Hebrews 4:15-5:10, Our Great High Priest, part 1.

[15]For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  [16]Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  [5:1]For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.  [2]He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness.  [3]Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sin.  [4]And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called, just as Aaron was.  [5]So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”  [6]As He also says in another place:  “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” [7]who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, [8]though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  [9]And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, [10]called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” [11]of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  (NKJV)

The writer had briefly mentioned the High Priestly office of our Lord in 2:17, where he wrote that the Lord Jesus had to be born into this world in order to fulfill that office.  Perhaps that ought to serve as a reminder this “holiday season,” in which even the name “Christmas” is becoming offensive to some, and forbidden, that Christmas isn’t about gifts and decorations and parties.  A line in a movie we recently watched said that “Christmas is the celebration of all that’s good in this world.”  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Christmas is a reminder that there is nothing good, spiritually speaking, in this world and God Himself had to intervene in order to do something about it.

And He did it in a way that seems counter-productive to human wisdom.

There’s a lot of preaching to the effect that God has done all He can do, and now it’s up to us.  That we have to do our part before He can do His part.  Christmas puts the lie to all that.  While it is indeed true that Mary had to carry the developing baby Jesus in her womb and give birth to Him, and that Joseph had to take care of her and her Child, if God had not moved first, there would have been no life, no development, no birth and nothing for them to do.  Any child they could have had “doing their part” could never have been a savior.  Indeed, such children would need and did need to be saved themselves, cf. John 7:5.  And they did have several children after the birth of Jesus, cf. Matthew 1:25, which indicates that they did enjoy a normal marital relationship afterwards, and Matthew 13:55, 56, which lists His brothers by name and indicates that there were at least three sisters.  Likewise, we are responsible to repent, to believe, to live godly lives according to the Word of God, but without the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, we do not, can not, and will not, do any of those things.  That’s the clear teaching of our Lord in John 3:  that without the work of the Spirit we can neither perceive spiritual truth nor participate in spiritual life.

The writer’s purpose in writing the book was to encourage his readers to persevere in the faith and to be wary of leaving it, even a little bit – even to “drift”.  But the sad truth is that we do “drift.”  That’s why God doesn’t leave us on our own.  We have One who can intervene for us, One who can help us in our daily walk with God.  We have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, 4:14.

In ch. 5, the writer tells us a little more about the High Priest.
1.  Office of the High Priest in general, v, 1-3.
a. Godward, v. 1:  to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
The Jew to whom Hebrews was written had long experience with the Mosaic system.  There was no way he could come directly into the presence of God, but had to go through a mediator, through the priests and sacrifices.  He had learned, or at least should have learned, that, apart from those sacrifices he was forever shut out from the presence of God because of sin.
I remember talking with a lady who was upset with all the references to “blood” in Christianity.  There are many like her.  But God didn’t institute the sacrificial system because He was just interested in blood.  No, no.  The sacrifices were meant to show that forgiveness of sin could only come through the sacrifice of an innocent substitute.  Every time an Israelite brought a sacrifice to the Tabernacle, he put his hand on the head of the animal.  This was a confession that he deserved to die, but that he could live only because a substitute had died in his place.
b. Manward, v. 2:  to have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray.  The priesthood was no place for pride, for “looking down” on those whom the priests were supposed to serve.  They needed sacrifices just like the “ordinary” Israelite, as the writer points out in the next verse.  But even they were restricted in their “access” to God, that is, in being able to go into the holy of holies, where God resided symbolically in the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat.  Only one man had that privilege, and that only one time a year – and not without sacrifice.  It was a death penalty sin for anyone else ever to enter that place, or even for the High Priest, if he entered it on any other day.  In fact, it’s said that they would tie a rope around the High Priest when he went in on the Day of Atonement, in case something happened and he died while in there.  Nobody else could enter, so the rope was there in order for them to be able to pull him out.  I don’t know that this ever happened, but it shows the solemnity with which they viewed all this.
I know we don’t live under those rules, but I do wish that some of that solemnity would enter into our own “worship” of God.  It would take care of some of the current froth and frivolity in it.
c. Inward, v. 3:  he himself is subject to weakness.
This last is key to understanding the contrast later drawn by the author between Christ and Aaron.  There were to be no “personalities” in the priesthood.  Even though the priests had a high calling, a special calling, in and of themselves they were no different from the “laity,” a distinction, by the way – “clergy” and “laity” – unknown in Scripture.

In our next post, Lord willing, we’ll look at what the writer says about the priesthood of the Lord Jesus.

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March Memories: The Thief On The Cross

We’ve all heard sermons about this man and his salvation.  He’s the classic example of one being saved who could do nothing to earn it or deserve it.  He was nailed to a cross.  Just hours away from death.  He was guilty by this world’s standards, let alone heaven’s.  Yet he was saved.  There’s hope for the least and the worst.  There’s hope for you.  And me.

At the same time, there’s more to his conversion than meets the eye at first reading.  It wasn’t just some simple “accept Jesus,” with no idea of what was really going on.  In fact, this criminal puts many of us to shame with his understanding of who this One next to him was.  Granted, he didn’t start there, but he finished there.  That’s what’s important.

Let’s look at what happened.

1.  Condemnation.  Matthew and Mark both tell us that two criminals were crucified with our Lord.  Matthew tells us they were robbers.  And they joined in with the onlookers in reviling the Lord Jesus, Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32.

2.  Conviction.  Luke alone records this:  Then one of  the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds.  But this man has done nothing wrong,”  Luke 23:40, 41.

What happened?  May we suggest several things.

We can’t even begin to visualize the scene.  I admit I haven’t seen The Passion of Christ or other movies attempting to portray this event, but I know beyond any doubt that they don’t even begin to “tell it like it is.”  They can’t; we’re too far removed from that mindset, with our emphasis on “criminal rights,” and making sure they get a “fair trial.”  Such fantasies were a long ways beyond the savagery of that time.  “Special effects” may be realistic, but we know in the back of our minds that they aren’t “real.”  This was.

Executions were public, held out in the open.  We’ve no way of knowing what kind of “crowds” they might have drawn.  There were people there, though.  Matthew 27:29, 30 even speaks of those who were just passing by.  Then there were those who were “watching,” namely, the Roman soldiers, Matthew 27:36, though they were just doing their job. There were many woman, looking from afar, Matthew 27:55.  There was the apostle John, supporting Mary, the mother of our Lord, John 19:25.  Perhaps as the scene drew to its ugly end, the women came nearer the Cross, for John describes them as being close to it, John 19:25, 26.  And there were the chief priests, scribes and elders gloating over this One who had dared to question their authority and teaching, Matthew 27:41-43.  How they hated Him and His teaching.  Finally, they thought, they were done with Him!  How little did they understand of what they were doing!

Through his own agony and despair, the thief saw all this.  Both thieves saw it.  They heard the derision of the crowds shouting their insults at the Man in the center.

“You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself!  If you are the Son of God, come down from the Cross!”

“He saved others; Himself He cannot save!”

Devilish taunt expressing a truth far beyond those uttering it.

“If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down from the cross and we will believe Him!”

He did come down from the Cross, and they still didn’t believe Him.

“He said He trusted in God; let’s see if God will have Him!”

Even the thieves yelled at Him,

“Hey, ‘King of Israel!’  Save yourself and us!  Come on.  Get us down from here!”

As this was going on, one of the thieves began to notice something different about this Man in the middle.  Something wrong.  He was hanging there naked, just like they were.  He had been condemned, just like they had.  He was suffering, just like they were.

Still…

There was something…

What was it?

As the soldiers were driving in the spikes that would hold the Son of Man to the cross, the thief heard Him say, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing.”

“Forgive…?!”  That certainly wasn’t what he had said!

Then he saw, rather than heard. an exchange between this One and an onlooker.  After a few words from the Cross, the thief saw the man put his arm around a sobbing woman and gently lead her away….

Who was this, who was concerned about a mere woman in the midst of His own agony?  …and could forgive His tormentors?

Who WAS He?

As he came from his musing, he heard the other thief cursing and swearing,

“If you’re the Messiah, then do something!  Save Yourself and get us down from here!”

He felt a stirring of the soul.  Later men would call it “the quickening of the Spirit,” but he didn’t know anything about that.  He just know that he was suddenly sick of it all.  It was too much.  He wanted to be done with it, even if it were too late.

“Stop it!” he exclaimed to the other man.  “Don’t you fear God at all?  You’re about to die, yourself.  We’re just getting what we deserve.  But this One,” he nodded toward Jesus, “this One hasn’t done anything wrong.”

He was as sure of Jesus’ innocence as he was of his own guilt, more than even his Roman executioners knew about.  He had seen Him show compassion, pray for forgiveness – for His executioners!

He couldn’t understand anything of what was going on.  He remembered what little he’d heard from the Rabbis and others as they talked about the coming kingdom.  How they expected Him to throw off the Roman yoke and free Israel.  Yet here was the King – he knew that – here was the King, hanging on a cross just like he was.  He just knew one thing –

“Lord…”

Yes, He was Lord, the thief knew that, too, not just “Jesus of Nazareth,” not just another condemned criminal.  He was Lord.

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

Just remember me, that’s all I ask.  I don’t deserve even that, but “remember me,” if you will.  He didn’t understand all the nuances of what he was asking or how the kingdom would come, with its King being executed in front of him….  He just knew, somehow, this wasn’t the end.  When that happened, he knew, just to be remembered by this One would be more than enough.

Jesus looked at him.

“Today….”

The two men looked at each other.

“Truly,” said Jesus, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The robber would have been overjoyed to be remembered…”when.”  He was promised “today.”  And not just “remembered,” but would be with Him in paradise.  Again, he didn’t understand all that was involved, but it was enough.

Men have looked at this in various ways.  Some have tried to change the meaning around altogether.  They have Jesus saying, “Truly I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise.”  But this same sentence structure occurs numerous times in the NT and even in their own translation, they have the comma before “today” or whatever word is there.  Only here do they change the meaning of what the Lord said to something entirely different.

Another man, a Reformed pastor, quoted it, “Today you will be with Me in My kingdom.”  That’s not what the Lord said, either.  It isn’t the purpose of this post to discuss what He meant, or the importance of what the Scripture actually says, as opposed to what our doctrine says it says.  It’s enough that He gave the thief on the cross what he wanted, infinitely more than he wanted.  He does that, gives us way beyond what we can ask or even think, Ephesians 2:20, 21.

Before that day was over, the soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves in order to make them die more quickly.  When the one thief got to the other side, Jesus was waiting there, to welcome him home.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day.
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

_______________

(originally published November 23, 2013.)

NOTE to present post:  When I first published this, I received a lengthy comment attempting to rebut what I had written.  I’ve gotten a couple of such comments from this gentleman, inviting me to his blog.  I recognize that he can do that, we do live in a free country, but his viewpoint is heresy and teaches a false gospel and a false way of salvation.  I did a post in answer to his comments.  I will republish it next, as the last post in this series of reprints.  Below is a copy of what I wrote to him in response to his comments.  I hope this will prevent him from doing it again.

“To the gentleman who sent me a lengthy comment on this post:  the Reader put it into spam.  It isn’t, but I didn’t approve it because it isn’t Scriptural.  Your assertion that water baptism is essential for salvation is forever denied by Acts 10 and Peter’s defense of his actions in Acts 11.  You seem to believe that there has been more than one way of salvation, and that unsaved people can receive the Holy Spirit.
I tried to comment on your blog, but it wasn’t accepted.  I may do a post some day on your views of this matter.”

I have, in fact, done a post on his views of this matter.  It’s next.

March Memories: A Kitchen Prayer.

This poem was written many years ago by a 19-year-old girl in domestic service in England.  It was read by Dr. G. Campbell Morgan during one of his services at Westminster Chapel, London.

Lord of all pots and pans and things,
Since I’ve no time to be
A saint by doing lovely deeds
Or watching late with Thee
Or dreaming in the dawnlight
Or storming heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals
And washing up the plates!

Although I must have Martha’s hands
I have a Mary mind,
And when I black the boots and shoes,
Thy sandals, Lord, I find!
I think of how they trod the earth,
What time I scrub the floor;
Accept this meditation, Lord,
I haven’t time for more!

Warm all the kitchen with Thy love,
And light it with Thy peace!
Forgive me all my worrying
And make all grumbling cease!
Thou Who didst love to give men food
In a room or by the sea,
Accept this service that I do –
I do in unto Thee!
_______________

(originally published March 15, 2013).  I hope the people this young lady worked for appreciated what a treasure they had in her!

March Memories: The True God.

The Maker of the Universe
As Man for man was made a curse.
The claims of laws which He had made
Unto the uttermost He paid.

His holy fingers made the bough
Which grew the thorns which crowned His brow;
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.

He made the forests whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened o’er His head
By Him, above the earth, was spread.
The sun that hid from Him its face
By His decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled His precious blood
Was tempered in the fires of God.
The grave in which His form was laid
Was hewn in rocks His hands had made.

The throne on which He now appears
Was His from everlasting years,
But a new glory crowns His brow,
And every knee to Him shall bow.

– F. W. Pitt
_______________

(Originally published March 20, 2013.)

March Memories: The Third Genealogy.

[As we continue in our March Memories post reprints, I’ve become impressed with the necessity of emphasizing the unique person of the Lord Jesus.  Islam is resurging, and it views Jesus as just another prophet, important though He may be in their view of things, but nevertheless much inferior to their own prophet.  Certainly not God, nor did He die on the Cross.  And much of professing Christendom denies His deity and His redemption.]

Most people know of the genealogies of Matthew and Luke.  Matthew’s genealogy is condensed and intended to connect Jesus with the great covenants of the Old Testament:  the Abrahamic and the Davidic.  Matthew’s is the genealogy of Joseph.  His is the genealogy of Christ’s royalty, though both genealogies trace Jesus back to King David.  Luke’s genealogy is longer, some 75 generations, and goes through a different son of David all the way back to Adam.  This is Mary’s genealogy.

That’s two.  Where’s the third one?  I really hadn’t thought about it quite like this until recently, like this morning.  Perhaps in the strictest sense, it isn’t a genealogy, and yet it is.  It’s contained in two verses, though a few other verses add some explanation.  Here it is – you’ll recognize it immediately”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, John 1:1, 14.

This is the genealogy, if you will, of Christ’s deity.  In a few words, simple words in the Greek original, words so simple that beginning Greek students translate them in their first attempts at translation, – in a few words, John expresses truths that 2000 years of Church history haven’t begun to understand.

“Now, wait a minute!”  Someone who might knock at your door will say, “That’s not what John meant at all.  There’s no “the” in front of God in the Greek, so John was saying that Jesus was ‘a’ God.”  They also teach that the “beginning” John wrote about was when God created the Word, or Jesus.  He was the beginning, and then He created all the rest.  They might take you over to Proverbs, where the writer personifies wisdom and describes its role in creation.  “That,” they will say, “is Jesus.”  They might even tell you that He is really Michael, the archangel, brother of Lucifer.

Is that all John meant in these verses?  That Jesus was the first thing created by God, and He created everything else?  That He isn’t “God” at all, just “a god”?

It’s true that John didn’t write, “the Word was the God.”   There’s no article – no “the” – in front of God.  In the Greek language, there is no indefinite article – “a”, “an” – either.  As Martin Luther pointed out centuries ago, and someone probably pointed it out centuries before he did, John couldn’t have written, “The Word was the God,” because then he would have been saying that the Word and the Father were the same, and the Oneness folks, who deny the Trinity, would be right.  If John says one thing, it’s that the Word and the Father are distinct from each other.  They aren’t just different “manifestations” of the One God.

There’s another difficulty with the idea that Jesus is only “a” god.  What kind of “god” is He?  How many “gods” are there, or is He the only one?

They answer that by saying that Jesus was an angel, and in the OT, angels are called sons of God, Job 1:6.  He is, therefore, rightly called son of God.  It’s true that angels are called “sons of God.”  Does this, then, put them and Jesus in the same class?

The writer to the Hebrews anticipated this idea.  In 1:5 (NKJV), he wrote, …to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You?’  The expected answer is, “There are no angels to whom that was said.”  Not as a Jehovah’s Witness once told me, “Jesus is that angel,” and then quoted this verse to me.  He completely missed the point of the verse.  That is not what the writer was saying.  The Father was not speaking to ANY angel in that verse!

In fact, after discussing what the Father did not say to the Son, Hebrews goes on in v. 8 with what He did say, But to the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”  The New World Translation (NWT), the JW Bible, has it, “God is your throne forever and ever.”

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t even make sense.  Not to be irreverent or anything, but do they believe that Jesus is sitting on God’s lap?  The Greek text reads, “The throne of You, the God, into the ages of the ages.”  Note the presence of the article with God in this verse:  “the God”.  The contrast between Jesus and angels couldn’t be clearer.  In fact, in v. 6, Hebrews says, Let all the angels of God worship Him.  Even older versions of the NWT say that – I have a copy.  Granted, in newer editions, it’s changed to “Let all the angels of God do obeisance to Him,” but even then, it translates the Gk. word as “worship” when it doesn’t refer to Jesus.

How can two beings both be “God,” in view of all the Scriptures which tell us there is only “one God”?  There are a lot of illustrations of the Trinity, which is what this is really all about.  A cube is the best one I know.

A cube has length, width and height, all at the same time, but it’s not three cubes.  It’s just one cube.  The length isn’t the width or the height, the width isn’t the length or the height, and the height isn’t the length or the width.  And the cube doesn’t “manifest” itself as height one day, width another day, and length yet another day, as some try to teach that the One God manifests Himself differently at different times.

The cube has three measurements, but they all coexist in the one cube at the same time.  Like His creation, God is, if you will, three-dimensional:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Father isn’t the Son or the Spirit.  The Spirit isn’t the Father or the Son.  The Son isn’t the Father or the Spirit.  Three different Persons, for lack of a better word, all different, but all coexisting together as the One God.

The Word was God.

One final thought on this.  Some folks say that Jesus never claimed to be God.  Funny, but the people who heard Him say in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” understood that was exactly what He was claiming.  That’s why they tried to kill Him.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…, John 1:14.

This is the reason for the other two genealogies.  The story of Jesus doesn’t start, “Once upon a time….”  It’s rooted in and grounded firmly on the history of Israel as revealed in the Old Testament.  I know there are those who deny that He ever existed, but after all the attempts over 2000 years to get rid of Him, and He’s still here – must be something “real” about Him.

Notice John’s comparison.  The Word was God – the Word became flesh.  Nowhere does John or the Bible say that the Word “became,” that is, that it came into existence, or that it became God.  In other words, there has never been a time, if we can refer to eternity like that, when the Word did not exist, or that it was not God. There was a time, however, when the Word became flesh.  Matthew and Luke gives us a glimpse of that time.

The Word became flesh.

Four words.

The Word became flesh.  Four words.  Describing an event which has no parallel in human history.  Psalm 113:5, 6, says, Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?

The Lord God “humbles” Himself even to look at this speck of dirt off to one side of His creation.  What must it have been like for the Lord Jesus to live on it?  We think we know so much, with our “Doctors of Theology,” our books, our “mega-churches,” etc. [and I’m not opposed to education or books or church], but I don’t think we understand even as much about our Lord’s “humiliation,” to use the theological term, as a newborn understands about its mother’s agony in bringing it to birth.  How can we?

It’s not for nothing that Paul refers to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in 2 Corinthians 8:9, where he continues, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor….  The Lord didn’t come to this world to be feted in Rome, or to live in a place like the White House or Buckingham Palace, although those places would be mere shacks compared to what He was used to.  He came to live a relatively minor, troublesome, province of Rome.  Except for one incident, He was unknown for nearly thirty years, and in the last three, “fame” was fleeing, and hostility and opposition were lasting and increasing.  Even though He rose from the dead, as far as the world is concerned, He might as well still be dead.  Indeed, much of the world thinks that He still is.  Even if people class Him with the religious leaders of this world, they are more likely to live by their teachings than His.

So, you see, the third genealogy gives us a more complete idea of Who Jesus of Nazareth really was.

And is.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,…  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us….
_______________

(Originally published March 12, 2013.)  edited.

Why Should Men Get Away With It?

This is the flip side, so to speak, of my post: “Why Would You Do That to Your Wife?”

Ladies sometimes get irritated by what they see as a double standard in moral issues in the Old Testament.  Men seem to get away with a lot more than women.  I don’t mean to be flippant, but men could have many wives and concubines, a woman might have to prove she had been a virgin on her wedding night, nothing gets cut off if a man messes around, and, last, but not least, there’s “the water of jealousy.”

Though we’re not going to develop it, Numbers 5 describes a ritual in which a jealous husband can prove or disprove whether his wife has been unfaithful to him.  There is no such ritual for the husband.  A woman might ask, “Why not?”

Though it might not seem like an answer to the question, was it a matter of being “unfaithful” to her if her husband was intimate with his other wives?  As for “messing around,” we’ll have more to say about this in a moment.

As for the multiple wives, but only one husband, there have been societies where a woman could have multiple husbands, but Israel wasn’t one of them.  Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that lineage was of paramount importance to the Old Testament Jew.  Since it’s unlikely that the Old Testament had DNA tests, it would have been very difficult to know who the father was in a case of multiple “fathers” in a family.  Besides, thought this answer won’t satisfy some, that’s the way God ordered it.

In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam one wife.  At that time, He said that a man was to leave his parents and be joined to his wife (singular).  The Lord Jesus affirmed this, Matthew 19:5.  In addition, Paul taught this.  In teaching about marriage, he said, let each one of you in particular so love his own WIFE as himself, Ephesians 5:32, emphasis added.

Taken overall, the Old Testament doesn’t paint a very good picture of the idea of multiple wives.  It reveals a lot of trouble and jealousy between the various wives and siblings.

As for “getting away with it,” Leviticus 20 lists several sins for which a man was to be killed, the woman also, or, in the case of homosexual acts, the other male as well.  In the case of bestiality, the animal was also to be executed.

Our society has largely rejected these ideas.  Indeed, certain sexual sins have now been given “protected” status by the “judgocracy” which has taken over the laws in our country.   “Living together” is commonly accepted and practiced.  Heterosexual marriage has to a great extent been relegated to the trashcan in favor of “domestic partnerships,” etc., etc.

It may seem like we’re “getting away with it,” but even a casual glance at the paper, or the TV or the computer, indicates that’s not really so.  Child abuse, spousal abuse, infanticide, disease, degradation, rampant crime and violence – these are just a few of the costs of “free love.”

This says nothing of the eternal cost of such practices.  When all is said and done, there will be no “getting away with it,” no matter how much that seems to be the case today.

However, there’s no use pointing the finger at those whose lives we might not agree with.  They’re not ultimately the ones with whom we have to do.  Scripture says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23.  Other folks’ sins won’t get us into heaven.  Other folks’ sins aren’t an excuse for our own.

There’s only one way any of us will ever stand uncondemned in the presence of God, and that is if we have been forgiven through faith in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.   He willingly took the place of sinners, took their sins upon Himself and paid the price – the cost – of what it would take for them to be saved from their sins.

Even those sins for which there was no OT sacrifice – murder and adultery – will be forgiven that one who comes to God through the Lord Jesus.

Oh, that some might read these words, consider their lives and turn to the Lord Jesus for cleansing.  Is there such a one reading these words who feels like he or she needs a shower because of how they live?  Oh, listen, there’s only one “bath” that can cleanse away the filth and stain of sin:  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 2:9.  …the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 2:7.

This means that we have faith in the death of the Lord Jesus.  He alone is able to take away sins.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…, Acts 16:31.