Perfectly Loved

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. ~ Hebrews 10:14

Perhaps one of the truths many of God’s people struggle with believing is that they are truly and deeply loved by God. For they are quite aware of their failures and inconsistencies. They know who and what they once were, and the wounds they have inflicted on others. They are haunted by the vices and depravity of their own hearts. Yet, these dear ones who have lifted their eyes to Christ in saving faith are so loved by God.

While a mystery to us, we are told that, because of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, God’s people are(present tense) perfected forever, even though they are in the process of being sanctified. If you are in Christ, you are perfected already in Him, even while God is pruning, purging, purifying, refining, and sharpening you. And despite your past and who you once were, you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) who, in Christ, is perfectly forgiven and loved.

Do you struggle with believing God loves you? If so, are you trusting in your feelings or God’s promises? How does God actively perfect His people?

More Than a Servant

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ…. Our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. ~ Jude 1, 4

Some translations use the English word servant in the opening of Jude’s brief epistle, but this is a poor translation of the Greek word, doulos, which means “slave.” One definition for doulos is “one who is in permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of the other.” Jude was all in when it came to his devotion, loyalty, and service to his Master and King, Jesus. If you profess the name of Christ, are you all in or is your profession mere lip service? Do you recognize His authority or do live as though you can select which commands you’ll obey or dismiss? Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings (Rev. 17:14), and His reign is founded upon righteousness. Is He your King? Is your will consumed in His holy will? Are you a doulos or a mere professor who denies Him in practice (see Titus 1:16; Jude 4)?

Our Skin Or Our Sin?

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. ~ Romans 5:10

Is a person or system bad based on the color of a people’s skin? Critical Race Theory tries to say the (white) system is bad because it’s ruled by whites and white privilege. But do whites have some kind of monopoly on oppression? What about the oppression in Communist China, societies in Northern Africa and the Middle East, or by the Mexican cartel? Would the system be free of oppression and corruption if it was non-white? Does injustice exist because whites exist? Would injustice be extinct if whites were extinct? The problem has nothing to do with skin but has everything to do with sin. “Yellow, red, and black and white”—all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but Christ died for all that we might become one unified, holy people in Him.

Forever Grateful 

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapters one and two, believers are given some glimpses of deep realities of the depths of God’s love for us countered by the realities of our depravity and utter helplessness. Regarding His love for those who are His, take note of some strong words, full of meaning, used to describe God’s activities on our behalf.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3-9

Two common mistakes I think many Christians make are, 1) thinking they actually understand the concepts of  God’s choosing us, predestination, adoption, and redemption; and 2) either dismissing or changing their meanings. These mean exactly what they say, despite the depths are beyond human comprehension.

One’s redemption, cleansing, and salvation were God’s ideas and initiatives, not ours. We could neither dream of a God loving us so much that He would suffer for us nor that He would lavish such profound love, grace, and forgiveness so richly and freely. Furthermore, as we will see from chapter two, apart from His initiatives, we would not have desired these to begin with.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [the devil], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 2:1-6

Like zombies, we appeared to be alive, but we were dead; made insane as we were driven by sinful passions and godless pride, following the current of the world and the rebellion of the devil. Like bucking, untamed horses, we kicked against the sacred and holy. By grace we are saved—and only by grace.

Again, a couple of common mistakes I think Christians make are, 1) thinking one was/is better than he really was/is; 2) thinking we didn’t follow after Satan in his rebellion; and 3) thinking that some inkling of goodness of our own contributed to our salvation.

The debt Christ paid with His own blood was a price we could never have paid. The humiliation and shame He endured was so we could be delivered from our own, making us acceptable to God. We sometimes forget just how serious our situation was. We were both separated from God and bound for a hell of our own earning and deserving. Jesus will forever be deserving of our awe, praise, worship, surrender, and gratitude. May we be forever grateful.

Comfortable On the Lap of Delilah

Samson was certainly not one of God’s wisest servants; nevertheless, he was a man of extraordinary faith. He is listed among those of faith in Hebrews 11:32. Although a genuine man of God, appointed to be a Nazirite and judge before he was born, his carelessness eventually cost him. He took the calling and blessings of God for granted, and he was lured by the forbidden. He became comfortable resting on the lap of Delilah.

Much speculation has gone on concerning Delilah, but the point is Samson was wooed by, fell in love with, and grew comfortable with the very one who led him to his downfall—and this is because he saw himself both strong and wise, and he rejected godly instruction.

Samson experienced some incredible victories wrought by God (understand, his might was because of the Holy Spirit’s anointing), but he was seduced by Delilah’s beauty and charm. Bribed by the Philistines, she tried to get the secret of his strength, as he rested his head on her lap and she stroked his hair and rubbed his face, eventually lulling him to sleep. She would then awaken him with, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” Samson would then wake up and “take care of business.” Samson just seems to laugh it off each time, not understanding he was in a dangerous predicament.

With a puffed bottom lip and a little pouting, Delilah finally got Samson to open up. “If you cut my hair I’ll lose my strength.” Don’t miss this, while what he he said is, perhaps, in part true, “If you cut my hair I’ll lose my strength,” his strength came from God not his hair. 

Again, she lulled him to sleep. We then read,

When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. ~ Judges 16:18-21

Did you catch that? Samson “did not know that the Lord had left him.” Samson was clueless that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him. God did not utterly forsake Samson, but He did step away and let Samson suffer the consequences of his self-centeredness and religious flippancy. We are told that Samson was blinded (his eyes were gouged out), and he was imprisoned both in his darkness and a Philistine dungeon.  

This world is not our home, but how easily we can be distracted and wooed by the charms of this world. Seduced by its flattery and glamour while holding to a religious false security, as though God will permit no harm simply because we are His. So we lay our head on our Delilah’s lap, giving credit of our strength to our education, experience, influence, and the like, not realizing the Holy Spirit’s anointing has been lifted from us. Our downfall comes, our eyes “are gouged” as we are forced to abide in our darkness.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. ~ 1 John 1:6

How many Christians have been seduced and wooed by persons, money, or power trips? They took their eyes off the Lord and played religious games, but eventually God said, “Enough!” Not realizing His anointing has been removed, one’s world collapses like a house of cards. While God never fully abandons His own, He does allow consequences to crush us in order to reveal our need for Him and to bring us to repentance.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. ~ 1 John 2:15-17

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. ~ 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Are you being wooed by a Delilah and trusting in your own strength and past victories? Don’t rest your head on her lap, and don’t get comfortable in her presence. Remember that all of your victories came from God and His workings, not from you. You and are nothing more than conduits, mere channels and vessels God uses. He gives, and He can certainly take away (Job 1:21).

As for Samson, he had some time to think while he was in his darkness and prison. He was able to reflect and see his folly, and what’s more is he was able to turn back to the Lord . No, things could not go back to what they were but God’s anointing and presence did.

Friend, if God has allowed you to be betrayed by a Delilah, don’t blame Him or the church. You allowed yourself to be wooed, and I guarantee God have multiple warnings you ignored. You might have lost it all, but there are further victories to be had of you own up to your foolishness and turn your attention back to God. 

Be of good cheer. God might step away, but He will not totally abandon those who truly belong to Him. Come rest your weary head on the lap of your Redeemer and God who loves you.

Washed, Sanctified, Justified—and the Inner Struggle

Some people, after reading some of my posts, think I’m too negative and expect Christians to be perfect. However, to come to this conclusion is to miss the point of what I’m trying to communicate. Yes, I try to signal warnings often, but the intention is like that of a lighthouse trying to keep sailors from becoming shipwrecked. So much of what passes as “Christianity” today is far from what was intended by Jesus and the apostles, but there is real struggling within true believers.

We have such corny terms like “conservative Christian,” “liberal Christian,” and the list seems never ending. I’ve even heard of persons claiming to be “Christian socialists” (which is practically the equivalent of claiming to be a “Christian atheist”). Jesus never intended to come simply as an interior decorator or a landscaper. Rather, He came to demolish the old, set a new foundation, and build something totally new. He certainly did not come to promote political affiliations, but declares Himself to be Lord and King over all lords and kings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Jesus gives His people an entirely new identity. God’s people are told,

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 2:1-6

Elsewhere, we are told,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. ~ 1 Peter 1:9-10

For many of us, if we are honest, were quite the rascals and scoundrels. We were selfish, hedonistic, blasphemous, and depraved in our thoughts and behaviors. The apostle Paul, writing to one of the churches, says,

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Did you catch that? “And such were some of you”—past tense. We are no longer who or what we were. In Christ we have a new identity, we are adopted into a new family (see Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5),  and we are given a new purpose which transcends living for ourselves and destructive passions. Let us not miss the importance of the words washedsanctified, and justified. Each of these have great significance for the follower of Christ. Washed means exactly what it says. We were washed and made clean.

And since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ~ Hebrews 10:21-22

They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ~ Revelation 7:14

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

If we were washed, then it means we were dirty, and if we were dirty then we were defiled and unacceptable before God. Regardless if you were immoral, greedy, a thief, a liar, mean-spirited or a gossip, each of us were dirty, defiled, and were on death row (see Rom. 3:10-23).

Sanctified is a religious term, and its significance must not be ignored. It means to be made holy, set apart for God’s purposes. We are given an excellent example of what this looks like practically:

For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. ~ Revelation 18:3-5

In the Old Testament God condemned the people who made no distinction between the holy and profane:

Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. ~ Ezekiel  22:26

The apostle Paul, in separate letters illustrates what sanctification looks like when put into practice.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 9

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ~ Titus 2:11-14

Justified, a vital concept woven throughout the New Testament, is a judicial term, meaning to be absolved of guilt, to be declared righteous. Mind you, this is not that our guilt is ignored. Far from! Rather, the person who looks to Christ in faith understands that He bore the penalty—death—for our sins and guilt.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ~ Romans 5:1, 9

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ~ Hebrews 9:11-14

We must not dismiss the significance of these words and their meanings. To do so comes with severe ramifications. Understand, we had once been on death row, but Christ bore our penalty and set us free from sin’s prison and condemnation. If a person on death row, today, was to receive pardon, common sense tells us the expectation is for the person to abstain from the criminal and lawless activities that led him there. Likewise, Christ did not die in our stead just to give us liberty to indulge in the sins which held us imprisoned, waiting for eternal condemnation.

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? ~ Romans 5:20; 6:1-2

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 6:11

Although we are to consider ourselves, to treat ourselves, dead to sin, each of us knows that sin does not go down humbly, willingly, or politely. While there is victory we have over sin, through Christ, many of us know that it waits to sucker punch us any chance it gets. In other words, although we are washed, sanctified, and justified, we are not perfect. Here we experience a paradox.

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. ~ Hebrews 10:14

In Christ, we are sanctified and made perfect; yet the Scriptures, and life, shows us we not perfect and are in the process of being sanctified. Many of us know the bitter sting of failure, the stumbling and falling on our faces and dirtying our garments. This inner battle is real, and even though for reasons we don’t understand, God permits it to prune us, purge us, to humble us, and to grow us. Of his own experience, the apostle Paul writes, 

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. ~ Romans 7:15-19

Elsewhere he writes of the inner battle each of us is aware of.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other. ~ Galatians 5:16-17

There are battles won but others lost. There are times a genuine believer is permitted to fall and hit the ground hard. But we must not blame God (e.g., “God made me this way” or “He put me in this situation”). We are told plainly,

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. ~ James 1:13-15

But hope is not lost for the true sons and daughters of God, born again by His Spirit and redeemed by the blood of His Son. God allows us to stumble and fall, but He will help us back up. He might allow us to be broken, but He will repair us in due time. He will discipline us to correct us so that we will not be condemned with the world.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. ~ Romans 8:1

If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ~ 1 John 1:8-2:1

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. ~ Hebrews 12:4-11

To those who say my writings are “too negative,” I’m trying to warn those who are growing lax in, simply playing with, or outright defying the ways of God. To those who accuse me of thinking I’m better than others, I’m not better than anyone. I am a man who, too, struggles against the sinful nature. But regardless of what you think of me, examine what I say with the Scriptures. Is what I write true or not? But for those who are struggling, I encourage you to look, and cry out, to the Savior. His grace, forgiveness, and cleansing go deep. If you’ve fallen, His grace can lift you back up. If you’re dirty, His blood will cleanse you. If you’ve totally blown it, He can restore. If you are genuinely His, regardless of your past and present struggles, you are washed, sanctified, and justified. But yes, the inner struggle continues and is real. But remember who you belong to and your true identity in Him.

Like Chipped and Broken Shells

I was recently on one of Florida’s beaches enjoying the sound of the waves and talking with the Lord. As I walked along the shore I was looking for some nice shells (our bathrooms are beach themed). There were thousands—perhaps millions—of different shells of different sizes, designs, and colors. 

Along the beach there were collections of shells lying together having been washed up by the tides. While still maintaining some of their natural beauty, many of the shells had chips or holes. Some shells were broken in half, left ignored and forgotten. 

I couldn’t help but think of the similarities between these shells and people. How many of us have lost some of our luster? How many of us are chipped, ridden with holes, or just plain broken—swept up and left to be forgotten? Yet we are not completely void of our natural beauty. Furthermore, we are redeemable! For this reason Christ died for us.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. ~ Ephesians 1:7

It is true that sin, guilt, shame, and failure can break us. Furthermore, some fall and will never recapture what they once had. Consequences are a reality. Folly, pride, and rebellion come with a price. Still, if we were good and pristine, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. However, none of us is truly good or pristine. 

Friend, I don’t know your story, but maybe you feel like one of those broken shells. Maybe you’ve been dealt a difficult hand. Perhaps you’ve made some poor choices that caused you to lose it all. Maybe you once walked with the Lord but fell away, and now you think He has no place for you. Or maybe you struggle with a besetting sin and just feel as if the devil is always going to have the upper hand. Friend, you are simply a prayer away from the loving presence of God.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:9

How tragic when persons come to a point when they feel they have absolutely nothing worthwhile to give. Strangely, in our brokenness we sometimes have more to give—because of grace. Brokenness can, indeed, remain as worthless brokenness. However, in Christ one’s brokenness can be redemptive. Brokenness can develop compassion and empathy. Grace can guide a person to give a warm smile, a word of encouragement, or needed truth in the right time. Brokenness can develop humility that is willing to associate with the lowly and to help the downtrodden. And if brokenness does not leave one embittered, genuine love can begin to grow in a world where love is so needed.

Friend, perhaps you recognize you are like a chipped, broken, and hole-ridden shell. It might be difficult to see, but there still remains a measure of dignity and image of God. In and through Christ, these can be renewed. In Christ, no man or woman remains like a chipped and broken shell. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Our Passover and Shelter from the Storm

Have you ever had a severe storm come your direction? Your heart beat wildly as the weather reports displayed your area being right in line of the storm, but nothing happened. The storm seemed to simply pass over you while the news reported neighboring towns having a lot of damage.

In Exodus, we read of a coming storm, of sorts, coming toward Egypt. The Lord was bringing judgment and was going to kill the firstborn of every household. However, He instructed every household of His people to take a lamb, to slay it, put its blood over the door posts, then roast the meat to feed on. God’s judgment would pass over every household that followed His instructions.

This Passover was not only about judgment, but it was also about deliverance. The Lord was not only bringing affliction to the Egyptians but also a great rescue mission of His people from their slavery and captors.

Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it…. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. ~ Exodus 12:7-8, 12-13

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb for His people. And just as the people of old were to get rid of all leaven in their homes in preparation, so too, we are told to get rid of the leaven of sin in our lives and homes.

Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:7

We were once in bondage, slaves to sin. God’s judgment was coming our way, but Christ our Passover was also the firstborn Son who was inflicted with the death which was rightfully ours. 

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. ~ Romans 6:15-18

The storm of God’s wrath against our sin was coming like a freight train, but God’s Lamb was sacrificed and the Firstborn incurred our punishment. His blood is sprinkled over the door posts of our hearts and conscience, and God’s wrath has passed over us.

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. ~ 1 Peter 1:1-2

The Bible tells us a storm is brewing once again, and the time is coming when God’s wrath is going to be unleashed again with fury against men’s sins and obstinate rebellion and unbelief (see Rev. 6-18). Yet, Jesus remains the Passover and Shelter for all who put their trust in Him.

Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. ~ Psalm 25:3

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you . ~ Psalm 91:1-3 

My hope and prayer for you, my friend, is that you know Jesus Christ as your Passover and Shelter. Only through Him is there safety and shelter from the holy wrath of God poured out because of sin. May you not get caught and swept away by the storm.

*Listen to this weekend’s podcast, “All Hail the King!”:


https://anchor.fm/geno-pyse/episodes/All-Hail-the-King-e144di7

A Place for You

Good morning, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope this finds you well.

In my last post, I asked if God’s love is unconditional, and if He loves every individual equally. The reason being, many view God as loving, apart from all His other attributes, such as His holiness, righteousness, and justice. 

Still, someone might read my last post and wonder if God loves him or her, and question if He has a place in His love for them. Friend, if this describes you, I have wonderful news: Yes, there is a place for you! Jesus gives an open invitation to all who are willing to respond and come to Him, regardless what they might have done. None of us earns His affection or grace, for each of us has sinned and fall short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3:23). Many of us, by His grace and conviction, feel the weight of our guilt, shame, and dirtiness. Jesus gives this invitation:

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. ~ John 6:37

The apostle Paul writes,

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

Friend, God does not ignore our sins, but Jesus bore the penalty of our sins, bidding all to come find sanctuary and redemption in and through Him.

Yes, there is a place for you in God’s love, The real question is are you willing to come to Him in genuine faith? Yes, you might be a mess, just as the rest of us, and your temptations, struggles, and shame are real. However, for those who truly come to Christ in faith, believing that He paid the debt that none of us could pay for our sins (the shedding of His own blood), we have this promise:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:15-16

Friend, respond to Jesus’ invitation to you. You have His promise that if you come to Him sincerely, He will not cast you out. You have a place of acceptance, redemption, and security in His love. 

The Foolishness of God

Dear friends, I hope this finds you well. 

Not long ago I posted an article entitled, “Unbelief Will Always Make A Reason.” I don’t mind an honest discussion and dialogue, but I don’t enjoy debating for the sake of debate (Note: if you post a comment simply to be nasty, belligerent, and combative, I will ignore it). Unfortunately, I took the bait and replied to an individual’s posted comment(s) in which blasted me as completely ignorant, a liar who deliberately seeks to spread lies, and in a later comment accused me of being a “bigot.” The last one I actually found kind of funny, because aside from the fact the label is thrown around so often in our society the accusation is filled with irony. According to a dictionary, a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.” This person somehow came across my blog, which is not all that well known, attacked my Christian beliefs both vehemently and specifically, and spoke very condescendingly and antagonistically. Do you see the irony? One who displayed the very essence of bigotry, in the guise of “science” (which not everything she said was accurate, although she adamantly thinks she is completely accurate), was accusing me of being a bigot. But again, labeling is all too common in today’s society.

Anyway, I do not share this as a means of putting this individual down. I have come across other individuals through the years who sought debate, caring nothing about what I had to say, even in regard to answering questions. Admittedly, some questions I cannot answer, but this goes both ways. When all is said and done, while I am to give reason as to why I believe, it is not my job to convince others. That is a work only the Holy Spirit can do. When a person adamantly declares there is no evidence of the existence of God or of Jesus Christ whatsoever, no argument on earth is going to change his or her mind. 

This individual is correct about me not being a debater or scientist. Although I did very well in undergraduate and postgraduate studies, there will always be people far smarter than me. This is alright, as I am reminded of the brilliance of the foolishness of God.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18, 25

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. ~ Matthew 11:25-26

It is credited to Jerome for writing, “The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for theologians to swim in without ever touching the bottom.” 

The Gospel has such depths that leaves scholars scratching their heads, yet such simplicity that even children can comprehend. I do not exaggerate when I say one of the godliest persons I’ve ever known, who had an incredibly deep prayer life and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit was a man who had Down’s syndrome. People can boast in their prestige, intelligence, and might; however, these are the very things that often hinder and blind persons to the knowledge of God.

In retrospect, I am ignorant about a lot of things. If knowing God depended on me being greatly intelligent, wise, shrewd, comely, and influential, I would never come to have known Him. Still, were it not for the great mercy and grace of God who had pity, not only on my blindness and stupidity, but also on my very deadness, I wouldn’t have come to know Him at all.

Let the godless say what they will and revel in their own contradictions and perils, but their words do not nullify the Creator in the least, nor the evidence as displayed throughout creation or the historicity of the Cross. Let the “wise of this world” boast in their wisdom, but it remains that only those who are willing to bow their hearts and knees will begin to see and understand the knowledge of God, and only through the Cross of Jesus Christ is there redemption. Men can continue to believe in the mythological man-made “Utopian” dream, but he will always prove himself to be the sinner he is, with a “Midas” touch to tarnish everything he touches. Still, for those who are willing to receive it, the foolishness of God remains wiser than the wisdom of men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31