The Unpardonable Sin

In Matthew 12:31-32 we read about “The Unpardonable Sin”. Many Christians wonder what this sin is and wonder if they have committed it. Let’s explore these passages and see what we can learn.

Matthew 12:31 – “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

First we learn that God can forgive every sin. 1 John 1:9 confirms this “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Then we discover that “blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” The Spirit reveals the gospel to us (1 Peter 1:12). The gospel is the truth that Jesus paid for our sins and that He is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). In other words, the gospel is God’s offer of forgiveness for our sins. Blasphemy against the Spirit occurs when someone rejects the gospel.

That brings us to Matthew 12:32:

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

It’s one thing to speak out against Jesus because you don’t understand who He is. Before he understood the truth, Paul acted in “ignorance and unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:12-14).

But to speak out against Jesus after a person understands who He is means that the clearer the truth becomes the more he hates it and turns away from it.

Simply put, the only sin God can’t forgive is the sin of not asking for forgiveness. And since a Christian is someone who has accepted the gospel message he or she cannot commit the Unpardonable Sin.

The Silence Of Christ

Christ’s Silence At Nazareth
”A time to keep silence and a time to speak…” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

There was no noise made about His coming into the world. He slipped into it we may say, until a choir of angels made it known. A few weeks after, we hear the trampling of Herod’s horsemen, and we see the babe fleeing into Egypt. Then we hear nothing of Him (with one exception) for thirty years.

This Plant of renown grew up silently before the Lord, and spread out His branches to be immersed with divine fragrance. He did all for God only, and this is true service for child or man. He broke the silence once that He might tell us what He was engaged in. “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Christ never refers to these thirty years. Why did He keep silence? To teach us the real nature of obedience. Is it not doing everything under God’s eye and for Him, not drawing the attention of others to what we are, and to what we are doing? He was teaching us to be content with the Father’s approval, that the way to please the Lord is by our obedience.

Is God’s approval enough for you though all men should ignore you or even despise you? Christ lived for thirty years with the two tables of the law unbroken. Learn to take in much of Christ’s obedience into your thoughts.

Christ’s Silence In Receiving Sinners
”Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?” (Isaiah 57:11)

The woman who washed His feet with her tears was a great sinner, a notorious sinner, so much so that Simon wondered He could let her touch Him. Christ did not speak about her sins. He allowed her in silence to come and weep at His feet.

There was no ‘casting up’ of her old sins, no upbraiding. Without His speaking a word she knew she was forgiven. All this woman’s sins—and they were many—He dropped into the deep, and welcomed her to Himself. Does He not do this to us? The fountain opened for sin washes sin away, but there is no voice in the waters.

In silence the waters wash the soul. Christ ‘held His peace,’ and the woman ‘feared’ Him. Had He rebuked her, her heart might have been broken by sorrow, but would she have been drawn to Him? His silent gentleness drew her with the cords of love. Look at the woman we read of in the John 8.

When Christ had heard what her accusers said He turned away, and stooping down, began to write on the ground as if to give a silent rebuke to them. When He lifted Himself up and looked at them, He did not say one upbraiding word to the woman, but a searching word to those round her. When He looked up the second time her accusers had all disappeared.

Then He said to the woman, ‘I do not pronounce condemnation on thee, but pardon. Go, and sin no more.’ He did not rebuke her. He was there as the Sin-bearer, and in the very act of saying ‘Go, and sin no more,’ He was casting her sins into the depths of the sea, and giving her the power to sin no more.

It was not because her sin was small. It was because it was such that He turned away His eyes from her, that He hastened to cast it into the depths of the sea. He took it on Himself and so put it out of sight of God and man. It is so with Him still.

You may take your sin to Him at once, and He will not rebuke you. He will not scold you. He will ‘in no wise cast you out.’ Some of you may think that God does not notice your sin. Do you not know that God is silent that He may give you time for repentance? There will be a day when He will ’speak out,’ as there has been a time when He has kept silence. “May now be saved, whoever will; Our Lord Christ Jesus receives sinners still”

Christ’s Silence In Dealing With His Disciples
“…I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Christ did not hasten to speak. It is one thing that can be said of Christ, though it cannot be said of all His disciples, He was not overcritical. How He kept silence is remarkable. How often His disciples did inconsistent, stupid things through ignorance, and the worst that Christ said to them was, “O you of little faith.” Sometimes He did not speak at all, but only by a sigh showed that He was vexed.

We don’t do much good by speaking too much about the faults of others. If we could learn Christ’s solemn way of speaking a little, we would be much more likely to reach our end. He never talked to others about the faults of His disciples, and, when others tried to find fault with them, He was very quick to defend them. When they were blamed for plucking the ears of corn, He interceded and gave a defense for them. When they were blamed for not fasting, He gave good reasons why they should not. When “they all forsook Him and fled”, He was not offended in them.

When Peter denied Him did He utter a word of reproach? He only gave Him a look that was silent, but how it touched Peter’s soul! When He said to Him by the Sea of Galilee three times “Do you love Me?” there was evidently an allusion to his thrice-repeated denial. Doubtless Peter longed to have Him speak of it, that he might have the opportunity of confessing his sin and being forgiven.

But Christ never said more about it than that. When He speaks about His disciples in John 17, you would think these men were faultless! He says they have kept His word, they have believed on Him, they are not of the world, even as He is not. He never speaks of their failures, He just speaks of their faith.

O believer, what a Savior you have! How He will hide all your sins, and speak only of your faith to the Father. It is not that He does not see wherein you fail, but it is just His exceeding loving-kindness.

The very height of this is seen in His dealings with the beloved John. Never man had a sorer heart than John when he came back and stood at the Cross for some hours before his Master died.

John, who used to lay his head on Christ’s bosom, had forsaken Him and fled! But Christ has not a word of rebuke for him. He looks upon him, and before the end comes He says to him, “There is My mother; she is your mother now. Take her home with you. I forgive you, I can trust you, John.” Such is grace. If it were not that we know all this, I don’t know how we could take our places in glory before the throne. Our worst sin will be completely gone, and no holy angel will be more welcome than we will be!

– Andres Bonar

Creation And Our New Birth

The first few verses of Genesis gives the account of creation. But if we take a closer look we find it also tells the story of our new birth. Let’s look at the first four verses of Genesis 1 and I’ll show you what I mean:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

In the beginning the earth was dark and void. This brings to mind the human heart which is dark and “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)

There’s a void in our hearts as well because “all things were created through Him [Jesus] and for Him,” (Colossians 1:16) but “like sheep we have all gone astray.” (Isaiah 53:6)

God called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22) because the one thing David desired was to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 27:4) Like God, David desired fellowship, but our “iniquities have separated us from our God and our sins have hidden His face from us.” (Isaiah 59:2)

There’s hope, though, because just as God moved to form the universe, He moves to form a relationship with us. (John 6:44) He comes to bring light into our dark hearts and fill the void with fellowship. (Revelation 21:3)

“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

See the power of God’s Word? He speaks and it’s done! And so when He says that “Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” and that “whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” with Him, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, John 3:16) we can rest assured it is the Truth. What God says always comes to pass.

“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:4)

Just as God looked at creation and was satisfied, He looked at Jesus’ payment of our sins on the cross and was satisfied. (Isaiah 53:10-11) He proved this by raising Christ from the grave.

So although we’re sinners separated from God, if we accept Jesus as our Savior and His work on the cross as payment for our sins, we stand before God innocent and may now fellowship with Him forever. (Romans 3:23-25; Hebrews 4:15-16)

And, just as God separated light from darkness, He’s separated those who are in Christ from those who aren’t. Those who are in Christ are His forever and nothing can ever separate them from His love. (Romans 8:38-39)

“What fellowship, what joy divine,
What blessedness, what peace is mine,

How sweet to walk this pilgrim way,
How bright the path grows from day to day,

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near.”

What Heaven Will Be Like

“Joy is the business of heaven.” -C.S. Lewis

What will heaven be like? And what will we be like when we get there? The Bible doesn’t go into specifics about heaven. Why? Because “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor 2:9). Our minds simply cannot comprehend the glory that awaits us.

Now while it’s true we don’t know the details about heaven, the Bible does give us a general idea. What we discover is absolutely mind-blowing!

WHAT WE WILL BE LIKE

“Dear friends, now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

When we enter heaven will be changed physically and spiritually. John tells us we will be like Jesus. What will that be like? Here are a few things the Bible tells us:

– WE WILL NO LONGER SIN: “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6) In heaven Jesus will remove our sinful nature and complete making us new creations. Imagine you have a computer program that has problems (Ha! Not too hard to imagine that, is it). But then the new version comes out and everything that is good about the program is left in but everything bad is fixed — and not only that, but many great new features are added. That’s what we will be like in heaven.

– WE WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE SAME LAWS OF PHYSICS: In John 20:19,26 we find Jesus walking through walls and locked doors to reach the disciples. Elsewhere in the Bible we read about angels that appear and disappear. We will be able to travel anywhere instantly.

-WE WILL STILL EAT AND TOUCH: We will be able to walk through solid objects and still be able to touch and eat like Jesus did in John 20:27 and John 21:10-15. Paul tells us that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven” (1 Cor. 15:59), so eating will be done for pleasure and not necessity And Revelation 22:2 tells us that in heaven there will be a tree of life that bears twelve different kinds of fruit each month. Some think that there may be a feast each month when this tree blooms and a time of great fellowship as we gather around to share a meal together.

– WE WILL NEVER BE SICK AGAIN: We currently live in a fallen, imperfect world. People get sick, suffer and die. In heaven that won’t be true. God tells us in heaven there will “no longer be any curse” (Rev. 22:3). What does that mean? Revelation 21:4 tells us: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Heaven will be a world where, “the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. And the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue will shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:5-6). There will be no more suffering in heaven.

– WE WILL RECOGNIZE ONE ANOTHER: You can read Matthew 17:3 for a little insight here. Moses and Elijah appear and talk with Jesus. Peter recognizes both of them even though they both lived many years before him. In heaven, we will know not only our loved ones but everyone else that is there!

– WE WILL HAVE DEEPER RELATIONSHIPS: There will be no marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:30). The reason is that relationships will be much deeper than anything on earth. Remember that we’ll be free from sin. Relationships will be pure and free of doubt, jealousy and gossip.

Love, joy and peace — in heaven we will experience these things the way they were meant to be. We can only experience these things partly now. While it’s true we love and have joy and peace on earth, we don’t fully experience them because we also know what it is to hate, grieve, and have trouble. In heaven, when these things are removed, we will love and rejoice and be at peace completely.

WHAT HEAVEN WILL BE LIKE

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the Throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the Throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” – Revelation 21:1-4

– WE WILL LIVE IN NEW JERUSALEM: Revelation 21:2-3 tells us we will have a new home called “New Jerusalem”. Jerusalem means, “city of peace”. This New Jerusalem is massive! It will be about 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles long, and 1,500 miles high. (Revelation 21:15-16). That would make this huge city roughly the size of the moon. The city will have 12 gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them. The foundation will be twelve layers to it with the names of the twelve apostles written on them. (Revelation 21:12-17)

And the entire city will be made of gold and jewels.

The walls will be made of pure diamond and the city of pure gold – clear as glass (Revelation 21:18). The foundation will be filled with precious stones (Revelation 21:19-21).

As God dwells in this city, the light from His glory will shine through these stones producing a brilliant rainbow of colors! Can you see this? Can you imagine such a sight?

– WE WILL BE WITH CHRIST: More important than anything else is the fact that we will be with our Lord forever. From His throne flows the River of Life. It will be perfect, clear as crystal. And we will see Him face to face (Revelation 22:4). We shall worship Him and be His people and He will be our God.

When we see Christ face to face His presence will dominate heaven the same way the sun dominates the hot summer sky. If heaven had streets of gold, precious gems, and angels singing overhead but no Jesus then we wouldn’t even notice those other things. Because just as the sun illuminates the summer sky, so the glory of Christ illuminates all of heaven.

We will be able to talk to Him, ask Him questions, and listen to Him speak. Imagine hearing His voice – the Bible says it will be “like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder (Revelation 14:2). Imagine the stories He’ll tell, the lessons He’ll teach, the love He’ll share.

Jesus gives us the best description of heaven in Revelation 21 and 22. What’s so wonderful about it is Jesus’ excitement. You can sense that He yearns to share heaven with us. When you get to heaven He will smile, put His arms around you, and say, “All this I have prepared for you because I love you. Enjoy my fellwoship!”

Then we will live happily ever after forever and ever with our God, Savior and Friend.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.”

HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN…

Heaven is God’s home. God is perfect and so heaven is perfect. Nothing imperfect can ever enter heaven (Revelation 22:14-15).

Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But God has provided a way to bridge the gap between us and Him…

John 3:16 tells us this, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus died on the cross for your sins and mine. He took your punishment for sinning. He died for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. Now He offers forgiveness to you. All you have to do is acknowledge you are a sinner, and that Jesus, the Son of God, died in your place, and accept Him as your Savior. You can accept Jesus as Savior by praying this prayer:

Lord, I realize that I am a sinner. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior now. Please show me your will and help me become the person you want me to be. Amen.

Knowledge

– by Acts 17:11 Bible Studies

Doesn’t the Bible say that knowledge will be “destroyed”? Isn’t it “incomplete”? Doesn’t it “puff up”? And then there’s the “tree of”! But aren’t we also told to “look/ask/seek for it and walk in it”? First, we will look at knowledge, wisdom, and understanding as a single issue.

HOW LONG WILL KNOWLEDGE BE USEFUL?

1 Cor 13:8b-12 (Phi) For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are “tongues” the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete. When I was a little child I talked and felt like a little child. Now that I am a man I am finished with childish things. At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a small fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God has known me!

IN THE MEANTIME…

Knowledge is needed because there are problems as a result of The Fall. Knowledge that is true allows problems to be solved and avoided. If a car breaks down, mechanical knowledge is useful, otherwise it is unnecessary. It is the same with all of life’s problems. God gives us knowledge to help “fix” broken people, protect ourselves from the difficulties of life, and allow love to express itself in good works.

KNOWLEDGE ALLOWS LOVE TO DO WHAT?

Prov 3:19-20a (NIV) By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided.

Prov 24:3-4 (NIV) By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

LOVE WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE?

Sandy Gregory’s story of the ignorant but loving mother: She feeds her children an all meat diet, because she believes meat is the best kind of food. One day she gains some important knowledge after reading a nutrition guide, and she starts buying a mixture of food types for her children. As a result her children become healthier. Question: Did this mother love her children more before or after she gained the knowledge? Hmmm…. The same! But until the knowledge, her love was fruitless, even counterproductive. Knowledge that is true allows love to blossom into good fruit.

Rom 10:2 (NIV) For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.

Prov 19:2 (NIV) It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

Hos 4:6 (NIV) My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

THE “SIMPLE” (Those who are deliberately ignorant and actively avoid truth)

Prov 1:28-33 (NIV) “They will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat of the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

Eph 5:17 (NIV) Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Prov 23:23 (NIV) Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.

Prov 9:6 (NIV) Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.

Jam 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Prov 8:11 (NIV) For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Prov 19:8 (NIV) He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.

Prov 13:20 (NIV) He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Prov 24:5-6 (NIV) A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength. For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.

KNOWLEDGE TO BE AVOIDED

Gen 2:17 (NIV) But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

1 Cor 14:20 (NIV) Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be like adults.

Rom 16:19b (NIV) But I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

Rom 16:19b (Phi) I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners at evil.

Mat 10:16 (NIV) I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

OUR OWN UNDERSTANDING

Phil 4:7 (NEB) Then, the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

Job 36:26 (NIV) How great is God, beyond our understanding!

Prov 3:5,7a (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…. Do not be wise in your own eyes.

THE TWO KINDS OF WISDOM: FROM ABOVE AND FROM BELOW

Jam 3:13-17 (Phi) Is there some wise and understanding man among you? Then let his life be a shining example of the humility that is born of true wisdom. But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy and rivalry, then do not boast and do not deny the truth. You may acquire a certain wisdom, but it does not come from above–it comes from this world, from your own lower nature, even from the devil. For wherever you find jealousy and rivalry you also find disharmony and all other kinds of evil. The wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of merciful thoughts and kindly actions, straightforward, with no hint of hypocrisy.

1 Cor 1:18-31 (Phi) The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less than the power of God. It is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject.” For consider, what have the philosopher, the writer, and the critic of this world to show for all their wisdom? Has not God made the wisdom of this world look foolish? For it was after the world in its wisdom had failed to know God, that he in his wisdom chose to save all who would believe by the “simple- mindedness” of the gospel message. For the Jews ask for miraculous signs and the Greeks an intellectual panacea, but all we preach is Christ crucified–a stumbling-block to the Jews and sheer nonsense to the gentiles… for God’s “foolishness” is wiser than men…. But God has chose what the world calls foolish to shame the wise… that no man may boast in the presence of God…. And this makes us see the truth of the scripture: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

1 Cor 3:19-21 (Phi) Let no one be under any illusion over this. If any man among you thinks himself one of the world’s clever ones, let him discard his cleverness that he may learn to be truly wise. For this world’s cleverness is stupidity to God. It is written: “He that taketh the wise in their craftiness”, and again, “The Lord knoweth the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain.” So let no one boast of men.

KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT LOVE?

1 Cor 8:1b-2 (Phi) It is easy to think that we “know” over problems like this, but we should remember that while this “knowing” may make a man look big, it is only love that can make him grow to his full stature. For if a man thinks he “knows” he may still be quite ignorant of what he ought to know.

1 Cor 8:1b (NIV) Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

1 Cor 13:2 (NIV) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge… but have not love, I am nothing.

THE SOURCE OF TRUE KNOWLEDGE

Prov 2:6,9-11 (NIV) For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Mat 11:25 (NIV) At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, and revealed them to little children.”

Jam 1:17 (NAS) Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

GOD’S SECRET, REVEALED BY THE SPIRIT

1 Cor 2:6-10a (Phi) We do, of course, speak wisdom among those who are spiritually mature, but it is not what is called wisdom by this world, nor by the powers-that-be, who soon will be only the powers that have been. The wisdom we speak of is that mysterious secret wisdom of God, which he planned before the creation for our glory today…. But, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”. Thus God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret.

1 Cor 2:10a (NIV) But God has revealed it [wisdom] to us by his Spirit.

Phil 1:9-10 (Jer) My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ.

Col 1:9,10 (NIV) For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

CAN WE EVER KNOW ENOUGH?

2 Pet 1:2-3 (Phi) May you know more and more of grace and peace as your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord grows deeper. He has by his own action given us everything that is necessary for living the truly good life, in allowing us to know the one who has called us to him, through his glorious goodness.

Romans 15:14 (NIV) I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

Col 1:28 (Phi) So naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ.

Phil 3:16 (Phi) It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have already learned.

Jam 4:17b (Phi) If a man knows what is right and fails to do it, his failure is a real sin.

Jesus, Our High Priest Forever

In this study we are going to take a look at Jesus’ role as our Great High Priest talked about in Hebrews chapter 4 and 5.

JESUS, OUR COMPASSIONATE HIGH PRIEST…

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)

As Christians, our “confession” is that Jesus died for our sins. The writer here is saying that we should truly believe or “hold fast” to this claim because the One we have put or faith in has come from the heavens and He is worthy, willing and able to save us.

The title used here: ‘Jesus the Son of God’ refers to His human nature (JESUS) as well as His title as God (THE SON OF GOD). Jesus, the Man and Jesus, the God; this is a theme throughout these verses as you’ll see starting with the next verse.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

The Plan of Salvation called for God to come in the flesh to be a sacrifice for our sins. To do this Jesus took on an additional nature — a Human nature — while He still kept His Godly nature. This is why we can see Jesus performing miracles and at the same time tempted and suffering. We can see Him die and be raised again because there are two natures at work. A difficult idea for us to understand.

Because of His Human nature Jesus was tempted continually and suffered greatly (Read Isaiah 53 for an insight into this). This is why we can go to Him when we are tempted and when we are suffering. He will not only hear our cries – He will understand them too. That’s why in time of need we can go to Him – because He’s been where we are and has overcome it. Our strength is in Jesus! .

QUALIFICATIONS OF A HIGH PRIEST…

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself also subject to weakness. Because of this he is required to offer sacrifices for sins. And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.” (Hebrews 5:1-4)

The theme here switches to the earthly high priests (notice it says, “from among men”). The earthly high priest was appointed by God and could relate to the people he represented because he was tempted like they were. So he made sacrifices for their sins as well as his own (Once a year on the Day of Atonement. See Leviticus 16).

Now the difference here is that the earthly high priest sinned. Jesus did not yet He died because of sin (yours and mine not His. Isaiah 53 is again helpful in understanding this). Its like the owner of a railroad buying a ticket – he doesn’t need one. So he has a ticket he can give away to someone who can’t afford to buy his or her own. Because Jesus died even though He didn’t have to, He has a “free ticket” that we can use to pay for our sins.

A PRIEST OF A HIGHER CALLING…

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'” (Hebrews 5:5)

The earthly high priest were appointed by God. They didn’t name themselves to the position. The same is true with Christ. It was God the Father who appointed Jesus as the heavenly High Priest.

God the Father and Jesus are equal and along with the Holy Spirit (who is equal to them both) make up the Trinity (One God existing in three forms. Romans 1:8-9; Matthew 28:19). So this verse is not saying that the Father is greater than the Son because Jesus Himself said that He and the Father are one (John 5:17-23, John 14:11). Jesus willingly subjects Himself to the Fathers will.

How can we explain this? Let’s say you have a mother and a father. The mother says to the father, “Put the baby to bed,” now the mother and father are equal in their relationship and the father doesn’t have to put the baby to bed but he does out of love for his wife and to accomplish a goal (the goal is putting the baby to bed). Same thing with God the Father and God the Son. Both are equal but the Son submits willingly, out of love, to accomplish the goal (the goal in this case paying for our sins).

“And He also says in another place: ‘You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek'” (Hebrews 5:6)

To be an earthly high priest you needed to be born from the tribe of Levi. But Jesus was born from the tribe of Juda so He can’t be a Priest, right? No. what the writer just got done saying here was that there is a higher order of priesthood, the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7) And Jesus is from a higher order than the earthly priesthood.

“Who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,” (Hebrews 5:7)

Are you broken, beat up, suffering, crying Bring those problems to Jesus because He understands them. He went through them. And He wants to help you through them.

Jesus prayed to the Father (again we are seeing Jesus’ Human nature) and ask to be saved from death. Which He was. Three days after He was crucified He rose again. Through Jesus you too will overcome death!

“Godly fear’ doesn’t mean “scared” it means “respect”. It means realizing that only God can save someone from death — a fact that demands respect.

“though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

“He learned obedience”. In other words even though Jesus is God the Son, He submitted Himself to His Fathers will, and became obedient to Him. This obedience was revealed by the fact He suffered so much for us.

“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”

“Having been perfected”. How could Jesus have been perfected? What that means is that Jesus proved He was perfect by the fact that He was tempted yet never sinned (From verses 4:15-16). Because of this, He was worthy to take our place in judgement.

FINAL THOUGHTS…

As you can see, paying for our sins involved a lot more than we realized. God Himself took on an additional nature so He could suffer and be tempted. He did this to prove He was perfect. Once this was proven He was beaten to the point that you couldn’t even tell that He was a man, raised up on a cross and was killed. He was judged so that you wouldn’t have to be.

How Jesus Deals With His Friends And Enemies

The story of the Pharisees & the man with the withered hand is found in Mark 3:1-5 (It’s also told in Matthew 12:9-13 & Luke 6:6-10). It’s only a few verses, but this simple story gives us a glimpse into the heart of Jesus and shows us how He reacts to those who follow Him and those who are against Him.

JESUS KNEW THEIR HEARTS…

Our story opens with Jesus entering a synagogue (Mark 3:1). The man with the withered hand was there and so were the Pharisees (the religious leaders of the day).

On the outside, the Pharisees appeared to be keeping God’s commands, but their hearts told another story. They acted holy on the outside because they desired the praise of man, but Jesus knew their hearts and knew they were not seeking God (Matthew 23:5-7). The Pharisees desired rules and man’s praise whereas Jesus was offering relationship and freedom. Not surprisingly they were clashing all the time (Mark 2 & 3).

This was one of those times.

Now it was the Sabbath and according to the law it was unlawful to work on this day. So they waited for Jesus to heal the man with the withered hand. When He did they would accuse Him of breaking the law because, they rationed, healing was considered work (Mark 3:2).

How sad on the one hand that the Pharisees viewed helping someone in need a sin, yet on the other hand how awesome that even Jesus’ enemies knew that He would go to the one with the greatest need. And we can be comforted by the fact that “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 15:8). He still goes to the one with the greatest need.

Jesus knew what they were up to and said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? But they kept silent. And He looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts.” (Mark 3:4)

This is a snapshot of how Jesus deals with those who are against Him. He treats them with kindness and explains the truth to them (“Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good…”) so that they might repent. And when they don’t He is angered by their sin and also grieved by it. In other words Jesus hates the sin but loves the sinner. It breaks His heart when someone rejects Him because He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

A LIFE TOUCHED BY JESUS…

So Jesus now turns his attention to the man with the withered hand. We know so little about him. He must have had great faith in God because in those days an affliction like the one he had was considered judgment for some secret sin (even though we find that think thinking is wrong. See the lives of Job and Hannah for example). Yet this man continued to worship God. He must have known that He would find the true God if he searched for Him with all his heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

“Jesus said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Step forward’.” (Mark 3:1,3)

The man’s heart must have leapt when he heard Jesus’ invitation. Jesus was inviting the man to cast his cares unto Him and find comfort in His rest. He calls us the same way. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

“‘Stretch out your hand.'” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.” (Mark 3:5)

It was Jesus who called this man into a relationship. It was Jesus who gave this man the strength to hold out his hand. And it was Jesus who healed him. All the man did was simply allowed Him to work in his life.

Our relationship with Jesus is the same. He calls us into a relationship (Matthew 11:28), His strengths keeps us (John 15:5), and when we give Him that part of us which is withered – that sin we cannot break or that hurt we cannot rid ourselves of – He will heal us because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

The Great Promise

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:2-3

In John 14:2-3 we find Jesus making a promise to prepare a place for us and receive us to be with Him. It’s the Bible’s greatest promise!

Let’s look at this promise from Jesus’ perspective. When we do we discover two themes: “Preparation” and “Anticipation”.

Preparation…

“…I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2)

My wife and I are busy preparing a nursery for the baby we’re expecting this July. It’s being decorating with colorful pictures to look at and toys to play with and we’re buying him nice clothes and plenty of diapers so he’ll be happy and comfortable when he arrives. Our goal is to create a place which will be an outward example of our inward love for him.

In the same way, Jesus is busy preparing heaven for us. His goal is for heaven to be an outward example of His inward love for us.

Anticipation…

“…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Oh, how we long to see our baby! We long to touch his face, to hold him in our arms, to shower him with love as we show him wonderful things.

So it is with Jesus. He longs to hold and shower us with His love. Imagine the great smile on His face as He shows us all the glorious things He’s prepared for those who love Him. We can’t even begin to understand how wonderful it will be (1 Corinthians 2:9).

When we arrive Jesus will shout for joy, “”I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5) and we will be introduced to a place where every tear will be wiped away and where the pain and problems of this world won’t even come to mind (Revelation 21:4). It will be a place where the blind will see his beautiful face, the deaf will hear his gentle voice, the lame will dance for joy, and the mute will sing praises to Him (Isaiah 35:5-6).

And we will spend all eternity in His perfect love.