Lesson from Natural Disasters


What is the primary lesson that we should all learn from natural phenomena that are affecting our planet? Is it simply having better building codes and building stronger structures! Is it less carbon emission in the atmosphere to reduce global warming? And be resilient in recovering from whatever Mother Nature throws at us?
Regardless of how sensible and practical these trends of thought seem to be, they are not the primary lesson that one should learn from these natural phenomena. The primary lesson that one should learn is learning to stand in awe of God`s awesome majesty, because, “as for the Almighty, we cannot find Him; He is excellent in power, in judgment and abundant justice; He does not oppress. Therefore men fear Him; He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart” (Job 37:23-24).
Because the irony of truth is, it is by the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy” (Job 37:10-13).
There is absolutely nothing that happens without the express permission of the Almighty. For example the question is asked. “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).
Therefore, the primary lesson that we all should learn from the natural phenomena that are affecting the earth, is learning to fear God, because what is happening is as a result of man`s wickedness, and the fairness of God`s judgment. For thus says the Lord, “As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die O house of Israel?
God`s warning to everyone is as follows: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’
“When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”
“None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair! When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways” (Ezekiel 33:11-20).
There is a definite way of life called the statutes of life by which we all should live, and whenever we violate these statutes the consequences are automatic. Our best security is to always abide in the presence of the Almighty. For we have His promise saying;
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day, or of the pestilence that walks in darkness, or of the destructions that lay waste at noonday: A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.”
“Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, or shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalms 91:1-12)
.The irony of truth is the LORD says: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19).
Basically, there are only two ways of life, one is the way which God has ordained by which man should live, and the other is living contrary to the ordained way, and each man is at liberty to walk after the imagination of his/her evil heart, doing what seems right in their own heart. One has the prerogative to either be a citizen in the kingdom of light, and living and walking in the Spirit, or being a citizen in the kingdom of darkness, and living and walking in accordance to the flesh, there are no middle grounds.

Copyright © 2017 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Root cause for natural disasters


Is there a root cause and a lesson to be learnt from the effects of the natural phenomena such as lightning, thunders, hurricane, earthquakes, roaring seas, drying or receding of seas, hail, draught, natural disasters which have been affecting the earth since time immemorial?
There is a common slogan which states that, “the worst of Mother nature brings about the best of human nature.” From this perspective it tends to suggest that Mother Nature is in complete control of itself, and regardless what it throws at human beings, they will exercise resilience and rebuilt whatever that has been destroyed.
But the question is, are natural disasters simply the work of Mother Nature? Or are there root causes and a higher authority who oversees the whereabouts and activities of all the natural phenomena that are affecting planet earth?
History shows that from time immemorial the earth has suffered from many major disasters and a root cause has always been attributed to them, and the reason for causing them, For example:-
• Noah’s flood
With regards to the flood we see that the root cause of the flood was due to man`s wickedness, and it was as a form of judgment, for it is stated that, “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7)
In ordering the building of the ark the Lord said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth…And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die” (Genesis 6:13, 17).
With regards to Noah´s flood, it is without a shadow of doubt that the root cause for the destruction of the earth was man’s wickedness which filled the earth with violence, and it was the Lord Himself who brought the flood waters on the earth. But what about now! With the passage of so many destructive hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, draughts, roaring seas, drying or receding of seas, hail, lightning bolts, thunders, do the same hold true today? Who or what is the root cause of these natural phenomena, and who is responsible? And why are they being administered?
The irony of truth is, there are three (3) players that are directly or indirectly responsible for all natural phenomena that are affecting the earth and they are-
1. Man
Man is the chief culprit or the root cause of all the calamities that the earth is experiencing, whether in a positive or in a negative way. Naturally, man`s way of life is diametrically opposite to that of the Creator, because his carnal mind is enmity against God, and it is not subject to the law of God, and neither can it ever be. Man’s way seems naturally right to him, but it ultimately leads to death. His human wisdom therefore does things which are contrary to the laws of nature, and having a heart which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and so inadvertently, man transgresses the law of nature and when they boomerang such as climate change will cause innumerable damages .
2. Satan
Satan, the devil is another player in the catastrophic events that affects the earth. He is known as, “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” To have a better understanding on how Satan sometimes has a role to play, let us look at the example of Job.
It is stated that, “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it. “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:6-12).
One of the ways that Satan attacked Job was by destroying his children through a storm. For it is stated that while Job was being notified of the lost of his property, a servant came to him saying; “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:18-19).
Satan is known to be the accuser of the brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, and technically, he has the legal right to claim or seek compensation when the laws of God have been violated, because the wages of sin is death, and he who sins is of the devil, so it is within his jurisdiction to make requests to God.
Satan is also very wrathful because he knows that his time is short. For it is written: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12)
Satan is the god of this world and the whole world lies under his sway. He and his demons are the ones ruling this earth, and so we have been reminded saying; “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan has given to the rulers of this world his power, his throne and great authority, he has the power to inflict punishment on evil doers if God grants him the permission to, and so we have been cautioned saying; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1Peter5: 8-9).
3. God
The other player who is involved in the natural phenomena is God the Almighty, who is in full control of everything that happens because He is the Maker, the Possessor, the Redeemer and the Judge of this world and nothing takes place without His express permission. The irony of truth is, the earth and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein belongs to the LORD: For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
Our LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to endure His indignation. He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain and brings the wind out of His treasuries.
Here are a few examples of how our Lord is in full control of the natural phenomena, disasters that are affecting the earth.
• Lightning
In a dialogue with Job the LORD said to him, “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’? (Job 38:33-35).
The prophet Jeremiah wrote; “He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding. When He utters His voice — There is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Jeremiah 51:15-16).
• Thunder
At the leashing of the seventh plague in Egypt, Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The LORD is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the LORD, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” So Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s” (Exodus 9:27-29).
God uses thunder and other natural phenomena as a way of expressing His displeasure. “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes: Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel” (2 Samuel 12:16-18).
• Hurricanes
It is stated that, “From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds of the north. By the breath of God ice is given, the broad waters are frozen. Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds. And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction, or for His land, or for mercy” (Job 37:9-13).
To the foolish prophets the Lord said, “My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
“Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace — and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with un-tempered mortar —say to those who plaster it with un-tempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?’ “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it” (Ezekiel 13:9-13).
• Drying/receding of seas
This phenomenon is an outward sign of God`s wrath, for it is written, “God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; The LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.
“He rebukes the sea and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither, and the flower of Lebanon wilts. The mountains quake before Him, the hills melt, and the earth heaves at His presence, yes, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him” (Nahum 1:2-6).
To His servant Israel the Lord said, “Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called, was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink because there is no water, and die of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering” (Isaiah 50:2-3).
• Earthquakes
God manifest His presence and power in the form of earthquakes, for example, the Lord said to Ariel, the city where David dwelt, “You will be punished by the LORD of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire” (Isaiah 29:6).
It is a way God executes judgments upon the wicked, as it is written. “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “that My fury will show in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground” (Ezekiel 38:18-20).
It is also a sign that God used to demonstrate His power at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the saints who had fallen asleep, and in the future, the resurrection of the two witnesses, as it is written:” In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven” (Revelation 11:13).
We can also make mention of fire and hail, snow and clouds, waves of the ocean all fulfilling His word. Because these are all the works of the LORD: “For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still” (Psalms 107:25-29).

Lesson from Natural Disasters


Since everything is under the divine control and guidance of the Lord, how are we to respond to all the calamities that are affecting the earth! What lesson is there for us to learn?

Put God first (part 2)

b. Be renewed in the spirit of the mind

The apostle Paul said; “Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:14-19).

Those who put God first in their lives however, did not come to know Christ that way. Assuming that they have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, they will put off their old nature which belongs to their former way of life, and which is corrupted through deceitful lusts, and they will be renewed in the spirit of their minds, and will put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

They will put God first by not conforming themselves to this world, but rather be transformed by the renewal of their minds, in order that they may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. They will set their minds on things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. They will put to death all what that is earthly in them, because the unrighteous, the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and robbers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Putting God first is to strive to enter by the narrow door; for many I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the house holder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from. Then you will begin to say. ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But He will say ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity! There you will weep and gnash your teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from East and west, and from North and South, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:24-31)

Anyone who breaks one of the least of God’s commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

One important thing we all need to realize is that, most of the things we have been taught and grew up believing have been introduced to our religious, political, social and education system by the kingdom of darkness which is diametrically contrary to the principles of Godly living established by the kingdom of light.

We therefore are to be recognizance of the fact that the first transformation that takes place at conversion is a transfer from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, and so we have been admonished by the apostle Paul saying: “Be filled with the knowledge of God´s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that we may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long-suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1: 9-14).
Long before, the prophet Daniel prophesied of the time when the fourth beast which refers to the Roman Empire will change times and laws. For thus he wrote; “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, `which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces’
“The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:23-25).

Now according to the apostle John this beast with the seven heads and ten horns, which represents the Roman Empire, Satan the dragon has given it his power, his throne, and great authority. For thus he said, “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:1-2).

Therefore, the majority of things that we have been taught by the system, originated from the kingdom of darkness. For example:-

• How can a new day begin at mid-night, when the first thing God created when He ordained time was light! For thus He said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
The sun was created to herald a new day, for thus says the Lord, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also” (Genesis 1:14-16).

Is it coincidental that our bodies were designed to rest and recuperate in the night and be rejuvenated in the morning! Or is it by natural design? Is it also coincidental that 12 O´clock in the day is called mid-day, and twelve O´clock in the night is called mid night! If they are not coincidental how the middle of the night can be the beginning of a new day?

And how do we reconcile the time of Christ´s death on the cross to be three O´clock in the evening, when the time was the ninth hour of the day?

• Why a new month in this system has nothing to do with the moon and the moon has nothing to do with the month despite the fact that the word moon originated from the moon!
Now, when the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” What sign or evidence they had to distinguish the first day of the month? Incidentally, this day was also the first day of the year.

• When does a new year begin according to the kingdom of light? Is it not at the time the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you?” So why today a new year begins in the dead of winter and not in spring?
Is it coincidental the word September originated from the number seven, October originated from the number eight and December originated from the number ten! So how is it today that September is regarded as the ninth month, October as the tenth month and December as the twelve month! Who made those changes?

These are all part and parcel of the renewal that has to take place in the spirit of our minds so as to put on the new man who was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, we have been warned saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4).
These times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

Put God first (part 3 cont.)

From the inception of humanity beginning with Abel, offering the Lord His offering, His sweet smelling aroma is the source of man’s righteousness. Immediately following the scripture which teaches that practicing righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil, we read the following instructions; “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brothers righteous”(1 John 3:11-12).

So the question is, why did God regard Abel’s offering, and disregard the offering made by Cain? And, not only did He highly regard Abel’s Offering, but He also commended Abel as being a righteous man.
So how did Abel attain righteousness? This is what we learn from the scriptures; “In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the first fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord has regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (Genesis 4: 3-5).

We are further told that, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, by faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings” (Hebrews 11:4).

Therefore, the reason why Abel’s offering was accepted, and Cain’s not accepted it was because, Abel offered to the Lord the sacrifice, the sweet aroma which satisfies His will, one which depicted the best he could offer for his redemption. For the word of the Lord says clearly, “The life of all flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for ones life” (Leviticus 17:11).
The priests were instructed by the Lord saying, “You must not redeem the first born of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.” Again the Lord said to them; “The priests shall burn them (the fat) on the altar as food, and offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the Lord’s. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. You must not eat any fat or any blood” (Numbers 18:17; Leviticus 3:16-17).

The sprinkling of blood and the burning of the fat of clean animals which were offered by Abel, and also the Levitical priesthood, were a type which foreshadowed the real sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the best, the sweet aroma, and only sacrifice that fulfills the Father’s will in presenting the worshiper holy and blameless before Him.
It is this secret mystery that was hidden for ages in God who created all things; and that through the church, His manifold wisdom might now be made known to the principalities and powers (Satan and his demons) in the heavenly places.
This secret mystery is in accordance to the eternal purpose which God has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we now have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him. Therefore, the practical righteous which one should seek first and which distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil is faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ which is proclaimed and demonstrated by partaking of the bread and wine. As it is written; “For as often as you eats this bread, and drinks this cup you proclaim (demonstrate) the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11: 26).

When God’s people the church, assemble together, they come to Mount Zion which is figurative to the Church and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in joyful assembly, and to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a Judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant which He instituted on the night before His crucifixion when He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ And took the cup gave thanks and offered it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant which is poured for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

This covenant became in force only after the death of Jesus Christ, and became the means by which we can become ceremonially clean. For so says the scriptures; “He (Christ) entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.’

Therefore He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when someone has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living” (Hebrews 9: 12-18).

Therefore the New Covenant which Jesus Christ instituted on the night before His death, became effective after His death, and it is now the means by which one becomes ceremonially clean and can now draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with their hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience, and their bodies washed with pure water, and Jesus Christ as their Mediator interceding on their behalf.

Therefore to put God first by seeking first His righteousness necessitates offering the Lord His offering at His appointed times. For thus says the Lord; “Give this command to the children of Israel and say to them: ‘My offering, My food for My offerings by fire (zeal), My pleasing aroma, you shall take heed to offer to Me at its season” (Numbers 28:2).

We were not left in ignorance as to when is the due season, or the appointed times are, for they are clearly stated in the book of Numbers chapter 28 and 29, and Leviticus chapter 23. As a matter of fact a holy or sacred assembly is a time God has sanctified and set apart for His people to appear before Him, and the specific purpose for this sacred assembly is to offer to Him His offering, which is besides or in addition to anything else one offers to Him.
For thus says the Lord “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire, burnt offerings (which in our new dispensation is the Lamb – Jesus Christ), and grain offerings (flour mixed with oil – unleavened bread), sacrifices and drink offerings (wine), each on its proper day; besides the Sabbaths of the Lord, and besides your gifts, and besides whatever you have vowed, and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord” (Leviticus 23:37-38).

It is this act of righteousness that the children of God have become enslaved to: For having been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness. God requires that this offering, the food for His offerings, His sweet smelling aroma be offered to Him at its appointed time, and has set aside specific times for His children to come together before Him, specifically to offer to Him His offering, this is why the practice of this act of righteousness differentiates the children of God from the children of the devil.

This is the act of righteousness, that when practice produces holiness, and ultimately everlasting life. It is this same act of righteousness that when practice, one becomes righteous even as Jesus Christ is righteous. Therefore we have been warned saying; “Dear children, do not let anyone deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).

The same way Abel was commended as being a righteous man because he offered the Lord the offering which was pleasing to Him, in like manner, we attain righteousness by faith when we offer the Lord His offering, His food for His offerings, His pleasing aroma at their appointed time.
The children of God are distinguished as, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, in order that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Now the main duty and responsibility of the church as a royal priesthood, is clearly as the scripture states; “They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy” (Leviticus 21:6).

So let us learn to put God first, and do not worry saying, “What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and our heavenly Father knows that we need them. But let us seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well.” We are admonished to; “Labor not for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to Everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (Matthew 6:31-33; John 6:27).
God has overlooked these times of ignorance and now has commanded all men everywhere to repent.
Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Where does law emanates

There are many people today, who professed to be believers in Christ Jesus, and do not uphold the laws of God. They say blatantly that the laws have been done away with. Others have the perception that being obedient to the law, is to be enslaved. But what does the scripture says! The scripture says plainly; “ What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?’
“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6: 15-18).
But where do the laws of God emanate! And what is the objective of laws?

All the laws of God emanate from His Love; the love for the particular subject it intends to govern, protect, harmonize and sustained. For example; the laws which governs the universe is a reflection of God’s love for His creation, so that there will be continuous harmony and to avoid chaos.
For example; the Lord questioned Job and said; “…who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; When I said, ‘ This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!’ (Job 38:8-11).

The law of God which governs the sea is out of God’s love for the protection and wellbeing of those who dwell on the earth. The absence of such a law would spell disaster and chaos on planet earth.
So then the laws which God ordained for man, is out of love, in order that man may live in harmony with God, nature and with one another. Living in accordance to the laws of God is what is termed living in the Spirit. Living contrary to the laws of God with every man doing what seems right in their own eyes, or following the customs and traditions of men, is what is termed living in accordance to the flesh.

In explaining the essence of God’s law to the children of Israel Moses said to them; “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
“For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:5-10).

Jesus Christ in His teachings verifies the fact that law emanates from the love of God, and the expression of love is the fulfillment of the law. He said in no uncertain terms; “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” In other words, keeping the commandments is an expression of love towards God, whose love was channeled through the commandments.
He further said; “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him… “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24).

The word therefore, or the law, is what sustains and harmonizes the relationship between God and man. For this is what the Lord says; “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:9-10).

Where there is an absence of law, there will automatically be an absence of love. Jesus Christ in predicting the deceptions at the end times said; “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:11-13).

The way one expresses love towards God, and to the children of God is by keeping God’s commandments, for it is clearly stated; “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” Love we are told; “does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (1John 5:2-3; Romans 13:10).

The law therefore, is the system that God ordained to give directives as to how to have a harmonious relationship with Himself and man, and man with his neighbor. And so we are instructed saying; “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator” (Galatians 3:19).

The problem which man faced in relation to the law is that of his carnality, for the carnal mind we are told is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And therefore, what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:7, 3, 4).

But now, with the advent of the Holy Spirit whom God gives to those who obey Him, and being imputed with the righteousness and holiness of Jesus Christ which could not be attained by the law, and being spiritually minded, the righteous requirement of the law can now be fulfilled in those who do not walk in accordance to the flesh, but are walking in accordance to the Spirit.

The fault with the old covenant was that the children of Israel did not continue in the Lord’s covenant, and the Lord disregarded them. So He made a new covenant with them saying; “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:10-12).

In accordance to the law, “whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all,” and so; “as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them” (James 2:10; Galatians 3:10).

Because of man’s incapability of keeping the whole law without offending in one point, and be under the condemnation of death, because the wages of sin is death. God demonstrated His love toward us by giving His only Begotten Son, as an atonement for our sins, He then at conversion imputed us with the righteousness and holiness of His Son, so that we can perform the good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. And if (not when) anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

The irony of truth is, one is either a slave of sin, or a slave of righteousness. For it is written; ” What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:15-18).

Be mindful also of the fact that when one is a slave of sin he/she is free in regard to righteousness. In the same token, when one is a slave of righteousness he/she is free in regard to sin. Therefore we have been admonished saying, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins (transgressing the laws of God) is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:7-8).

These times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.To turn around and stop transgressing the laws of God. Faith and grace do not make the laws of God null and void. According to the apostle John, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”. And, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1John 2;3-4, 3;10, 5:2-3).

The question is, who are we going to believe, the word of God or man`s ideology of what the gospel is, the choice is yours.

Lucius Joseph

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Why so many conflicting religions (part 3)

3. The gospel of error and greed
Another common reason why there are so many conflicts in the Christian religion it is because of the depravity of false teachers who have a heart trained in covetous practices, and have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

I am appalled to see that despite the many warnings given to us by the original apostles, the majority of people are inclined to follow the pernicious ways of these false teachers rather than inclining their ears and hearts to the warnings given to them by the apostles.

Here for example are some of the warnings given to the church by the apostles;-
The apostle Paul went to great length to warn God´s faithful people of these prophetic times by saying. “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among your-selves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.’
“Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:28-35).

The apostle Paul further warned us saying of the Great Apostasy which the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, and asked us to, “know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (1Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

To this end, the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Lord’s true ministers is to: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2Timothy 4:2-5).

The apostle Peter also issued a warning saying; “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber” (2Peter 2:1-3).

Then we have the apostle Jude warning us of these false teachers by stating; “These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 16-19).

Imagine despite all these warnings, the majority of people still find themselves entrapped by these false teachers. The reason for this according to the apostle Paul it is because “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.”
This time of deceit was prophesied long ago by the prophet Isaiah who wrote; “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:10-11).

This is the sort of dilemma that we face today, people who fail to accept the fact that there is only one way that leads to life, one path, one truth, one law of righteousness and that we should not deviate from them. Straying away from this one path is to go down the way of destruction, and this is where unfortunately most people are heading despite the many warning clearly given in scriptures.

So these are three typical examples of why there are so many conflicting ideologies in the Christian religion, but to have a deeper understanding and a better insight of why are there so many conflicting religions one has to begin from the very inception of man’s existence.

Why so many conflicting religions (part 2)

2. Denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The other main reason for the dissensions in the body of Christ is that of denying the only God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But how is this feasible when they are all mentioning the name of Jesus Christ? Well Jesus Christ forewarned His disciples saying, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” He also said, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:4-5, 11-12).

The main reason why the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ is denied, it is because the majority of those who profess to believe in him fail to ascribe to Him the honor and glory due to Him as God. Jesus Christ on many occasions confirmed His unison with the Father, but unfortunately many people do not honor Jesus Christ as they honor the Father, they are disregarding His Sovereignty and majesty.

On several occasions Jesus Christ alluded to the fact that He and His Father are one. In revealing the Father to the disciples Jesus said to them, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” (John 14:7-10).

Jesus said again, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:22-23).

The crux of the matter is Jesus Christ and the Father are one. You see one, you see the other. You honor one, you honor the other. You reject one, you reject the other. And according to the apostle Paul, “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

It is Jesus Christ who created all things, it is He who said, “Let there be light and there was light.” It is he who, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.

And He is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3, 14).

Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:15-18).

Unfortunately, this is where He is denied, we fail to ascribe to Him the honor, the majesty, the sovereignty and glory that is due to Him as the Lord. People make it appear as though just mentioning the name of Jesus and singing praises to Him is all that is required of them. But the truth of the matter is there are protocols, regulations and a prescribed manner by which one can have fellowship with Jesus Christ and consequently with the Father also, since when one is honored the other is also honored.

The apostle John gave us an insight on how this protocol goes, he wrote, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1John 1:5-10).

An important thing to note is that the same protocol that is required to have fellowship with the Father and the Son is the same that is required to have fellowship with one another, as verified again by the apostle John who wrote: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1John 1:3).

Now since Christian fellowship is with the Father and the Son, one should not approach it haphazardly, or without due reverence, for this is what the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3).

So these are two typical examples of why there are so many conflicting ideologies in the Christian religion, but to have a deeper understanding and a better insight of why are there so many conflicting religions one has to begin from the very inception of man’s existence.

Conflicting Religions

I often asked the question why should there be so many religious denominations, with so many divergent and conflicting ideologies! Causing so much confusion in the body of Christ when there is in fact only One true God, One Lord Jesus Christ the only Mediator between God and man, who by no means the author of confusion, but to the contrary One of peace?

Bearing in mind also that there is only one truth, one faith, one way to the Father for which believers have been admonished saying, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).

The root cause of this dilemma is straight forward and quite simple. There is only one faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, but ungodly men have done the following causing the majority of those who professed to believe in Jesus Christ to follow them. They have:-

1. Turned the grace of God into lasciviousness

This means that they have taken the grace of God which is His unmerited favor, His forgiving mercy, His gifts and talents, eternal life etc. things mankind could not have attained on their own, and turned this around taking it as a license to gratify the lust of the flesh.
For example, these ungodly men are misleading themselves and others in believing that they are not subject to the law. But let us allow the scriptures to clarify this sensitive issue. The scriptures for example state the following:-
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14)
What does that mean! Does this mean that one can continue sinning? Or in other words continue transgressing the law of God, since we are not under law but under grace?

The answer to this question is simply this, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15)

Being dead to sin is figurative to, not allowing sin to reign in our mortal body, that we should obey it in its lusts, and that we should not present the members of our body as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, which is the transgression of the law.

Another important question one should ask is why are we not under law? The answer to this question is thoroughly explained by the apostle Paul`s letter to Timothy which reads, “knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust” (1Timothy 1:9-11).

Therefore, those who are not under the law are those who are already living within the confines of the law, and so the law is not made for the righteous because he/she is already practicing righteousness, as it is written. “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins (transgressing the law of God) is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning: For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:7-8).

Yes, we know that, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, but it is by the law one can know what sin is, as clearly stated by the apostle Paul who wrote; “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet” (Romans 7:7).

Therefore, the big question is, do we then make void the law through faith? The answer is: Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. The irony of truth is, the source of our salvation, our calling, our faith, our justification, our forgiveness and our consolation is from the grace of God, and therefore, if it is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! The truth of the matter is, having been set free from sin, by removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh, by having the laws of God placed in our mind and written on our hearts, by transforming the natural carnal mind which is enmity against God and not subject to the law of God neither can it ever be, and replacing it with a spiritual mind which now understands the things of the Spirit, we now become slaves of righteousness.

This is one of the main reasons why there are so many divisions in the body of Christ: Ungodly men turning the grace of God into a license to disobey the laws of God in order to gratify the flesh.
Copyright © 2017 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

Put God first (part 6)

Only One God
Another important aspect of putting God first is to worship the One and only true God. Believe it or not there are many false gods which people inadvertently worship instead of the One and only true God. but even if there are so called gods, whether in heaven or on earth as indeed there are many gods and many lords, “There is but one God: the Father, from whom all things came, and for whom we live, and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

Therefore, all credits, glory, honor and gratitude should be directed or channeled to the One and only true God, for to Him all glory and power belong, and it is He who gave to all life breath and everything else, and also in Him we all live , move and have our being.

Unfortunately, however, we do not all channel our praises, glory, honor, and express our grateful thanks to the One and only true God. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, many serve and worship other gods rather than the One and only true God.
The Lord said to the nation of Israel, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other beside Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire” (Deuteronomy 4:32-36).

The rationale for all this was for Israel to consider in their heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; and that there is no other besides Him. However, in order for God to distinguish Himself as the One and only true God, and distinguish His people from all others, He made a conditional covenant with them, so that if obeyed, they shall be a special treasure to Him above all people, for all the earth is His. They are to Him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Those who obey the covenant are described as, “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once they were not a people, but now they are the people of God; once they had not received mercy, but now they have received mercy” (Exodus 19:5-6, Leviticus 19:30; 26:2; 1 Peter 2:9).

So how do the One and only true God differentiates Himself from all other false gods? The One and only true God differentiate Himself from all other gods by stipulating four (4) important principles for His people to follow.
Please bear in mind that the Sovereign God has revealed Himself only to the children of Israel as Moses explained to the children of Israel saying; “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:7-10).

Moses further explained to the children of Israel saying; “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?

“Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.

And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:32-39).

Now these are the four stipulations God gave to the children of Israel and in extension, anyone who believes in Him to differentiate Himself from all other gods, He said:
1. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:2-11).

With regards to the Sabbaths as being the sign to differentiate the One and only true God from all other gods the Lord further said to Moses. “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
“You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:13-17).
The word of the Lord came also to the prophet Ezekiel saying. “Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God. On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands”.

But most of all, the Lord said; “And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them. Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Also, “I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:5, 6, 11, 12, 19, 20).

Since God has raised His hand in an oath to the children of Israel and one of the most important criterion relating to this oath is the Lord’s Sabbaths to be a sign between them and the Lord, so that they may know that the Lord is their God who sanctifies them, this agreement therefore is immutable, never changing, unalterable, permanent.

Now to those who might assume that this agreement is only between God and the children of Israel and does not pertain to the Gentiles, please be reminded that Gentiles are to glorify God together with His people.
For it is written: “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.” And again he says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” And again: “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Romans 15:7-11).

Another important instruction that was stipulated to the children of Israel read as follows: “And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD, just as you do, so shall he do. One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.” (Numbers 15:14-16)
Therefore, any other form of worship that is not in accordance to what was stipulated to the children of Israel, is unfortunately being addressed to a false god.

Put God first (part 4)

e. Be Thankful to God

Another important aspect of putting God first in one’s life is to show appreciation and be thankful to God, because it is of His fullness of grace we have all received grace upon grace, and since we are receiving what we were destined to receive, which is a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
But how are we to express our appreciation and gratitude to God? We express our appreciation and gratitude to God by worshiping Him in the acceptable manner with reverence and godly fear, and this is expressed in five (5) ways:-

1. Singing joyfully to the Lord

The main reason why we come and appear before the Lord is to humble ourselves before Him because of His Sovereignty, and to express our grateful thanks to Him. We are to; “Give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” Give to the Lord, glory and strength: give to the Lord the glory due to His name” (1 Chronicles 16: 8-30).

In Psalms 95 and 96 respectively we are told to; “Come, Let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song, for the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depth of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him, the sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.’
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.

2. Ascribing to the Lord the glory due to His Name

We are told in no uncertain terms to “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name” But how do we ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name?
We ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name by observing His Sabbaths. For thus says the Lord, “You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:30, 26:2).

The Sabbaths ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name because they commemorate what the Lord did on that particular day for man. For example;
• The weekly Sabbath glorifies the Lord as the Creator
• Passover/days of Unleavened bread glorifies the Lord as our Redeemer and Savior
• Feast of First-fruits glorifies the Lord as Resurrection and the life
• Pentecost glorifies the Lord as or Comforter and Helper
• Feast of Trumpets glorifies the Lord as our Deliverer
• Day of Atonement glorifies the Lord as our High Priest who atones for our sins
• Feast of Tabernacles glorifies the Lord as our tabernacle in whom we dwell and the King of kings
• The Eighth day glorifies the Lord as our circumcision by which we became members of the household of God.
God ordained the Sabbaths specifically for man to appear before Him and to worship Him. For thus says the Lord; “The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2, 4).
We are told in no uncertain terms that, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Therefore since Christian fellowship is with the Father and the Son, it is imperative that those who come before Him are walking and practicing the truth, because, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.’ And, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” True worshipers are to worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

It is amazing and appalling to see how many people who profess to know and believe God, have very little respect for His word. They hold His commandments in gross contempt, and in the same breath, stand in awe at the doctrines, traditions, and commandments taught and practiced by men. Like Jesus Himself said to the Pharisees, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God: in order to observe your own traditions” (Mark 7: 9).
Truly, these times of ignorance God has overlooked but now commands all men everywhere to repent.
To be continued.

Copyright © 2014 by Lucius Joseph
All rights reserved

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