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Tag Archives: freedom

Bookends of Meaning in the Parables

Bookends

from Google Images

Jesus once told his disciples to neither give what is holy to dogs (irreligious people) nor to cast their pearls before swine (religious people with closed minds), because neither group would appreciate their offerings. Instead, they might use what was given them to hurt the disciples (Matthew 7:6). The fact is, this is exactly the position Jesus had taken when he began teaching in parables. The word of God wasn’t appreciated by either the Jewish authorities nor by the people. Both groups showed they had no real value for what Jesus’ preached, and on more than one occasion the religious authorities tried to do harm to Jesus, if not kill him (Luke 4:28-29; 6:11; Matthew 12:14-15). Moreover, since the people were easily intimidated by the Jewish authorities, they also refused to confess him (Matthew 12:23-24; cf. John 9:18-22). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2018 in AD 70 Eschatology

 

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Freedom to Be Gracious

suffering-servant

from Google Images

It is a gracious matter to endure suffering, while acting out of one’s desire to be obedient to God (1Peter 2:19), or to behave in a manner pleasing to him. Often, this suffering comes at the hand of others. When Peter addresses the plight of the servant in 1Peter 2:18-20, application can be made to other walks of life, for example one is able to act out Peter’s argument at one’s place of employment. Yet, it needs to be remembered that the primary application is to the one who has no freedom, like slaves and conquered peoples. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Epistles of Peter

 

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Peter and the Leper

from Google Images

from Google Images

Hollywood has produced some really weird films, especially horror flicks. I have to wonder if the idea for those walking dead films doesn’t come from the Bible. In Numbers 12:12 Aaron is speaking with Moses just after both he and their sister, Marion, had spoken out against him. She was struck leprous, and Aaron begged Moses not to let her be as one dead, whose flesh appeared to rot on one’s body during the otherwise normal course of life. One who was leprous was unclean (Leviticus 13:3). The condition spreads over one’s body (Leviticus 13:7-8), and, because contact with others is often contagious, quarantine was necessary (Leviticus 13:46). In the days of ancient Israel, it was incurable (cf. 2Kings 5:7). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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Fishers of Men

from Google Images

from Google Images

Up until Jesus entered Peter’s boat, Luke shows us how men failed Jesus. They seemed to want to control him and use him for their own ends, like one would a powerful resource. In Nazareth he was met with unbelief, and when Jesus tried to show them the consequences of their unbelief (Luke 4:23-27), they sought to kill him (Luke 4:28-29). The Lord is not a lifeless commodity or spiritless resource we need to control. Just as we enjoy our freedom, so God enjoys his. He doesn’t force us to choose his way, so we shouldn’t seek to compel God to do our will (viz. “naming it and claiming it”). Our simple trust is all he requires. God must be free to give us a negative reply, if our relationship with him is to go anywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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How Close Is Heaven?

Heaven - 2

from Google Images

Many religions believe God is someplace far away and cannot be bothered with people. The Buddhists, for example, believe God created the world but left us to our own desires. In other words, he has no real interest in what we do or think. Many people today believe that, if there is a god, he certainly isn’t interested in us. If he were a moral god and interested in what we do, certainly our world wouldn’t be in such a terrible condition. How could a just god or a moral god permit so much evil in the world in which we live, knowing we are powerless to change it for the better? If god exists, it seems he must be either immoral and doesn’t care about our pitiful condition, or he is incapable to do anything about our destructive behavior. In either case why should we be concerned about what he thinks or desires? – …or so goes the argument! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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The Untamable God

Untamable God

from Google Images

Some Biblical critics may argue that the proposition that Israel waged war with the Canaanites at the command of God, gives carte blanche permission for all would be religious terrorists to do as they please and claim “God told me to do it!”[1] This was the battle cry of the Crusades, and it is behind the jihad terrorism of our day, including the 9/11 tragedy. Yet, this reasoning cannot be reconciled with the Bible. God’s commands to Israel under Moses and Joshua were unique and never again repeated throughout Israel’s history. Saul didn’t seek to have the Philistines devoted to destruction, and David didn’t seek such a thing in any of his campaigns against the nations surrounding Israel. Neither did any of the kings of Israel or Judah seek to devote any of their enemies to destruction in the wars they took part in later. One cannot reasonably justify war or indiscriminate killing by using the Bible for one’s support. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in apologetics

 

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What about New Testament Slavery?

Slavery in New Testament - 2

from Google Images

The Roman world in the first century AD was completely different from what we find in the Mosaic Law and ancient Judaism. I don’t mean to imply that ANE nations surrounding Israel had no slavery. They did, but the New Testament reaches out to foreign nations—i.e. gentile nations, and is not only concerned with the Jews. Therefore, the social structures of the gentiles are laid bare and God through the preaching / writing of the New Testament begins to confront them, exposing the wrong and pointing to right behavior. Slavery in 1st century Rome is an institution, in fact, it is claimed that 85 to 95% of Rome’s population were slaves![1] Some Biblical critics seem to believe that, because Jesus didn’t equip his disciples with an opposing economic plan that he never said anything explicit against slavery, but they are wrong. From the very first day of his public ministry Jesus pointed out what he had set out to do; namely, “… to proclaim release for captives and …to set free the oppressed, (Luke 4:18 Moffatt; cf. Isaiah 61:1). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Leaving Wife and Children Behind

Marriage Contract

from Google Images

Often the Biblical critic will compare the Mosaic Law, which allowed the master / creditor to separate a husband from his wife and children when the husband was released from his service, with 19th century American slavery, where the slave owner had supreme authority over his slaves, using them as he would an animal to sire more slaves for himself.[1] Marriage was not a consideration. Nevertheless, we have already seen that Israelite servants, under the Mosaic Law, had nothing in common with the institution of slavery conducted in southern and mid western America during our early history. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Does God ‘Settle’ for Less than Perfect?

from Google Images

from Google Images

No doubt one of the biggest errors the new atheists have made, regarding the persona of the God of the Bible that they paint for their readers, is their assumption that, because the Bible mentions a thing, that thing is automatically approved by God.[1] This, of course, is not true, and their argument is even denied in Scripture, itself. David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), power raped Bathsheba, and then had her husband, David’s close friend, killed in order to hide what he had done. Did God approve of what David had done? Of course not! He sent his prophet Nathan to confront him about his sin (2Samuel 12:1-7a). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Why All the Hullabaloo Over an Idol?

from Google Images

from Google Images

Some time ago my son-in-law and I went to pick up our order of food from a local Chinese restaurant. While we waited for our order, I noticed an idol on display off to the side of the counter where we picked up our dinner. Before the idol was some food. I don’t remember exactly what the food was, but it was a mixture of fruit and vegetables. I caught myself smiling and so turned away, not wanting to offend the people serving us. Perhaps my reaction to the idol was too nonchalant; I don’t know. Nevertheless, I do know that such things were taken very seriously by the God of the Bible.[1] Why? What’s the big deal over what amounts to a ‘happy meal’ set before a hunk of stone (or plaster) that can neither help nor hurt anyone? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2015 in apologetics

 

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Free to Be Me!

from Google Images

from Google Images

Recently, I’ve come face to face with some very uncomfortable emotions, like becoming angry with God.[1] I realize this is wrong, and even in my anger I understand it is wrong and confess to him that although I am angry, I understand that he is perfectly righteous. Moreover, I also understand in my anger toward God that he is not only aware of my disposition toward him, but, in spite of it, he is working out all things in my life for my ultimate good (Romans 8:28). I confess my ignorance of his will and apologize for my inner wrath, but still this is most discomforting. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Jesus

 

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For Freedom’s Sake

from Google Images

from Google Images

Paul tells us that it was for the sake of liberty itself Christ has set us free, and therein stand fast, not permitting ourselves to give in to the efforts of other men to place us in bondage to themselves (Galatians 5:1).[1] Jesus said that all men would hate us, if we number ourselves with him (Matthew 10:22), but integrity cannot be bought or learned in a school. Rather it is learned by living out one’s ideals—what one holds most dear. If that is Jesus, then once we begin to apply Jesus’ life to ours—living as he lived—then we shall find that we are no longer part of this world but look for another, and for this, the world will hate us (John 17:14, cp. Luke 6:22). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Jesus

 

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Living Without License

from Google Images

from Google Images

In Galatians 5:13 Paul addresses the Galatians as brethren, showing he doesn’t consider that they have lost their salvation, as some assume through a misapplication of Galatians 4:19. If asked if I thought the freedom we are offered in Christ was absolute or liberty in measure, I would have to say that such freedom must be absolute. Otherwise, we are not free at all. We would continue to be subject to the authority of something (or someone) else. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Freedom and Authority

from Google Images

from Google Images

I may have freedom of religion while living under the authority of the American Constitution, but, if I choose to live under the authority of Iran, the American Constitution cannot profit me there, if I’m concerned about such freedom. Similarly, Christ cannot profit me, as far as freedom is concerned, if I choose to live under the Mosaic Law and trust in it for my salvation or my moral walk (Galatians 5:2). The Law doesn’t have power to give life, but it does have power to take it. Neither does the Law have power to make anyone righteous. It was never intended to have such power. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Standing Fast in Liberty

Yoke

from Google Images

At this time Paul takes us from theology to ethics, from dogma to living out one’s faith. What would our being devoted to God, yet living without the Mosaic Law, look like? If the Mosaic Law is discarded as a premise for Christian conduct, what would happen to moral living? This was the problem that the New Testament Church had to answer, because it was, no doubt, put to us by both the legalists who opposed the believer’s posture, and the legalists who were genuinely interested in the answer. If law takes away real freedom, how does one keep from embracing the opposite extreme of living so freely that one becomes addicted to lust, greed, wrath and the like? Obviously, such behavior also takes away true freedom. The answer to this dilemma lies in maintaining the image of Christ within us, which is kept through faith as we shall see. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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