Thursday, June 28, 2018

Are We Under the Mosaic Law Today?

This is a great question and I want to be careful how I answer this question.  Biblically we are no longer under the Mosaic Law, which included the 10 commandments and over 600 other laws.  The Law never could save a soul from their sins.  The Law served as a code of ethics to direct the Jews in how to live uprightly and morally before God.  The weight of the Law was heavy and it revealed how much the Jews needed a Savior to rescue them from this burden. 
Jesus Christ was prophesied as the one who would come and bring the righteousness that was necessary for a sinner to have a restored relationship with God the Father.  Jesus Christ’s death on the cross satisfied the wrath of God towards our sin (Rom. 3:24-25).  Christ was the only perfect and acceptable sacrifice that could serve as atonement for our sins.  In His death Jesus Christ fulfilled every righteous demand of the Law that God desired of us (Mt. 5:17-18).  As we place our faith in Christ we receive His righteousness and now God sees us as righteous through the blood of Christ.
We are told in Scripture that Christ fulfilled the Law in that we no longer have to labor for something that we could never obtain—righteousness comes through faith in Christ alone (Ro. 3:21-22).  The Jews still labor today under the weight of the Law and they are still looking forward to a Redeemer.  Paul says that the Law was our “guardian” until Christ came in order that we might be “justified by faith” in the person and work of Christ alone (Gal. 3:23-25). 
The standard for Christian living today is holiness.  1 Peter 1:16 tells Christians, “Be holy, because I am Holy.”  We no longer must embrace a set of rules for godly living. However, it is worth noting that nine out of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament apart from the Sabbath Day.  As well, the Ten Commandments can all be wrapped up in the two Great Commandments that Christ gave in Matthew 22:36-40, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  He goes on to say that, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
So, are we under the Mosaic Law, which includes the Ten Commandments—the answer is no.  We are under grace today (Rom. 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.”)  Holiness is our standard for living and Christ’s righteousness has been applied to our lives when we placed our faith and trust in Him as our Savior and Lord.  Romans chapter three is clear that the Law is still valuable in that we see our depravity and our need for Christ (Rom. 3:31).  To choose to obey the Law for any salvific reasons, in my opinion, is to weaken and make light of the sufficiency and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Encourager

I’m not sure if you would consider yourself an encourager or not but I know that I love to be around people who lift my spirits and breath life into my soul.  I suppose if we don’t know if we are that encourager at this time in our life then perhaps we could ask a handful of people for their honest opinion of us.  For many of us, there is a natural tendency to suck the life out of others when things are not going our way. In fact, I’ve been guilty of that before and God has convicted my heart that I need to build others up.  My prayer is that others would leave encouraged having spent time around me.  It is not a matter of others thinking better of me but that I have helped to give them more of a “God-shaped” perspective about their lives and circumstances. 

Allow these verses to shape our hearts and minds as we seek to encourage others:

1 Samuel 23:16, “And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God.”

Romans 14:19, “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.”

Pray that God would make you an encourager towards others.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

What to Say at a Time of Loss

Have you ever been at a loss of what to say when a friend or loved one has passed away?  Most of us have been at a loss of words especially when we have no idea about the eternal state of the individual who has passed away.  You see, for the Christian, this is a "home going."  For the non-Christian, it truly is passing away.  Scripture is clear that all souls will live forever but not all will experience eternal bliss with God the Father. 

Many things can be said for the one who knows the Lord as their Savior such as:
  • Praise God, they are now home!
  • Their hope is now fulfilled in Christ.
  • They are now healed and rejoicing forever.
  • We will be able to enjoy their presence again.
  • This is not a "good bye" but a "see you later."
  • There is no more pain or sorrow.
  • They are able to rest in God's presence.  
  • They have left a big mark on my own life and many others.
  • They lived as an example of Christ-likeness.
  • They will indeed be missed but we are thankful they are with Christ.
For the non-Christian it is very difficult to know what  to say.  If we were to say what Scripture says it would paint a horrific picture about their eternal state now in Hell.  The greatest things that can said are for those who remain.  We can always express gratitude and thankfulness for the deceased but how do we help cast the light of the Gospel for those who remain and don't know Jesus Christ.  Some of the following things could be said:

  • I am praying for you and your family.
  • I will be in touch with you and I would like to come alongside of you during this time.
  • I am praying for God to sustain you (God can do this for the lost as well.)
  • I am praying for God to meet your every need.
  • God was not caught off guard; He remains in control.
  • God loves your family so much.  I'd love to share and meet again with you.
Of course the things that are said to those that don't know Christ are harder because the reality is grim.  However, God can always work through those who don't know Him through circumstances and the tenderness of the situation.  Many people will allow us to talk about God during this time that they would not allow at any other time. Let's see this loss of life to be able to share about the gift of live through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What Happens to Our Bodies After Death?

Years ago I had a conversation with a man who believed that when an individual dies that his soul and body would stay in the grave until Christ returned to set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth.  This idea is called "soul sleep" and it is not a biblical thought.  In fact, the moment we die, we face the judgment of God.  Hebrews 9:27 says that, " is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment."

Christians can live with the confidence that "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6-8).  Although their bodies are placed into the ground their soul is ushered into the presence of Christ immediately.  Unfortunately, for unbelievers, death means everlasting punishment in hell immediately following death (Luke 16:22-23).  However, they will wait for their final destination in the Lake of Fire after their physical resurrection.

When Christ returns, believers' bodies will be resurrected and they will be given glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17). It would appear that while the souls of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave awaiting the return of Jesus Christ.  At that resurrection of believers (1 Thess. 4:13-17), the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with their soul. This reunited and glorified body and soul will be the possession of the believer for all eternity in the new heavens and new earth.  It would appear that our glorified bodies will be recognizable in Heaven as we look at Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31.  Also, Moses and Elijah were recognizable at the transfiguration in Matthew 17:3-4.

It could be said that after death a person resides in a temporary dwelling place called heaven and hell.   Believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the new heavens and new earth when Christ returns according to Revelation 21. We are told that those who rejected Christ will be physically resurrected (with their body and soul) and ultimately be sent to the lake of fire as mentioned in Revelation 20:15.