4 Ways God’s Word Cuts Like a Knife

Posted by James Keller on OP4er @ 4:14 PM

Hebrews 4:12 (GW)
12 God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God's word judges a person's thoughts and intentions.

I have a confession to make; I enjoy watching odd cooking shows.  One of my favorites is “Cutthroat Kitchen.”  At the start of each episode, four chefs are introduced.  Each chef places a knife-carrying roll on the counter and opens it to reveal his or her knives.  I don’t really know a lot about cooking or cooking knives.  But I do know that each knife has a special use. (Opening canned food not being one of them; sorry about the broken knife, Honey.) 

Hebrews 4:12 compares the Word of God to a two-edged sword.  2 Timothy 3:16 lists the different uses of God’s Word.  I believe that Hebrews 4:12 is a word of law. It is specifically talking about how God’s Word condemns us and points out our sin and our need of a Savior.

Keeping our cooking idea in mind, here are some ways that God’s Word acts like the different types of knives that a chef uses:

1)      The paring knife – this knife is designed to be an all-purpose knife.  God’s Word is meant to point out sin and the need for a Savior.  Romans 3:23 (GW) 23 Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory.  Everyone is guilty.  Everyone needs forgiveness, needs a Savior.

2)      The boning knife – this knife is used in the removing of bones from poultry, meat, and fish.  God’s Word is used to not only point out sin but to remove sin from our lives.  Nathan used a boning knife on King David.  Nathan told a story about a lamb that caused King David to become angry.  Then Nathan exposed the sin that David tried to hide with the words, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-14).

3)      The carving knife – this knife is used to cut thin slices of meat.  Jesus used God’s Word this way on the Sermon on the Mount.  Matthew 5:27-28 (GW) 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Never commit adultery.' 28 But I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. Jesus takes the law and slices it thin to expose the sinfulness of our thoughts.

4)      The meat cleaver – this knife is used to chop through tough parts of meat and also is used to crush.  It is used with force.   Peter used this aspect of God’s Word in dealing with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10).

These are the four ways I came up with.  Can you think of other ways that God’s Word cuts like a knife?

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

Leah Moore said...

Posted on OP8er @ 8:47 PM -
That God's Word is able to DISCERN (cut) between thoughts and intents AND between soul and spirit is a profound realization. So may people, for example, assume that the soul and the spirit are synonymous. But I see the "heart" as the "interface" between the soul and spirit - and accounts for why our citizenship can be BOTH in Heaven (as we are IN Christ in the SPIRIT) AND in this world (as our SOUL is still "in" and animating our body/this earthly tent) .. This understanding was huge for me in grasping the importance of God's promise to give us a NEW heart (as part of promise of new covenant) - that is, a heart of "flesh" (beating and ALIVE) instead of the heart of "stone" we are born with because of Sin. If our heart is stone cold, we can't "touch" things of the (Holy) Spirit, because the "connection" is just plain broken.

And that God's WORD can PENETRATE, that it is by means of HEARING his Word that FAITH comes .. the LIFE in these truths is astonishing .. I hear so many people express that they lack faith for or in this or that situation .. and I FEEL that so much myself, at times .. but to know that just hearing God's word is enough to speak LIFE into my faith makes my "next steps" so immediately obvious when I'm otherwise feeling faithless or weak .. just get in his WORD ..

Sometimes, just reading aloud a few verses is enough to re-establish that "interface" so that I can pray in the spirit and truly hear from the Lord. I do not know how anyone survives to old age without Christ - apart from him, I could not imagine any other life worth living. He is our only hope!

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Husbands, Love Your Wives

Posted by James Keller on OP4er @ 4:33 PM

Ephesians 5:25 (GW)
25 Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.

Long before there was the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, the Holy Spirit was inspiring the Apostle Paul to write about the differences between men and women.  Ephesians 5:33 (GW) 33 But every husband must love his wife as he loves himself, and wives should respect their husbands.  Paul, writing by the power of the Holy Spirit, says that for a marriage to be successful, two things are needed.  Husbands, love your wives.  Wives, respect your husband.  Since I am a man who is married, I will write about the man’s responsibility (not that I am the perfect husband, far from it).

How are we men to love our wives?  as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.  Pretty simple sounding, isn’t it? Yet, it is so hard to do.  Jesus loves the church (the church is made up of the people, so that would be you and me) so much that He was willing to put aside His ego and rights on behalf of the church.  Jesus, the creator and ruler of the universe, came to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28).  He humbled Himself to the point of death, even allowing Himself to be shamed for His bride, the church (Philippians 2:5-8). 

Men, that is how we are to treat our wives.  If we do this, our wives will feel loved.  This how God describes His love for us.  This is how we are to love our wives.  When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be different with different needs.  Larry Stockstill in his book Model Man lists seven needs that a wife wants fulfilled in order for her to feel loved.

1)      Financial security.  A woman wants to know that the bills can be paid.  She wants to know that groceries can be bought to feed the family.  Sometimes sacrifices must be made on behalf of the kingdom of God.  But we men must be not only be willing but also be the first to make the sacrifices of our wants when it comes to money in order to supply the needs of the family.  Jesus sacrificed for our salvation; let’s be willing to sacrifice for our wives and families.

2)      Companionship.  A woman wants to be able to talk to her man about the deep and personal things she is thinking and going through.  She doesn’t want her husband to solve all the problems; she wants him to listen and respond appropriately.  Sympathize with your wife.  Ask her questions about what she is saying.  Don’t be quick to offer a solution.  Put down the smartphone; turn off the tv; give her your full attention.  Jesus promises to give us His full attention when we pray, so let’s treat our wives the same way.

3)      Routine. A woman finds security in a set routine.  If she has dinner ready at a certain time every night, be there at the table and encourage the rest of the family to join you.  There is security in routine.  God set up our lives according to routine.  We live by the routine of the calendar, seasons, and even hours of the day.  Yes, our God is also a God of surprises.  A wife likes a good surprise, but she also finds comfort in routine. 

4)      Open Communication.  This means that our wives should be able to share her frustrations and observation about us.  Let’s be honest, men; we are not perfect (far from it).  We want and need someone to speak truth into our lives.  You wouldn’t want to go to work with a big glob of mustard on your face, would you?  You would probably get upset with your wife if she knew you had that glob of mustard and said nothing about it.  How much worse to let us men keep acting in a bad way!  When God created Eve, He created her to be a helpmate.  This means that she was to help Adam be a better man.  Men, let us love our wives enough to let them love us by speaking truth into our lives without being afraid.

5)      Honor.  Your wife wants to feel that you honor her.  Maybe that starts with just opening doors for her.  But it also includes not speaking bad about her.  Don’t complain about your wife to friends.  Don’t put her down in public.  Instead, build her up. Jesus could speak bad about us and our sin.  Instead, He stands ready to speak on our behalf as our advocate and intercessor before the Father (1 John 2:1).

6)      Trust.  A wife wants to be able to trust her husband.  Men, are we lying to our wives?  Are we doing things behind her back?  Can our wives trust us when we go out at night?  Our whole relationship with God is based on trust.  We trust God to fulfill His word.  Shouldn’t our wives be able to do the same with us?

7)       Protection.  A woman wants to know that her man will protect her.  Are you willing to take a bullet for your wife?  Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep (John 10:11).  Does your wife feel safe with you? 

These are the seven needs that a wife has.  How are you doing in these areas?  Which area do you need to improve on?  Be bold this week and take your wife for a walk and ask her which area you need to work on. (In doing this, you will actually be working on areas 2 & 4!) 

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

P.S.  Want to improve as a man of God?  New Life can hold another class called Model Man using Larry Stockstill’s materials.  Your wife will thank you!


jennet courtney said...

Posted on OA7er @ 7:45 AM -
My marriage has been built on lies deceit and infidelity for 5 yrs, I just found out, I’was very sad the moment I found out through 'hackingloop6@ g mail . c om' whom i employed for his hacking service last month,to hack and gain me access to all his phone activities.Now he keeps telling me oh how much he loves me “That’s not love” to do this to a lady that has done so much for him… I’m lost! Very lost I need to find myself again. Do I stay with this man who doesn't put any effort into our marriage?,exposing his cheating ass gave me hope and it gave me specific steps I needed to take. This finding made me feel validated in so many ways because for years I have felt crazy and now I know I'm not! It gives boast to know whom you are moving in with,before you live to regret the union.

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Posted by James Keller on OP10er @ 10:49 PM

1 John 3:3 (GW)
3 So all people who have this confidence in Christ keep themselves pure, as Christ is pure.

My online dictionary defines pure as not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material; without any extraneous and unnecessary elements; free of any contamination.

The Psalmist asks the question of how can we keep pure? Psalm 119:9 (GW) 9 How can a young person keep his life pure? {He can do it} by holding on to your word.  How fortunate we are that he also answers the question in the same verse.  We can only keep ourselves pure by the Word of God. 

But how do we become pure?  After all, we are conceived and born into sin (Psalm 51:5).  If purity is being free of contamination, we are anything but pure.  Our thoughts are not always on God.  Our thoughts are not always loving.  We harbor resentment and bitterness.  We even get angry with our loving God!  Our actions are not always motivated by selfless love for others or God.  We act out of selfishness.  Sin is always ready at our fingertips.  How can we be made pure?  Again, the Psalmist has the answer. Psalm 12:6 (GW) 6 The promises of the LORD are pure, like silver refined in a furnace and purified seven times. God’s promises are pure.  Where do we find His promises?  In His Word. 1 Peter 2:2 (GW)2 Desire God's pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation.

God’s Word makes us clean.  What is that Word? That Jesus Christ came to take our sins (our impurities) and pay for them.   Jesus removes the impurity of sin.  He washes us clean by His blood.  He washes us clean by the waters of baptism in which we are united to Him, and He writes His name upon us. 

How do we live a pure life?  By faith in these promises!  We trust Jesus to make us pure and to help us live pure lives.  Our lives of faith are designed to grow us to be more and more like Jesus, the Pure One and the Purifying One. 

How do we do that?  Through knowing Jesus better.  We do this by being immersed in His Word.  That is why in two weeks New Life will starting a new summer sermon series called: “Has God Spoken?”  This series will look at the Bible and how we are to live it out in our daily lives.  We also will be launching the New Testament challenge as part of this series. 

I pray that you can join us this summer as we grow confident in Christ and His promises!

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

Barbara Jackson said...

Posted on OA10er @ 10:50 AM -
Thanks Pastor Jim. Words to live by.

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Laying Down Your Life for Your Friends

Posted by James Keller on OA7er @ 7:25 AM

Today I am honored to have a guest blogger share her thoughts about this verse:

John 15:13 (GW)  
(13) The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends. 
I heard these words on a Sunday morning many years ago and thought I should write the verse down, just in case. 
My son was in the Military. He was finishing his education at the United States Military Academy West Point, and having branched Infantry he would go on to become an Army Ranger. It is not required, but it is expected and the men (now also women) that choose Infantry as their branch want the training. They need the training. So, If 4 years of schooling (including summers) at West Point wasn't enough to just about break someone, the Army's Ranger program certainly could. Why do they do it? I can only answer for one but I don't think his story is different than most who VOLUNTEER to go through the process. It's LOVE. Love of ones Country. Love of the freedoms and choices we are given in the United States and a profound desire to protect those freedoms, whatever the cost. Love for family and friends that is so great you would actually consider laying down your own life, for them.   
Is there a greater love?
Every soldier who volunteers to serve does so consciously knowing that service could end his or her life. They sign up anyway. That is a love that I don't understand. I'm grateful that so many are willing to do what I am not. 
Just as Jesus laid down his life so that we can life forever in his love and care, so do our Soldiers, our men and women in the Military understand LOVE for Country and love for friends and family to a level others may never reach. They do not save people, that was Jesus work, but they preserve freedoms and peace that allow us to live without fear to worship our Jesus.  
On Memorial Day we remember the hundreds of thousands of men and women who showed us such love. The love that caused them to loose their own life for the sake of others; the greatest love you can show. 
Glenda Hyde
Gold Star Mother of 
Army 1LT Daniel Hyde
KIA March 7, 2009
Click here to watch Glenda tell about her son's life and service.


How Can You Live Longer?

Posted by James Keller on OA11er @ 11:02 AM

Ephesians 6:2-3 (GW)
2 “Honor your father and mother 3 that everything may go well for you, and you may have a long life on earth.” This is an important commandment with a promise.

The Ten Commandments can be divided into two sections. The first section deals with our vertical relationship, that is, our relationship with God.  It shows us how we are to live in relationship with God, our Creator, our heavenly Father. 

The second section deals with our horizontal relationships.  It shows how we are to live out our relationship with God among our fellow humans. 

Put simply, how you live out the first section (vertical) will determine how well you live out the second section (horizontal).  But also, how you live out the second section (horizontal) shows how you are doing living out the first section (horizontal).

Sound complicated?  The Apostle John summarizes the vertical/ horizontal relationship this way in 1 John 4:20 (GW).20 Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen.

The very first commandment of how we live out our faith horizontally is Honor your father and mother.  This is the very first earthly relationship that we encounter.  How we treat our parents reflects how we think about God and how we treat God.

So, what does this mean for us today? 

First, as children, we should obey our parents.  Children who regularly and purposely disobey their parents will also regularly and purposely disobey other sources of authority in their lives.  If you refuse to obey your parents, whom you owe your very existence to, it won’t be hard to disobey all other authorities that come into your life.   This is one reason why our prisons and detention centers are full to overflowing.

Second, how we as children take care of our aging parents determines how our children will take care of us as we grow older.  Galatians 6:7 (GW) 7 Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you'll harvest.

If as children, we willfully disobey our parents, it can shorten our life.  Life in prison is rough.  Rebelling against authorities can lead to other negative consequences on our health and wellbeing.  This can then shorten our lives.

If we teach our children that people who have grown old do not matter, or are a nuisance, what do we expect from our children when we grow older?  Shouldn’t we expect to be marginalized and ill-treated?  This, too, will lead to a shorter life and often a less joyful life in our old age. 

These are some of the natural consequences of not heeding Ephesians 6:2-3.  Can you think of others?

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

What You did to the LEAST of these You did to ME

Posted by James Keller on OA8er @ 8:12 AM

Matthew 25:40 (ESV) 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25 has three different stories that Jesus told about the day of judgment. The first story (Matthew 25:1-13) tells us two things:  First – we cannot rely on the faith of others.  We are only saved by our personal faith in Jesus.  Second – no one knows when Jesus will return, so we must already be ready.

The second story (Matthew 25:14- 30) Tells us that our faith must be more than mere head knowledge.  Our faith must be active, it must produce fruit.

The third story (Matthew 25:31-46) tells us what kind of fruit we must produce.  The king separates the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31).  To those on his right, he affirms.  But those on his left he condemns.  Notice that both groups answer the king in the same way, “When did we see you…”

Neither group recognized the king (Jesus) in their actions or lack of actions.  It is faith in Jesus however, that caused the first group to act without thinking.  The second group, though they may have acted appropriately, were rejected because of their lack of faith.  Hebrews 11:6 (GW) 6 No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Our memory verse comes form the words spoken y the king to the first group.  These are shocking words.  Matthew 25:40 (ESV) 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  All three stories in Matthew 25 are about when Jesus returns at the end of time.  the angel told the disciples while they stared up into heaven after Jesus’ ascension, “He will com back the same way you have seen him leave (Acts 1:11).”

But here in the words of the king, a new reality is revealed.  Jesus is present in the least of these.  Whatever act of kindness we do out of our love for Jesus, we do to Jesus!  As I thought about this verse this week, I was reminded of St. Martin of Tours.

Martin lived in the 300’s AD.  He lived in Europe and served in the military.  He became a follower of Jesus and desired to serve him full time.  Martin had a habit of giving away his things to those in need.  One day as he was traveling in his uniform, he saw a beggar who was cold.  He knew he couldn’t give away his entire cape, so he cut it in half and gave half to the beggar.  Many people laughed at him walking around with half a cape.  But that night Jesus came to him in a dream and told him that He was the beggar to whom he had given half his cape.

You and I may never have this kind of dream, but here in Matthew 25:40 we have the same promise.  Whatever act of kindness we do to the least of these, we do to Jesus!

Hebrews 10:24 (GW) 24 We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things.

Today, Jesus comes to you disguised as the least.  Don’t turn a blind eye.  Don’t merely offer a silent prayer.  Do good.  Make this your practice so that you won’t even think about doing good.  You will naturally do good to others.

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

P.S.  To learn more about St. Martin of Tours click here

2 Forms of Discipline that are Painful, Yet Helpful

Posted by James Keller on OP3er @ 3:27 PM

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV)

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Who likes to be disciplined?  Who really enjoys it?  Our Bible verse for this week tells us that even though discipline is painful, it is helpful.  It produces righteousness. 

So, what is meant by discipline?  The Greek word used in Hebrews 12:11 has two meanings.  The meaning for this verse is one of correction or chastisement.

The words used here is for when you do something wrong, and you are corrected.  We tend to think of this type of discipline as punishment.  But the purpose isn’t just to punish but instead to teach.  Think of a small child who insists on running into a busy street.  You can try to reason with a two-year-old about the dangers of running into a busy street. (I’ve tried; it doesn’t work.) Or you can discipline him so that he learns not to run into the street.  The discipline you use will be met with cries and tears.  But if the child learns not to run into the busy street, won’t that be worth it?  The object is not to punish the child but rather to protect the child from greater harm.  You use a small amount of pain to keep the child from experiencing a large amount of pain. 

That is what God is talking about here in Hebrews 12.  Because God loves us, He corrects us.  He doesn’t want us to experience the eternal pain of hell.  Therefore, He disciplines us using a small amount of pain.  He does that, so we will learn righteousness.  It is for our own good that we suffer or are disciplined. 

This type of discipline is associated with punishment.  But the real purpose is correction.  We are corrected into thinking and living the correct way.  We learn what is right and wrong.  Correction’s purpose is to teach and train us.

This brings us to the second form of discipline.  Athletes discipline their bodies for their sport.  Musicians discipline themselves to practice so that they can perform.  I really don’t know anyone who likes practicing.  But I do know a lot of people who practice so they can play.  The discipline of training is not the end goal.  Playing on the field or on the stage is the end goal.  It takes discipline to be a good athlete or musician.  This discipline is training our bodies; it is educating them on what to do.  This form of discipline is also not pleasant, but we keep our eyes on the goal. 

The discipline of daily Bible reading and prayer can be very hard.  It can be very tiring.  We make up excuses about the lack of time, understanding, etc.  But what is our end goal?  Our end goal is to draw closer to Jesus, to know Him and His love for us better.  When we do these spiritual disciplines, they produce righteousness in us.  We become more and more like Jesus. 

The same word that is used in Hebrews 12:11 to mean correction or chastisement also can mean training and education.  Isn’t that what discipline means?  The ultimate purpose is to train or educate us to be the people that God wants us to be. We do that by learning more and more about His great love for us!

So, the real question is, which kind of discipline do you want to experience? The first kind also includes chastisement.  The second kind is one you initiate.  Both bring about the fruit of righteousness. Both are hard and painful.  As for me, I have experienced enough of the first kind of discipline in life.  I think I will strive for the second kind.

Let me know how I can encourage you in your disciplined journey of faith!

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim



Destroying Fear

Posted by James Keller on OP11er @ 11:07 PM

Hebrews 2:14 (GW)
14 Since all of these sons and daughters have flesh and blood, Jesus took on flesh and blood to be like them. He did this so that by dying he would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil). 

I am always amazed at discovering themes that run through the Bible.  One of those themes is how we are to think of God.  Jesus tells us in the Lord’s Prayer to call God, “Father.”  Here in our memory verse we also see this theme.  Sons and daughters imply that there is a Father.  God was already thinking of us as His children before He sent Jesus.

Hebrews 2:15 tells us that we are afraid of death.  Many refer to death as the great unknown.  We tend to fear that which we do not understand.  Because of sin, death came into the world.  Because of sin, we are all dying.  Death is the bully.  It looms over all of us.  But death is merely the puppet.  The puppet master behind death is the devil.

When I was little, I was afraid of the dark (ok, I still am).  My parents used to turn on the lights and come into my room.  They would show me that there was no reason to be afraid.   But I knew that as soon as the lights went off, the alligators under my bed would come out.  Thus, they bought me a night light.  My parents wanted to protect me.  They wanted to take my fears away.

Jesus is the same way.  He loves us so much that He became one of us.  Like a good big brother, he hunted down the object of our fear.  He defeated death on Easter.  But He knew that death was only the lapdog of the devil.  So, He took on the devil.  Jesus not only defeated the devil but destroyed him (1 John 3:8).  Death has no power over us.  The devil has no power over us. 

The next time you are afraid of death or assaulted by the devil, call on your big brother Jesus.  I guarantee that fear will vanish, and the devil will flee!

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim


Posted by James Keller on OP9er @ 9:43 PM

Isaiah 53:5 (GW)
5 He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds.

The book of Isaiah in the Old Testament is often referred to as the fifth Gospel.  The reason is that Isaiah makes such accurate prophecies concerning the life and ministry of Jesus.  Isaiah 53 is titled The Suffering Servant.  Isaiah is given a prophecy about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

However, if you really meditate on the verses in Isaiah 53, you will see that God makes some outrageous claims.  Just consider our memory verse for this last week.

He was wounded for our rebellious acts.  When we read of innocent people getting hurt in a drive by shooting, we are outraged.  Where is the justice?  These people have done nothing to deserve getting injured or killed.  They were not part of the problem.  Isaiah is prophesying that Jesus is the innocent victim.  We have rebelled against the authority of God.  God has every right to quell the rebellion.  Jesus, the obedient Son, gets injured.  Where is the justice? 

He was crushed for our sins. I remember watching a movie once where they placed a board on the chest of a person.  Then they began to place heavy stones on top of the board.  The person was slowly being crushed to death.  Our sin carries weight.  The weight of just one sin is enough to sink us to hell.  Isaiah prophecies that our sins crush Jesus.  Imagine Jesus being forced to lie on His back.  A board is placed on His chest.  God takes each one of our sins and places them on the board.  Each sin is enough to sink us to hell.  Jesus is buried under these sins.  Again, where is the justice?  Shouldn’t you and I be outraged that He is buried under these heavy sins, none of which are His?

He was punished so that we could have peace.  When we sin, we are actually declaring war against God and His authority.  In a war, the winning side gets to declare the terms for peace.  You and I are no match for God.  He’s the One who spoke, and the universe leapt into existence.  How can we fight against such power?  God sets the terms for our peace.  Yet, He sets them against Himself!  Instead of requiring a great tribute, price, or punishment from us, He actually steps in and punishes Himself!  Jesus, the sinless Son of God, is punished as the terms for our peace with God!  Does that sound fair?  Shouldn’t you and I be outraged over this?

and we received healing from his wounds. Isaiah completes the picture of Jesus’ paying the price for our rebellion with these words.  Sin has made us sick.  We are not physically sick (although it can happen) but spiritually sick.  The evidence for this is found in the fact that we continue to sin.  We know that sin is wrong.  We know that sin leads to death.  We know that sin is an act of war against God.  Yet, we return to our favorite sins anyway.  Each time we think, “This time, things will turn out differently.  This time God won’t know.”  Sin has caused our minds to become sick!  We can’t think clearly.  We accept as normal the very things that are abnormal and harmful.  God tells Isaiah that only by the wounds of Jesus are we healed.  Only by the blood flowing out of His hands, feet, side, head, and back are we healed.  This blood is our medicine.  Why?  Because when we look at Jesus on the cross, in all His agony, do we finally see the ugliness of sin.  His blood not only pays the penalty of our rebellious sin but also clears our minds to see the truth of sin and God’s great love for us.  God hates sin, but He loves you!  Sin must be punished; God punishes Himself.  The innocent steps in for the guilty.  The innocent is punished so that the guilty can walk away free.  Outrageous! 

Outrageous, yes, but also necessary!  What outrageous love God has for you and me!  The truly outrageous thing in all this (that which causes outrage) is our response to this love.  Too many of us shrug our shoulders and simply grunt, “That’s nice.”  Nice?  It is not nice; it is outrageous!  An act of outrageous love on our behalf deserves an outrageous response from us.  It deserves a response worthy of its action.  The real question is, “How will you respond to God’s outrageous act of love for you?”

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

One Testament

Posted by James Keller on OP3er @ 3:16 PM

Isaiah 53:6 (GW)
6 We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the LORD has laid all our sins on him.

When we talk about the Bible, we usually talk about it having two Testaments – The Old Testament and New Testament.  This division can cause us to think that God operated differently in each Testament.   Many people think of the God of the Old Testament as being a judging God.  They think of the God of the New Testament as being a loving God.  It almost seems that either they have two gods, or God is schizophrenic.

But the truth is, there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).  The two Testaments are not opposites of each other.  They are two parts of the same story – God’s love story for us.  The two Testaments have one central theme – Jesus (John 5:39).

Isaiah 53:6 is evidence of this unity of Scriptures.  Isaiah is sometimes called the fifth gospel.  It is called that because of the clear prophecies made about the life and death of Jesus.  Isaiah 53 is a chapter all about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

Isaiah 53:6 begins by emphasizing that all people are sinful.  We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way. All of us have disobeyed God.  We have all broken the Ten Commandments.  This is the same message that the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3:23 (GW)23 Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory.

No one can stand before God based on his/her own righteousness.  We are all guilty.  We are all deserving of God’s judgment.

Isaiah 53:6 doesn’t end with those words because the LORD has laid all our sins on him. We have sinned, but God does something about our sin.  He takes all our sins and places them on Jesus.  We see Paul also making this same kind of statement in Romans 6:23 (GW)23 The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Throughout the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, we see that God judges sin.  We see that no one is righteous on his/her own.  But we also see that God takes care of our sin Himself!  God is both the Judge and the Judged! 

This is just one example of how the two Testaments are unified.  Can you think of others?

Christ’s slave,

Pastor jim

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