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Romans 1.20

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For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Last verse we discussed that every human knows that there is a God because there is a conscience within them that tells them this is the truth.

This verse lets us know a second reason why every human knows that there is a God: creation.

The invisible things of God: His power, His nature, His goodness are clearly seen in the creation of the world.

If you can see the creation of the world, you can see what God is like. It is not a perfect picture because creation is fallen since Adam sinned, but it is a picture that is good enough for any single human to know there is a God.

You can tell that God is powerful from the creation of the world. Anyone claiming to believe in evolution is a fool, because you can tell from creation that it was designed and made.

The phrase in this verse “things that were made” is simply one word in the Greek: poiēma. It means craftsmanship, design, creative work. If you cannot see craftmanship and design and creativity in this world you must be blind.

A wonderfully appropriately named marine biologist called Frank Fish was once looking at the sculpture of a humpback whale fin. He was amazed at the bobbled edge and assumed the sculptor had made a mistake. He found out the sculptor was right and that humpback whales have a bumpy leading edge. Up until then conventional wisdom was that smooth leading edges are far more streamlined.

Frank Fish, together with a team of scientists from Harvard, did some tests and found out that the bumps on the leading edge meant that the humpback whale creates vertices and is 8% more efficient than any human designed system.

Frank has developed the design and started a business selling the design to appropriate companies that develop turbines and fans. There is now a ceiling fan based on his research, and the technology might be utilized on helicopters! Frank is hailed as a great designer – but you would have to be a fool not to realize that God is the super designers and Frank is just smart enough to copy God.

A whale fin is better designed than the most intelligent scientists in the world have ever been able to design! This was not the result of random process, but proof that there is a genius of a designer behind it.

This is why everyone is without excuse when God holds them accountable for their sin. They know there is a God because their conscience and creation lets them know there is a God.

You should this week learn some things like Frank Fish’s research. I recommend this week learning three stories like this. Use a website like www.answersingenesis.org (Frank’s story is at http://www.answersingenesis.org/arti…2/whale-design) and find out a couple of things to point out to people.

When you find out your three stories about the wonder of creation, practise with a friend telling them quickly in a way that can easily be understood. This will increase your confidence and make you bolder in witnessing.

Give the Holy Spirit things to work with! Telling stories like this aid in awakening someone’s conscience and making them think about the God of this universe.
If you have any more stories like this why not add them to the bottom of this blog post as comments…

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Run Through Romans (ch 5.18-21)

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18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This is a wonderful continuation of what the word taught us in Romans 5.17: through Adam we were all made sinners, but through Christ’s life of perfect obedience that was offered up to the Lord for us, many people shall be made righteousness.  On the cross, Jesus was made sin so that we could be made righteous (2 Cor. 5.21) – to make it more real, I like to say it like this: Jesus who knew no sin became sin with our sin so that we who knew no righteousness could be made righteous with our righteousness.

That is one powerful realization: Jesus took our sin and became our sin on the cross.  Everything you have ever done wrong, every impure thought you have ever had, every lie you have ever told, every sin you have ever committed, every time you crossed the line, every time you acted like there was no line but you knew there was a line – every sin was placed on Him and He became sin with your sin.

No wonder He told the Father: if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  No wonder as He died He yelled “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”  No wonder the sky was black and the earth was shaking.  He took your sin.  He took my sin.  He took the sin of the world.

Adam disobeyed and his nature became the nature of wrath, he was a child of satan and therefore took after his father, satan (read John 8 – I will post some articles expanding this at some point).  Adam’s whole nature changed – he was spiritually alive created with the spirit and breath of God inside him (Genesis 2.7) , and on the day he sinned he spiritually died losing his communion and love and life, and becoming bound with fear and guilt and shame and blame.

Since then every child of Adam (that is, every single human) has been born dead in their sins and trespasses, unable to please God, unable to serve God, unable to live in victory.  The only solution for this sin issue was if someone completely righteous, someone who never sinned, someone who was born differently so they were born spiritually alive.  Someone who lived their entire life without ever sinning and therefore never dying spiritually. 

And then that someone would have to offer up their life on our behalf, to take all of our sin, to carry it all into their body, and pay the total penalty for all of our sin.  And that is what Jesus did.  Because all the price has been paid for our sin, then we can be made righteous – not by doing anything right – but by believing in Jesus and realizing what He did and then receiving His righteous and His life which then transforms our spirit.   This experience is so life shattering it is called in the Bible being born again (John 3.3,5) – your whole inner nature changes from being dead to being alive, you stop having the nature of death and satan; and start enjoying the nature of God – being a partaker of the divine nature.

 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

This is Paul re-iterating that this salvation, this life of abundance, this partaking of the divine nature, this being born again, this being made totally righteous and being able to stand before God without sin, without fear, without a sense of judgment or sense of inferiority – being able to come boldly to the throne of grace has NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR MERIT.  The purpose of the law is not to make righteousness abound, but to make offence abound.

The rules and regulations that were in the Old Testament were not to make the people good, but to show them how bad they were.  The Ten Commandments are not to make you good, they cannot make you good, they just make you want to disobey them, they just show you that you fail.  They have no power to change your heart and your attitude.

What is wonderful about this verse is that the more you sin, the more grace there is.  The more you have disobeyed, the more goodness God extends to you.  It is not your goodness that causes God to move towards you and bless you, it is His grace.  Even if you have broken all 10 commandments, and sinned in huge massive ways: God’s grace is more massive.  It is greater.

If you go back to the law and try and obey God and try and be good and try and obey God, the more you do that the more you will fail, the more you will mess up, the more you will offend against God’s holy law.  However, if you come to God and just accept that He is good, that He loves you, that He blesses you – not because you have been good but because He is good and He is kind and He is lovely, you will find that His grace is greater than your sin.  As soon as you stop trying to be good and start to trust in the fact that God is good, then you will be more holy and more loving by accident than you have ever been on purpose.  Say it outloud until you believe it from the core of your being: “God’s grace abounds more than my sin.”

 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

You see sin rules over your life before you are a Christian.  You are dead spiritually and sin is your master.  Because sin is your master, satan can come into your life whenever he wants.  You were the tail and not the head – just following around the circumstances of life.  Whenever you managed to succeed in one area of your life, you started to fail in another. 

But when grace entered your life because you heard and believed your entire nature changed, your entire life changed.  You stopped being spiritually dead and started being spiritually alive, you stopped being a sinner and started being righteous.  You started enjoying eternal life, you started enjoying a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

You stopped being the tail and started being the head – you can speak to mountains and they move, you can walk in victory, you can rule and reign and love life.  That is the joy of being born again, that is the fun of being a Christian: being in right relationship with God (His Son), being in right relationship with the world (it’s dominator) and being in right relationship with satan (your foot on his head, not the other way around).

Now you might read this and say: hold on Ben – I am not experiencing this.  This does not describe my life.  Well it should.  It is what you are in the spirit.  If that is not manifesting and not flooding out of you then you need to do three things:

1. Think it.  Spend time in the Bible reading Scriptures about you reigning in life. 

2. Believe it.  Let your mind paint pictures of you reigning, of you enjoying a great relationship with God, about you walking in health and wealth and victory and joy.

3. Say it.  Mark 11.23: For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 

You need to speak to everything in your life that is in your way, and you shall have what you say.

Next time we will begin to answer one of the most important questions that a study of Romans 5 brings up: if we have peace with God because of what Jesus did, and no matter how much we sin, God’s goodness and graciousness is more than our sin, can we live however we want and sin as much as we want?  The answer will probably not surprise you, but the Biblical reasons for the answer probably will.

If this has blessed you or if you have any questions, please comment on the post and I will respond to all comments.

Blessings and love,

Benjamin

Run Through Romans (ch. 5.12)

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 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5.12 introduces a new topic for Paul. 

Paul’s topic from Romans 1.18- Romans 5.11 has been consistent: how God has completely dealt with the fact that man has sinned.  You and I have done unrighteous things, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  However, God has dealt with the problem of your sins by placing them on Jesus.  Jesus bore your sins and now you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  The correct theological term for this is “justification”. 

Justification is the process where God declares an unrighteous person righteous by virtue of the fact that Jesus died for their sins.  You cannot be justified by any action or any religious ritual, but only by believing in Jesus Christ.  This is called justification by faith.

Romans 5.12 introduces another section of this book, which continues to the end of Romans 8.  The topic of Romans 5.12-Romans 8 is not justification as much as sanctification.  What this word means and how it applies to a Christian shall be explained as we work through the next few chapters.

By now I want you to realize that in addition to the problem of your sins, you have a second problem.  A far worse problem: the problem of sin.

Sins and sin.   It is a subtle difference but one that is so important for you to live in victory.  In the previous 5 chapters Paul has expertly explained that Jesus has paid the price for your sins.  Now he is going to show you how to deal with sin.

So what is the difference between sins and sin.  A good analogy, and I am greatful to Watchman Nee for this analogy, is to imagine a factory making a product.  The product is the same as sins, but the factory is sin.  Even if you went all throughout the country destroying the product, you wouldn’t ever be able to complete your task as the factory would still be making the product.

Even, in the same way, you have committed sins.  The work of Jesus has completely dealt with your sins, by placing them all on Jesus.  Jesus paid the price for your sins.  Every single action that was selfish, unrighteous, destructive, disobedience to God, dishonouring to God, disrespectful to other humans: Jesus paid the price.    And we are declared righteous because Jesus paid the price, not because of anything we have done or could ever do.

But the fact is this: inside your heart, before you became a Christian, was nothing short of a sin-factory.  All the sins you ever committed came from somewhere: and they came from your heart.  You acted selfish because you were selfish.  You lied because you were a liar. 

This is contrary to much of modern thinking about psychology and behaviour.  Many people today will determine your behaviour by your actions: if you lie, then that makes you a liar.  That is not true: you are a liar, that is why you lie.   There are clinics and self-help programmes all over the place that are dealing with behaviour and managing behaviour.   But people do these programmes and after a few months are doing the same things again and again.   The product has been destroyed, but the factory is still there.

The beauty of the gospel message is that Jesus doesn’t just deal with the product: he destroys the factory.  He doesn’t just forgive all your sins, He gives you a new heart.  So many Christians are told that Jesus forgives, but are then left to struggle to live right and live a life of victory and joy.  Paul outlines the full gospel in Romans, and in the next few days and weeks we are going to learn how not just to know that you are righteous, but how to live a righteous life in the world.

 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world

Like he does with the problem of sins, Paul starts in Romans 5.12 by introducing the problem.  The problem is this: by one man (Adam – who was a real person made by God in His image just as the Bible says), sin has been brought into the world.  Adam sinned. 

and death by sin

Death is brought into the world by sin.  Sin always leads to death.  If there is no sin, there is no death.  You are going to die because you sinned.  If you don’t believe in Jesus, you will be going to hell.  That is the reality of the situation.  Sin leads to death and hell, and without Jesus paying the complete price, you would die and enter hell.  But because Jesus dealt with your sin, you can enter heaven and enjoy heaven on earth.

and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Adam sinned.  Adam, like every human, was made up of three elements: spirit, soul and body.  When Adam sinned against God, immediately his spirit died.  Adam could no longer communicate freely with God without fear, without shame.  From that moment, gradually his soul started to die.  He has his first argument with his wife, one of his son’s murdered another, his thinking and his emotions became darker.  Eventually at the end of this death process, his body died.

That happens now to every son of Adam.  Adam’s entire nature changed due to sin.  It happened to you and it happened to me.  We were born on the planet spiritually dead.  We do not care for God, we do not seek God.  Over time our soul – our emotions and our thinking and our decision making power – dies.  We lose the ability to think, we lose the ability to empathize.  We start getting pleased and having positive emotions at negative and sinful situations.  Eventually our body will die, and our sin-filled dead spirit and soul will descend into hell for eternity.The fact is that you were by nature a child of wrath.  By believing in Christ, you have been made righteous, and you can now enter heaven.  All your sins have been forgiven.

The only escape from this is to be born again.  Being born again means that your dead spirit is reborn and is now a living spirit.  Now you can hear the voice of the Lord, your conscience is restored.  Your living spirit will start to influence your soul, and your thinking will become clearer.  And when your body dies, you will ascend to heaven and enjoy heaven.  At an appointed day, your body will be re-created as a sinless and incorruptible body, and you will enjoy a new heaven and a new earth, in the presence of the Lord, forever.

 

But you don’t have to continue living the same way when you become a Christian.  Becoming a Christian isn’t just God wiping the slate clean so you can get into heaven when you die: it is God throwing the slate away and giving you a brand new life: a resurrection life, the life of Christ.  How this works and how you can enjoy this life is the theme of Romans 5.12-Romans 8.  And in the next few days and weeks, we will unpack this for you.

I hope it excites you as much as it does me,

Blessings,

Ben

The Gospel in Genesis (Chuck Missler)

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We frequently use the familiar term, gospel, or good news. Where is the first place it appears in the Bible? The answer may surprise you.

An Integrated Message

The great discovery is that the Bible is a message system: it’s not simply 66 books penned by 40 authors over thousands of years, the Bible is an integrated whole which bears evidence of supernatural engineering in every detail.

The Jewish rabbis have a quaint way of expressing this very idea: they say that they will not understand the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. But when He comes, He will not only interpret each of the passages for us, He will interpret the very words; He will even interpret the very letters themselves; in fact, He will even interpret the spaces between the letters!

When I first heard this, I simply dismissed this as a colorful exaggeration. Until I reread Matthew 5:17 and 18:

“Think not that I have come to destroy the Torah and the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

(A jot and tittle are the Hebrew equivalent of our dotting an i and the crossing of a t.)

An Example

A remarkable example of this can be glimpsed in Genesis Chapter 5, where we have the genealogy of Adam through Noah. This is one of those chapters which we often tend to skim over quickly as we pass through Genesis it’s simply a genealogy from Adam to Noah.

But God always rewards the diligent student. Let’s examine this chapter more closely.

In our Bible, we read the Hebrew names. What do these names mean in English?

A Study of Original Roots

The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since a direct translation is often not readily available. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.

(A caveat: many study aids, such as a conventional lexicon, can prove rather superficial when dealing with proper nouns. Furthermore, views concerning the meanings of original roots are not free of controversy and variant readings.)

Let’s take an example.

The Flood Judgment

Methuselah comes from muth, a root that means “death”;1 and from shalach, which means to bring, or to send forth. The name Methuselah means, “his death shall bring”.2

Methuselah’s father was given a prophecy of the coming Great Flood, and was apparently told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be brought or sent forth.

(Can you imagine raising a kid like that? Every time the boy caught a cold, the entire neighborhood must have panicked!)

And, indeed, the year that Methuselah died, the flood came.3

It is interesting that Methuselah’s life, in effect, was a symbol of God’s mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood.

Therefore, it is fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, speaking of the extensiveness of God’s mercy.

The Other Names

If there is such significance in Methuselah’s name, let’s examine the other names to see what may lie behind them.

Adam’s name means man. As the first man, that seems straight forward enough.

Seth

Adam’s son was named Seth, which means appointed. Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”4

Enosh

Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means mortal, frail, or miserable. It is from the root anash, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.

It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God.5

Kenan

Enosh’s son was named Kenan, which can mean sorrow, dirge, or elegy. (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume that Kenan is synonymous with Cainan.)

Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, uses a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesies their destruction.6

We have no real idea as to why these names were chosen for their children. Often they may have referred to circumstances at birth, and so on.

Mahalalel

Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from Mahalal which means blessed or praise; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means the Blessed God. Often Hebrew names include El, the name of God, as Dan-i-el, “God is my Judge”, etc.

Jared

Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning shall come down.7

Enoch

Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means teaching, or commencement. He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ (although it is quoted in the Book of Jude in the New Testament):

Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against.”
Jude 14, 15

Methuselah

Enoch was the father of Methuselah, who we have already mentioned. Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah.8 Apparently, Enoch received the prophecy of the Great Flood, and was told that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld. The year that Methuselah died, the flood came.

Enoch, of course, never died: he was translated 9 (or, if you’ll excuse the expression, raptured ). That’s how Methuselah can be the oldest man in the Bible, yet he died before his father!

Lamech

Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, lament or lamentation. Lamech suggests despairing.

(This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain’s line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.10)

Noah

Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham, to bring relief or comfort, as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.

The Composite List

Now let’s put it all together:
Hebrew English
Adam Man
Seth Appointed
Enosh Mortal
Kenan Sorrow;
Mahalalel The Blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Enoch Teaching
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The Despairing
Noah Rest, or comfort.

That’s rather remarkable:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

Here’s the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!

(You will never convince me that a group of Jewish rabbis conspired to hide the Christian Gospel right here in a genealogy within their venerated Torah!)

Evidence of Design

The implications of this discovery are more wide spread than is evident at first glance.

It demonstrates that in the earliest chapters of the Book of Genesis, God had already laid out His plan of redemption for the predicament of mankind. It is a love story, written in blood on a wooden cross which was erected in Judea almost 2,000 years ago.

The Bible is an integrated message system, the product of supernatural engineering. Every number, every place name, every detail every jot and tittle is there for our learning, our discovery, and our amazement. Truly, our God is an awesome God.

It is astonishing to discover how many Biblical controversies seem to evaporate if one simply recognized the unity the integrity of these 66 books, penned by 40 authors over thousands of years.

It is remarkable how many subtle discoveries lie behind the little details of the text. Some of these become immediately obvious with a little study; some are more technical and require special helps.

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