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Jesus is our tithe June 23, 2014

Posted by Henry in Contending for the Faith, Tithing.
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Here is an interesting take on the tithe by a Pastor Amos Ortiz.

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The Law of Christ March 16, 2012

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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One of the things I have come to realise when engaging with other Christians is that they sometimes do not know with absolute certainty whether we are to follow or observe everything that the Bible teaches or not. If you are unsure about this matter then chances are you are also unsure about the Gospel.

All scriptures are profitable for doctrine and for reproof but likewise all scriptures should be read and taken in context. The truth is that one can take the very words of the Bible and deceive you with it and this is because not everything in it is required of the Christian to observe. For example, under the Mosaic Law an eye for an eye was endorsed. Should we as Christians today practice recompensing evil for evil? Absolutely not! But we look instead at what Christ says – He says for example, “love your enemies”; “do good to them that hate you”; bless them that persecute you and despitefully use you”; and so forth. So it is clear that we are not required to follow all that the Bible teaches otherwise we would be in confusion. Some teachers however, when they are teaching on a particular subject, like to place their words under the banner of, “The Bible Teaches” to give weight to their claims. As a result they are able to weave together teachings from both the Old and New Testaments (Covenants) under the same heading but this can result in deception if one is not careful. So then if we are not required to follow everything the Bible taught does this mean that God has changed, though scripture declares He changes not? No, but rather God purposed to change the law which He first instituted in Israel (Jer 31:31-33, Heb 8:8-11). The law was merely a shadow of what God had before ordained even from the beginning of time.

Today, and since the days of the early church, God’s law is no longer written upon tablets of stones but rather it is now written upon a believer’s heart. We must understand the point that the previous covenant was made with Israel alone and therefore those who were outside of the commonwealth of Israel could not benefit from it. God changed the law however so that we who were outside, cut off without a hope, can now be engrafted with Israel to inherit salvation (Rom 11:17). This is the reason why the law has changed and the Levitical priesthood made defunct. Christ’s priesthood now replaces the old priesthood and consequently the change in the priesthood necessitated a change in the law (Heb 7:12). So what is this new law in Christ? Here it is in black and white:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (Joh 13:34) KJV

Can it really be that simple? If you are still not convinced have a look at the following verses:

The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. (Gal 5:14, also Matt 7:12) NIV

Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:10, also Jam 2:8) NIV

By the grace of God we have been set free through faith in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:20-24). We do not need to attempt to observe a single work of the law – not tithing, not first fruit giving, no sacrifices, offerings, circumcision, feast days, holy days – none of them. To attempt to do so is to fall from grace (Gal 5:4). Friends, know the truth and the truth shall set you free (Joh 8:32).

By what are ye saved? Grace, Faith, Works? November 5, 2010

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
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It would appear that many in the church today do not seem to fully understand the Gospel of Salvation. In my Part 2 on The Gospel of Salvation I made reference to the fact that we are justified by faith but that faith must be accompanied by works – which in essence means we are justified by faith as well as works. Now some people might not have understood that and may even label me as an heretic but this is the reason why I want to explain these things further in this post.

We are told in scripture that we are saved by Grace through faith and not of works lest any man should boast.

 

Eph 2

8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Was Paul trying to say here that we are not to do works because works do not save us? The answer to that is no because in verse 10 he clearly stated that we are created in Jesus unto GOOD WORKS which God had already ordained that we should walk in them.

Let me therefore attempt to paint a picture of what Paul was trying to say: Grace is like a doorway that Christ opened or prepared for the whole world (John 3:16, 14:6). That doorway was set in heavenly places and behind it one may find Life. There is a very long, narrow and winding stairway leading up towards it (Matt 7:14). However, for anyone to even set foot on the first step of that stairway they must have faith. Now faith is unseen! It embodies the hope in Christ that we may find life at the end of the stairway. Faith is necessary in order to believe in the provision of Grace (Acts 16:31). If we therefore believe then the Lord will takes on that journey of faith along that stairway till we reach our destination. Our faith is therefore manifested in our willingness to act by taking the first step on that stairway and then the next, and the next after – although the journey is long we are propelled by the hope in us which is our saving faith.

In this little picture therefore we see that we are not saved by Grace alone or that we are saved by faith alone. However we are saved by Grace through faith as Paul said. We cannot circumvent Grace in order to perform what we perceive as righteous works in thinking that these will justify us before God. In other words, the picture shows we cannot avoid the path set forth before us with its preconditions in order to find another way to obtain salvation. This is what Paul meant when he said “Not of works”. But Paul most certainly was not saying we were not required to do works because in verse 10 of Eph 2 that view is contradicted. The good works then can be thought of as the action of walking up the steps. In this way the act of walking up the steps is an outward manifestation of our faith. Let’s conflate this with what the Apostle James was saying.

James 2

18Yea, 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. 19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:

In putting these verses in context to the picture, what James is saying is that you cannot claim to have faith and not show the outward manifestation of physically taking up your staff and walking up the steps along the stairway. In other words you cannot sit at the foot of the stairway and claim to have faith that you will reap the fruits lying in wait at the end of the stairway and not demonstrating your faith by getting up and walking the path. To claim therefore to have such faith and to do nothing is dead faith! If your faith is therefore dead you can never enjoy the fruits at the end of the stairway because you have not the means to get there.

What both Paul and James have said therefore are complimentary to understanding our gospel of salvation. Paul says we are justified by faith but James expands on that by saying we are justified by faith with the outward manifestation in works. Are we therefore required to do works? To answer this question, Jesus says that if we loved Him then we will obey His commands (John 14:15). Obeying Christ commands are an embodiment of works – the same good works that Paul referred to in Eph 2:10 and which demonstrates our love for Christ. These are also the same works that James is saying we ought to perform to demonstrate our faith which is kept alive in Christ. The great commission also demonstrates that we are to observe all things (good works) that Christ commanded (Matt 28:20).

Faith is therefore not an antithesis to works which is what some people have tried to make it but rather faith and works are tied together in obtaining salvation by Grace. Can we therefore continue to neglect to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison and claim to be justified by faith? Did Christ not warn that if we do not do these things we would not inherit Life?

Matt 25

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Faith without works is dead and leads to death!

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