Arkiv | december 2011

Både Fadern och Sonen kallar sig A och O och JAG ÄR

Gud Fader kallar sig den förste och den siste, a och o, vilket är början och slutet, och Jesus kallar sig också dessa namn. Att göra sig likvärdig Gud och att kalla sig vid hans namn är den yttersta formen av HÄDELSE, så en trogen jude eller kristen skulle aldrig komma att tänka på att göra sig skyldig till något sådant. Jesus Kristus hade inga som helst problem med att kalla sig vid Faderns namn, eller att människor tillbad honom – trots att Jesus själv säger att endast GUD ska tillbes. Detta kan bara betyda att Jesus ÄR Gud, för annars skulle han vara den värsta sortens lögnare och hädare. Fariséerna på Jesus tid insåg förstås att Jesus vid upprepade tillfällen gjorde sig likvärdig Gud genom att förlåta synder, stå över sabbaten, påstå sig själv vara Messias, etc, och det var av den anledningen som de ville döda honom. Fadern och sonen är båda A och O:

Isa 44:6 Så säger HERREN, Israels konung, och hans förlossare, HERREN Sebaot: Jag är den förste, och jag är den siste, och förutom mig finnes ingen Gud.

Isa 48:12.Hör på mig, du Jakob, du Israel, som jag har kallat. Jag är det; jag är den förste, jag är ock den siste.

Upp 1:5 och från Jesus Kristus, det trovärdiga vittnet, den förstfödde från de döda och härskaren över jordens kungar. Han som älskar oss och har friköpt oss från våra synder med sitt blod 6 och som har gjort oss till ett konungadöme, till präster åt sin Gud och Fader, honom tillhör äran och makten i evigheternas evigheter, amen.7 Se, han kommer med molnen, och varje öga skall se honom, även de som har genomborrat honom, och alla jordens stammar skall jämra sig över honom. Ja, amen. 8 Jag är A och O, säger Herren Gud, han som är och som var och som kommer, den Allsmäktige.-–12 Jag vände mig om för att se rösten som talade med mig. Och när jag vände mig om, såg jag sju ljusstakar av guld 13 och mitt ibland ljusstakarna en som liknade Människosonen, klädd i en fotsid klädnad och omgjordad med ett bälte av guld om bröstet. —16 I sin högra hand höll han sju stjärnor, och ur hans mun gick ett tveeggat, skarpt svärd, och hans ansikte lyste som solen, när den skiner i all sin kraft.17 När jag såg honom föll jag ner som död för hans fötter, och han lade sin högra hand på mig och sade: ”Var inte förskräckt. Jag är den förste och den siste 18 och den levande. Jag var död, och se, jag lever i evigheternas evigheter och har nycklarna till döden och helvetet.

Upp 21:5Och han som satt på tronen sade: »Se, jag gör allting nytt.» Ytterligare sade han: »Skriv: ty dessa ord äro visa och sanna.»  6Han sade vidare till mig: »Det är gjort. Jag är A och O, BEGYNNELSEN och änden. Åt den som törstar skall jag giva att dricka för intet ur källan med livets vatten.

Upp 22:12Se, jag kommer snart och har med mig min lön, för att vedergälla var och en efter som hans gärningar äro.13Jag är A och O, den förste och den siste, begynnelsen och änden. 14Saliga äro de som två sina kläder för att få rätt att äta av livets träd och att gå in i staden genom dess portar.15Men de som äro hundar och trollkarlar och otuktiga och dråpare och avgudadyrkare och alla som älska och göra lögn, de måste alla stanna därutanför.» 16Jag, Jesus, har sänt min ängel för att i församlingarna vittna om detta för eder. Jag är telningen från Davids rot och kommen av hans släkt, jag är den klara morgonstjärnan.

Fadern säger att han är JAG ÄR, vilket Jesus också säger om sig själv

Jag är = Jahvé (JHVH). Jahvéh är Gamla testamentets Kristus som åtföljde Israels barn i moln- och eldstoden.”De drack ur en andlig klippa som följde dem och den klippan var Kristus”. (2 Mos. 3:1-14, 1 Kor 10:4) Ingen annan än Gud skaparen har kallat sig Jahvé i Bibeln.

2 Mosebok 3:14 Gud sade till Mose: »Jag är den jag är.» Och han sade vidare: »Så skall du säga till Israels barn: ‘Jag är’ har sänt mig till eder. 15Och Gud sade ytterligare till Mose: »Så skall du säga till Israels barn: HERREN, edra fäders Gud, Abrahams Gud, Isaks Gud och Jakobs Gud, har sänt mig till eder. Detta skall vara mitt namn evinnerligen, och så skall man nämna mig från släkte till släkte.

Jesus kommer med en rad påståenden i Johannes 8 (och på många andra ställen i Bibeln) som vore skrytsamma hädelser såvida Jesus inte är Gud:

Joh 8:12 Åter talade Jesus till dem och sade: »Jag är världens ljus; den som följer mig, han skall förvisso icke vandra i mörkret, utan skall hava livets ljus.»

Joh 8:19 Då sade de till honom: »Var är då din Fader?» Jesus svarade: »I kännen varken mig eller min Fader. Om I känden mig, så känden I ock min Fader.»

Joh. 8:23 Men han svarade dem: »I ären härnedifrån, jag är ovanifrån; I ären av denna världen, jag är icke av denna världen.

Joh 8:51Sannerligen, sannerligen säger jag eder: Den som håller mitt ord, han skall aldrig någonsin se döden.»

Jesus hävdar alltså att HAN är världens ljus, och att det är HANS ord som ska följas och som leder till liv. Det vanliga för en troende jude är att säga att det är GUDS ord (Faderns ord) som ska följas. Jesus anser sig alltså vara Gud, och det är något som åhörarna inte missuppfattar. Jesus säger modigt att vi skulle känna Fadern om vi känner Jesus och att han (till skillnad mot andra) inte är av denna världen men kommer ovanifrån.

Joh. 8:24Därför sade jag till eder att I skullen dö i edra synder; ty om I icke tron att jag är den jag är, så skolen I dö i edra synder.» 25Då frågade de honom: »Vem är du då?» Jesus svarade dem: »Det som jag redan från begynnelsen har uttalat för eder.

Jesus säger att om vi inte tror om honom att ”jag är den jag är” så kommer vi att dö i våra synder. Det är alltså enormt viktigt att vi rätt kan identifiera Jesus och respektera att han är den han säger sig vara. Våra själar kan hänga på detta! Och vem är då Jesus och vad är det vi måste tro om honom? Jesus säger att han är den som han alltid sagt sig vara från början. Isaiah var först ut bland profeterna att ge sonen namn:

Jes 9:6Ty ett barn varder oss fött, en son bliver oss given, och på hans skuldror skall herradömet vila; och hans namn skall vara: Underbar i råd, Väldig GUD, Evig fader, Fridsfurste.

Jes 10:20 På den dagen skall kvarlevan av Israel och de räddade av Jakobs hus inte längre stödja sig vid honom som slog dem. I trohet skall de stödja sig på Herren, Israels Helige. 21 En kvarleva skall vända om, en kvarleva av Jakob, till Gud, den Mäktige. (Samma namn som i 9:6)

Jes 14:7 Därför skall Herren själv ge er ett tecken: Se, jungfrun skall bli havande och föda en son och hon skall ge honom namnet Immanuel.

Vidare vet vi att Jesus är världens ljus, kommer ovanifrån, är början och slutet och att allting är skapat till, av och genom honom. Han är rätt och slätt GUD, vilket namnet Immanuel (”Gud med oss”) också visar. Eftersom det är viktigt för oss att acceptera Jesus för den han är så är det lätt att förstå varför Satan försöker sprida den helt motsatta läran – genom att göra olika religiösa grupperingar populära som lär just att Jesus endast är en vanlig människa och/eller en ängel. Satans mål är ju att människor ska gå förlorade så att förvilla människor och få dem att tro att Jesus inte är Gud är det bästa sättet (förutom att få människor att synda) att få människor att vara på väg till helvetet. Det som de flesta sekter har gemensamt är att de vägrar att acceptera att Jesus är GUD. Satan har stor makt inom Jehovas Vittnen som vägrar att låta sig korrigeras av Bibeln om Jesus gudomlighet, och de föredrar att sprida ut människoläror genom traditioner och tidskrifter.

Jesus påstår att han är sänd av Fadern, och att en del av åhörarna kommer till tro på honom. Vad är det då som de börjar tro, som de inte tidigare trodde? De visste sedan tidigare att Josef och Maria var hans föräldrar, att han kom från Nasaret och att han predikade för människor och kanske även att han utförde mirakel. Men plötsligt så ”kommer de till tro” på honom, och det kan bara betyda att de nu tror att han är den som han säger sig vara:

Joh. 8:29Och han som har sänt mig är med mig; han har icke lämnat mig allena, eftersom jag alltid gör vad honom behagar.» 30När han talade detta, kommo många till tro på honom.31Då sade Jesus till de judar som hade satt tro till honom: »Om I förbliven i mitt ord, så ären I i sanning mina lärjungar

Jesus säger att om vi syndar är vi syndens träl och INTE fria, och han säger också att det är SONEN som kan göra oss fria. Alltså JESUS själv som är Guds son. Eftersom det är sonen som ska dö för världens synder så är det genom hans blod som vi kan bli fria. Då blir vi i sanning renade, men Jesus sanning gäller även efter vår rening – nämligen att vi inte är fria om vi syndar. Det är lika sanna ord före en omvändelse som efter en omvändelse. Synd=död för både kristna som icke-kristna. Den heliga anden kan hjälpa oss att avhålla oss från synd och då är vi fria.

Joh. 8:34Jesus svarade dem: »Sannerligen, sannerligen säger jag eder: Var och en som gör synd, han är syndens träl.35Men trälen får icke förbliva i huset för alltid; sonen får förbliva där för alltid.36Om nu Sonen gör eder fria, så bliven i verkligen fria.

Vi kan läsa vidare:

Joh 8:52Judarna sade till honom: »Nu förstå vi att du är besatt av en ond ande. Abraham har dött, så ock profeterna, och likväl säger du: ‘Den som håller mitt ord, han skall aldrig någonsin smaka döden.’53Icke är väl du förmer än vår Fader Abraham? Och han har ju dött. Profeterna hava också dött. Till vem gör du då dig själv?»54Jesus svarade: »Om jag själv ville skaffa mig ära, så vore min ära intet; men det är min Fader som förlänar mig ära, han som I säger vara eder Gud.55Dock, I haven icke lärt känna honom, men jag känner honom; och om jag sade att jag icke kände honom, så bleve jag en lögnare likasom I; men jag känner honom och håller hans ord.56Abraham, eder fader, fröjdade sig över att han skulle få se min dag. Han fick se den och blev glad.»

Jesus hävdar alltså att Abraham fröjdade sig över att få se Jesus dag, och att han verkligen fick se den! Om nu Jesus inte existerade förrän han föddes av Maria, hur kommer det sig då att Abraham – som levde hundratals år innan Jesus födelse – kunde få se ”Jesus dag”? Om Jesus är Gud så löser sig detta mysterium. (Man skulle också kunna säga att Abraham träffade Jesus i Melkisedeks skepnad.) Jesus kallade sig själv JAG ÄR:

Joh 8:57Då sade judarna till honom: »Femtio år gammal är du icke ännu, och Abraham har du sett!»58Jesus sade till dem: »Sannerligen, sannerligen säger jag eder: Förrän Abraham blev till, är jag.»59Då togo de upp stenar för att kasta på honom. Men Jesus gömde sig undan och gick sedan ut ur helgedomen.

Mark. 14:61-64 ”Översteprästen frågade honom vidare: ‘Är du Messias, den Välsignades son?‘ Jesus svarade: ‘Jag Är. Och ni skall få se Människosonen sitta på Maktens högra sida och komma bland himlens moln.’ Då rev översteprästen sönder sina kläder och sade: ‘Behöver vi några fler vittnen? Ni har hört hädelsen. Vad anser ni?’ Alla fann de honom skyldig till döden.”

Joh. 18:4-6″‘Vem söker ni?’ De svarade: ‘Jesus från Nasaret.’ Han sade till dem: ‘JagÄr.‘ Bland dem stod också Judas, han som förrådde honom. När Jesus sade till dem: Jag Är, vek de tillbaka och föll till marken.”

Nej, det råder ingen tvekan. Jesus använder Guds namn på sig själv, och åhörarna tar inte miste på detta. Anledningen till att de vill stena och döda Jesus är att de menar att han hädar.

Johannes 10:33 Judarna svarade honom: »Det är icke för någon god gärnings skull som vi vilja stena dig, utan därför att du hädar och gör dig själv till Gud, du som är en människa.»

Människan är innovativ när det gäller att komma runt Bibelns självklara budskap att Jesus är Gud i mänsklig gestalt. Se vidare i mina artiklar om treenigheten och att Jesus är alltings skapare.

Annonser

Who are Jesus sheep, and who are the goats? – Matt. 25 parable

We have a choice whether we would like to be a Jesus SHEEP or not, and we also have a choice whether we would like to remain his sheep to the very end. At no point do we lose our free will. Let’s see what the Bible says about sheep.

Joshua was supposed to be like a shepherd to israel, but we know that despite of this important task directly from God, all israel did not obey Joshua or God’s commandments:

Numbers 27:14For ye rebelled against My commandment in the Desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify Me at the water before their eyes.” (That is, the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.) 15And Moses spoke unto the LORD, saying, 16″Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17who may go out before them and who may go in before them and who may lead them out and who may bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.” 18And the LORD said unto Moses, ”Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 19and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and give him a charge in their sight. 20And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.

Despite of being God’s sheep, israel could cause God to anger due to their rebellion, and they were told to not harden their hearts. We can read that God was GRIEVED when they provoced him, tempted him and erred in their own hearts. We all make God grieve when we walk our own ways instead of his way.

Psalm 74:1 O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?

Psalm 95:6O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

We can read also in Isaiah that God has reasons to be angry and to show his wrath against a wicked people, who show much evil, arrogancy, pride and haughtiness – totally against his will. Sheep are compared with people who walk their own ways. Sheep often go astray but that is never the purpose of the shepherd. The shepherd would prefer that his sheep were always close by to pay attention to him and obey him.

Isaiah 13:11And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 12I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. 13Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. 14And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Jeremiah tells us about God’s people – his sheep israel – who unfortunately have been scattered due to false shepherds who have caused them to go astray. They have turned away and forgotten their restingplace. There is always a risk that ”wolves in sheep’s clothing” can cause sheep to go astray, and sometimes these wolves don’t even need sheep’s clothing to cause people to err. The risk of being lost applies even if the sheep belong to God himself. God is powerful enough to ”keep” his sheep, and God could easily cause all sheep (people) in the whole world to be his for good, but that would interfere with our free will which God prefers that we have. WE are responsible for making sure to abide to the true shepherd, and we are warned about false pastors which could cause us to go astray if we are not on our guard.

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

Jeremiah 50:17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Ezekiel makes an interesting prophesy about shepherds (and God’s own shepherds!) who have not been doing their job to take care of the sheep as God expects them to do, but instead they have kept feeding themselves. Ezekiel lists several things which these shepherds have failed to do, with the result that the sheep have become prey and scattered all over the earth. But God promises to step in sometime in the future, and take over. God will JUDGE the shepherds, because they have acted against God’s will and they are responsible for their neglect to take care of the flock. God will also judge between the flock itself, because not only are shepherds responsible for taking care of their sheep, but the sheep are responsible for listening to the shepherds.

Ezekiel 34:2—Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. —16I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. 17And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.21Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad

Jesus tells his disciples that he will be sending them as sheep among wolves, and warns them therefore that they must be wise. They are warned they must beware of men, because they could certainly interfere and harm them. Jesus tells his own believing disciples that they will be hated for his name’s sake but he that endures to the end shall be saved. Jesus didn’t give his sheep fake and meaningless warnings but in Matt 10:16–22 he explains to his disciples that they must be on their guard because of a real danger that lies ahead of them. If they don’t stay strong, they risk going astray and become lost. This is the opposite from saying ”you will be safe no matter what because you’re my sheep”. There is no reason to tell people to beware of false prophets if they can never go astray.

Matthew 10:16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;— 22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

In Luke we can read:

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

But this doesn’t mean the man absolutely WILL find the sheep. It just means that he will never give up as long as their is a hope, just like a mother who will never give up on her lost child. The Father of the prodigal son never gave up on his lost son, but he didnt go out and force him to return. In Matthew we can read the same parable, but here we can read ”IF so be that he finds it”, meaning that it’s not certain. IF a person repents from his sins, there will be lots of joy in heaven! We can read that the Father does not want ONE of those little one to perish. Jesus also gives very serious warnings concerning sins. He says that it’s better to pluck our eye out if it causes us to sin, so that we can escape HELL. He doesn’t say born again christians are excempted from this danger but he actually addresses his disciples, and all of us. Jesus came to save that which is LOST which would be all who have been guilty of sin, which are all who are aware of the law. Also read the parable which Matthew 18 ends with. A servant is cleansed from his debt (sins) and should have been a forever ”forgiven sheep” of this King, but later the same already forgiven debt is put back on his shoulders once again when he (the servant) refuses to forgive another servant. The parable ends with declaring ”35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses”. This again, is a warning to all of us. God’s born again sheep are not excempted from this danger, but there is a risk that we refuse to forgive another person and thus jeopardize our salvation.

Matthew 18:9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish..

Matthew 25 tells us about 5 foolish maids/virgins who forgot to bring enough oil with them to their lamps while waiting for the bride groom. This was their own responsibility, and had they acted like the other 5 virgins who brought enough oil with them, they would have been ”sheep”, and they would not have been lost. We can also read about another parable about various amounts of talents, and about our own responsibility to make a high profit to present to the Owner. The rest of Matthew 25 tells us who the sheep are, as compared with the goats. The Bible doesn’t say ”once sheep, always sheep”, but if we endure to the end we will be among the saved. Matthew 25 makes it clear that God’s sheep are those who DO GOOD. Many of us have been indoctrinated to believe that doing something (works) has nothing to do with our salvation, but it certainly does according to the Bible. We can forfeit our salvation if we refuse to show compassion with people around us, and neglect to DO GOOD towards them. This is again a serious warning to all of us. Some might suggest that sheep will naturally always do good, and goats will not, but this is certainly not always the case. It’s true that doing good should come very natural for a sheep, but unfortunately this is not always true. The sheep and the goats are not divided between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not, but among those who do good and those who do not. This is about fruit. YOU decide whether you are a sheep or a goat, and you show this with what you do. Sins will always place you among the goats, unless you repent. Stay strong and don’t let Satan win in your life. The Holy Spirit is your Helper and He can guide you. James says in James 2 that faith without works is dead so make sure you’re not only ”praying” (which is a good thing) but also DOING something for the kingdom of God. Spreading his word and doing good to others.

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Jesus is our teacher, and the light of our lives

Mark 6:34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.   

Do read this article about John 10:28, and particularly verse 27 which identifies the sheep. Jesus sheep are those who LISTEN to him and FOLLOW him, so as long as we do this (Greek continuous tense), we are totally safe. Jesus is not going to put us away, but of course he doesn’t force us to remain with him – due to our free will.

 

Being carnally minded is DEATH but we can attain moral perfection NOW

Romans 7 is often used as support for that we can have our sins and our salvation too, but we must consider ALL of Romans 7 and particularly Romans 6 and 8.  Paul ends chapter 7 by telling us about the SOLUTION to his problem:

Rom. 7:224O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

He also says:

Rom. 6:18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is DEATH. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life

Rom. 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who WALK not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

1 Cor. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

We can all see a distinction between these two claims coming from the same man – PAUL:

Rom. 7:14 but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Rom. 8:For to be carnally minded is death; (but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.)

Clearly Paul couldn’t be both carnal and NOT carnal at the same time. If we are sold under sin we are NOT spiritually alive but spiritually dead. Paul said that as a converted man he lived with a good  conscience void of offense

Acts 23:1And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Acts 24: 16And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.

2 Tim. 1:3I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

The description in Romans 7 is not of the converted life of  Paul, but a narration describing what happens when an unconverted sinner’s mind encounters the law of God and is convicted by it.

What does Paul mean with ”perfection?

Php. 3:12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Paul was talking about being free from physical corruption and attaining physical perfection, so not the same as MORAL perfection.The verses right before make it clear that he is talking about the resurrection and our new glorified bodies which will not be corrupted:

Php. 3: 10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

Paul was certainly not saying that moral perfection is unattainable in this life since he continues to say that many have already attained perfection:

Phil. 3:14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.). 

Read also:

Rom. 8:12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1 Cor. 9:27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Not even Jesus was ”perfected” until he was resurrected:

Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

Eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear Romans 11:8

According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear (Rom. 11:8)

God does not arbitrarily cause certain unfortunate people to be spiritually blind and deaf and neither does he turn around and punish them for not seeking him – which he prevented them to do in the first place. However, if PEOPLE reject him and rebel against him, he can give them over to a reprobate mind. IF God would be the one to  make people spiritually blind and deaf (for no reason at all), it must mean that they were NOT blind and deaf from the start – despite that they were adults and had been around for a while. (Something for reformed thinkers to think about, because they believe we were all blind and deaf before we are regenerated and able to believe and do good.)

When we check the passages in the Bible where we can read about God giving people over to blindness and deafness, we can see that this is their own fault due to hardening of their own hearts. We can also see that God EXPECTED Israel to see and hear due to the many miracles that he did before them, and he always has great anger towards people who refuse to give up their idols and other sins. In Romans 11:7-11 Paul is referring to Isaiah, so it’s essential that we study the context in Isaiah to understand why people’s eyes and ears have been shut.

Rom 11:What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.9And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them: 10Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Isaiah 29:Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

Isaiah 44:9They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.—17And the residue thereof  he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.18They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.  19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Ps. 69:22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

Jesus encourages us to walk in the light, LEST darkness will come upon us. and IF we choose to believe in the light, we can become children of light. Despite that Jesus did many miracles, the pharisees still did not believe in him and that is because they had purposed in their hearts to not come to the light. A person who hates the light remains in darkness, and he is spiritually blind.

John 12:35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

John. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John. 12:38 is a quote from this passage in the old testament:

Jesaja 6:And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,12 And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

Compare with this passage where we can see that Paul is blaming people for not being able to see or hear. Paul did his utmost to persuade people to believe in Jesus, but if God is the one to make people spiritually blind and death, Paul would be wasting his time:

 Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.25And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, 26Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have THEY closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Other verses in the same chapter (John 12) show man’s free will and responsibility to seek and come to God. Clearly God would not predestine people to NOT believe in him, follow him, confess him, receive him, abide in him, etc. God would not close the door for people, only to ask the same people why they have not seeked him. We can see that there is an option to reject Jesus, and that is of course against God’s will.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.-46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.—-48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Below we can read about people who forsake God and who have eyes that don’t see and ears that don’t hear, and they are considered foolish by God. Naturally he wouldn’t create people to revolt against him and to have rebellious hearts. We can read that it’s their INIQUITIES which have caused themselves to be withheld from the good things of God:

Jer 5:19And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your’s. 20Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, 21Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: —23But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you26For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. 27As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. 28They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. 29Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this30A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Other verses which show that people have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear – due to their own doingsöga2

Hes. 12:Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house3Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house.

Zechariah 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

Ps 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands16They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. 18They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.

Deut.29:2And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3The great temptations which thine eyes have seen,the signs, and those great miracles: 4Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.-–20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.— 24Even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of thisgreat anger? 25Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: 26For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them:

Mark 8:17And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

Verses that show that people can and should seek God in order to find him and get life

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Isaiah 55:Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

1 Chronicles 28:And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

2 Chronicles 15:And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Isaiah 65:1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick

Isaiah 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

It doesn’t say anywhere that God randomly selects people who he will cause to not see or hear. The reason why the farisees did not see or hear is that they chose not to follow Jesus to listen to his teaching and to get edified. Instead they came to him in order to mock him and/or find faults – if they even came to him at all. If people were chosen to be elect/non-elect before the world began, then of course Jesus wouldn’t have to speak in parables in order to hide his message, because the non-elect would be blind and deaf regardless.

Luke 8:10 — Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand

Jesus warns his disciples in the same chapter that they must HEAR in the right way and also DO it, which shows there is a risk they won’t.

Luke 8:18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. —21And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

The Bible doesn’t anywhere that we first must be ”regenerated” before we can seek God. God calls us and we must respond, and if we do come to him we must believe that he is, and if we are willing to get to know him we will be revealed the DEEP things of God.

Hebr. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently SEEK him.

1 Corinthians 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the DEEP things of God

Romans 1

There is no better passage than Romans 1:18-32 to show the reality of when people reject God even though they know better and have the opportunity to seek him and find him. For this reason God gives them over to reprobation.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Lag och Evangelium. Rättfärdig genom gärningar och inte av tro allena (Jak. 2:24)

Jak. 2:24 I sen alltså att det är av GÄRNINGAR som en människa bliver rättfärdig, och ICKE av tro allenast (1917)

Jak. 2:24 Ni ser alltså att en människa erkänns som rättfärdig genom GÄRNINGAR och INTE bara genom tro (SFB)

För att försöka parera denna vers (och egentligen stora delar av Jakobsbrevet) – som säger att vi INTE är rättfärdiga av tro allena – så föreslår en del att vi är rättfärdiga av gärningar inför MÄNNISKOR, medan vi är rättfärdiga av tro (allena) inför GUD. Men passar denna tolkning in vid närmare betraktelse? Så här säger Jakobsbrevet 2 om Abraham:

Jak.2:21 Blev inte vår fader Abraham erkänd som rättfärdig genom gärningar, när han bar fram sin son Isak på altaret? 22 Du ser att hans tro samverkade med hans gärningar och att det var genom gärningarna som tron blev fullbordad. 23 Så uppfylldes Skriften som säger: Abraham trodde Gud, och det räknades honom till rättfärdighet, och han kallades Guds vän.24 Ni ser alltså att en människa erkänns som rättfärdig genom gärningar och inte bara genom tro25 Blev inte skökan Rahab på samma sätt erkänd som rättfärdig genom gärningar, när hon tog emot sändebuden och förde ut dem en annan väg? 26 Liksom kroppen utan ande är död, så är tron utan gärningar död.

Här är sammanhanget där Abraham offrade sin son Isak, och det står klart att det är pga det Abraham gjorde INFÖR GUD (inte inför människor) som han kallades för rättfärdig och som gav honom rik välsignelse:

1 Mosebok 22:Tidigt nästa morgon sadlade Abraham sin åsna och tog med sig två av sina tjänare och sin son Isak. Sedan han huggit ved till brännoffer, gav han sig i väg mot den plats som Gud hade sagt åt honom att gå till. När Abraham på tredje dagen lyfte blicken fick han se platsen på avstånd. Han sade då till sina tjänare: ”Stanna här med åsnan. Jag och pojken går dit bort för att tillbe, och sedan kommer vi tillbaka till er.” Abraham tog veden till brännoffret och lade den på sin son Isak, men själv tog han elden och kniven, och de gick båda tillsammans. — 10 Och Abraham räckte ut handen och tog kniven för att slakta sin son. 11 Då ropade Herrens ängel till honom från himlen: ”Abraham! Abraham!” Han svarade: ”Här är jag.” 12 Då sade han: ”Lyft inte din hand mot pojken och gör honom ingenting. NU vet jag att du fruktar Gud, då du inte ens har undanhållit mig din ende son.” —15 Herrens ängel ropade ännu en gång till Abraham från himlen: 16 ”Jag svär vid mig själv, säger Herren: EFTERSOM du har gjort detta och inte undanhållit mig din ende son, 17 skall jag rikligen välsigna dig och göra dina efterkommande talrika som stjärnorna på himlen och som sanden på havets strand, och din avkomma skall inta sina fienders portar. 18 I din avkomma skall alla jordens folk bli välsignade, DÄRFÖR att du lyssnade till min röst.”19 Sedan vände Abraham tillbaka till sina tjänare, och de bröt upp och gick tillsammans till Beer-Sheba. Och Abraham bodde i Beer-Sheba.

Om Jakobrevet 2:24 är tänkt att visa att vi är rättfärdiga av gärningar inför människor så kunde Jakob inte ha valt ett sämre exempel. Abraham var ensam när han offrade sin son, och inte ens hans tjänare var närvarande för att se händelsen (vilket även intygas i den sekulära judiska historieboken ”Den rättrådigas bok” som refereras till i Bibeln). Vi kan läsa att Gud säger ”nu vet jag” när han ser att Abraham lydigt tänker offra sin son. Helt klart är att Abrahams gärningar inte är inför människor utan inför Gud. Speciellt om vi också kan läsa:

Rom 2:13 Det är inte lagens hörare som blir rättfärdiga inför Gud, utan lagens görare skall förklaras rättfärdiga.

Det tidigare stycket i Jakobsbrevet 2 säger:

Jak.2:14 Mina bröder, vad hjälper det om någon påstår sig ha tro men saknar gärningar? Kan väl en sådan tro frälsa någon? 15 Om en broder eller syster inte har kläder och saknar mat för dagen 16 och någon av er säger till dem: ”Gå i frid, klä er varmt och ät er mätta”, men inte ger dem vad kroppen behöver, vad hjälper det? 17 Så är också tron i sig själv död, när den är utan gärningar.18 Nu säger kanske någon: ”Du har tro.” – Ja, men jag har också gärningar. Visa mig din tro utan gärningar, så skall jag visa dig min tro genom mina gärningar. 19 Du tror att Gud är en. Det gör du rätt i. Också de onda andarna tror det, och bävar. 20 Men vill du inte inse, du tanklösa människa, att tron utan gärningar är död?

Jakob jämför tro utan gärningar med demonernas tro. De tror också att Jesus är Guds son vilket de också erkänner högt, men de är inte frälsta eftersom de inte har gärningar att visa med sin tro. Så är det också med oss eftersom tro utan gärningar är död och gärningar utan tro är död. Vi kan inte förtjäna frälsning av något vi gör, men gärningar är ändå ett vllkor för frälsningen och därför nödvändiga. Om vi inte visar god frukt så lovar Jesus till och med att hugga av oss från vinträdet så det är mycket allvarligt. Synd innebär inte bara reducerade gåvor i Guds rike, utan det är våra SJÄLAR som är i fara:

Rom 6:16 Vet ni inte att om ni gör er till slavar under någon och lyder honom, då är ni hans slavar och det är honom ni lyder, antingen under synden, vilket leder till död, eller under lydnaden, vilket leder till rättfärdighet? 17 Men Gud vare tack! Ni var syndens slavar men har nu av hjärtat blivit lydiga mot den lära som ni blivit överlämnade åt. 18 Nu är ni slavar under rättfärdigheten, sedan ni har befriats från synden. 19 – För er mänskliga svaghets skull använder jag en så enkel bild. – Ty liksom ni förr ställde era lemmar i orenhetens och laglöshetens slavtjänst, till ett laglöst liv, så skall ni nu ställa era lemmar i rättfärdighetens slavtjänst, till helgelse.20 Medan ni var syndens slavar, var ni fria från rättfärdigheten. 21 Men vad skördade ni då för frukt? Jo, det som ni nu skäms för. Slutet på sådant är döden22 Men nu, då ni befriats från synden och blivit Guds slavar, blir frukten att ni helgas och till slut får evigt liv. 23 Ty syndens lön är döden, men Guds gåva är evigt liv i Kristus Jesus, vår Herre.

1 Pet 2:11 Mina älskade, jag uppmanar er som främlingar och gäster att hålla er borta från de köttsliga begären som för krig mot själen.

Romans 8:6Och köttets sinne är DÖD, medan Andens sinne är liv och frid7Köttets sinne är nämligen fiendskap mot Gud, eftersom det icke är Guds lag underdånigt, ej heller kan vara det. 8Men de som äro i ett köttsligt väsende kunna icke behaga Gud.— 13Ty om i leven efter köttet, så skolen I DÖ; men om I genom ande döden kroppens gärningar, så skolen I leva. (1917)

Mark 9:47 Och om ditt öga förleder dig till synd, så riv ut det! Det är bättre för dig att gå in i Guds rike med ett öga än att med båda ögonen i behåll kastas i Gehenna

1 Peter 4:18 Och om den rättfärdige med knapp nöd blir frälst, vad blir det då av den ogudaktige och syndaren?

De berömda verserna Ef. 2:8 talar inte emot vad jag skrivit ovan. Vi är antingen frälsta genom lagen eller av nåd genom tro (antingen eller), och vi vet att det inte kan vara det förstnämnda eftersom det alternativet kräver 100% lydnad vilket ingen uppnått. Tack och lov har Gud i sin kärlek erbjudit frälsning som en gåva genom tro, men det betyder inte att lydnad av den moraliska lagen (de tio budorden) numera är valfritt även om det är eftersträvansvärt. Det är tänkt att vi ska ha dessa budord i våra hjärtan och de är precis lika viktiga att lyda som tidigare eftersom synd alltid separerar oss från Gud. Det är den ceremoniella lagen som vi är fria ifrån. Att bli renade i Jesu blod betyder inte att Jesus frälser oss även om vi återigen smutsar ner oss i framtiden och det heter inte ”en gång renad alltid renad”. Omvändelse är ett krav för att få vara Guds barn. Se även nedan hur Paulus å ena sidan säger att vi inte är under lagen, och å andra sidan listar synder som får oss att förlora vår frälsning.

Gal.5:16 Vad jag vill säga är detta: vandra i Anden, så kommer ni inte att göra vad köttet begär17 Ty köttet söker det som är emot Anden och Anden söker det som är emot köttet. De två strider mot varandra för att hindra er att göra det ni vill. 18 Men om ni leds av Anden, står ni inte under lagen. 19 Köttets gärningar är uppenbara: de är otukt, orenhet, lösaktighet, 20 avgudadyrkan, svartkonst, fiendskap, kiv, avund, vredesutbrott, gräl, splittringar, villoläror,21 illvilja, fylleri, utsvävningar och annat sådant. Jag säger er i förväg vad jag redan har sagt: de som lever så skall inte ärva Guds rike.22 Andens frukt däremot är kärlek, glädje, frid, tålamod, vänlighet, godhet,23 trohet, mildhet och självbehärskning. Sådant är lagen inte emot. 24 De som tillhör Kristus Jesus har korsfäst sitt kött med dess lidelser och begär.25 Om vi har liv genom Anden, låt oss då även följa Anden.

Can the leopard change his spots? Not if it has no desire to change

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil (Jeremiah 13:23)

Jeremiah 2::32 asks ”Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Well, no – what bride would forget her wedding attire? That is simply out of the question, so the answer should then be ”NO WAY” and yet we read on:

”—yet my people have forgotten me days without number”.

So the answer is YES after all. Jeremiah 13:23 is a question and not a statement, and it’s like God wants to show Israel how difficult it is for people who are accustomed to do evil and who have hardened their hearts, to change their behavior. But we can be delivered from our sins and spots. We must choose to come to God so he can change us and help us to change our bad habits. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. What else does Jeremiah 13 tell us? We can read about a group of evil people who refuses to obey God, which is very disturbing to him. Due to their rebellion and their refusal to listen and obey, God will punish them. We can read about a people who have forgotten about God and trusted in FALSEHOOD. Does God want his chosen people to trust in falsehood? Clearly not. We can read that it’s due to their wickedness that God will put them to open shame. It’s due to their own actions which they themselves are responsible for, because God certainly didn’t cause them to perform adulteries, neighings, lewdness of whoredom and other abominations that we can read about. God is mighty upset with his peoole for constantly acting against his will. See for yourself:

10This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.11For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.

16Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. 17But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD’s flock is carried away captive.

22And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.

23Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

24Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. 25This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. 26Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear27I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be? 

We are told we can keep ourselves unspotted from the world

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

1 Timothy 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Why would God take the time and give so many warning to Israel in Jeremiah (and elsewhere) not to do evil if He knew they were destined to do evil because their nature was evil? A change requires serious effort because of being accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah tells the people to correct their behavior. How can man correct his behavior if he can’t change it and doesn’t have a choice? Man defiles himself by sinning.

Mark 7:20And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Rom. 2:13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Rom 1:19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

God works in you both to WILL and to DO as per Phil 2:13?

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil 2:13)

Some people rip this sentence out of the context in order to show that God is the one doing everything for you, maneuvering every step you take. They believe that he believes for you, repents for you and even do the good works for you. If God is the one responsible for doing the good works in us, how come we sometimes mess up and end up in sin, and how come we sometimes don’t show any good fruit? Can we then blame God and assume that he simply doesn’t want us to show good fruit at all times, because then he would surely have arranged it that way? If the responsibility is God’s, then he either fails miserably with us at times or he wants us to be sinning. Let’s say that you didn’t become born again until you were 40. Does this mean God didn’t ”will” that you became a christian at an earlier point? Are you telling me that God wants people to be sinners for a few years before he intervenes and finally makes them good and fruit bearing christians?

Jesus says in John 15 that we can’t do anything without him and that a branch must be in the vine. He WARNS us about this (most importantly his own believing disciples) and tells them that THEY must make sure to abide in him. He is not going to do this for them. Paul basically says the same thing in Phil 2:13 – that without Jesus you can do nothing. We must be IN HIM in order to accomplish good fruit, so we must seek him and let the Holy Spirit guide us.  Jesus says ”IF ye abide in me”, and he also says ”Continue ye in my love”, so he is NOT saying that he is the one responsible for doing this but WE are. Read the below and read the many IF:s and warnings:

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

The context of Philippians 2:13

The verse prior to 2:13 says that we should work out our own salvation with fear and trembling:

12Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.

Why the need for fear and trembling if we can sit back and relax while God is the one doing the will and the work for us? Why does it say that WE must work, if God is doing all the work? That is because WE must make sure to abide in Jesus so that he can use us for what he has intended, and WE must be eager to know and to do his will and OBEY.

2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.3Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

14Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15THAT ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Notice that Paul says there is a risk that he has run in VAIN and labored in VAIN, and this wouldn’t make sense if GOD is the one responsible for doing the good fruit for us. The chapter is filled with Paul’s warnings and suggestions about actions that WE must take in order to be able to stand blameless before God one day. The reason why we can stand blameless before him, is because he is able to cleanse us from our sins which we certainly couldn’t do ourselves. We are also able to continue in that blameless state if we remain clean and obey the holy Spirit, and we are promised that we can stand blameless before him if we ”do all things without murmurings and disputings”. Clearly Paul doesn’t expect God to do this for us, but WE must be willing servants and perform the work that God wants us to do. He is not going to force us, and one day we will also be rewarded for our DEEDS if we don’t give up. If God is doing the work for us, then he is the only one that should be rewarded since we are just puppets in his hands, and we could blame our shortcomings on him.