is defined as: emptiness, vanity, or nothingness.

This is the same word utilized in the Third Commandment.

Exodus 20:7 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.

If one does not take God seriously, He does not take you seriously. If one is not listening to God and what He has to say, He’s not listening to you either.

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Isaiah 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

…but your iniquities… These are not just sins. These are avon or punished sins (Strong’s). The result is a barrier between the sinner and God. Because of our sin we committed, He does not want to see us or hear from us.

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John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him.

John understands this is an established fact. We know that God does not listen to sinners…

As sinners, we are not stuck in an eternal state of God closing us out. There are two things we can do to be heard again, worship and obey.

  1. …worshiper of God… In the original Greek, this is the word θεοσεβής/theosebés. The definition is be God-fearing. Worship and respect God.
  2. does His will… ποιέω/poieó: to make or do.

John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. said Jesus.

Do what God says. And we always have a solution in Jesus Christ. He removed the barrier between the Father and us with His death on the cross.

Mark 15:37-38 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

Sin and Health

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2022 by paulthepoke

Psalm 31:10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.

Do sinful actions affect our health? The unpopular answer in today’s woke, soft culture is… Yes. We fundamentally know this but in general, we do not want to admit it or take responsibility. Pick your vice. Alcohol abuse can lead to a variety of issues including cirrhosis of the liver. A swinger’s lifestyle can lead to ramifications of sexually transmitted diseases. The list is endless. You get the point.

This is a simple truth from God’s word. …my strength fails because of my iniquity… Because of sin, our bodies decline and ultimately die.

my strength fails… One’s ability and strength to complete a task fails or kashal in the Hebrew. The word could be associated with a drunken stupor; to stumble, stagger, totter (Strong’s Concordance). Coordination of tasks goes as well.

The Hebrew word for iniquity is avon. The word defined assumes guilt and a consequence for the action. Definition as stated per Strong’s: iniquity, guilt, punishment for iniquity. There is no question. The action is wrong and justice is coming.

Psalm 32:3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

The body’s condition continues to deteriorate if one does not confess their sin. A lack of confession can be an exacerbation and quickening of the process. The context of the verse from Psalms is iniquity or sin.

For when I kept silent… This personality is not about to admit their short comings. It is probably somebody else’s fault.

Look at the attitude exhibited. There is grumbling and complaining about one’s aches and pains. There is no responsibility assumed for the condition or state one is in. It would appear this is a long term condition. This chronic whining, all day long.

The result, my bones wasted away. This could be both literally and figuratively. One’s literal body deteriorates. The essence of the individual pines and withers away. Body and soul wear out and decay.

Admit you are wrong. You made mistakes (plural). Welcome to the club.

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James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The verse from James implies sickness of an individual. There is an antidote to consequences of sin on the body in the here and now this side of eternity.

Confess or ἐξομολογέω/exomologeó in the original Greek. Per Strong’s Concordance, I consent fully, agree out and out; I confess, admit, acknowledge (early Hellenistic sense of the middle: acknowledge a debt). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states: from the heart, freely, or publicly, openly, to profess.

In other words, get your sin out there for all to hear about it. Don’t hold back.

There is a result from confession of sins, …that you may be healed.

The Greek word for healed is ἰάομαι/iaomai. The term is generally associated with Jesus and His ability to supernaturally heal others. There are multiple examples in the gospel accounts of Christ. People recognized Christ’s ability to heal.

Matthew 8:8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.

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The good news is someday, all of this will be no more. Admit you are a sinner and join Him in His future.

Revelation 21:4-5 …He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”

And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.”

~

https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Lehr/e/B09W8FB77N

The Blood Red Stain of Sin

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , on February 27, 2022 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Sin is staining and it’s color is blood red. Sin stains what is pure and clean. Without the cleansing soap of the blood of Christ, we are powerless to clean our clothing of our issues. No matter how many times we wash our clothes, no matter what we use, we cannot clear up our mess.

Job 9:30-31 If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, then You would plunge me into the pit, and my own clothes would loathe me.

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photo: iStock

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Note the company of this verse, “we” and “all“. This is the Hebrew word “kol“. There are no exceptions save One. We all sin. None of us are perfect in thought or deed. We are all dirty.

…and all our righteous deeds…

What and who motivates our actions? Be careful, this is a slippery slope. Do we do “the right thing” as we see it? What is our motive for serving others? Are we doing something to look good as our fellow man sees it? Are we looking to draw attention to ourselves? Or are we doing these good works for the glory of God?

This verse could also be translated as “self righteous deeds”. The problem is we may not realize our deeds are “self righteous”. We may be blinded to our own selfishness, pride, and arrogance.

…are like a polluted garment.

Translators have done us no favor with this particular portion of the verse. The “polluted garment” happens to be menstrual flow, flux and soiling. There is an implication of deceit and treachery. Our works on our merits are like a nasty, bloody rag apart from God.

We all fade like a leaf…

Like a leaf, we lose our color. As a leaf turns color from health, lush green with moisture, our skin dries and itches. Lotions try to replenish but to no avail. As a leaf dries, crumbles and becomes mulch, our skin shrinks, wrinkles and hangs off of our bones. We bruise, tear, and break with greater ease.

…and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

We are guilty and deserving of just punishment. Because of our sin, we are blown away by the wind (Spirit?).

Of note, the translated Hebrew word for “wind” is ruach. This word is also translated as “spirit”, as in the Holy Spirit.

Authentic good works are noted below. True good works were created by God before our time.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The reality of our heart and attitude in whatever we do should be as stated by the Apostle Paul. Imagine taking the time before doing and talking and considering how speech and actions would reflect on God’s character. Are we respectfully representing the Creator?

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Defining Sin

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2022 by paulthepoke

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What is sin? How do we know what sin is?

iStock

The New Testament word for sin is ἁμαρτία/hamartia. Here is how the word is defined: failure; missing the mark; guilt, sin, a fault, failure, sinful deed.

The first time the term “sin” is used in the Old Testament is Genesis 4:7.

Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.

The Hebrew word translated as sin is chatta’ah. Within in the context of the passage of Genesis 4:7, sin is simply not doing the right thing. One did not achieve the set standard.

A person can do their best with the best of intentions and fail to meet the standard. It is still a sin. Clearly, people can willingly choose to disobey God’s statute. This is a sin.

We stand before the dart board of life. The bullseye is the standard. The intent is a perfect shot. The stance is good. The technique has been mentally rehearsed. Confidence reigns supreme. The bullseye is coming. With all your heart, the dart flies. Woops… missed. We are all sinners.

Which leads to another question, how do we know what is the right thing? Who sets the standard for what is right and what is wrong?

Sin is rebellion against God’s righteous and just character. Sin has its roots in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom, she took the fruit and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.

We are all sinners. How are we going to manage our sinful ways? What is our response going to be to sin? God knows we are all sinners.

Cain’s response to his sin was to murder his brother Abel. Adam and Eve tried to cover and hide from their sin in the Garden. Judas hung himself. At Golgatha, one thief next to Jesus lashed out at Christ.

David turned from adultery, lies, deception and murder and moved his heart towards God. Saul was killing Christians until he was blinded and became the Apostle Paul. Matthew was a corrupt tax collector swindling his fellow Jew. Matthew was upholding the “laws” until he answered the call of Jesus. At the The Skull, one thief on the cross revered God the Man and admitted his guilt and understood his consequence. And today, that thief is in Paradise.

Psalm 51:4-5 Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Yoke of Slavery

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2022 by paulthepoke

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ESV

photo: istock

Slavery or δουλεία/douleia in the koine Greek of the day. The word is translated as slavery or bondage. The root word is δοῦλος/doulos or slave. Doulos is also translated as servant in the New Testament.

The Hebrew word for slave is ebed. Generally speaking, the word is translated as servant in the Old Testament. Ebed is used 800 times in the Old Testament. Ebed is from the word abad in the Hebrew.

As a nation, Israel is all too familiar with slavery. The nation Israel spent 400 years in Egypt as slaves. In the verse below, the term abad is used.

Genesis 15:13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.

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Humanity’s dilemma… What are we going to do? What are we going to choose? Fundamentally we have two choices, life or death.

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

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What happens when one chooses a lifestyle of sin regardless of the specificity? God says we are a drift, thoughtless, and sensual. We are malicious, spiteful, greedy little haters. Again, the end result is death. And our path to death is not paved with good times and gold.

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

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Don’t kid yourself. There is no way we can overcome sin on our own. We are currently in a fallen and broken state. We are not independently strong enough to break the yoke of sin. It is a monstrous and overwhelming burden.

Believers are called to be slaves to God the Father. Notice the progression in the verse below from Romans. Choose God and this leads to growth, purification, and holiness. The end result is eternity with the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

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Believers are called to be slaves to justice. We are called to do the right thing by God.

Romans 6:18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

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This is ultimately about your attitude and heart toward Jesus. He wants us to be a willing participant. Christ is not making us follow Him. As people, we have the free will to choose.

1 Corinthians 7:22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.

A point of Galatians 5:1 is this. As a believer in Jesus Christ, the individual has broken away from the yoke of sin because of Him. One has become free. This is an appeal to the will. Don’t go back to being a slave to sin. Stay with Him and in Him.

The Yoke’s on YOU…

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Freedom in Christ with tags , , , on January 30, 2022 by paulthepoke

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ESV

ζυγός/zugos is the Greek for a yoke.

Literally, a yoke is a wooden bar placed over the neck of a pair of animals so they can pull together. A yoke was used on oxen by farmers to plough a field. As a matter of practical application, the law requires two of the same animals to be yoked together.

Deuteronomy 22:10 You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

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Figuratively in a Jewish sense, a yoke is a heavy burden. It can be seen as a symbol of oppression. In Jeremiah 27, God asked Jeremiah to place a yoke on his neck as an object lesson for the nations. Figuratively, God was asking the nations to place themselves under the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Note the consequences of the nation if there was disobedience of God’s directive.

Jeremiah 27:8 But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the LORD, until I have consumed it by his hand.

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A yoke unites two people to move and/or work together as one. As believers, we are called to work together in the understanding and study of Christ. We are to set our minds on Jesus.

Philippians 4:3 Yes, and I ask you, my true yokefellow, to help these women who have labored with me for the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

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Granted, we are not under the Mosaic Law today in Jesus Christ. For Christians, the issue is not marrying within our tribe or country. We are called to seek the like-minded in Christ in marriage. The command is to avoid being unequally yoked in marriage.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

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We are going to serve something. As believers, we are called to be slaves to Christ. Serving Christ’s yoke of love is easier than serving the yoke of one’s own sin or vice.

2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to depravity. For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.

The Greek word for depravity is φθορά/phthora. It can also be translated as corruption, destruction, decay, rottenness, or decomposition. Apart from Christ, this is where humanity is headed.

Humanity has two choices. We can be yoked to Jesus. Or we can be yoked to slavery that is sin. Jesus Himself called us to be yoked to Him.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

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Turn to the yoke of Jesus Christ and do not look back. Do not return to your life of sinful behavior. This is the message from the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:1. Do not be like the dog returning to his vomit. Peter confirms the same notion. Things will only get worse.

2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

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