Archive for March, 2011

I firmly believe that God wants to treat us as equals, and that’s why he became a man. I believe he wants to be able to meet with us as friends, just as he did with Adam and Eve. I also believe that we would never be his equals, even if making us his children were, at some point, to give us equal power. We will always bow before the Lord. I believe that he had to die to live with us; that it absolutely crucifies him, either to live without us, or within us. It is God who must save us, and not the other way around.

The Bible opens up huge topics and equality with God is one of them. That’s what this whole rebellion on earth is about; the grasping for something that we can neither earn, nor take, but only receive as a gift. It is like love in that way.

I mentioned to a friend that I was planning to write something about Phillipians 2:5-7. My friend doesn’t believe we should consider the Son as being equal to the Father. Just because we disagree on this doesn’t mean that one of us isn’t “saved,” or that we’re not equals. We both believe that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ), and our savior.

Those verses in Phillipians say, “…Jesus…being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of…men.” I left a few words out of that quote for the sake of space, but that doesn’t change the meaning. I looked at those verses in several translations, and they all read much the same. Phillipians 2:5-7 parallels John 1:1-3 and 10 (I think the K.J.V. best translates those verses).

The case with Jesus is different from ours. He is the “only begotten Son.” Unlike us, he existed in the form of God before he became a man (John 16:28, and 17:5). My “Page”, “Trinity,” has more on this subject. The “Word” in the first chapter of John is just another name for Jesus. You could say it this way. Jesus was in the beginning, and he was with God, and he was God. He became flesh and dwelt among us… Jesus was with God, and was God in the beginning, and didn’t think that was any sort of robbery, but he didn’t even struggle to hold onto that. He became a man for our sake.

The New Testament isn’t alone in identifying Jesus as God. The prophecy about Jesus in Psalm 45:6-7 calls both the Father and the Son, “God.” “Your throne, Oh God, is for ever and ever…therefore God, your God has anointed you…” There is a fear that sometimes tries to rise against us when we first consider whether we should think of Jesus as “God in person.” I think that particular fear arises because there’s a spiritual force seeking to separate the Son from the Father in our eyes, and keep us from understanding God better. John 5:22 says, “…The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgement unto the Son.” If we want to know what God is like, we need to look ever more closely at Jesus. He said in John 14:9, “…He that has seen me has seen the Father.”

Jesus called his disciples his “friends.” In Matthew 26:50, Jesus even called Judas “friend” on the night that Judas betrayed him. The prophecy in Zechariah 13:6 speaks of the wounds that Jesus would receive, “…in the house of my friends.” God wants to be friends with us. He wants to treat us as equals, but that’s something that he cannot do if it is in our heart to always grasp for more.

We crucified God when he became equal to us. Being equal to us on this plane of existence is different from mankind being equal to God on his level. What would happen if he made us equal to himself with our attitudes as they are. It couldn’t work. We are never good enough to earn it, and never strong enough to take it. Whatever God gives us must be received gratefully.

Equality with God would not mean a competition, as we would make of it, and it wouldn’t mean any sort of division. For us, equality with God should mean a union with him, communion or oneness with God, atonement. Without a change of heart, mankind wouldn’t be satisfied with that sort of equality. Man wants to be the highest being, able to set his own standards, able to compete against God.

Mankind fell by grasping for that very thing through knowledge (Ref. ” the Tree of Knowledge” under Pages). The fact that mankind “fell,” means that Adam and Eve once were on a higher plane with God than we are now. In grasping for more and more we most often lose something. Love is left behind and lost, and without love we could never begin to be like God, for “God is love.” Jesus showed that love to us.

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In Romans 13:1-7, Paul is trying to prepare Christians for the trouble that he sees building in Rome. He knows that persecution is coming and that Christ’s kingdom cannot be established by physical resistance. He doesn’t want the Christians to give anyone an excuse for persecuting them, so he reminds the believers in Rome of several things.

In Chapter 12, he tells them to live their lives like a sacrifice. He tells them to live peaceably with others (12:14-19) to the extent that is within their control, and to bless those who persecute them, not attempting to avenge themselves. We can look back to this time in history and see that the Roman Christians heeded Paul’s advice. It’s obvious that they were horribly persecuted only because they wouldn’t worship Caesar.

Many times in history, laws have been intentionally contrived to use against Christians. Law abiding citizens suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. It happened to Daniel and his friends. It happened to Peter, to Paul, and to Jesus. Christians have an enemy that seeks to portray them and their Lord in a bad light. Many times Christians, and those who call themselves Christians, unwittingly bring trouble upon themselves.

God instituted human government for the good of mankind. That doesn’t mean that governments are always good, or function as they should. Romans 13:1-4 doesn’t mean that God approves of all rulers or forms of government. Neither does it mean that Christians should bow to the governments under which they live. No doubt some Churches in Nazi Germany used verses such as Romans 13:1-4 as an excuse to compromise with Hitler.

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” It is one thing to bend to the will of government in particular matters, and another to bow to government instead of to God. Governments very often try to take the place of God, as several of the Roman Caesars did. They make use of propaganda in as many ways as possible to miseducate their citizens. God becomes an outlaw in their eyes, and worshipping God becomes a criminal act.

The correct Christian response in that case is to simply try to imitate the behaviour of Jesus when he was in that situation. Goverments are formed because of abuses, and they are changed constantly because of abuses. God wants to prevent as much of this as possible. That’s why we have chapters twelve and thirteen in the book of Romans.

There are absolutes taught in the Bible, but there are also general rules that don’t always apply to every situation. Some apply to particular people in particular times. Most of Chapter 13 falls into that catagory. Paul wrote in 1st. Timothy 1:8, “…The law is good if one uses it lawfully.” Even verses of the Bible can be used in the wrong way.

This section of the book of Romans has been used to try to prove that God pulls all the strings, and orchestrates all the details. Even within this section though, there are reminders that we have freewill. We would not be reminded to behave in a certain way if the possibility didn’t exist that we could behave differently.

First Peter 4:14-16 says, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evil doer…” Within certain bounds, God allows man to to devise his own laws and government. He has given man every chance to get it right but it never happens. Sometimes we make it better, but it always fails somewhere.

In all of that, sometimes we can see how badly we need God. In the final analysis, Jesus is Lord and will someday exercise his sovereign authority. Hebrews 2:8, “We do not yet see all things put under him.”

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Most questions that can be asked about the Bible can be answered satisfactorily. That is, if they are asked one at a time. When it is a hundred at a time, then it becomes necessary to write a book to try to get to them all. Problems are best dealt with one at a time, whether they have anything to do with the Bible, or not.

It’s an old lawyer’s trick to bring up as many charges or questions as possible. That can result in the jury seeing the person on trial as guilty, before a single answer is given. The Bible is a big book, and there are many lawyers raising many questions. Then they are repeated over and over. If some are answered adequately, the answers can still be lost in the confusion. The next person to tune in late is likely to ask them all again.

If you are interrogating God, it is best to ask no more than a few questions at a time. That is not because he can’t answer them all, but because we can’t understand the answers all at once. Be sure to ask God personally, and look for his answers in the Bible. A good place to start is the book of John. Don’t rely solely on “his people” for answers, because you usually won’t get much. Do we really want answers or not? That is the bottom line, and God knows the answer to that one also.

Looking back, there was a time when I thought I wanted answers, but I really wasn’t ready for them. I wanted the answers to be something else. If you really want answers from God, be ready to be challenged to rethink half of everything you’ve ever heard. It’s not easy to say which half is which either.

There are mysteries in everything, but there are also answers. In my life, God has given me answers sufficient to help me cope with the unexplained. Look at the life and death of Jesus, for that gives us what we need to begin to trust God. Then go on from there to seek the answers, but never forget to trust him. We’ll never outgrow our need for Jesus.

This post really doesn’t answer much. It is mainly intended to point out the unfair way in which God is accused. We all have many questions, and I just want to help find the answers to them.

Let’s all pray for the people of Japan, and others yet to be affected by today’s tsunami.

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Jesus didn’t ask for mercy when he was crucified. He didn’t say much at all. His silence fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, “…As a sheep is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth.” There is a time when speech becomes useless, so he clenched his teeth, and from there on, his blood speaks. His suffering speaks a language that those who hate him scorn. You can look on the cross and see that God loves man, but man hates God.

Jesus dreaded going to the cross, as any human would (Hebrews 5:7). There had never been a separation in the Godhead (Colossians 2:9), as there was to be when he died on the cross for our sin. It had been on his mind since the “foundation of the world,” but he knew that if he were crucified, it would draw more people to him (John 12:32,33). Paul wrote in 2nd. Corinthians 12:9 that Jesus said, “…My strength is made perfect in weakness.” His sacrifice gives God greater power to draw us back to himself.

He was finding a way to save as many as will come to him. The fact that he said, “No man takes my life from me, but I lay it down willingly,” doesn’t mean it was something he wanted to go through; it only means that no man could have taken his life, unless he gave it. The Bible makes it plain, in several places, that we are all responsible for his death (Acts 2:23).

How much did Christ suffer? He said that whatever we have done unto others, we have done to him. I believe this should be taken literally. That means that in any way we harm ourselves, or another human being, we have hurt him. That in turn means that every kindness we show, is shown to him. He can also be hurt in our direct relationship to him, or our lack of it. The beating, the thorns, and the nails are only part of the pain that he has endured.

God doesn’t complain much, but he has expressed his feelings. In Jeremiah 10:19, the Lord says, “Woe is me for my hurt…Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.” In 10:20, he says that his children are gone away, “and they are no more; and there is no one to set up my tent again.” God wants to be our Father, and not our judge. It is as if we are born again when we come home to him (John 3:3).

The greatest mercy that we can show to Jesus, is to give him what he is dying for, and not force him to become our judge. I am convinced that as we consider Jesus, we are judging ourselves in the process.

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