idolatry

Idolatry is the most serious evil, b/c it makes ‘god’ what is not God.
The confidence and faith of the heart can only go to one God alone
Not both God and an idol

Recall the First commandment. In Exodus 20, Moses spends 6 verses on this First commandment:

2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;

3 Do not have any other gods before me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

There is a reason why he spends so much time on this one and it is the same reason why it is the first commandment, it is the most important….

When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in Matt.22:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great general commandment that Jesus took from the book of Deuteronomy 6:5. And a second is like unto it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Israel struggled with idolatry throughout the Old Testament history! And God continually punished them more for this sin than any other sin!

No Carnivores in the Garden?

Here is something I have been thinking a lot about (off and on) since my recent visit to Creation Museum.

Carnivores did not exist until after the Fall of man.
The assumption is that no animals died until after God killed the first animal to cover the human beings.

And think about what this means….
All the animal kingdom were vegetarians!

What would a wolf, tiger, shark, etc look like without those sharp teeth?
What did they eat!!!
I am just imaging all the adaptations that were made after the sin…..

And on a philosophical level….
Do you think that flesh was not suppose to be food?

Ok, well after doing some more research and thought I am keeping my mind open.
The more I think about it that more I have been thinking that death among animals (without souls) could quite possibly have happened even before the Fall of man.

1. God created all animals of all kinds. (Including Carnivores). Genesis 1:24-25 states “And God made the beasts [chayyah] of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind.. and God saw that it was good. In many places in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word “chayyah” refers to animals that eat flesh. In Genesis 1:24 term seems to refer to an entire group of animals, contrasting “cattle” which are herbivores. This strongly suggests that there were already carnivores before the Fall.

2. the eco. system and overpopulation:
1.Unchecked reproduction would lead to nightmarish overcrowding in a matter of weeks or less.
2. Many organisms are obligatory predators.
3. Many animals have elaborate defense mechanisms against predators.
4. Countless small organisms are routinely killed as larger organisms eat and walk.
5. Many organisms die of accidental deaths.
6. For physical immortality, absolutely all aging would need to cease.
7. Physical immortality removes the need for reproduction.
8. Vital ecological cycles cannot work if organisms do not die.

3. Theologically this would still work: God killed the first animal to cover for humans sins, but it is a strecth to say he killed the first animal period.

The meat of either argument centers on the interpretation of these verses:

Genesis 2:16, which states that God told Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” A New Testament passage sometimes offered as support for the position is Romans 5:12 which states, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin.”

Some assert that these verses indicate that no humans, animals, or plants died before before the Fall, and were created to be physcially immortal. Others allow plant death, on the grounds that God gave plants as food to us and other creatures (Genesis 1:29-30), or because plants are not conscious. Still others maintain that only humans were immortal before the Fall (Reem, 2005; Koukl, 2006). However, even if one interprets Genesis in a literal manner[1], when Biblical and scientific considerations are fully examined, the concept of “no physical death” is not well supported, and creates a host of theological, logical, and scientific problems. A more reasonable conclusion is that the verses in question refer to spiritual death, not physical death.

A lot of readings I will let you readfor yourself….

Did God create Carnivores on the 6th day?

It’s all about teeth… (THis one looks at both sides of the argument and has got me stumped. )
I think that all three ideas are feasible.

No phyiscal death before the Fall?

No human death before the fall? ( I like this arguement as well.)

The sinful Christian

This is part two of six blog posts reflecting on a book called UnChristian. The specific topic of this series is judgmentalism and this post in particular, Christians flaws that we do not realize sometimes.

Stereotypes kill relationships! We sometimes harbor assumptions, prejudices, stereotypes, biases, about certain groups of people based on superficial stupid differences that should not make a difference at all! (Such as appearance, tattoos, excessive fat, dirty hair, ragged clothing, a lot of rings all over the body, bad breathe, etc)
These are the people we should be loving and reaching out too! these stereotypes come from misperceptions, misconceptions, misunderstandings, and they are errors on our part.

Can you not see it – it is so obvious to me, by judging these people wwe are just as sinful as those we are condeming.

Have you ever heard hate the sin, and love the sinner….
this is how it should be
but people think that Christians hate the sin and the sinner

We need to change this!

Let us not be so anxious to judge, but rather to LOVE. Even Christians make mistakes, get over it!

What we need to be doing is hanging out with the least desirable people in our culture and loving them as Christ did! Not judging them.

Our error: Pride, arrogance!

We are in conceit. We are in abundance. We are way to convinced that we are right about everything.

Becuase of this error, we are not open to other people’s perspectives in life. We are too aggressive and on the edge ready to persuade everyone else that they are wrong and we are right that we forget LOVE. We judge and we do not get to understand where others are coming from!

We so easily forget that God is to judge NOT humans!

We are to love. Wwe are to care for the needy and hurting.

There is an answer…

All men have a bend towards sin, but there is an answer…

from Unchristian by David Kinnaman:

“No one goes to heaven because of what they do or do not do. Every human
sins
, and we all deserve Hell for that. But Jesus freely offers everyone his
grace.
…homosexual behavior is sin, but it is no different than if I sleep with someone
other than my wife or even momentarily have a sexual fantasy. God created
sexuality, it is good, but it can expressed in wrong ways. Every one of us, gay
or straight or whatever, expresses sexuality in wrong ways. It all comes down
to what you do with Jesus.”
(pg. 108)

I just finished chapter 5 of Unchristian called “antihomsexual.”
It was another hard chapter and humbling chapter to read.

I really had not put too much time or thought into the what the culture, as a whole, thinks about Christians relating to the topic of homosexuality.

Christians have
A. been wrong, too conservative, and mean
B. left people with the wrong idea of what we believe about homosexuality
C. left people with the wrong idea of how we should treat homosexuals
D. hurt people
E. wrong priorities

What we really believe is that homosexuality is a sin, yes, but it is no worse than any other sin.
And Jesus still loves and has mercy on homosexuals, just as he has had mercy on us and forgiven us of our sins.

Bad perception due to real problems within Christianity:
Christians have displayed a special and bad image for the sin of homosexuality. It is “the big one.” And Christians have irrationally fought harder against the issue of homosexuality than any other sin/issue.

We have come across as arrogant, uncompassionate, self-righteous, inconsistent, and uncaring to homosexuals. Our method has been ineffective, stupid and dumb. We have repelled young outsiders from church because of this issue. When this happens, it is apparent that we have lost sight of what is really important! Jesus Christ as their answer and salvation!
Stop fighting the sin and show the love, grace, mercy and compassion that Christ would!

Think about it. Homosexuality is a sin, but it is only a sin! You also sin!
We are all sinners. God’s gift of grace is what is important! Regardless of our sin, God still loves us.
Don’t avoid relationships with people because of their lifestyle. Make relational connections with homosexuals. Stop preaching at them and going to political war with them. Treat them as HUMANS, treat them as friends. It is sad I have to say this! Respect. Love. Grace. Show them Jesus. Build on real relationships.

all men have bend toward sin

We are all born with a sin nature. We all have certain weaknesses and bends towards certain sins. Homosexuality is no different. It is simply a bend towards sin. It is NOT a natural lifestyle. It is a chosen lifestyle. Just like sexual lifestyle ( of sleeping around) is a bend towards sin and a chosen lifestyle. It is nothing new.
We are all sinners in our own pleasures and vices. We are all born with the sin nature. But not, exactly born in the sense that the world claims, to be homosexual.

I am not anti-homosexual. I love and try to treat all people the same no matter what sins they fall for. God knows what sins I am bound by when I do not obey the Holy Spirit and resist temptation to sin. I was taught to love the person and hate the sin. This is a good moral to follow.

define hypocrite – chapter 3 of Unchristian

I’ve been reading Unchristian by Kinnaman, Barna research, Lyons, and other contributors.
It is a good book, so far very humbling to read but it is raising my awareness and passion about problems with the modern American church.

On particular topic that I want to blog about relating to the book is the term hypocrite.

Hypocrite is taken from an old Greek word that refers to wearing a mask. It is the idea of putting on an “act” or a “show.” The real person is behind the mask.

Hypocrisy occurs basically when you profess (or say that you believe) something that you do not really believe ( because your actions speak against what you say.) The reason it gets confusing is because it really is not hypocrisy when a pastor preaches against a sin with which he is personally struggling against.

It is not the belief that goes wrong (it is good to hold the belief against sin for instance) what goes wrong is the man, the person holding the belief. When he sins he goes against his belief, and becomes a hypocrite.

A hypocrite is two-faced. Says on thing and does another thing. Has double standards. In today’s world, actions speak louder than words.

The book goes on to say that the majority of the secular world view Christians as hypocrites. And that also they are “used” to hypocrites. The fact that the church of Christians is a church of hypocrites is no big deal to them. They see no difference between us Christians and the rest of the world…this is a huge image problem. They do not even care about our beliefs in holiness and living a Christian lifestyle, because they do not see it in our lives. They see us as hypocrites.

Encouraging this image problem is the church itself:
We have 2 main groups in the church today. These two groups are taking almost two different extremes.
First we have the older Christians who believe that lifestyle is extremely important. We should be living pure and holy lives that match up to Scripture.
Then we have the younger Christians who do not keep lifestyle as such a high priority.

Then the two groups collide, outsiders of the church see hypocrisy. The older Christians are teaching rules and regulations while the younger Christians are not keep or even trying to keep these rules.

What we should learn is balance.
First to the older Christians, return to grace. Return to mercy. return to realistic image of man. We are all sinners. Outsiders do not want to be a part of a church of rules and regulations. Focus on relationships, building trust and fellowship. Return to worship.

Perfection is not the answer. That is not what Christianity is about. If it is perfection you are seeking then you are reducing Christianity down to a list of moral benchmarks and judgementalism. This sucks because no one is ever going to be sinless, no one is perfect. This only scares outsiders away. Our faith is a relationship not rules! Stop presenting ourselves this way. Present Jesus! The forgiver of sins.

To the younger Christians, remember the commandments of the Lord. Think about the image you are portraying with your life to outsiders. We are sinful man, but we do not have to be slaves to sin. We return to Christ. We return to purity. It is God’s grace not rules and regulations.

This is disobedience and inauthentic. People view us a fake when we live just like everyone else, when they do not see the difference between us and the world. We need to live in accordance to Scripture, live the difference. Live in but not of the world.

As a whole, we need to return to accountability and transparency. We are struggling between being fake and being superficial. Is that the Christianity we want. This is Unchristian. This is bad. But this is where we stand. This is what outsiders of the church are seeing.

We need to return to authenticity and restoration. Instead of fighting a culture war, let’s transform by restoring people. Let’s fight poverty, crime, and addiction. Not the people. Let’s take real action.

Being completely honest and realistic we see that we are never going to not be hypocritical. Think about it we are sinners. We have a sin nature. The big picture is that we are sinners saved by grace. We are trying not to sin, but we will. And the difference to outsiders is that we are authentic. We are imperfect but we are full of grace and forgiveness. We admit our sin and show people where our source of restoration comes from, God.

We need to out of our high thrones or high pews. We need to let God humble us a bit. We need to see the outsiders. They are outside of our churches on the streets just a few feet away. But we are too good for them. How sad is that!?! The church has lost a lot of respect due to our arrogance and pride. Our inabilities to reach out to those on the street who really need you!

Perfection

what it means to be perfect
Yeah, we all wish we were perfect. Although it is impossible.
We try to make everything right. If only everyone was happy and everything in my life were in order. There would be no problems and everyone would be happy. …yeah. That is a dream.

why we are not perfect
Sin. We are born into a sinful world as a sinful man. No one is exempt. Except for this one guy…

How Jesus was perfect
Jesus was perfect because he never sinned. You ask, “but he was born unto man, therefore a ‘sinner’…right?” No. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of a virgin. He was not born of man, but of God. Was he a fully man? Yes. Fully God? Yes.

Jesus
Although Jesus was fully God; he was also fully man and faced human temptation.

This is Mind-blowing!
In other words He lived perfect life but as a man he had to rely on God’s help and dependence to live perfect. He wasn’t just perfect because he was God but because he always let the Spirit control His life. But also because he was God. All human beings will inevitably fail at attempting to always be controlled by the Spirit.


What it means to be a Christian and pursuing perfection

Sanctification – process of us becoming more like Jesus Christ. Our life is a process. We are seeking completion, perfection, dependence on God. Our goal is to be more like Jesus. We will not achieve perfection on this earth because of our sin nature but in Heaven we want to hear God say “you have done well and and faithful servant.”

Challenge to be perfect
mat 5:48, we can’t do it without His help

**Disclaimer- not sure that I agree completely with this image about “morphing” and all but the idea that letting the Holy Spirit work through us.