Saturday, November 29, 2014

“The Eschatological Day of Atonement”

"The Eschatological Day of Atonement"

The law sets the standard by which we are judged.  The judgment reveals how we do not meet that standard.  It is beyond an issue of performance, it an issue of condition.  Let us say that a play or movie requires a woman to play a role.  The only way a man can play it is if this man is transformed into a woman.  In the make believe world of acting they can give the illusion that that is done.  But, outside of that setting - and inside - the male actor remains a male.  The sinner can pretend he is righteous, but inside he is still a sinner.  For the sinner to be righteous, he must be transformed - born again.  The sinner must consent t be transformed by God.  Before he consents he must accept his condition, which means that he is revealed his condition.  God exposes the sinner to the Law, showing the sinner how the sinner fails to meet the standard of the law.  Then with the sinners consent God works in the sinner, to transform the sinner.  The follwoing commentary - Originally published Saturday, December 07, 2013 - elaborates on this subject.

"The Eschatological Day of Atonement"

Eschatology is that branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world and the final destiny of mankind. This involves beliefs concerning death, the end of the world and the ultimate destiny of mankind. This includes the doctrines concerning the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the Judgment.  In our lesson for this week the vision of the 2300 days is referred to as being fulfilled "many days in the future" (Dan 8:26) from the time of Daniel. The vision was sealed until the distant future.
So, the title of our lesson is referring to a day of atonement in the final days of earth's history.   Since, atonement is the process of becoming one or reconciliation, it means that something is happening to remove what separated man from God?  What separates man from God?   What separated Eve from God?  Ellen White states,

"Eve believed the words of Satan, and the belief of that falsehood in regard to God's  character, changed the condition and character of both herself and husband. They were changed from good and obedient children into transgressors..." (RH, January 5, 1886 par. 8).

Ellen White elaborates on the danger of believing lies about God,

In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Law-giver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone. By misrepresenting the attributes of God, Satan leads men to conceive of Him in a false character. With many, a philosophical idol is enthroned in the place of Jehovah; while the living God, as He is revealed in His word, in Christ, and in the works of creation, is worshiped by but few. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists--the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions--is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia. {GC 583.1}

Here is one more quote from Ellen White where she again talk about lies about God,

In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. When men broke the law of God, and defied His will, Satan exulted. It was proved, he declared, that the law could not be obeyed; man could not be forgiven. Because he, after his rebellion, had been banished from heaven, Satan claimed that the human race must be forever shut out from God's favor. God could not be just, he urged, and yet show mercy to the sinner. {DA 761.4}
You will notice that Satan's claim is part of the creed of many Christian denominations.  So, these lies have infected Christianity.  Therefore, these lies have to be removed out of Christians, primarily.  How do these lies translate into our lives?  We believe we must be afraid of God or we see God as a sort of Santa Claus.  This then translates on how we treat each other.

For the most part we are unaware of how much we distrust God.  The judgment is to show us what is truly in our hearts.  As God told Laodicea,

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

The judgment is to reveal it as a patient is revealed his condition, and once the patient knows his condition the doctor can prescribe a form of intervention.  Spiritually, the intervention is,

"Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
"Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."

Ezekiel 11:19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

It is the indwelling Holy Spirit which reveals Sin to us and at the same time impresses Jesus in our minds (john 14: 16 -17; 15: 26; 16: 8, 14).   Because He indwells us, we are His sanctuary (1 Corinthian 16: 9).  In the Day of Atonement the cleansing of Sin from the Sanctuary was complete.  In the eschatological day of atonement the cleansing of Sin in us, must be complete also.  How clean should it be?

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.  {COL 69.1}

If the records in Heaven are a perfect reflection of us, then when we are cleansed so are the records in Heaven.  According to Daniel 8, when does the cleansing start?  It has to be after all those empires spoken of in the prophecies either no longer exist or no longer have the power they held before.  This would take us to the year 1798.

The little horn of Daniel 7, which is also the beast in Revelation 13, is in power for 1260 years.  This is based on the time prophecy, in which the beast persecutes for 1260 days:  "time, times, half a time", or 42 months, which all prophetically are interpreted to mean 1260 years.  The time frame for this is historically said to be from 538 AD, when Justinian's general, Belisarius defeated the last of the Arian nations, the Ostrogoths, drove them out of Rome and turned over the city to the Bishop of Rome.  1260 years later, would be 1798, and that year, the French general Berthier, enters Rome, declares it a Republic, takes the pope captive, exiles him to France where the pope dies a prisoner.

With the Pope removed and the papacy no longer exerting the influence it once had, men felt at liberty to study and preach the Word of God without any adverse repercussions: it was no longer illegal.  The book of Daniel was opened to the mind of many men, including William Miller.  William Miller's message was the cleansing of the Sanctuary.  Although, the right interpretation escaped Miller, it set the foundation for further understanding: The cleansing of the sanctuary in Heaven is dependent on the cleansing of Sin from us.

Raul Diaz

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The following two commentaries, previously published, are on the subject of wisdom.  Hopefuly they can shed more light on the topic of Godly widom.

Friday, March 09, 2007



There was a man called Raymond. Raymond was a self professed atheist. Everywhere he went he found a way to argue that God did not exist. Raymond was pretty good at it. His logic seemed flawless. He could always find a weakness in the arguments of those who dared to argue against him. After which he would pounce them. Once he had out argued and humiliated his opponents, he would proceed to gloat and brag about his victories.

One day he decided to pick on this young lady – Rose -, who unaware of Raymond's operating mode, lovingly mentioned the name of Christ. Raymond approached her as he approached the rest, with a smile, and speaking softly, words carefully chosen to arouse. This is where he thrived. As she heard his voice and the words coming from his mouth, she realized it fit the profile of the man she had been warned about. She looked at him and said, "So, you're the one that claims he's an atheist." He replied indignantly, "Excuse me, what do you mean by 'claim to be an atheist?" Rose replied calmly, "Well, my grandfather always told me, that there is no real atheist. I believed him." Raymond answered with a mocking tone, "Ha! Your grandfather? What can that old man know? What reasons does he give for his assertion?" Rose looked at Raymond compassionately and said, "He told me, 'the Bible says that the fool says in his heart that there is no God." But, let that fool feel like he is dying, and immediately he calls on the God he said did not exist.'" Raymond laughed loud and sarcastically, and then said to her, "That will never happen to me." She said softly, "Never say, 'never.'"

You have an idea of what happened next. Raymond wakes up in the middle of the night, gasping for air. He felt his esophagus burning. Before, he could think about it, he muttered the words, "Oh, God help me!" Immediately, Raymond's throat cleared up, and he was able to breath. The next day Raymond decided to go to the Doctor's office to make sure all is well. No one in the office would dare speak, afraid of one of Raymond's outburst. However, Raymond waited patiently for his turn and he started no arguments. This concerned every one in the office, but they were all afraid to ask.

Raymond's name was called, but he still had to wait for the doctor. Finally, a dignified and distinguished old man, with a white beard and a pleasant disposition walked in. They exchanged the usual pleasantries. After this the old Doctor asked Raymond, "So Raymond, What can this old fool do for you?" Raymond remembered Rose. He remained silent for a few seconds. Raymond did not know what to do; He put his thoughts together and answered the Doctor. Raymond said shyly, "When I met your granddaughter she told about your thoughts on how atheists call on God when they feel they are dying. Well, it happened to me. I called on God. In fact, I even think He answered." The old man listened attentively and then answered, "What happened?" Raymond told him with vivid details what had happened the night before. "Well, Raymond, you were wise to call on Him. You were wise to come here for a checkup. However, in a few days you memory of what happened will start to fade, and you will go back to your old foolish ways. It happens all the time. You will forget about the wisdom you have heard now. And, soon enough you may even despise it." Raymond just listened silently, as the Doctor checked him.

The story reminds me of the one Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 9:13-16, let us read,

Ecclesiastes 9:13This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:
Ecclesiastes 9:14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
Ecclesiastes 9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
Ecclesiastes 9:16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

Like the Raymond and the people in the little city many only remember God only in times of crisis. And, soon after the crisis is over, and life goes back to the same old routine they forget Him. You see, very likely the reason there was a crisis is because they ignored and despised His wisdom. So, they plead with God, and God bails them out. But, God's wisdom not only bails out, it also may spare us from the impending crisis by giving us discernment to avoid it. God's wisdom may also give us the strength and insight to go through with the crisis. But, for this we must be imbued with His wisdom before, through, and after any crisis. It is easy to do this when we realize the extent of our sinfulness and are grateful about the extent of His sacrifice for us. It is easy when we learn to listen to and trust the voice of His indwelling Holy Spirit. He is the source of God's wisdom in us. Will you let Him dwell in you? He will make you wise.

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Posted by Ulee at 3/09/2007 11:29:00 AM Links to this post  
Thursday, December 23, 2004

Who are the Wise?

Growing up in a Catholic country in the Caribbean, Santa Claus and Christmas were not
as celebrated as the Three Kings Day which occurs in January. This Holiday is better
known in some countries as Epiphany, and the 3 kings as the Magi or wise men. Many
have asked "who are these men?" however the scripture is not clear concerning them. Matthew 2:1 merely says, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem." The scripture does not say why they were wise. I have heard that they were astrologers who saw something in the night sky that was unusual. While observing the star, they studied the prophesies (of Daniel), understood them, and therefore knew it was time for the King to be born. There was wisdom in finding this baby, just as today, there is wisdom in finding the Cross.

According to Proverbs 1:20 & 9:10-- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction...(not realizing that) the knowledge of the holy is understanding." The wise men were wise, because having access to the prophesies concerning the Messiah, they studied them. Scripture says, that the wise have an understanding of the times, and that they hear the word and build upon its foundational principles (Matt. 7:24, 25). In Matthew 16:1-4, Jesus tells the Sadducees and Pharisees that they are not only foolish, but wicked and adulterous because they can discern the signs of approaching weather, but are blind and deaf to the signs of the times. Thus we can reason that the Wise Men of the East were wise in that they were able to discern the signs of the times from the scripture. Not only that, but they prepared themselves and went to welcome and worship the King. If we are undiscerning of the times, with the word of prophecy
all around us, are we wise?

Who are the wise? According to John 8:32 -- "... you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." So the wise have knowledge of the truth, and hearing His voice (John 18:37, 10:27 & 8:47), they worship in Spirit and in truth, as did the Magi (John 4:23, 24 & Rev. 14:7). Having access to the prophecies concerning King Jesus, they were led to come and worship Him. You know, we not only have access to the same prophecies which we are studying now, but we also have access to and understanding of Revelation, which is a complimentary book to Daniel. Yet do we really know what time it is? Do we have understanding as well as knowledge of the great event now taking place in the Most Holy of Holies, where God is judging the living? We shall be very foolish indeed if we ignore the prophecies till the time is more pleasing or convenient. According to Daniel 12:10, "the wicked shall not understand (that the time has come to be purified in character, and made clean
and white through the righteousness of Christ's indwelling Holy Spirit). Continuing to do wickedly, they shall not understand, but the wise shall understand--" and that's a promise.

Another definition of the wise is found in Daniel 12:3, and in Proverbs 11:30. Daniel 12:3 states, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever." Proverbs 11:30 states, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. From these two texts we see that the wise person is the one, who through possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, has the character of Christ shinning brightly, and thus wins souls.

Often we don't view wisdom this way. Instead we think that the person who gets the best grades in the class is the smartest, or the wisest. We think that the person who is most frequently chosen for work projects is the wisest or most talented. We tend to think that those who are effective at multi-tasking are the wisest, and we wish we could be like them. Unfortunately, our human tendency is to see things not as Christ sees them, but as the world does. In Luke 16:14, Jesus says that the Pharisees who heard all these things were covetous. And in verse 15, He "said unto them, You are they which justify yourselves before men: but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." He further said, that we are to "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal (passing away); but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).

Sadly it seems that the wise are often not honored until they have passed away. Then we build monuments to them, repeat their stories, and if possible, show their works. Through Ellen G. White, Christ has said that every worker for Him receives a reward. Although it may not be visible here, the work, if done in simple faith, shall not fail to receive a wonderful reward. We shall not be disappointed. To everyone who is seeking to win souls for Christ, in the sight of heaven your work is a success and
you are ranked as one of God's noblemen (E.G.W. Notes, pp 86).

The wise then are those who seeking to win souls to Christ through the Cross. They study the prophecies, worship God in Spirit and truth, and like Daniel and the pioneers of old (i.e... William Miller, Ellen White, James White...) wrestle with God in prayer for enlightenment. The ultimate meaning of the visions was sealed for Daniel, but it began to open for the pioneers through Revelation. And, it can open for us too, if we choose to yield our preconceptions and bow humbly at the foot of the cross. Wisdom is the application of discernment, knowledge and understanding. Friends, let's take the instruction of the scripture seriously, and "study to show ourselves approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth." And if we lack wisdom, let's "in faith, ask God, that
giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (2 Tim. 2:15 & James 1:5, 6)."

The Cross of Christ is the science of all sciences. Let's choose today to view the prophecies concerning the "Time of the End" in the light of the Cross. We can be assured we'll become wise as we do so.

Raul Diaz & Maria Greaves-Barnes

Raul Diaz

Friday, November 14, 2014

Taming the tongue

Taming the tongue

The following Commentary tells the story which illustrates how the tongue can be harmful.  The tongue can only speak what is in our hearts.  The tongue - just as the rudder and the bits -  can only respond to the will of the one controlling it.  I hope the commentary is helpful.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Once Words Leave…

John had been going through a big crisis. An untrue rumor had been spread about him, which put him in a very delicate position with many in his company. He had been accused of "befriending" female clients. This was against company policy. Although John denied the rumor, no one believed him. Just prior to going to lunch, John had been meeting with the review board. They indicated that they would be deciding his case that afternoon. Weary, and in despair, John walked through the main door of the building. He was going to lunch, where he could quietly mull over his anger and despair. Steve, a colleague, saw John as he was leaving. Upon approaching him, Steve said, "John, I want to talk to you."

Unfortunately, John was so sure that he would be fired when he returned from lunch, that he didn't want to talk with anyone, and said so. "Steve, if you want to reassure me, please don't; I just want to be alone." But Steve insisted by saying, "hey buddy, it is very important that I talk with you; there's something I think you should know." With that, John quit protesting Steve's company. Walking silently to a nearby restaurant, both men went in and sat down. Once seated, Steve told John, "this morning I talked to the boss, and asked him to consider your case in view of some pertinent information I think he lacked." Surprised, John looked up at Steve and asked, "Why would you do that? And, what's this information you know about?" Sheepishly Steve turned to face the window and said, "I know you did not have an affair with your client." Puzzled at Steve's definitive knowledge, John looked at him, and waited for him to continue. Steve, whose face was turned toward the window, said nothing. Sighing, John said, "Steve I get the distinct feeling that there's more to this than you're telling me." Nodding, Steve said, "I know you're gonna wanna kill me when you hear this, but I need to tell you anyway." Taking a deep breath, Steve continued, "I know the rumor isn't true and that you didn't have an affair with your client because I'm the one who started the rumor." Stunned, John silently looked at Steve in disbelief. "You started the rumor -- why, and just what did you tell the boss? Guiltily, Steve answered quietly, "I told him what I've just told you."

After what seemed an eternity, Steve said tearfully, "John, what I did was stupid; I have been envious of you and so I said what I did, but I didn't expect it to go this far." "I didn't think the board would get involved and try to fire you, and yes, I did tell the boss, and he's going to tell the board." "I know there will be negative repercussions for me, but well, I know I have it coming." "I mean, I not only hurt your reputation, but your client's too-- I'm really sorry man." After pondering the information just relayed by Steve, John looked at him again, and said simply, "Steve, the rumor you started was hurtful, and I have been feeling bad about being fired, but I'm glad you told me -- I know it was hard for you to tell me this, but, if there is just one thing you hear from me this afternoon, I just want you to know that I forgive you." After a moment of thoughtful silence, John added, "hey Steve, If you're willing, maybe we can get together with our boss and brainstorm a way to come up with something to protect the client -- I don't know what that is yet, but I'm sure we can rectify this if we try -- together."

It would be really difficult to be as forgiving as John was to Steve wouldn't it? Its hard to be wronged by someone and then forgive and forget what they've said or done. According to the scripture, our words and actions are to be seasoned with the salt of the unconditional love of God. Yet, how many times do we allow pride, envy or jealousy to erupt from within. By not abiding with the Saviour --not keeping in union with Him, busy-ness or preoccupation take over, and when we least expect it, whatever is within comes out--and we are embarrassed and feel guilty. Christ has said that it is not what is external that defiles a human being, but that which comes from within (Matt. 15:11). For from out of the abundance of the heart do we speak, and from within come slanders, evil speaking, evil surmising, bitterness, rage and the like (paraphrased from Matt. 12:34; Eph. 4:25, 29, 31).

You know, even psychoanalyst, Freud, agreed with this biblical principle, for he has said, there are no accidents; for out of our subconscious mind, we do and say the things we intend to. Here's a little illustration: At a recent social gathering, a young woman, not having seen a friend for some time greeted him thusly, "how horrible to see you." The friend, being gracious and understanding said, "*Lisa (not her real name), why are you angry with me?" To which Lisa stated, "Oh, I'm not angry with you-- how silly; I really meant to say 'how nice to see you -- I don't know why I said what I did.'" According to Lisa, upon private reflection at a later date, "I realized that I was indeed angry with my friend." How many times have you or I said or done something which would be called a "Freudian slip," and never stopped to ponder what prompted our words or actions. Well friends, the Holy Spirit is in the process of revealing all kinds of little (and not so little) nasty things about us that are hidden from view. Christ wants us to see how we really are, so that we may gratefully receive His gift of repentance and be free. He wants to blot out all of our sin (self-love), and not merely the symptoms of sin.

Although we can and should ask for forgiveness for mean and thoughtless comments that we make, asking forgiveness is not enough. You're not sure what I mean? Let's look at the story above, and see if there is something which will help us on this point. In our story, Steve apologized for making untrue statements which hurt both John and the client's reputation, right? Now, do you think that apology alone will stop Steve from making other hurtful comments? Say no, and you'd be right. Why?Because the problem isn't just that Steve is making hurtful comments, but that he is thinking thoughts and feeling sentiments which allow him to try to hurt others. He needs to be changed from the inside out.

Some folks say, "well, I'm careful and I try not to hurt others like Steve did." But how many of us inadvertently hurt others by the snide or sarcastic comments we make? Then we say, "I was only joking, can't you take a joke?" Friends, not only do words hurt (unlike that adage that says, 'words can't hurt me like sticks and stones can), but they may cause damage which can never be undone. As a matter of fact, our words will go before us, and greet us in the judgment -- "... for by our words we will be justified or condemned (Matt. 12:37).

So far we've been talking about hurtful words, but what about flattery? Where does this fit into our picture? Are flattering words all right for Christ's followers to speak? Well, this is what Psalms chapter 12 and verses 3 and 4 have to say, "The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is Lord over us?" According to Sister White, many a soul is caught in the snare of flattery which satan has set (through a well-meaning brother or sister --parenthetical comments are those of the authors').

Once words leave our mouths, they are no longer ours, for they have a life of their own, and go where they will. They are like ripples upon the water, or birds in flight. Following is a little known poem penned by an unknown author which illustrates the power of words, it is entitled "Flying Words".

"Flying Words"

Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds.
You can't do that when you're flying words.
'Careful with fire' is good advice, we know;
'Careful with words' is ten times doubly so.
Thoughts unexpressed, may sometimes fall back dead;
But God, Himself can't kill them when they're said.

Friends let us be prayerful about our words. Scripture has within it many wonderful prayers, but here is one that is especially powerful, it says, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew the Holy Spirit within me; and Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my Strength and my Redeemer." (Psalms 51:10 & 19:14). Let's ask the Lord daily to fulfill this promise in us and then let's watch Him work. I think we'll be more than satisfied, and so will He.
Maria Greaves-Barnes &
Raul Diaz

Raul Diaz

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Works of Faith

Works of Faith

The Apostle Paul says that "faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of God."  Now, Christ compared the Word with a seed.  Seeds bring forth a plant or tree that will yield a fruit.  So, in a parable Christ said that if we were good soil, the Word of God would bear fruit.  The fruit typically appears on a branch.  Christ said we are the branch and he is the Vine.  If we dwell in Him, we will bear much fruit.   So, what is the fruit?  All would agree that it is the fruit of the Spirit: ""But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5: 22 – 23).  Could it be that this is what James speaks about?  Following is an old commentary that hopefully sheds light to that question.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Degrees Of Faith

Comments on Lesson: A Devoted Soul and an Impending Cross

This lesson presents some of most popular stories of all time. The raising of Lazarus and Mary's anointing of Jesus are definitely two stories that are repeated time and again. We could be tempted to talk about these stories and not go any further. However, these two chapters bring forth examples and illustrations of what faith is and how it is shown. We see three categories of individuals with three different degrees of faith: a. those of no faith, b. those of little faith, c. those of great faith. But, first let define faith, then we will see how each group demonstrates their degrees of faith.

Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  This is more so a description of faith.   Faith is hope, trust and belief that the Word will do what it says, and waiting for the Word to do it.  But how do show faith? What evidence do you have to show me you have faith? At first glance you say, "works." That is what James seems to say,

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works…But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2: 17-18, 20.

I submit to you that James is giving us the end result and that there is a middle step. "What is the middle step?" I am glad you asked. I submit to you that the middle step is the Fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5 Paul makes a distinction between those who fulfill the lusts of the flesh and those who walk in the Spirit. The only way to walk in the Spirit is by faith. Then in verses 22 and 23 it says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." You can have works without faith. But those who have faith will have works that are wrought from the Fruit of the Spirit. What changes here is the motivation of the work. The one without faith has a selfish reason. The one with faith is self-less and does it for God's glory. Many will confuse them. Some may even misinterpret works that come from faith. But, God always knows.

Those without faith, are under the law and follow the lusts of the flesh which are:

… Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…Gal 5:19-21

In this category we find Caiaphas and Pharisees in John 11 and12. You also have: those who told the Pharisees about Lazarus resurrection, and Judas. Even in the face of the evidence they chose not to believe in Christ as the Messiah, they chose not to have faith. They allowed their pride to tarnish their convicted hearts. They envied and hated Christ. In a seditious manner they plotted to murder Him. We who have no faith are no different. We kill God in our hearts.

Those of little faith include: Thomas, Mary and Martha in Chapter 11. Thomas had enough faith to follow Jesus, but thought that they would die on their way back to Jerusalem. They not only survived, but Jesus gave life to someone who had died. Martha and Mary believed in Christ as Lord and Savior. They believed the presence of Christ would have prevented Lazarus death. But, they lacked faith to believe that the power to prevent the death of Lazarus could also bring him from the dead. Those of us of little faith also lack faith to believe that that power is still at work today. We believe God can or will do certain things but not others. And, thus we miss out on the blessings God is willing to give us if only we believed and asked.

Those of great faith include: Those who moved the stone, those who spread the word about the raising of Lazarus, Philip, Andrew and the Greeks. Of course we cannot forget Mary in chapter 12. Those who removed the stone removed it without questions asked. They could have refused, like Martha did. But they did not. Do we do God's will without questioning or are we like Martha? Those who spread the word about the raising of Lazarus were witnesses to others that were seeking regarding Christ's famous miracle. Are we experiencing the miracles the Spirit works in us? Are we spreading the word? Philip and Andrew were always taking people to Jesus. Where do we take people we encounter? What do we tell them when they ask us about Jesus? Come to Church or Sabbath School? Come to the Bible study? There is nothing wrong with those answers, except that they may not find Jesus there. Philip and Andrew knew where Jesus was, do you? The Greeks traveled miles to see Jesus. How far would you have gone? You think your church is too far? What about a nice walk from Greece to Palestine?

We save the best for last: Mary's scandalous act of outpouring of love toward her Lord and Savior. I say scandalous because even in this day, what Mary did would be talked about and criticized. After seeing how Jesus resurrected her brother, Mary's faith deepened and grew to a point that she considered  it not a waste to pour over Jesus an ointment so expensive it would take a year's salary to purchase it. Mary did not care if others saw her act as foolishness or scandalous. Mary's was an act of faith. Mary's was an act of love. Would you give to God a year's salary, let alone 10%? Or would you consider it a waste, like Judas? Would you wash his feet with your tears and dry it with your hair? Do you care more about, what others will say, then what God may think of you? "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Works without faith are to God like filthy rags. Works that are from faith are filled with the Fruit of the Spirit. And, its aroma is like a "burnt offering unto the LORD… a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD." Exodus 29:18.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Love and the law

Love and the law


Jam 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

Jam 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.


The Greek Word for love in the above passage is agapao: Godly love.  The scripture says that if we agape our neighbor we are fulfilling the Law.  What does fulfill mean?  I hope an old commentary can shed light on that. 


Friday, December 09, 2011

Commentary: A List of Requirements

A List of Requirements

One day while in college I was perusing my school bulletin.  I saw that beside the description for some classes it had the word prerequisite.  Then it listed other class numbers.  I figured that it meant that I should take the listed classes before I take the class in question.  So, it seemed it was telling me what I had to do prior to taking the class in question.  But, that is not the definition of the word prerequisite.  Of course, the prefix pre- means before.  Requisite means requirement.  A requirement is something – as a condition or quality – needed.  I understood that what the bulletin was actually telling me is that I needed the knowledge and or skill set that I got from the previous classes to take the one.   But, requirements are not always about something I can achieve or acquire. 

Typically we talk about requirements in terms of fulfilling not doing.  To fulfill means to satisfy.  To satisfy is to meet the requirements.  If I wanted to join the army, I would have to be a certain weight in relation to my height.  So, to join the army I would have to meet that requirement.  But, if I wanted to be a horse jockey, I would have to be small: short and thin.  Now, let's say I am overweight, I could lose the weight.  Let's say I am more than 6 feet tall (1.8 meters) then I probably cannot be a jockey.  The average weight for a jockey is around 115 lb (52 kg).  The average height is about 5 feet and 3 inches (1.6 meters).  In this case I cannot meet the requirement not because of something I cannot acquire or achieve; I cannot meet the requirement because of something I am not. 

Out of the twenty pilots selected to fly Vosotk 1 (the first spaceship to orbit the earth), the eventual choices for the first launch were Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov because of their performance in training, as well as their physical characteristics — space was at a premium in the small Vostok cockpit and both men were rather short.  Gagarin, the ultimate choice, was 1.57 meters (5 ft 2 in) tall, which was an advantage in the small Vostok cockpit.  Gagarin's met the size requirement.  Not something he could acquire or achieve, but something he was by genetic inheritance. 

When it comes to the Law and the Commandments, Paul as well as Jesus, seem to refer to them as requirements.  Time and time again they speak of them as something to be fulfilled.  Here are some examples,

Romans 8:4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

 So, to Paul there is a difference between the doing of the Law and the fulfilling of the law.  Paul intentionally uses each phrase to make an important distinction between two different ways of defining Christian behavior in relation to the law. For example, it is significant that when Paul refers positively to Christian observance of the law he never describes it as "doing the law." He reserves that phrase to refer solely to the misguided behavior of those who are living under the law and are trying to earn God's approval by "doing" what the law commands.

This is not to imply that those who have found salvation in Christ do not obey. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul says they "fulfill" the law. He means that true Christian behavior is much more than the outward obedience of just "doing" the law; it "fulfills" the law. Paul uses the word fulfill because it goes far beyond just "doing." This type of obedience is rooted in Jesus (seeMatt. 5:17). It is not an abandonment of the law, nor is a reduction of the law only to love, but it is the way through which the believer could experience the true intent and meaning of the whole law!

Ellen White also sees the Law as a requirement.  And, she is clear on how we can fulfill that requirement. She says,

"Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:3-5). Righteousness is obedience to the law. The law demands righteousness, and this the sinner owes to the law; but he is incapable of rendering it. The only way in which he can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner's account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of man's failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. This is how faith is accounted righteousness; and the pardoned soul goes on from grace to grace, from light to a greater light. He can say with rejoicing, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-7). {1SM 367.1}

The inheritance is given to the heirs.  The heirs are sons and daughters of God.  Paul says in Galatians 3

Galatians 3: 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3: 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Galatians 3:  28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:  29And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.


Those who live by faith attain the righteousness required to become children who become heirs of God.  It is not something they can achieve or acquire on our own.  It is not something they are given by genetic inheritance.  It is something they are given by grace, and they receive it by faith.  

Raul Diaz