The New Husband And The New Wife

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But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:20-24)

The New Husband And The New Wife

Paul’s letter to the saints who are in Ephesus is a grand treatise on the church of Jesus Christ as the holy body of believers united under one Lord and one faith. The apostle is seeking to show the early disciples the nature of those who would call themselves followers of Christ to excel in their relationships with God and man. His letter would appeal to the saints to walk in unity, walk in Christ, walk in love, walk in the light, walk in wisdom and walk as soldiers of the cross. Near the end of his letter, Paul will appeal to the husband and wife to be examples of fidelity to Christ in their love for one another. Wives are to submit to their husbands as they submit themselves to the Lord and husbands are to lead their wives in spiritual headship as also Christ is head of the church and savior of the body. These are strong admonitions God has placed upon every husband and wife who seek to do His will. There is not a graying area where these roles can be ignored or rejected. The Holy Spirit explains the role of the wife in submission to the husband is likened to the subjection the church shares with Christ. Husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. As the groom, Jesus nourishes and cherishes the church to be a glorious woman of beauty and godly character.  Paul concludes his remarks with reminding the Ephesian brethren that husbands must love their wives as themselves and the wife must respect her husband.

The passage of Ephesians 5 is often used for marital counseling, sermons, and instructions concerning the home. These are powerful testimonies to the pattern of the home God designed in the beginning. Marital strife comes when God’s word is not followed and His divine pattern is not accepted as truth. The Lord created the home and He knows what is best for the home. It must not be lost in the study of the text that Paul has laid an important foundation leading up to the admonitions for the husband and wife that are key to their success. Before telling wives to be submissive to their husbands and the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church, the apostle reminds the saints of who they are first before God. They are not husbands like those in the world and godly wives do not model themselves after the character of worldly women. The saints of God learned a new manner of life when they were brought into Christ by the grace of God. Obeying the gospel they learned to hear and believe the word of God as truth and accepted the sovereignty of God upon their lives. Learning to grow in Christ is learning to follow a different pattern of truth. The former conduct of life where the wife demands headship in the home and where husbands live as tyrants over the wife is not what one learns in Christ. Paul describes the former conduct of the husband and wife as the life of the old man that grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh. Those who do not live according to the law of God will not abide by the will of God in marriage. There is a pattern that each husband and wife must follow to be pleasing to the Lord and that is found in the word of God. The husband that is seeking to please the Father finds his heart filled with a renewed spirit of righteousness and truth. Wives learn how to love their husbands and enjoy submission through the grace of God’s word as their minds are renewed in Christ. A Christian husband and wife are renewed in the spirit of their minds to be a new person created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. Being in Christ changes the heart of the man and woman to be like Christ. Marriage was ordained in the Garden of Eden when the Lord created Adam and Eve. When the child of God under the covenant of Christ adorns their marriage with the gospel of Jesus Christ, the marriage is exalted to a higher plane of joy, peace, harmony, and love. No home is so filled with happiness than the home that is filled with a godly man and woman who have renewed themselves in Christ.

Paul will go on to illustrate how the new man will find joy in marriage by putting away things like lying, anger, bitterness, wrath and evil speaking. Marriages that are guided by the new way of Christ are filled with kindness, tenderness, forgiveness, and truth. Husbands and wives walk in unity as one with God and Christ. They are imitators of God as dear children who walk in love. The home is filled with the light of God as they walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth-seeking what is acceptable to the Lord. It takes wisdom to walk circumspectly before God and all men showing the pattern of fidelity in marriage to one another. The greatest attribute between husband and wife is how they give thanks always in all things to God the Father submitting to one another in the fear of God. This is the new man that brings the holiness of God to the marriage for the husband and wife. Becoming a new man in Christ is where the change takes place. Wives will never submit to their husbands if they do not become the new person in Christ. Husbands can never find their leadership in the home until they put on the new man created by the will of God. The husband and wife do not need to be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. There is a pattern that pleases God and that is found in the husband and wife that have become new creatures in Jesus Christ.

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Daniel’s Prayer Of Grace

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In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. (Daniel 9:1-6)

Daniel’s Prayer For Grace

Prayer says a lot of a man’s character. What a man prays for is something that comes from his heart and expresses how deep his devotion for God will be. Of all the great men of faith in the Old Testament, Daniel stands as one of the sterling examples of faith under fire and courage in the face of certain death. The book of Daniel is a testimony to a young man who shared with his three friends a life of faithful service to God. This would be difficult in the best of circumstances but as a young man Daniel was taken away from his home and enslaved in a foreign land. Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel would create a bond with one another that was concreted by their love for God and remain in holy writ as a testimony to faith in trial. The setting for the prayer in Daniel 9 is important to note the time frame. Daniel was reading the book of Jeremiah when he remembered the word of the Lord telling the prophet Israel would be punished for a period of seventy years before returning home. It was clear these years had transpired and reports from the few that had returned to Jerusalem were discouraging. The temple had yet to be rebuilt and the land was in ruin. Daniel was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the plight of Israel and God’s people. His prayer is a mournful confession to the cause and effect that brought about the punishment of God upon His chosen people. His spirit was such he prayed to the Lord with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. There was no pride in where Daniel found the people of God. His prayer is a personal confession of the rebellion of the people against the will of the Lord. The punishment was just and righteous for the Lord to exact upon the nation that refused to listen to the prophets. What was remarkable is Daniel and his friends were the bright rays of hope in Israel. It would be fair to say at the destruction of Jerusalem and the captives taken away (which included Daniel and his friends) the cause of God’s wrath came upon the wicked of Israel and the righteous had to suffer the pains of captivity along with the guilty. Now seventy years later, Daniel reflects upon the word of God and is filled with remorse and sorrow at the sinful condition of Israel leading to its destruction. It was a prayer seeking the mercy and grace of God.

Daniel could easily have blamed the people for his situation. His prayer could have been a plea to justify himself above all the others who brought about the seventy-year bondage. The prayer of Daniel was about himself as much as the people. He knew that he needed the grace of the Lord as much as those who had refused to follow the will of God. His prayer was a plea to seek mercy. He said, “we have sinned … we have done wickedly.” It is remarkable that Daniel had such humility to present himself before God in the spirit of all the people including his own failures for the cause of the bondage. Most men would first blame others and deflect all charges against themselves. Daniel’s prayer is a full expression of how to understand the grace of God to save men. No one is without sin and while Daniel and his friends were righteous of Israel, they bore the shame of face because they had sinned against the Lord. He declares in the prayer to the Lord God belongs mercy and forgiveness though they had rebelled against Him. It is as if someone needs to stop Daniel and remind him that he was not the cause of the bondage and the rebellion of the people is where the blame lies. The man of God realizes that sin is the common lot of all men and God’s grace covers the wicked and the righteous. If the wicked refuse the grace of God there is no hope. The righteous know the grace of God has blessed them but they also know the power of God’s love to forgive.

Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross for the sins of all men bringing the grace and mercy of the Lord to the hearts of those who would accept His love. Most men will not receive His grace. Judgment will still come though the righteous walk among the unrighteous. Daniel’s prayer of grace is a reminder that while Christ has saved those who obey His word and walk in His truth, there is no man that does not need the saving blood of a risen Savior. The apostle Paul would remind the Roman saints that all men sin and it does well for every child of God to embrace the knowledge that God’s grace saves them from sin. Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 is a pattern of how to pray for forgiveness and the cleansing of God’s mercy. All have sinned and committed iniquity and have done wickedly and rebelled. To all the people of God is given a reminder that all bear the shame of face because of sin. Daniel pleaded with the Lord to remove the stain of rebellion and to hear the prayer of His humble servant. Gabriel, the messenger of God, revealed to Daniel the answer and blessed him. The prayer of the devoted Christian will embrace the knowledge that God’s grace is beyond measure and through the blood of Christ salvation is found. No one is worthy to receive the love of God but He gives it to those who humble themselves like Daniel. Prayer is pleading the grace of God seeking blessings from the Father.

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Jesus Did Not Bring The Army To Save Him

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Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)

Jesus Did Not Bring The Army To Save Him

In a Roman hall of judgment stood one man regaled in the splendor of Roman authority and another man tied securely as a common prisoner. Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, sat in the seat of judgment to decide what to do with this man who stood before him. It was early in the morning as the inquisition began to discover the reason for such a commotion over one man. Pilate inquired of the Jewish leaders what charge they had against the man. The accusers claimed the man was an evildoer and deserved death. When Pilate told the Jews to charge the man according to their laws, the Jews demanded a Roman court so the penalty of crucifixion would be exacted against the accused. Returning to the Praetorium, Pilate asked the accused if he was a king. He also asked the man what he had done to bring the wrath of the Jewish people against him. It was then Jesus of Nazareth spoke a powerful and yet fearful statement of eternal truth. The kingdom Jesus came to establish was not an earthly kingdom as men see nations rise and fall. He was a King but the King of a nation of the people of God that would reign until the return of the Lord. Pilate would not understand the gravity of Jesus statement concerning His kingdom but those who live on in the Kingdom of Christ realize the incredible nature of His statement. The man from Nazareth declared that if His kingdom were an earthly kingdom His servants would fight against the whole of the Roman Empire and defeat all the armies Rome could muster. Jesus was the Son of God and He had at His disposal the army of the Lord God. The only thing Jesus had to do was ask for the Commander of the Lord’s army to bring his legions of angels to fight for Jesus and there would be no man left standing. Twelve legions stood at the call of the Son of God numbering nearly seventy-two thousand angels. One angel destroyed one-hundred-eighty-five thousand soldiers in the Old Testament and twelve legions of angels would easily destroy everyone who had the breath of life on earth. Jesus stood before a man of great power in the eyes of men as Pilate ruled over the region of Judea under the subjection of the Roman army. The man standing before Pilate could call the army of Heaven to march with Him and the Roman Legions would be helpless. If the kingdom of Christ was of the world He would never have been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. No man would have put chains on Jesus, tied His hands behind His back or manhandled the Son of God as a common criminal. Peter made a vain attempt at courage in the garden when he took a sword and tried to defend Jesus. Rebuked by the Lord, Peter was not acting according to the will of the Father. Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels then but He did not. Now the Son of God stood before a man with no authority before God and only by the grace of the Lord did Pilate breathe.

If Jesus wanted His servants to fight they would but He chose not to call the angels to deliver Him. His mission was not to deliver Himself but to deliver men like Pilate from the chains of sin. Only by giving His life a ransom for all men would Jesus show the power of His kingdom. His kingdom was not of this world and would never set up an earthly kingdom. The work of Jesus was to bring all men to God through His blood shed on a Roman cross. Pilate did not know the power of Jesus words when He told the governor His kingdom was not of this world. It would have terrified Pilate to the core if he knew the depth of what Jesus meant. The only reason Pilate was passing judgment over Jesus eventually condemning Him to the scourging and crucifixion is that the will of the Father demanded it. Jesus death was not a mistake. It was not the will of the Jewish nation to have Jesus killed. No man orchestrated the death of Jesus. From the heavenly throne of the Almighty God, Jesus stood before Pilate because God permitted it and Jesus allowed it. The Son of God had heavenly power at His call but He refused to give in to the temptation of circumventing the cross. Everything the cross represented had to be experienced by Jesus. The scourging was an incredible sacrifice of unbearable pain and Jesus faced it with faith in His father. When the soldiers placed Jesus on the ground and nailed Him to the cross Jesus endured the pain with trust in His father. Through the long hours of agony, torture and slow death Jesus gave His life to His Father. When it was finished, the Son of God died. Three days later God raised Him from the dead so that all men would not bear the unbearable pain of sin, the misery of death and the wrath of God.

There are no words to express the love man should have when Jesus Christ told Pilate that if His kingdom was of this world His servants would fight. This was a very real and terrible reality but Jesus chose not to call those legions. Because of that decision, that choice, and that sacrifice, all men have the hope of glory and eternal life. The kingdom of Christ is not an earthly kingdom but a kingdom of heavenly beauty that shows the sacrifice of the Son of God on a wooden cross. Jesus bore the sins of all men so that all men could be born again. The Son of God died to give life to all men. In the surrender of the armies of Heaven to defend Him, Jesus brought the power of God’s grace in full battle array against Satan and his army to complete destruction. In choosing not to allow His servants to fight Jesus opened the door for the victory over sin and death. Pilate would never know the power of the saving grace given through Jesus Christ. The words spoken by the man from Nazareth would never resonate in the heart of the Roman ruler and he would die alone and miserable. Thank God Jesus did not allow His servants to fight on that day.

 

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Purity Demands Cleansing

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However, Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; for the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites under tribute, but did not completely drive them out. (Judges 1:27-28)

Purity Demands Cleansing

After the death of Joshua, the tribes of Israel began settling the land of Canaan in accordance with the covenant God made with them. The Lord had promised through Abraham to give the land to the Hebrews with the condition they drive out the inhabitants of Canaan and tear down their altars to pagan gods. Joshua led the nation in the conquest of Canaan firmly establishing the power of God upon the Canaanites, Perizzites and all the people of the land. God’s word had declared the children of Israel were to completely destroy the people of the land because their wickedness had come to the judgment of the Lord but the people did not do what was commanded of them. The conquest of the land would never be fully complete as tribes like Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shean and its villages and many other villages allowing the Canaanites to dwell in the land. This was the case with the tribes of Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan who failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land. God had led the people out of Egypt and brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey. Abraham was promised the land of Canaan but did not receive it for himself as the iniquity of the people did not warrant the wrath of God to destroy them. This was not the case of Israel conquest of the land because now the wickedness of the Canaanites had become full to receive the judgment of the Lord. The agency of that judgment was the sword of the nation of Israel. However, the nation of Israel did not do what the Lord had commanded and the influence of the Canaanites remained in the land. This would lead to the downfall of the nation in the days of the divided kingdom. Israel allowed the influence of idolatry to remain in the land and it became their Achilles heel that would lead to their destruction.

God had a plan for His people. He wanted to bless them with all of the blessings from His storehouse of wealth. His covenant with them was to give them a land flowing with milk and honey if they would follow His will and drive out the evil influences that He knew would destroy them. They conquered the land but did not drive out the people that would change their hearts to serve idols and pagan deities. Israel could have been a great nation if they would have obeyed the voice of the Lord. The influence of the people of the land was a very subtle and Israel may have viewed them as harmless. Looking at the lives of the Canaanites, the people of God did not see the evil that lurked under the surface. Human wisdom decided against the word of the Lord and Israel thought they knew more than God and allowed the Canaanites to dwell in the land. The angel of the Lord came to Israel and rebuked the people for their insolence and disobedience. He declared the rebellion of the people to drive out the inhabitants would become the chain about their necks to destroy them. It was not a hard thing for the Lord God to destroy the inhabitants of the land with a sweep of His hand but that remained a duty of Israel. The Canaanites would become a thorn in the side of Israel and the gods of the land would be a snare to Israel. This would show the value of God’s word and how disobedience to the command of God was a death sentence for the people. Purity demanded the removal of the evil influences that surrounded them. Israel refused and it cost them everything.

The Canaanites have long been gone from the land of Canaan but the influence of the world upon God’s people remains a strong and potent power. There is a principle established in the story of the period of Judges that should resonate with the Christian. When the influences of the world are allowed to remain in the lives of God’s people, they will find a greater struggle to be devoted to his will. Throughout the New Testament, admonishments are given to exhort the child of God to remove the influences of the world from their lives. No one can serve the Lord who has one foot in the world and think they have one foot in the kingdom. Jesus explained that no man can serve two masters and this demands a choice. For the child of God to live a full and powerful life in Christ, the charms of the world must be removed. Too many Christians believe they can live pure lives and share in the attachments of the world. Many will argue that social drinking is acceptable for a Christian, immodest dress is relative to the whims of the world, service to God is a personal choice and a myriad of excuses to serve the Lord on Sunday and live worldly lives the rest of the week. Israel was destroyed for lack of knowledge. The reason they were destroyed is that they allowed the one thing that God had told them to remove remain in the land. God knew best and the people rejected His will. The child of God must believe the word of the Bible is the pattern that must guide the heart and without the removal of the influences of the world, there will be no growth. Purity demands the removal of those things that will steal the heart away from God. Israel did not completely drive out the Canaanites. These things were written so that men can see the consequences of impurity. Serve the Lord. Remove sinful influences.

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The New Birth

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Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)

The New Birth

Holding a newborn baby is one of the amazing experiences anyone can have. Peering into the dark eyes of a little child who has just experienced the wonder of life and seeing for the first time the faces of those who love them and embrace them with soothing words of endearing acceptance is a time of faith, trust, and curiosity. The paradox of these first moments is that while the child is taking in the new world that burst upon their minds there will be no remembrance of the event. Newborns and for much of their infancy will engage in so many things as their bodies change and the surroundings become familiar but will remain in the forgotten memories of the new birth. Eventually, the memories will remain and childhood will be filled with laughter, exploration, and amazement. Innocence is the nature of infancy before the prejudices of adulthood creep in to bring doubt, mistrust, and questions. Children are dependent on others to care for them as they are helpless. Their formula of what is right and wrong is formed largely from what they are taught and what they see in others. They begin with a diet of milk before moving up to solid food as their bodies are not adjusted in the beginning. Childhood is a beautiful time of purity where the world is a clear place protected by parents who provide all that is needed and keep the child protected from all harm.

Jesus used the illustration of the new birth to explain to Nicodemus what it meant to be a child of God. Under the Law of Moses, a person entered a covenant with the Lord through the natural birth of being born of a Jewish family. Circumcised on the eighth day, a child would become a member of the nation of God before knowing who the Lord was. His knowledge of truth and righteousness came much later in life as he grew to adulthood. Jesus explained that in the new kingdom a child would be born first of the water and spirit before becoming a child of God. This birth would be a spiritual birth where believing in the Lord God and knowing His will would precede the time when a person entered a covenant with God. Before returning to His Father, the Lord explained the new birth when He told the eleven to preach the gospel to every creature under heaven and he who believes and is baptized would be saved and those who do not believe will be condemned. The new birth requires belief before birth and salvation does not come until after birth. Jesus shows the new birth as being born of water and spirit which is only fulfilled in the waters of baptism. Like the physical birth where a child is born when he is delivered from the womb of darkness to the light of the world, the Christian is taken from the world of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God through the agency of the new birth. Baptism is essential to salvation because without the new birth there is no new life.

The imagery of the new birth continues when the person becomes a Christian much like a newborn. There is a complete dependency on God to help them grow in the proper manner and to protect them from harm. Like newborn infants, desiring the sincere milk of the world will bring health and happiness to the life of the new Christian. They will need the instructions from others on how to walk, the manner of speech, changing the mind of the world to a spiritual mind and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. God has given the Bible to fill the hearts of His children to know Him, learn of His Son and to be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. New Christians who do not drink deeply from the word of God will grow up deficient of all the spiritual vitamins needed to sustain a healthy life. Like newborns, longing for the fellowship of other saints and growing together in the grace of Christ is where the strength and power of the family of God are found. Dependency is upon one another and God. Knowledge comes from the continual study of His word. Trust is developed in knowing the heavenly Father will care for and protect the child from all harm. Children of God will grow up to see the love of God living in their hearts as they seek to draw their lives more fully to the will of the Lord. There interesting paradox of the family of God is the Lord wants His children to remain His children in trust, faith, and love. When a child grows up to depend upon himself instead of the Father, he walks in a manner that is displeasing to the will of God. Jesus would teach His disciples that to be great in the kingdom of God would require the heart of a child. Only when the heart of a child dwells in the soul of a man will he understand the love the Father has for him. A small child will not argue and fuss about what the parent’s demand, because they know, to trust without a doubt. Faith in God requires trusting in His word and His will with no doubt having the heart of a child. It starts with a new birth. Found in this remarkable time is complete purity, innocence, and love.

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The Wrath Of God

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

The Wrath Of God

Reading the Old Testament could be easily assumed that God is a wrathful God and the New Testament shows the love of God. Throughout the Old Testament stories are told of the Lord’s judgment upon the world, nations, and individuals. With the exception of eight souls, every human being alive in the days of Noah was destroyed in the flood. When God brought the Hebrews out of Egypt, the firstborn of every Egyptian home including the animals would die. Because of rebellion, all the Israelites twenty years and old perished in the wilderness with the exception of the faithful few. Great nations were used by the Lord to punish His people and then were destroyed by the hand of God. Clearly, the Old Testament is filled with great stories of the wrath of God. Opening the pages of the New Testament the casual reading may conclude that all of the love of God is found with grace and mercy and the kindness of the Lord. The gospels unveil the story of the only begotten Son given by a loving God for sacrifice to atone men from sin. The Acts and epistles reveal the nature of God’s grace to redeem man showing him the way to eternal life. John sees the greatest revelation and writes down the hopes and promises of the Almighty God who will save His people from the fierceness of the great dragon Satan. Modern man will reject the notion that a Father who sends His only begotten Son to save man from sin would also be a God of wrathful judgment upon all men and yet the New Testament is filled with the teaching of the wrath of God. From the aspect of phraseology, the expression ‘wrath of God’ is found less than a dozen times in the Bible and only once in the Old Testament.  Clearly, the evidence of the wrath of God is found throughout the Old Testament but the use of the wrath of God is exclusively New Testament doctrine.

The Bible is not a book that divides the character of God into two parts leaving man to believe that God is only one nature. He has remained unchanged from the beginning of the world and the nature and character of the Lord are filled with His love and His wrath. Paul declares in the letter to Rome, the goodness and severity of God and this message are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is the power of God to save the man but it also is the revelation of the wrath of God against all those who oppose the will of the Lord. Sin is not tolerated under the grace of Christ any more than it was accepted in the hypocrisy of the Israelites. God’s view of wickedness did not change over the eons of time to suit the fancy of men. His will remains unchanged, unmoved, unaltered and without exception. The principles of the law have changed as the Abrahamic law of faith and the Law of Moses can no longer save a man but the wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Throughout the writings of the New Testament, the wrath of God is impressed upon the minds of the early disciples that God is love and God is also wrathful. Everything man needs to save himself from the peril of perdition is afforded through Jesus Christ and His blood. If men refuse to abide by the covenant of His will there will be consequences described simply as the wrath of God. There are many different types of churches today that play the false tune of God’s grace that saves a man no matter how he lives. God’s love is all a man needs. The grace of God is tremendous and the love of God is unbounded but leaving out the wrath of God is an eternal mistake. Ungodliness is living as man desires without keeping the commandments of the Lord. Unrighteousness is doing things that are not right. What is right and what is wrong is determined by God – not man. Suppressing the truth will bring peace to a man’s heart but it will destroy his soul in eternity.

Sin has remained unchanged since the fall of man in the garden. It permeates the heart, defiles the soul and changes the nature of man. The promise of salvation came when God did not destroy a man for his rebellion. Before time began, the Lord had a plan to redeem man and bring him back from the mire of sin. The love of God is without words to understand but He has given His love to all men to buy them back from the damnation of sin. At the same time, the wrath of God is revealed against those who refuse to live in accordance with His will. God is full of love and He is full of wrath. The Old and New Testament reveal the character of God’s love and His wrath. Reading the Bible from Genesis to the Revelation the Son of God rises from the pages to show how much God loves the man and how every provision of grace is offered to all men. The wile of the devil is to veil the heart of man from God’s wrath and cause him to ignore the penalty for sin. The soul that sins shall die. If a man refuses to submit his will to the Father, there is no choice but to face the wrath of God. It is real.

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The Legacy Of Asaph

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King David lived about one thousand years before the birth of Christ. During his reign, he went about placing musicians in the house of the Lord and organizing the Tabernacle worship. In 1 Chronicles 6, David appointed over the service of song in the house of the Lord, men who would minister the music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting. This would be in place until Solomon would build the Temple in 966 B.C. Among those who ministered at the tabernacle were the sons of the Kohathites, Elkanah and the son of Joel, the son of Samuel. One family would stand out among all those who ministered with music. The son of Berachiah, the son of Shimea was Asaph. The legacy of Asaph would be felt for many generations.

When David brought the Ark to Jerusalem, he spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers, accompanied by instruments of music. “So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; … the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were to sound the cymbals of bronze” (1 Chronicles 15:17-19). Later, Asaph would be made chief and play cymbals (1 Chronicles 16:4-7.) Asaph and his brother were before the “ark of the covenant of the Lord to minister before the ark regularly, as every day’s work required” (1 Chronicles 16:37). The sons of Asaph would be separated to prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals (1 Chronicles 25:1-2) and include 288 skillful men instructed in the songs of the Lord.

Solomon, son of David, built the first great temple for the Lord. During his reign, he would take the nation of Israel to its zenith of power and glory. When the ark of the covenant was brought into the temple, the priests put it into its proper place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. Among the singers who were present at the dedication of the temple, the children of Asaph are still serving the Lord in their priestly duties (2 Chronicles 5:11-14). One hundred years later, during the reign of Jehoshaphat, the Spirit of the Lord came upon “Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly” (2 Chronicles 20:14). During the reign of Hezekiah, the sons of Asaph are still an integral part of the true worship to Jehovah in the midst of a wicked nation (2 Chronicles 29:12-15). In the days of the great king Josiah, the Passover was kept and among the priests are the singers from the family of Asaph (2 Chronicles 35:10-15).

Because of the wickedness of the nation, Israel was cast off into Babylonian captivity for seventy years. Under the direction of Ezra, the temple in Jerusalem would be rebuilt. Among the captives who returned from bondage were “the singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight” (Ezra 2:41). At the laying of the foundation for the temple in the second month of the second year of their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, “when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel” (Ezra 3:10). What is important about this listing of the sons of Asaph serving the Lord in worship after the captivity is this would be nearly four hundred years since the ark was brought into the temple during the days of Solomon. The legacy of Asaph is he took very seriously the idea of passing down his faith to the generations that followed. His family served the temple for more than four hundred years.

Jeremiah wrote about a family much like the sons of Asaph. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and told him to go to the house of the Rechabites and invite them to the house of the Lord to drink wine. The prophet did as the Lord instructed and set bowls full of wine before the whole house of the Rechabites and said to them, “Drink wine.” But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’ Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed. But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us.’” (Jeremiah 35:6-10). Here is a family that has established a generational faith to follow the faith of their father without exception.

The lesson from the children of Asaph and the family of the Rechabites is the value and importance (and need) for families to see the pattern of parents teaching their children and children teaching their children the word of God. The work of training the family never ends. Grandparents must never fail to give the proper training to their grandchildren. Too many of God’s people are losing their children to the wiles of the devil and destroying their souls. Families so often are single generational families when it comes to faithfulness to the Lord. Satan will attack the home first to stop families like Asaph and Jonadab the son of Rechab. The psalmist declared the work of training children: “For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and may not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not set its heart aright, and whose spirit was not faithful to God” (Psalm 78:5-8).

How many families can list a four hundred generational faith like the sons of Asaph? It begins with each generation passing along to the next generation the love for God and to help their children be in love with God. Sitting on a church pew will not build a generation of faithful saints. Filling the heart with the word of God will change the family to be filled with the grace of the Lord through each generation. The most important commodity Noah had on the ark was not the animals or the grain or his wardrobe or favorite cart. What mattered most and the only important thing to his heart was the sight of his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law safely in the ark. How can we do any less?

 

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