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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Glory 101

Antonyms of the word glory

Shame, disgrace, dishonor (Hos 4:7; Hab 2:16; 1Co 15:43)

How did the Adam’s race fall short of it?

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23

God’s will for the fallen mankind

  • God desires to invite all peoples on earth to his presence and share in His glory. Referring to this will of God, 1Th 2:12 says, “God calls you into his kingdom and his glory.”
  • The reason for the above is embedded in the way God made man and woman, as is written in 1Co 11:7, “man is the image and glory of God, woman the glory of man.”
  • The Apostle Peter says, “The God of grace called you to his eternal glory.” 1Pe 5:10

What did God do to restore man back to his glory?

  •  God sent his son Jesus Christ the sinless Lamb of God who offered himself as an atoning sacrifice to take away the sins of the world, so in Jesus Christ, man can enter God’s glory. Speaking of this transaction Jesus said, “Did not Christ have to suffer and then enter his glory?” Luke 24:26
  • By receiving Jesus Christ, the Son, and believing in Him, we can reach the glorious state so we can see Jesus the Son - the radiance of God’s glory. Heb 1:3
  • When one sincerely turns away from wickedness and believes in the Son, the Son works in him so that with unveiled face the child reflects the Lord’s glory. 2Co 3:18
  • For the same reason Jesus the Lord and Savior said to Martha, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe you will see the glory?” John 11:40
  • When one remains in Jesus, when Christ, who is his life, appears, he also will appear with Jesus in glory. Col 3:4
  • For the reasons stated above, Isaiah says, “Your God will be your glory.” Isaiah 60:19

The Purpose of Man’s life

  • God saves his children for his glory, as is written, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7
  • When Jesus came, he set the example, that is, by completing the work he was sent to do, he brought glory to God. John 17:4
  • Similarly, Jesus said to his disciples, “It is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit.” John 15:8
  • WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Levels of glory

  • The glory reflected on the face of Moses is fading glory, whereas the glory that is reflected on the face of a believer in the Lord the administrator of the new covenant is eternal glory (2Co4:17; 1Pe 5:10) (or everlasting glory, or surpassing glory). 2Co 3:10
  • Man’s glory who does not know the Lord is of temporary existence just like the glory of the flowers of the field. But believers living under the new covenant (based on the blood of Jesus) are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2Co 3:18

Functions of the glory

  • God adorns himself with His glory. Job 40:10
  • Through the glory of the Father a believer lives a new life in the Lord. Romans 6:4
  • This glory assures a believer to joyfully participate in the sufferings of the Lord as the Lord’s witness, as the Apostle Paul says, “Present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18), or “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory that far outweighs them all.” 2Co 4:17
  • This glory can enter and depart from human body (1Sa 4:22;Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 43:4).
  • For the same reason Psalm 8:1 states that the glory “dwells” (in a bodily form) in a man (or sanctuary). Exodus 40:34
  • It is the source of the essential force (or energy) of life, keeping man strong and vigorous as is written, “The glory of young men is their strength” or “the glory will be a canopy.” (Pro 20:29; Isaiah 4:5)
  • In case of the Israelites journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land, the glory of the Lord provided for them protection and provision for 40 years. Neh 9:19; Deu 8:4
  • While Jesus himself is the radiance of Gods’ glory, it is in this glory that Jesus was taken up (to heaven). 1Ti 3:16

Who will miss out/lose the glory?

  • Anyone who is ashamed of Jesus and his words will. Luke 9:26 

Who saw God’s glory

  • The Apostle John says "We have seen the glory of the One and Only Son of God." John 1:14
  • Stephen the first martyr saw the glory of God before his departure from his body (Acts 7:55).

Some Exhibits 

  • The Prophet Ezekiel saw ‘the appearance of the likeness’ of the glory of the Lord in Ezekiel 1:28.
  • Our Lord Jesus who is the radiance of God’s glory showed to Peter, John, and James on the Mt. of transfiguration his glorious state. Luke 9:32
  • After rising from the dead Jesus is now seated on his throne in his glory. Mat 25:31
  • The holy city, the New Jerusalem, shines with the glory of God, where the glory of God gives it light. Rev 21:11,23

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why is it not possible for you to remove your folly from you, the fool? (Proverb 27:22)

King Solomon indicates that it is hard if not 'impossible' to remove folly from the fool; even though one may wish to do it by grinding him like grain with a pestle in a mortar, he may not be able to succeed. Pro 27:22

Proverbs 14:8; 27:22
Why? [It is written, "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Pro 22:15 Yet, this passage does not seem to contradict the statement in Pro 27:22, for after you've driven the folly far from a child, it is very possible that folly may make its own way into his or her life. Then once it is settled in a child (or a young man or an adult) and becomes his or her second nature, it appears that no matter how hard you may try to remove it, you may not be able to remove it. [Consider how wise Solomon might have been at first, but how he became lunatic and held fast in love to his women (in a forbidden relationship), just as he said [of himself :-)], "Evil deeds of a wicked man ensnares him; the cords of his sin hold him fast." Pro 5:22]

Why is it [so difficult if not rendered] impossible for you to remove your folly from you?

I think what Albert Einstein said [in effect] gives us a clue: "The solution to the problem cannot be found on the level on which the problem exists; rather it is found on the level which is higher than the level where it persists."

Likewise, it is written that man's heart is corrupt beyond repair, and no one (living on a fleshly level alone) can understand it.

For this very reason you and I are in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for the Scripture says, "God so loved the world that he sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Then the Apostle Peter says "Repent and believe in the Son. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38 The Apostle John says the same thing: "All who received Him and believed in Him shall be given the right to become children of God." John 1:12 Speaking of the same transaction the Apostle Paul says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone; the new has come." (Eze 11:19; 18:31; 36:26] The new creation comes with the new self which is capable of living in perfect/true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24) for good, free of all components that make man 'unclean' namely, evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deception, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. Whew! (Or "Huuuuuuuugggghhhh!")

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This is the account of Jacob (Genesis 37:2) (Hermeneutics 101-1)

One of the TV programs I like is Iron Chef. What fascinates me is that depending on the kind of chef you have, raw materials such as meat like pork, beef, or sea food like shrimp, crab, or vegetables like onion, pepper, or cucumber, turn into almost any kind of dish you can imagine. Each chef has his or her own style and a finished product may vary greatly depending on an individual's technique. Not all chefs cook meals the way you like.

The same is true with the spiritual meals that nourish man's spirit, soul, and body. Although the word of God in the Bible is called 'manna' not all handle the Word of God the way it ought to be.  Herein comes the need for hermeneutics - the way of understanding and handling the Scriptures (just as iron chefs understand and handle raw materials doing, 'chop, chop, chop', 'cut, cut, cut', etc.).

How are we to handle the Scriptures? Our Lord Jesus answers the question saying all Scriptures are about him. (John 5:39; Luke 24:27 etc.)

Similarly in talking to a Samaritan woman who raised questions about [the way to understand] the Scriptures, our Lord Jesus said to her, "Salvation is from the Jews." John 4:22

In what respect is this (salvation coming from the Jews) so? Well, I think we can find the answer in Genesis 37:2. So, like the iron chefs in the video (working with several ingredients like crab, salt, pepper, etc.) let us secure raw materials by doing a grocery shopping by getting into the Bible (which I call 'Spiritual Super Market' like "Fresh and Easy" or "Smart and Final"). First let us go to Genesis and pick 37:2. Then let us combine this with John 4:22. What sort of dish can we come up with? I think we can come up with the dish called "Salvation comes from the Jews." How so? Consider the following:

- Jacob's spiritual (or "Christian" if you will) name is Israel. The account of Jacob (aka Israel whose descendants are collectively called "Jews") begins with Judah selling Joseph (Gen 37) and ends with Joseph comforting his brothers (Gen 45:7; 50:30-21).

- Following the account of Judah selling Joseph is the story of Judah (a father-in-law) sleeping with his daugther-in-law (a Gentile woman) and starting to produce children, not knowing what he was doing! [Also think about why Zerah stuck out of the Tamar's womb part of his body (wrist) (tied in a scarlet thread) first, and then went right back in, so Perez had to "break out" first.] Does this episode click anything to you?

Many centuries later God sent the Savior out of the line of Judah who in turn talked to a Gentile woman saying "Salvation is from the Jews!" After finding Jesus as the Messiah the Samaritan woman invited to Jesus the people of her town who also believed in the Savior. John 4:27-42

** Food for thought: Joseph is a type of Jesus the Savior to come; Judah played out Judas Iscariot (Judas is a Greek rendering of Hebrew word Judah, whereas Iscariot refers to the place of his birth, that is, Keriath) selling Jesus for a few coins; Joseph comforting his brothers saying, "This happened for ths salvation of many" looks forward to Jesus on a tree praying, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Judah unwittingly producing children out of the union with a Gentile woman signifies the Jewish nation (such as the Apostel Paul) sharing the gospel (reluctantly with many turmoils) with the Gentiles. The race betwen the twin boys that were in Tamar's womb reminds us of Jesus' words, "The first will be last, last first" or what the Apostle Paul says, "Israel has experienced a hardening 'in part' until the full number (or body) of the Gentiles has come in." Romans 11:25

So this is the account of Jacob - the bearer of God's promise to send the Messiah, that is, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Jews and Gentiles. Genesis 3:15

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Combination Fried Rice - a Soul Food

Once upon a time a friend of mine was cooking at the Church kitchen. I asked him, "What are you cooking?" "A combination fried rice. This is for brothers and sisters coming to the Friday Young Leaders' Meeting tonight. Why don't you try a little bit?" he said. He served me some, and it was very tasty.

Combination fried rice consists of several ingredients (see the picture). I think the Bible is rich with all sorts of ingredients out of which one can make all sorts of spiritual foods so to speak to nourish our souls. Here is one example of [spiritual] Combination Fried Rice.

* Ingredients: 1) Baptism (Luke 12:50); 2) Fire (Luke 12:49); 3) Digging and fertilizing (Luke 13:8)

 * Notes to consider before consumption and digestion: Baptism refers to the cross of Jesus where Jesus Christ offered himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Fire refers to the Holy Spirit and the fire that He brings for those who believe in the Son. Without baptism, there is no fire working in you. Digging around a fig tree and fertilizing it refers to feeding yourself [and others] on the Word of God which helps you grow up and bear fruit.

* Points to consider/practice:

1) Do you have any issues in life, such as sin problems, character flaws, bad habits. or bad karma (in case you grew up per the Indian belief system), and thereby suffer from a bad cycle or cycles in life becoming perpetuated? Then remember that God sent Jesus the Son to break you free from all these, for Jesus came to pay the penalty for "all" the sins of all generations (you, your parents, parents' parents etc.), so that you can make a brand new beginning in the Son.

2) The step mentioned above is preparatory [just as the Scripture says, "Repent and turn to God" (Acts 3:19)]. The next step is to ask the Lord for the gift called the Holy Spirit who in return comes to you to cleanse you of the sins, so you could be a new creation. Then he puts you in the fellowship with God the Father through Jesus the Son.

3) The final step is to remain in the fellowship with Jesus the Son and God the Father through the Spirit, feeding yourself on the Word of God. [For effective daily bible studies, click here]

God's blessings on your walk in the Lord!