The Accursed Things

For Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

~ Joshua 7:1 (NKJV)

The story of Achan is really a sad one. Here’s a man who was one of the Lord’s own people, who was experiencing the blessing and favor of God along with the rest of Israel in their inheriting the Promised Land and yet, he could not withstand temptation, succumbed to the sin of covetousness and brought ruin to himself and his whole household. Worse, he thought he could hide his sin from God.

We can’t hide our sin from God and we can’t escape the sometimes fatal consequences from our sin. Not only does sin often have earthly consequences that effects those around us, those we love, but has spiritual consequences as well. Sin separates us from God and the Lord Jesus. Unconfessed unrepentanted of sin, hidden sin, only brings trouble, hurt, sorrow, pain and guilt.

Yet, the Bible says if we will repent and confess our sins, that God will forgive us. God has forgiven us in Christ. We just need to acknowledge that. 1 John 1:9, states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. God sent Jesus to forgive us. And He desires for us to come to Him, sin and all, and allow Him to grant His touch of gracious spiritual healing and forgiveness.

~ apl

The Plan of Salvation

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

The plan of salvation by Christ reveals God as willing to be reconciled. He is ready to pardon, and to be at peace. If the sinner repents and believes, God can now consistently forgive him, and admit him to favor. It is therefore a plan by which the mind of God and of the sinner can become reconciled, or united in feeling and in purpose. The obstacles on the part of God to reconciliation, arising from his justice and Law, have been removed, and he is now willing to be at peace. The obstacles on the part of man, arising from his sin, his rebellion, and his conscious guilt, may be taken away, and he can now regard God as his friend.

~ Albert Barnes, Notes on the Whole Bible

Made Naked & Bare

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ…

~ Colossians 2:11 (NKJV)

Which [circumcision] is of the heart, in the spirit; every man… is uncircumcised in heart, until he is circumcised by Christ and his Spirit; which is done, when he is pricked to the heart, and thoroughly convinced of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it; when the callousness and hardness of his heart is taken off and removed, and the iniquity of it is laid open, the plague and corruption in it discerned, and all made naked and bare to the sinner’s view; when he is in pain on account of it, is broken and groans under a sense of it, and is filled with shame for it.

~ John Gill, Exposition of the Whole Bible

The New Life Which Follows Repentance

Our Lord’s idea of repentance is as profound and comprehensive as His conception of righteousness. Of the three words that are used in the Greek Gospels to describe the process, one emphasizes the emotional element of regret, sorrow over the past evil course of life, metamelomai; a second expresses reversal of the entire mental attitude, metanoeo; the third denotes a change in the direction of life, one goal being substituted for another, epistrephomai; Repentance is not limited to any single faculty of the mind: it engages the entire man, intellect, will and affections… Again, in the new life which follows repentance the absolute supremacy of God is the controlling principle.

~ Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949)

The Evidence of Piety

Let Christians remember, that in a season of revival as well as in a season of coldness, the evidence of piety is to be sought in the fruits of the Spirit. And let sinners remember that no degree of attendance or means, no degree of fervor, can be substituted for repentance of sin and faith in the Savior.

~ William Sprague (1830-1915)

Our Ailing Souls

And as many as touched Him were made well.

~ Mark 6:56b (NKJV)

Jesus’ earthly ministry was filled with times of wonderful and miraculous healings. People from far and wide would flock to Jesus simply to “touch the hem of His garment” that they might know the healing power of Christ. And as many as touched Him were made well. Yet, when we take the deeper and more spiritual application of this passage, and we speak in terms of Christ’s power to heal us of sin, that great spiritual malady, where are the multitudes seeking His divine salve for our ailing souls? May we always remember Jesus does not only heal the body, but the soul. The full manifestation of His power is it’s efficacy over sin and death. Therefore, let us flock to Christ to remedy our spirit, to touch Him, and be made well.

~ apl

Be Born Again

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

~ John 3:7 (NKJV)

This proclamation from our Lord Jesus to Nicodemus in John chapter 3 still stand as the watershed declaration that separates true followers of Jesus Christ from the rest of the world. Jesus’ words sets Christianity apart from all else. To be Christ’s disciple, to be adopted into the family of the Lord, to be established in covenant with Jehovah God, you must be born again.

So what does it mean when the Bible says one must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven? Well, this is where knowing the original language can be helpful. The word translated here “again” means “from above”. The phrase could be literally translated “You must be born from above, or from a higher place”. The idea Jesus was conveying is that of a spiritual birth.

To be born again, that is, from above, means we are transformed in our very being, in our principles, our feelings, and our manner of life. The beginning of this new life is called the new birth, or regeneration. It is so called because in many respects it has a striking analogy to our natural birth. It is the beginning of spiritual life. It reveals the light of the Gospel. It is the moment when we really begin to live with any purpose. Being born again is the moment when God reveals Himself to us as our reconciled Father, and we as adopted sons and daughters.

Though this new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit, we realize this glorious regenerating grace through our own personal repentance and faith. That is, through turning away from sin and turning towards Christ. There is no other way to be reconciled to God. My prayer is, dear reader, that you already know, or come to know Jesus’ words as your own, “You must be born again”.

~ apl