Tag: sin

Doing Enough

Ruth D. – Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness.'” These verses make me fearful, how do you know if you are giving enough denial of self? Should we also ask God to show us our sinful nature when we ask him to forgive us of our sins?
Dave – Do not fear these verses. You are not a person who “practices lawlessness” (willfully doing wrong with no conscience convicting you and no willingness to change). These verses apply to evil people who may fool humans but not God. But did these evil ones actually do those powerful things? Although these examples can be real and done by folks abiding in Jesus, they can also be faked by charlatans. Also, we do not need to know if we are denying our self enough for salvation because no one does. God’s mercy and grace are sufficient for you. If you walk with Him via this, you actually will be denying yourself more than if you sat around fretting about whether or not it’s enough.🙂 We walk by faith in His grace, not by sight (or mentally thinking we are perfect). Therefore, do not “set the bar so high” that it exacerbates you so much that you walk around under condemnation (Romans 8:1-2). In other words, do not strive to be good enough to please Him, but live life loving Him and others, feeding on His Word and you will be pleasing to Him. If your love for Him begins to fade, repent, meditate on his crucifixion, and ask Him to fill you with His love. Again, do not strive to “get in love with Him.” Remember – In Christ we are no longer condemned by The Law. 😊

Feedback so far:

Alona R – Amen to your answer – it took me many years to realize that I didn’t need to strive for that!

Water Baptism

Sarah R – I was wondering if water baptisms started with John the Baptist’s ministry. Were there baptisms in the Old Testament?

Dave – Thanks for your question. Beyond preparing peoples’ hearts for true repentance (a desire to stop sinful behaviors, not just feel sorry about them), John the Baptist was also proclaiming a prerequisite to receiving the Messiah for salvation. He was also fulfilling OT prophecy concerning the coming of the Savior in the “spirit of Elijah” as Malachi 3:1 and 4:5 reveals. Jesus later confirmed that those Scriptures referred to the Baptist (Matt.11:14).

In the Old Testament period, baptism was a ritual of conversion to Judaism. Pagans would become proselytes through this ritual by self-baptizing to become part of the Jewish people. So it was an identification with the people of God.

Water is the element naturally used for cleansing the body and its symbolical use entered into almost every cult, and into none more completely than the Jewish faith, whose ceremonial washings were proverbial.

The Dead Sea Scrolls also depict the baptism ritual as something practiced by much of Jewry at that time. To this day Jews practice baptism for both male and female converts who immerse themselves in a ritual bath.

Long before the Jews practiced baptism, the concept or spirit behind Christian baptism is found in the Old Testament. For instance, the passing of Israel through the Red Sea on the final Day of Unleavened Bread, was likened to a baptism by Paul (1 Cor 10:1-2). And further baptismal and resurrection typology may be found in the crossing of the Jordan River which was a type of entering the Kingdom of God followed by pulling down the strongholds of the enemy (Joshua 3:15-17; 2 Cor 10:4). At the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Levites were cleansed via sprinkling of water – a type of baptism to purify them in preparation in service to God and man (Num 8:6-7,11,21). Further, the Levites had to be bathed or washed clean in water in Ex 29:4 which is one of the ceremonial washings referred to in Heb. 6:2.

Were sins forgiven before Jesus and The Baptist? I think so. If people (Jews or Gentiles) believed in Yahweh (the God of the Jews), believed that the shedding of innocent blood was necessary for forgiveness, and believed in the coming of a Messiah, people could have eternal life. If they trusted in their own goodness or ignored those things listed, then they would not have life on Judgment Day. Habakkuk, an Old Testament prophet, proclaimed that a righteous person shall live by their faith (Hab.2:4). Bear in mind, however, that animal sacrifices were a mere, temporary cover for sins, whereas Jesus’ Blood did away with them forever.


Jenn K – There is also the analogy of Noah used by Apostle Peter in I Peter 3:20-21.

Alona R – I never thought of the passing through the Red Sea on the final Day of Unleavened Bread being likened to a baptism by Paul. Certainly there were ceremonial washings for various reasons, i.e. the lepers who were healed and had to go through washings and going to the temple to be inspected before being declared clean again. As you mentioned too the Levites seemed to be cleaner than most because of their ceremonial washings. In the day most people used oils and perfumes to cover their bodily odors rather than bathe as we do now, but there are still Asians and Europeans who do not use water as much as we do. I guess we all relate to water as a cleaning agent for exterior soil, but fail to connect to water as a daily cleansing agent for our sin.


“He became more important than me.”

Nowadays Americans are very busy people. Technology has made it possible to accomplish in one day what took a month years ago. Coupled with a strong emphasis on materialistic wealth, technology has made more slaves out of folks than some regimes. This incessant drive to achieve is also evident in foreign lands such as China and Japan among others. As knowledge increases at a faster rate than ever before, moral priorities tend to take a back seat. This can happen so slowly, however, that it can go unnoticed for years…then it may be too late for some.

I recently had the privilege of listening to Dr. David Shaff, an optometrist in Rochester, N.Y., share his 9-day death experience. His spirit left his body as a result of a severe heart attack while sleeping. He never knew what hit him. He was immediately in the presence of Jesus Christ Himself. They had an interesting talk as you could imagine. At one point in his talk, Dr. Dave said he realized how much we worry about things that seem important, but, in the reality of the big picture of this life, they are not.

As sinners from birth, we fail to perceive our major problem. Depravity blinds us to our plight, unless the Creator reveals truth to us. Enter the Bible. The fact that it still exists while being the most hated and attacked book of all history tells me it’s Special, in the most intriguing sort of way.

While interpretations may vary on smaller issues, the major issue is abundantly clear —- God made everything good, humans ruined things, God provided a way to escape eternal destruction, and we cannot earn it. Christianity is the only religion that asserts that eternal life is gained by grace rather than merit. How our souls spend eternity should be on everyone’s mind…constantly. I find this not so, however. Most people just have too many other concerns and worries to be bothered to seek out the redemption that guarantees eternal life.

Despite the Bible changing millions of lives for the better, it is still ignored by the majority. This amazes me. I was guilty of this very thing for the first 20 years of my life. But during my senior year in college, I heard a man who played the role of Jesus on a record say while he was being crucified, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That captured my attention (and heart). That extraordinary love, that can be found no where else in history, made me realize that Jesus Christ is our Creator in the flesh therefore making Him the most important Person to ever walk this planet.

From that point on, I just had to read what He said and it changed my life. He became more important than me. Talk about a paradigm shift! I devoured the Bible like never before. That was at the end of 1970 and decades later I am still reading it. Once we realize that our true identity is hidden in Christ, our priorities become in line with what we were created to do.

The question for those who call themselves Christian is: Are you just a believer or a follower? If a follower, it becomes impossible to follow Him without reading the Scriptures often, every day if possible. If we really want to get to know Jesus intimately, we find Him in the “volume of the Book” (Psalms 40:7 & Hebrews 10:7). The first cause of backsliding is usually lack of Bible reading. This world has supernatural powers constantly vying for our affection and they do a high-powered brain washing job on us.

Priorities are always at issue. When we pray, we talk to God. When we read the Bible, He talks to us (if we let Him). When He talks to us, are brains (thoughts) are washed from this world (see Ephesians 5:26 & John 15:3). I think there is a direct correlation between time spent in the Bible and the depth of our walk with Jesus. Too many are mere believers and not followers. Among those followers, Bible reading will usually slowly decrease at some time during their Christian life. Watch out for that! It’s one of the early warning signs of backsliding.

The Bible is oh so powerful to bring folks to God and helps them live in a better way. I now understand why Satan and all his cohorts will continually attack it and discourage people from reading it. A careful reading of the Scriptures reveals that the sword that John saw coming out of Jesus’ mouth in the beginning of his vision for the Book of Revelation represents the Word of God. It is by this “sword” He conquers and restores throughout the Church Age.

This world steals verses from God’s Word and few realize the original source. One common phrase this world says is, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” This is from Deuteronomy 8:3 and quoted by Jesus to Satan during the three temptations. But what this world omits is the rest of that verse, which, of course, is the most important: “But man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” When unsaved people hear the Word of God, they have a chance to re-connect with Him thereby obtaining eternal life. Can there be anything more important to an individual than this?! If followers want to continue their following of Jesus, they must read His Word continually. If our Bible begins to collect dust, then our hearts are slowly becoming hardened against the will of God for our lives. It happens slowly so we do not notice it. Satan is no fool, he believes in God and knows our weaknesses.

Maybe we should view the Bible as food. So think what your body would feel like if you went a week without eating any food. Well, that would be how weak you would be spiritually if you did not engage yourself in God’s Word for a week (week = weak).

I’ll leave you with this thought – out of all the words that God could have chosen to give us on earth, the ones in the Bible are it. Let us not ignore such a great opportunity to get to know Him and find our real purpose. Psalms 138:2 speaks volumes about how much God reveres His own Word, and 1 John 2:15-17 can help us with our priorities. If you are hungry to know God more, you will look those verses up. 🙂

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