Common Scriptures that Bible-Haters Should Stop Quoting

“Jesus Christ” – This is actually an offense to followers of Christ.  Then again, many people who use this phrase are aware of this.

“Turn the other cheek” – This phrase is taken from Matthew 5:38 – 40.  The context of this scripture has to do with not returning evil for evil.

“Render unto Caesar” – The religious leaders of Christ’s time attempted to trap him with a question of whether poll-taxes should be paid to Caesar.  Christ could not be trapped by their questioning (Matthew 22:20-22; Mark 12:17).  His complete statement was “Pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.

Scapegoat” – This term refers to someone who bares the blame of others.  In Leviticus 16:7-10 it referred to goats that were sent into the desert with the sins of the community.

“Let there be light” – This is sometimes stated when someone enters a room and turns on the light.  However, this statement is taken from Genesis 1:3 which gives an account of God’s creation of light.

Money is the root of all evil” – This statement is a misquote from the original scripture taken from 1 Timothy 6:10.  The proper context and phrasing is the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.  Money is just a tool, otherwise.

“Let he who is without sin” – This is taken from the John 8:7 in which Jesus responded to those who questioned him concerning whether the adulterous woman in question be stoned to death or not.

“An eye for an eye” –  Many in the world take this scripture as license for revenge, but this was never the intent.  The intention was more to make things equal and fair.  This passage from Exodus 21:24 is in reference to a pregnant woman who has a child injured or killed due to the negligence of others.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” – Cain presented this question to God when asked where his brother: Abel was.  This was after Cain had killed him.  Obviously, God new where Abel was, but sometimes asks these questions in scriptures to help the guilty party see the errors of their ways.

Patience of Job” or “Trials of Job” – Pretty self-explanatory; Job is an Old Testament biblical figure who experiences material suffering to make him better spiritually.

 

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Is Baptism Really a New Testament Command for Salvation, or is it an Outward Sign of an Inward Testimony?

BaptismThis dilemma is one that many serious students of the Bible may face in various denominations.  The short answer is to always trust the scriptures instead of what man says.  One reason to consider is Romans 3:3-4: 

For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:

“That You may be justified in Your words,
And may overcome when You are judged.”[

Our foundation is based on the scriptures claims about itself in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:  16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Now notice: while all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, not all men are inspired by God.  Even those who claim that they are.  In fact, the apostles who wrote much of the new testament said in Galatians 1:8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  This is a pretty powerful statement.  In other words, don’t trust us if we say something different than what has been presented to you and inspired by God!

Taking these couple of scriptures into consideration as a foundation to respond to the dilemma in the title.  Let’s consider scriptures that teach that Baptism is a divine command:

Christ’s Direct Commands on Baptism

  • Christ himself was baptized as an example (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9 and Luke 3:21) – He clearly had no sin but said “it fulfills all righteousness”.  He would never ask his followers to do something that he himself would not be willing to do as an example.
  • Christ said being born again required water and spirit.  Otherwise, we cannot enter the kingdom of God: John 3:5.
  • Christ said that if you aren’t baptized you won’t be saved: Mark 16:16
  • Christ had his followers baptize believers.  This was in preparation of God’s coming kingdom: John 4:1-2.
  • Christ commanded his apostles to add believers to his church through baptism: Matthew 28:16-20.

Other Examples of Baptism In the New Testament

  • Peter’s 1st Gospel message included the commandment of baptism to wash away sins: Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16.
  • Baptism added people to Christ’s spiritual church Acts 2:40-42.
  • You can only put on Christ through the act of baptism: Galatians 3:27.
  • Baptism saves you: I Peter 3:21.
  • Ethiopian Eunuch’s baptism; requirement was much water (aka immersion in water) : Acts 8:26-40.
  • Baptism puts us into contact with the cleansing power of Christ’s blood as we are immersed in water into his death; spiritually killing our old self: Romans 6:3.

Friend, please heed the clear direction of scripture and do not trust in what man says. God has provided ample scriptures as evidence of what is required to enter into his kingdom.  Baptism isn’t the end, but only the beginning.  I pray that you won’t face God in judgment having thought that you did what was commanded only to realize that he doesn’t recognize you as one of is:  Matthew 7:22:

Was the Baptism of Christ Recorded in the Gospels a Useless Ritual?

Jordan RiverBaptism is one of the most disputed subject matters within the denominational world.  Many denominations claim that the act of baptism is”an outward sign of inward testimony”as if a simple confession in front of others would not accomplish the same thing.

One would have to ask: why would God have me do useless rituals that serve no real purpose?

Before we attempt to answer this question in this blog, we will first take a look at Christ’s example.

Christ’s Baptism

While Christ’s baptism is recorded in the first 3 gospels.  Let’s examine Matthew 3:13-1713 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

In looking at  verse 13 in the passage above let’s interject the notion of “baptism as an outward sign of an inward testimony.”  Why would John utter the words:  “I need to be baptized by you” if baptism was just a simple ritual?  This statement alone suggests that it was not a ritual.  In fact we can clearly see from his statement that John recognized that Christ was superior to himself.

What should certainly peak the interest of the reader next is the fact that Christ then uttered the words: “let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness”.  To those who have shut off their minds to accepting all truth from God’s word, this would be useless babbling or “Jesus talk”.  However, the answer is clear: Christ lead by example and never asked anyone to do something that he wouldn’t do himself regardless of whether he personally needed the activity.  The sign of a true leader.

Baptism was clearly a step toward being in right standing with God.  In fact after Jesus completed the act of baptism we can see in verse 16 that the Holy Spirit then came upon him.  We see this same process for Christians in Acts 2:38 when Peter is addressing a crowd of people on the Day of Pentecost:  38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is a Step in the Process of Fulfilling All Righteousness

The only reason why Christ did not do step 1 in Acts 2:38: “Repent” is because he knew no sin to repent from: 2 Corinthians 5:21. However, he confirmed this with the pharisee, Nicodemus, when he stated in John 3:5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

The spiritual rebirth process begins when one first repents (turns away from sin) and is obedient by being baptism (there is nothing in the water itself.  However, baptism is an act of obedient spiritual faith which removes sin).  Confessing ones sins without the act of baptism results in sins remaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Money the Root of All Evil?

moneyWhen we consider misinterpreted scriptures, I Timothy 6:10 is certainly one of them: “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (NASB).

In many cases the scripture is quoted as:  “money is the root of all evil.”  However, this is not what inferred by the scripture.  For proper context and interpretation we must first consider the previous verses, 8 and 9:  8If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 

It is clear that the intent of these passages is to convey the importance of being content and not to covet what others have.  In addition, getting rich should never be a focus of a  Christian because of the many traps, snares and entanglements that it may bring.

The scriptures do not condemn people who are blessed with wealth. However, time and time again we see that it deals with the heart and the intentions of individuals, and the desire to be rich can often lead to sin and evil acts.

We are also reminded of what Jesus said in Luke 16:13: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Unfortunately, for many people the desire for riches has replaced the true means of finding happiness; the desire for God.

Why Did Jesus Not Want to be Touched” After His Resurrection?

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John 20:17 (King James Version) states: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

To put this scripture in the proper context we will need to read the entire passage.  In summary, Christ was resurrected and Mary Magdalene was the first of his followers to see him.

The Greek word for “touch” in this passage of scripture is: “haptomai” which means “to adhere to” “fasten” or “to cling.” Speculation of the passage might suggest that Mary Magdalene was holding on to Christ or clinging to him (as suggested by many translations) as if to prevent him for leaving.  The statement “for I am not yet ascended to my Father” suggests that he wasn’t planning to leave right away to go to the Father and there may be additional opportunities for which she could see him before his final departure.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

crown-of-thornsStarting as a child all the way into adulthood I never quite got why Christ needed to die to save me.  It took some real interest and desire to see before the Holy Spirit opened my eyes

To understand the significance of Christ’s death we need to move beyond looking at things from a physical perspective to a spiritual perspective.  If one would read and study the 4 gospels it becomes abundantly clear that one of Christ’s goals was to have his followers see things spiritually.  The Bible teaches “God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth(John 4:24).

Let’s consider for a moment the old testament.  From a physical perspective the Israelites followed the old testament ten commandment of “thou shalt not kill ( ratsach is the Hebrew word for kill which means murder in cold blood or slay; Deuteronomy 5:17.  In the new testament we see Christ addressing the spiritual aspect of this commandment by teaching us to nip anger and evil intentions in the bud before it leads to murder (Matthew 5:21).

Furthermore, God provided “physical prosperity” for old testament Israel for the obedience and physical suffering as a result of disobedience:  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (Joshua 1:8).  Moving into the New Testament we can see 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed“.

The old testament indicates that the shedding of blood atones for sin as we find in Leviticus 17:11.  While this is a physical action, the results are spiritual.  With that being said, the blood of bulls and goats used in sacrifices for sins was never capable of actually removing sins (Hebrews 10:4).  Instead Christ’s body was necessary as we find in verse 5.  The reason that blood and goats could not remove sin although the creatures were innocent is because these creatures have less value than man.  Only a perfect and pure being who was either equal or greater than man could atone for sin.

So Christ’s blood fulfilled the spiritual law as stated above requiring that blood is the only means through which man can find atonement for sin. Thanks to God for Christ who was both equal and greater than mankind; the only one capable of meeting this divine requirement!

Points to Remember

  • The blood of animals cannot remove sins
  • God’s spiritual law requires that blood can atone
  • Christ’s blood is spiritually superior to that of bulls and goats and is able to heal man of his sinful condition
  • Old testament sacrifices rolled sin forward until the perfect human sacrifice (Christ) came to earth

 

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; Is It Possible Today?

despair-513529_640Many Christians who come across either Matthew 12:31-32 or Mark 3:28-30 have great concern as to whether or not they have committed some offense for which they cannot obtain forgiveness.  This concern may keep some up at night even!

To understand this unpardonable sin let’s  first take a look at Matthew 12:20-32:   20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26“If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

28“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

For the sake of keeping this blog short we will not post the entire text which starts back at verse 1 of Matthew 12, so I encourage you to read the entire chapter.  To summarize what happened leading up to Matthew 12:20, Jesus demonstrated his authority over nature through healings and his authority over the spiritual world through the casting out of demons.

In verse 22 we find the Scribes accusing Christ of casting out demons by the power of Satan.  This is after they witnessed all that he could do, which no one else had done since the beginning.  In other words, it doesn’t get any better than having the Son of God on earth performing miracles for all to see.

While rejection of Christ would certainly lead to eternal damnation it is not rejecting him that is being referenced here.  It is the act of attributing the true manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power to Satan.  The only way this sin could be possible was during 2 occasions:

  • During Christ’s 3-year mission on earth (30-33 AD)
  • During the Age of the apostles (approximately 33-100 AD)

While God is capable of performing miracles today, the miraculous age of supernatural power being demonstrated for the purpose of kick-starting the Church (God’s Kingdom on earth) has ceased and died out with the Apostolic Age (see I Corinthians 13:8-13).

We also see the reason why Jesus said that the sin was unpardonable in verse 30 of Matthew 12: “because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”  Because we are not actually capable of seeing Christ perform these miracles in the context of Matthew 12, we must conclude that this is not a sin that is committable today.