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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Law, Grace and Truth - Obedience Doesn't Save Us. It's How We Show Christ Love

The Law, Grace and Truth - Obedience Doesn't Save Us. It's How We Show Christ Love
Sometimes people think the New Testament teaches faith and the Old Testament Law-keeping. Not true. 

“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6

But law-keeping was emphasized in the Old Testament because the law was our “guardian” leading us to Christ. The Greek word translated guardian in Galatians 3:24 is pedagogue – a slave who cared for children, correcting, protecting, and disciplining them until they went to school. 

The Law was our pedagogue, making us conscious of sin (Romans 3:20), foreshadowing Christ (Hebrews 10:1) and preparing us for the full message of grace and truth in Christ (John 1:17). 

Christ didn’t destroy the law. He fulfilled it (Matthew 5:17), and showed us that righteous living flows out of our love for God not legalistic duty or fear of punishment (1 John 4:18). 

Christ came in grace and truth, forgiving sin and giving us the desire and strength to live godly lives (Ephesians 3:16-19; Titus 2:11-13). 

Wow!
for more insights on law and grace: Got Questions  

 Bible Study

1. Read these fuller passages for more insights into the purpose of the law. 

The Law, Grace and Truth - Obedience Doesn't Save Us. It's How We Show Christ Love
Galatians 3:24-27: So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 2:16: Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law." 

2. Unfortunately, many people think that since we are no longer under the law it doesn’t matter if we obey Christ’s commands. That completely misses the point. Being under the law means trying to be good by law-keeping. Being in Christ means choosing to obey His commands because we love Him and trust that whatever He tells us to do is for our best good. 

We can’t love Christ and be unfaithful to Him through adultery to other gods and selfish desires any more than we can love our spouse but be unfaithful to him/her through adultery.

Genuine love involves commitment and faithfulness. 

John 14:21: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

John 15:10: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love.”
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, March 19, 2017

God Loves Truth, Satan Loves Half-Truths - John 8:31-32

half truths can be more deceptive than lies

Satan is most effective using half-truths instead of outright lies.

He likes promoting just enough truth about God to appear Biblical while denying the power of the Gospel to save and transform (2 Timothy 3:1-5) - God's love without His standards, salvation without repentance, blessings without responsibilities.(1)  

Scripture records Satan's half-truth tactic:  

1. He told Eve she'd understand good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5).  

2. He quoted Psalm 91 to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).  

3. He inspired Ananias' charitable giving (Acts 5:1-2).  

Satan's half-truths are always deadly and deceptive:

1. All mankind suffered because Eve not only understood evil, she committed it (Genesis 3:22-24).  

2. Jesus rebuked Satan’s misuse of Scripture (Matthew 4:10).  

3. God struck Ananias dead for his half-truth giving (Acts 5:3-11).  

Jesus said: “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32 

Full and complete truth is important to God. Is it important to you?
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Note: There are many half-truths promoted in Christian circles: Self-esteem Doctrine, Prosperity Gospel, Twisted Scriptures, Universal Salvation, "The Shack". Each of the highlighted words in the body of the devotion are also links to pertinent devotions.

Bible Study

1. Below is the most tragic example of someone embracing a half-truth. 

half truths can be more deadly than outright lies

Half of what Satan told Eve was true: her eyes were opened to good and evil. But she didn't become like God. Instead, she became less like God through unbelief and sin.
Genesis 3:1-5: Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

2. Note how Satan used Scripture to tempt Christ to disobey God!

Matthew 4:5-7: Then the devil took him [Jesus] to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” [Psalm 91:11-12] 7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

3. If we think God is impressed with doing something good based on a half-truth, we need only read the story of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:1-10.

For the sake of space, I will not include this longer passage, but I encourage you to read through it and note that Ananias and Saphira were doing something good - giving money to the needs of the church - but they weren't telling the full truth about their giving.

As Peter told them - they were free to give as little or as much as they wanted to the church. But their half-truth giving was not acceptable.

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We Can't Change God, But He Can Change Us


We can't pick and choose which parts of God we like...
 
It’s popular on cooking shows for chefs to serve “deconstructed” dishes highlighting the separate ingredients of a recipe. 

It’s also popular in some sectors of Christianity to serve a “deconstructed” God. However, instead of highlighting each separate aspect of God’s character, they leave some aspects off the plate altogether. 

Just as strawberry shortcake without the strawberries can’t legitimately be called strawberry shortcake, a god built on half-truths cannot legitimately be called God.

We can't serve people God's grace without His truth, His love without His commands, His forgiveness without His justice, or His salvation without His wrath (John 1:14-17)

Half truths about God make people feel warm and fuzzy. But half-truths won't save their souls or bring genuine change to their hearts.

The True God isn't popular because He forces us to face our sins (John 3:19-20Acts 3:19).

But He is our God and we are proud of Who He is. God doesn't need to deconstruct Himself to please people (Hebrews 13:8), so let's present Him as He is.

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You might also enjoy reading "Have Christians Forgotten How Much God Hates Sin?" and "A Healthy Fear of God" and "Reviews of "The Shack's" Deconstructed God" and "Why Hoping All Men Will Be Saved is Unbelief."

Bible Study

Half-truths about God, The Shack

We cannot truly know the grace of God unless we also know His wrath and His truth. His truth explains, among other things, the serious nature of our sin. His wrath explains what we deserve and what we have been spared through Jesus.

Truth
John 1:14-17: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  

The Greek word used for truth in this passage is alétheia and it is defined this way: “truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness.”

Strongs explains it further: "the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians.” 

See "Are We Ashamed of God?

We cannot experience God's grace without experiencing His truth and one aspect of that truth is His wrath:

Wrath
How can we appreciate a god who saves us from nothing? God's wrath assures us that we have received the greatest gift of life and eternity through the shed blood of Christ.

Romans 5:9: Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

Romans 1:18: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness...

The Greek word for wrath is orgé.

Definition: “anger, wrath, passion; punishment, vengeance” 

Remember that God’s vengeance is not the same as man’s revenge. God is justified in everything He does. See "Deadly Revenge."
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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