Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Of Mercy

This is a personal testimony, and I seek the counsel of brethren in Christ for an experience I am going through. Without it, I will most assuredly, in my nature, and apart from the mercy of God, set fire to everything from orbit in relation to this issue on general principle, and live the remainder of my life with the consequences of my actions. I have it in me to do it and not look back, and the situation is screaming for me to do precisely that for my own peace of mind, but I know this to be expedient, selfish, and wrong.
I must not allow the self which I am to deny to win the day on this one. It's too important that I not fail, so I need the safety found in the counsel of brethren.
Now, to set the table so you can understand the dilemma without using names:
Think of the most vicious, unimaginable thing you ever witnessed a human being do to another human being with your own eyes. I can not be specific in this forum. Suffice it to say that it is a thing which *anyone*, with a living conscience, would know to be an affront to their soul, under every imaginable circumstance, with no hesitation. Imagine witnessing it done over and over again, countless times, while you were helpless to prevent it.
Now, imagine that the person who committed the aforementioned act was someone whom you love and respect. Imagine that you want this person to not go to meet the LORD with this terrible thing unacknowledged in this life. Imagine that you prayed for several days over approaching this person whom you love about this, knowing that time and revisionism would cause you to pay full retail for doing so, but you were willing to endure it for loyalty and love of that individual. Imagine that you begged God that you not be in the way, that you only honor and respect this person, and that only the presence of the Christ, in you, be seen.
Imagine that you then led that individual, for 90 whole minutes, first with your own testimony of what the LORD has done to help you deal with your own internal bent toward viciousness. Imagine that you listened to them agree with your testimony about yourself on several points, and that the moment the discussion *began* a turn toward that individual, you were verbally slapped with the label of LIAR, with such vehement certainty, that you have cause to *question* both your sanity and visceral memory of what you *know* you saw repeated many times with your own eyes, because, surely, they would not place such a label on you if it were untrue...
Who does that to a person they love? What answer to that question exists, besides "no one", that rises above the level of feeble excuse for what is inexcusable?
Imagine that your fresh self-doubt of your own memory, in honor of this person, was sufficient enough that you asked someone else, whom you both love, if they also witnessed what you did, or if you were, in fact, insane.
Imagine the wrath you experience when that person whose counsel you sought confirms that you are *not* insane; and you receive confirmation that what you experienced actually happened, with full details, that this witness was scarred on the inside because of it (and is made worse in that the same was done to you) and this individual who has emphatically called you LIAR has effectively participated in the act of "gaslighting" you, allowing you to think you were a damned, insane fool for believing something that *actually happened*.
If you have trouble imagining it, suffice it to say that said wrath is of sufficient force to destroy entire worlds, and annihilate entire civilizations. This response turns out to be a the natural causality of revisionism, sort of a match to dry tinder and plenty of oxygen; flames are virtually guaranteed, and expecting none to occur would be... illogical.
Now, imagine that you take the requisite time to get over said mind-numbing anger long enough to go to this person again, whom you yet love, despite the new pain you have received from their hand, and respectfully point out that you were not the only witness to this vicious, unimaginable thing. Imagine that you ask whether you and the corroborating witness are both wrong, only to receive a reflexive non-answer.
Imagine, two hours later, receiving a call from this person. They seem broken. Hurt. You begin, inwardly, to be thankful to God as you wait for what is to come, expecting that, at long last admission of what was done was coming.
Imagine how far your heart falls. Imagine the surety of your inner nod, saying to yourself, "Of *course* it is the precise opposite of all my hopes," as you get to add "dishonorable" and "disrespectful" to go stand alongside "LIAR".
Then, imagine your failure, when, upon hearing the labels, in sequence, thrown at you four times in succession, finally being guilty of what you are accused of, and yelling with deafening force at this person whom you love, at the top of your lungs, and hanging up the phone.
Imagine how thoroughly you berate yourself, for allowing yourself to be pushed into being your damned self, whom you *begged* God to not allow you to be. *Now* you've done it. You've gone and done a dishonorable thing, yelling at this person whom you love, because you would no longer bear the weight of labels you did not deserve. You did not count this occurrence among the costs. You did not anticipate that your attempt to bring healing to a festering wound decades old would exact *that* as the price from you.
To top all of this off, imagine that someone who defends this person in a way in which I have never seen anyone so staunchly defended, tells you that what you witnessed, that viciousness which you saw with your own eyes, was good. Not only did your eyes play tricks on you, what they *did* witness was normative. Acceptable. Imagine that you are told, in Orwellian fashion, what an ungrateful person you are for your *choice* of seeing it as precisely the unimaginably vicious thing you know it to be. The fact that you paused and verified that you were not insane rendered completely irrelevant.
Now for the cherry on this cake of... questionable materials... I need a new word for it.
Let's call it defecake. It describes the situation well enough without being overtly crass.
Imagine that you are mandated to deepen your relationship with this person, whom you love, and who you are told loves you, but who also found it perfectly acceptable to allow you to believe you were insane in order to avoid the truth, and when you verified that you were not insane via another witness, has unjustly labeled you an ungrateful, dishonorable, disrespectful liar.
My question, finally:
Precisely what am I supposed to do?
Am I actually *supposed* to want to draw closer to someone who would do that to me to avoid the truth, or would tout revisionist "alternative facts" rather than face actual ones? Is that not the definition of a wastefully superficial relationship? Is that not *supposed* to seem completely insane? Because it *does* seem completely insane, (like purposefully-bathing-in-toxic-waste level insanity), but as a slave of Christ... who knows God's commandments are to be obeyed and not circumvented...
How can I proceed with this person, and remain honest?
Here is what I *have* concluded, brothers and sisters. Tell me if I am on the right track.
This whole situation brings home to me that repentance, when granted, is a truly miraculous, and holy gift. There is no history which will not be revised to prevent the honest facing of hard facts which require repentance. There is no barrier that will not be crossed, and no moral hazard that will not be violated. I am reasonably certain that everyone reading this has experienced moments when someone close enough to matter opts to be unburdened by fact, and manipulate them in some parallel fashion.
Well, this morning, I am in great need of heeding these words below.
They are about mercy. Sometimes, as in the case of the depraved wretch writing this where the LORD our God is concerned, that mercy comes with no chance of being earned in any way by the recipient.
I share the words here, in the hope that another may be edified by them. Pray that I heed them. Should God grant me grace, I will pray that you heed them, too.
"Are you merciful?
"Because Jesus healed the sick.
Because Jesus fed the multitudes.
Because Jesus gave legs to the crippled.
Because Jesus granted sight to the blind.
Because Jesus opened the ears of the deaf.
Because Jesus found prostitutes and tax collectors and drew them into the sphere of His love.
Because Jesus touched the untouchable
And loved the unlovable
And forgave the unforgivable
And welcomed the undesirable.
Because Jesus even now saves the otherwise unsavable, why!?
"Because they deserve it!?
"When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
He saved us, NOT because of works done in righteousness,
NOT because we met Him halfway,
NOT because we took the proper steps forward
And in good faith have elevated ourselves to the place of the deserving poor,
"But according to His MERCY!
"We are here because Jesus Christ didn't say with cold indifference,
"Give them what they deserve, they brought it on themselves!"
"Jesus Christ IS the Mercy of God!
"And seeing us in our misery and need,
He doesn't just feel for us,
He takes the necessary action to relieve our distress.
He leaves the eternal glory of heaven and the perfect fellowship of the Trinity
He condescends to us
Lives among us
Suffers like us
Dies for us!
Do you understand this!?
How then is it possible to EXPERIENCE it and not DISPLAY it!?
"The evidence of God's mercy in your life isn't determined by how much theology you know,
By how many books you read
But by your active goodness to people in misery and in need!
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
--Dr. Arturo G. Azurdia III
God, help me to be merciful to those who have treated me spitefully, who have brought me to a place where I deem it safest to burn to ash the bridge I am mandated to mend. May what is on the other side be founded in truth, and not "alternative fact." May it please You that I display the mercy which I have experienced in You.
Without You, I am lost.
Help me, LORD, in Jesus' Name.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Selfian, Remove Your Christian Disguise.

Two ideologies have been wed to one another by men, yet are worldviews which are diametrically opposed to one another.
The rights of the United States citizen promote the pursuit of whatever course seems right to men, as affirmed in the Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.
The commandments of the LORD promote the pursuit of only what the LORD says is right. Refuse to associate with your self. Repent of your ways and obey His. Seek His pleasure and will in rejection of your own.
Only a mortal, selfish man could successfully delude himself into believing that these things, these mortal enemies, could be in league with one another, and only he could then have the temerity to teach it as doctrine to other souls.
These things are in mortal conflict, and the adherence to one over the other firmly delineates the Christ-ian from the Self-ian.
No longer can we pretend that Christians come in 31 flavors. Not now. A Christian emulates the Christ Who died for them, by obeying the Father, and rejecting the self. The Selfian affirms all that they are, is blind and deaf to what defames his or her Maker, and, if they even believe there is a being greater than themselves to be obeyed, fashions rather for themselves an idol which accepts them just as they are, requiring no repentance, no change, no obedience; only self gratification, self satisfaction, self fulfillment.
Christians are not carnal; they refuse to associate with their corrupt desires, and instead walk after the Spirit without excuse. When they fail to do so, they are mortified, and implore the LORD for forgiveness, get up from off the ground faithfully, and walk after Him again. The Selfian does not know what it means to be anything other than carnal, pursues its own pleasures and happiness unabashedly, and commits acts of altruism only to please themselves rather than the LORD.
Christians are not disobedient; they faithfully obey, as the Master did, the command to love God with all that they are and love their neighbor as themselves. They aim for the mark of the high calling without failure, and mourn when they fail, nock another arrow, pull the bow taut, and aim for the mark again, and again, and again. They endure to the end, to the detriment of their flesh, to the glory and honor of the Creator Who makes it possible to hit the mark and honor His Great Name. The Selfian obeys only themselves, and their neighbor had not only better look and act exactly as they do, they had better not be a burden to them at all.
Christians are not selfish; they care for the widow and for the orphan, and do so with love though they know it will cost them, just as the Samaritan of Jesus' parable did, without complaint. They follow up later and make sure the one who has been waylaid, beaten, and left for dead is cared for and can get back on their feet, because their Master left that example in both parable and deed. The Selfian looks out for the usurper of the throne of the heart, labels him or her "number one", and cares only for the occupant in accordance to how the wind blows rather than an objective purpose outside of the self.
Christ-ians who are not Self-ians on a masquerade are PAINFULLY FEW. When I find them, I prize them as precious and cling to them like glue. The gifts of repentance, the miracles of regeneration and holiness and sharing in the nature of God, are rare and supremely precious gifts. That is why Christianity, as it is known to the world, is the blasphemous, God-defaming business that it is; it is vastly inhabited by Selfians, with the rare, starving Christian in their midst BEGGING for the food of God's Word. In the majority of cases, their emotions are so entertained, in the various forms which the showmen, who assume titles above the people in lieu of sharing a gift among the people, expertly deploy, they do not notice that the presence of the Living God is absent. They do not know Him, they do not know His Word, they do not make living sacrifices of themselves as Jesus taught His disciples.
They do not even believe that He is real.
They can not, therefore, be distinguished from the world, because they worship the same god of self that the moral relativist world worships, where no truth is knowable, where no law is to be obeyed, where there is no cause for grief over their sin, and even their sins themselves are re-labeled as virtues to be affirmed rather than denied.
This is why people believe Christianity is Baskin Robbins 31 flavors, instead of only ONE. The obedient slave of God knows that widows and orphans *must* be cared for, because it is the Word's definition of "pure and undefiled religion". They *must* be cared for just as the hated Samaritan did, because the slave of Christ as been shown the same mercy. We were, each, waylaid, beaten, and left for dead by our sins, and God was merciful, sending His Only Son to take on the form of a slave, and the iron price of our sin. We, who are worthy only of death, have been given His eternal life.
The Selfian, when masquerading as a Christian, is willfully ignorant of this, especially when that widow or orphan looks nothing like them. Their conscience is cauterized from it, their sight blind to it. They do not smell the putrefaction of their hearts. They do not cringe when they hear the blasphemies they speak every day. The command of the Christ, to not be like the priest, and the Levite, who walked by the man who had been beaten and robbed and left for dead, as though he were not there, but to be like the despised member of that society, the tainted mongrel from Samaria, who showed mercy to the man, is NOT ignored by the follower of the Christ. That is the dominion and purpose of the Self-ian in disguise.
That is the difference. Before this sort of speech is officially labeled as "hate speech" and simultaneously censured and censored, I will call it out when I see it.
We must expose the Selfian in Christian clothing. We must show the world that some words have not been mislabeled through our society's Orwellian torture efforts to the contrary, and still hold their meaning. Evil remains evil. What is right in the LORD's sight remains the only litmus by which we are to know what it right.
Christian, when you say you will not care for a person less fortunate than yourself, I will know you for the Selfian you are, and I will not remain silent about it. Time is short, and the Master is being defamed by your claim of His title of ownership. He is not your Master. You are.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Deceiver's Nature

It is time to take the lie that God and Allah are the same, crush it within a mailed fist, and grind it to ash beneath a boot heel. They are NOT the same. We need to stop letting the media, which routinely lies whenever it opens its face, tell us what we should instead be verifying for ourselves, so that we may stand on actual, absolute truth.

The nature of the Living God is described quite clearly in the Bible as a nature of, among many things, ultimate integrity. Neither He nor those who are His may lie.

·         “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that he should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken and will He not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19)

·         “The Glory of Israel will not lie” (1 Samuel 15:29)

·         “The word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.” (Psalms 33:4)

·         “Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5)

The pattern is too consistent not to be seen. Those verses are simply the shortest and most explicit examples I could readily list, while there are whole books within the Bible which illustrate this consistently. God at times allows deception to occur, but deceives no one. He allows people to be deceived by the desires of their own desperately wicked and unrepentant hearts all of the time, to exercise His power in them, as in the example of Pharaoh, or He replaces their wicked heart of stone with one of flesh to exercise His mercy in them, but He deceives NO ONE.

What does Allah say of himself in the Qur’an? Is his nature of ultimate integrity, as that of Yahweh?

·         “And they planned to deceive, and Allah planned to deceive, and Allah is the best of deceivers.” (Qur’an 3:54)

·         “Are they then safe from Allah’s deception? No one feels safe from Allah’s deception except those that shall perish.” (Qur’an 7:99)

·         “And when the unbelievers plotted deception against you, to imprison you, or kill you, or expel you. They plotted deception, but Allah also plotted deception; and Allah is the best of deceivers.” (Qur’an 8:30)

That would not be integrity of any sort, folks. These are obviously two separate characters altogether. One will not deceive under any circumstance as it would defy his very nature, the other is by nature “the best of deceivers” and repeatedly extols his mastery of deception.

Therefore, God =/= Allah. To equate them is to speak a raw, shameless, unadulterated lie, and you need to ask yourselves why our media, and our president, are non-stop perpetuating it.

The Bible, however, does speak very clearly of only one individual who carries the same attribute as that of Allah, and even goes so far as to identify him as “ruler of this world”.

Jesus Himself said of this individual in John 8, “He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.”

Jesus went on to call him in John 16:11, “the ruler of this world”.

Jesus was referring to Satan. He called him a MURDERER from the beginning, the father of LIES, in whom there is NO TRUTH. This was spoken by the One Who bears the Truth as a very name.

Satan is the only creature so versed in deception as to do it “the best” and go so far as to wear it as a badge of pride. He is the only creature so set upon being what he is not that he corrupted his own wisdom. He is a murderer from the beginning, a master of deception, and completely bereft of truth.

So the next time you hear someone with a mask and a gun shouting “allahu akbar”, recognize what is actually being declared to you. This is not the God of the Holy Bible, the creator of heaven, of earth, and everything between, whom they are declaring to be “greater” or even “greatest”. This is but the first and most infamous of His created things which forgot its place. This is the one who has murdered from the beginning and therefore exhorts his followers to murder, raises up war and death as the highest of pillars, and calls every Muslim who will not take up holy war a hypocrite fit only for the same sword as the infidel (which is why there are no Muslims in their hijabs protesting ANY atrocity, recent or past, committed by those who obey the Qur’an and the media so studiously mislabels as "radical"). This is the one who is the father of lies and therefore exhorts his followers to hide their nature in the land they find themselves in until they have strength sufficient to impose Sharia and “proselytize” those around them with “submit or die”.

Allahu Akbar? No! Get this straight, and stop believing what the people on the invention which my grandmother used to call “the idiot box” tell you. Yahweh, the LORD our God, *is* greatest, indeed; but the accuser, the murderer, the master and father of lies, the greatest of deceivers, will *NEVER* be God, and though one hundred billion voices someday declare it until they are hoarse, he will *NEVER* be “greater”.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sin No More

Ephesians 4 Part 2


Dogmatic: Adjective; Inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true: “he gives his opinion without trying to be dogmatic”. Synonyms: opinionated (conceitedly assertive in one’s opinions), doctrinal (being concerned with a belief or set of beliefs taught by a church), peremptory (Insisting on immediate attention or obedience in a brusquely imperious way), pragmatic (to deal with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical (actual doing) rather than theoretical considerations).

 I laid this out for two reasons. First, I did so because the remainder of Ephesians 4, especially its latter half, speaks directly about how to live the new life in Christ. Paul uses definitive terms here, about what we used to be, and what we must no longer be, and how we must walk. He has, in short, laid down principles as incontrovertibly true, which leads to my second reason. Did you notice the tone of the synonyms? Two of them, doctrinal and pragmatic, are positive, even complimentary, whereas to be opinionated implies conceit, which is arrogance, or excessive pride in one’s self, and to be peremptory implies being rough, rude, coarse, or harsh, in a both domineering and overbearing way. Do you suppose that anyone under the sound of his voice or that of the one reading the letter to Ephesus aloud applied any of those negative tones when they considered how “dogmatic” Paul sounded?

 I had cause to wonder that because when I spoke about these things and asked questions of an ordained minister whom I deeply respect, I was given the label of dogmatic. I heard the word 4 more times in the course of that conversation, and it was not until I stared at the word and its meaning that I realized beyond any doubt, despite any hope to the contrary, that it was not at all intended as either doctrinal or pragmatic in the conversation’s context. I understood the word to mean what most people mean when they say it derisively; opinionated, with the darker shadings of conceited and arrogant implied if not directly spoken.

 I give thanks and praise to God for this, because despite all suggestions to the contrary, the thing which I am standing by as incontrovertibly true is not anything so flimsy as my opinion, but the very Word of God itself, while the man applying the label to my forehead went on to himself dogmatically opine at length about not Scripture, but regurgitated teaching. When I asked for Scripture supporting his assertions--asked to be pointed in the Bible to what he was saying to me, he simply said, “Keep reading,” and deployed the carefully wielded stiletto of “we need to all be careful to strike a balance between our zeal and our knowledge”, which was just about as nice an insult, of the “you are quite the driven ignoramus” variety, as I have ever heard, let alone actually received.

 Again, I give thanks to God, because this caused me, once I got over myself and calmed down, to carefully consider whether or not he was actually right. Self examination confirmed that what I seek is for whatever I believe, whatever my opinion is, to be perfectly aligned with whatever God’s opinion is, because His opinion is the only one that matters. This is what is at the foundation of the problem we face. The time honored teachings of men are most often believed over “Thus it is written” where the two differ, because the former gives the flesh we are to crucify room to breathe, while the latter contains the teaching of Christ to utterly reject the nature of our flesh and put it visibly to death. Not everyone who identifies themselves as brother or sister in the Lord actually believes that what is written in the Word of God is incontrovertibly true. Each one of us has our own particular struggle in this walk, but every one of those struggles boils down to what James said our struggles are; we want and we don’t have, and to boot, especially in this country, we are entitled to the pursuit of that thing, whatever it happens to be, if it makes us happy. I encourage us each to examine ourselves and look at what the Bible is saying, and answer what the LORD is saying in His Word about how we are to live in Him and what it means if we are not.

 The remainder of this chapter falls under this umbrella. This is how we live this new life in Christ—by the grace given to each one of us.

When He ascended on high,
He took prisoners into captivity;

 Now I’ve heard people say verses 8-10 mean that Jesus went into Hell itself and took the keys of death and Hell from Satan, or just the realm of the dead, which we understand to be “under” the Earth, but closer study shows that this does not mean either of those things. This means, namely, the Earth. In other words, to say the Lord ascended implies that first He had to descend down here, from Heaven to Earth. It is what Jesus said of Himself to Nicodemus in John 3:13; “No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven — the Son of Man.” Lower parts is reference to the condition that Jesus came here to live among people when He descended from Heaven; not that of a king possessed of earthly wealth and the subjugation of nations as we know it here, but a lower station, in the form of a slave. Paul admonishes us to assume that same attitude.

 The reason for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for caring for and teaching the members of Christ’s body is to build up that Body. In verse 13, that word “unity”, it’s the same one we learned about last week in verse 3, the harmony from sharing likeness of nature with the Lord Jesus in lieu of our own nature. The goal is to evangelize, pastor, and teach until we all achieve harmony from sharing likeness of nature with the Lord, both in the faith and in the knowledge gained through firsthand relationship with Jesus. Remember, this can not be done while we are living in accordance with our own nature. We can not be ourselves and do this. The one that lives according to his or her own nature, following the inclinations of his or her own flesh and thoughts, is already identified earlier in this letter to Ephesus as the child of wrath, while the one granted grace to crucify the flesh with its passions and lusts and instead enjoys the harmony from sharing the Lord’s nature, of faithful obedience to His Father, is the child under this umbrella of grace which Paul is describing. We become mature adults in Christ, then, and are no longer gullible to trickery and outright lies as children often are.

 Speaking the truth in agápē, not brotherly love, but the love that God prefers, we are to grow in every way into Christ, who is the head and decision maker of His body. Each portion of it has it purpose and importance. Can each individual part of that body properly work if it is following a nature different from that of the Lord, who is the head—if it is following the inclinations of its own flesh and thoughts?

 No. To do so is to operate as a rogue entity, like cancer. It is the Lord’s nature that the members of His body share in harmony with one another, not their own nature. Our own nature is to be dead; crucified with Christ. The life we share in harmony with Him is His life. His nature. We are therefore to walk as He walked, without excuse.

 We are to walk as He did, not as “we do”. We, our nature, is to be the past, yielded up in living sacrifice. He, Jesus, the Master’s nature, is to be our present.

 From here through the remainder of the chapter, Paul spells the new life in Christ in detail that every person could understand. No high concepts, just plain application.

 First there is the prohibition against walking as everyone in the world walks, and Paul calls the Lord Himself as witness to affirm the statements he is about to make. That’s what the words mean when he says in verse 17;

 Paul is saying that the thoughts of the Gentiles are without any meaningful, lasting purpose, that they are vain and empty.

 Last week, I said that every instance in the Bible where God allows people to have things which do not honor Him has been cause for those people to fall upon their faces and cry out to Him for mercy when all is said and done. The very next day, the same sex marriage ban is stricken down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

When His chosen, called out people, chose to violate God’s commands in the Old Testament, to abandon His ways in favor of the ways and false gods of the Canaanites, and rebelled against the son of King Solomon, Rehoboam, God showed implacable patience. They were going to pay in blood for what they had done, just as all sin is paid for, and the process would ultimately take generations to bear out. Rehoboam even assembled an enormous army to force the rebelling Israel to reunify the kingdom under one king, and God said through His prophet, send them all home, because I have done this. The people got worse, and worse, and worse, and the LORD granted grace to a few of David’s descendants to repent and turn the people back to God, while most of the kings that sat on David’s throne compounded the sins of their fathers and led the people to more and more corruption, while God let out the noose, until the worship of another god was done even in the Temple complex itself.


Jeremiah 15 details how God pulled that noose tight; how completely *done* He was with His people. God is speaking to Jeremiah;


those destined for the sword, to the sword.

Who will show sympathy toward you?

so I have stretched out My hand against you

The Kingdom of Judah, the last remnant of the original 12 tribes, was about to be taken away to Babylon. The last sight of Zedekiah, its last king, would be to watch his sons put to death before having his own eyes cut out, and led blind through the gates of the conquering city. Anyone that wasn’t taken captive along with the royal family was either put to the sword or left to starve to death within Jerusalem’s walls.

Despite the warnings from the prophets, the people did not turn from their ways. A nation that believed itself to be supreme despite its size in the known world, filled with pride in itself, placing abomination where worship of the Living God once took place--just like another nation I could mention.

 This took us from Ephesians a little, but it certainly bore mentioning.

 Back to it, at verse 20.

20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires;

 Look at the tense of that. The former way of life, the old corrupted self; is all past tense. You took it off. It means that you no longer wear *you*, whatever you happen to be.

In verse 25 Paul brings out specific examples of things which bring discord to the Body, and are therefore sin.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” If we speak lies, and claim His Name as His followers, we are not acting as members of His Body, of branches grafted into the Vine, but are rogue elements, cancer, branches bearing fruit of the flesh and not the Spirit. Those get cut off and burned. There is no room for struggling, for lying when it suits us. Have mercy, LORD God. Lying was an activity put away by the one granted grace to live in You. One lies to escape truth, and You are the Truth. We can’t be a part of Your Body, in harmony with the nature of the One Who never ceases to obey His Father, while doing the things Your Father said He hates, Lord Jesus. We can’t be healthy flesh and cancer at the same time, Lord. Have mercy upon me.

The Greek word here for “being angry”, orgizò, is defined as positive when inspired by God, and always negative when inspired from the flesh. The focus of sinful anger is the offender, while anger inspired by God focuses on what was actually done and the moral implications of it.

As Cyril has said regarding this verse, this is an example of a gift, used selfishly when the holder of the gift followed the inclinations of his thoughts, now turns that gift to the obedience of the law of Christ once the Lord’s nature is taken on in harmony with His people, unified within His body.

 The word for grieve, pronounced loo-peh’-o is deeply significant. In context here it means we are not to offend the Holy Spirit, but the word itself refers to deep, emotional pain, severe sorrow. The word contains such intensity that it is even used to convey a mother’s childbirth pain. It is the very word used in the Septuagint to describe in Genesis what God tells Eve she would have to endure as a result of her part in the sin against God.

Where the labeler of the term “dogmatic” and I differed in all of this was in what I perceived, perhaps falsely, as his ready acceptance that we will sin and can do nothing to prevent it in this life. And while I see the provision of grace for our sin, I see no provision for willful sin within the Bible other than exposure as counterfeit in the faith, and separation from God, which is eternal death. I would very much like for us as a Fellowship to talk about this, because Ephesians 4, and more places in the Bible than I can presently count, leave no allowance for willful sin, let alone permit us to accept it as a constant companion. As an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul was explicit that we are not saved by our actions, desires, or efforts, but by God’s merciful grace alone, so we can boast only in Christ, who made that grace possible. But he also explicitly said that we can not live in sin that grace may abound, because, “How can we who died to sin still live in it?” and that the present tense of the flesh “with its affections and lusts”, our old self, was to be crucified with our Lord Jesus.

All of Romans 6 I offer for our consideration of this matter, to illustrate what I mean. ESPECIALLY verse 6.

15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  Absolutely not! 16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves,  you are slaves of that one you obey — either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin,  you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, 18 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness. 21 So what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of?  For the end of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification  — and the end is eternal life! 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.