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Category Archives: sin

What Is Faith Part 2

 


On my previous post, I wrote about faith and why we should place our faith in God alone. I wrote about the different attributes of God and no other deity past, present or future exhibits the qualities that God alone possesses.

For today’s post, I’m going to share the different Bible characters who exemplified faith and which is the compilation of what faith really means.

Hebrews 11 shows us great examples of faith:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying – “he disappeared, because God took him.”  For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith-for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who as good as dead-a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.

All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.” Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.

It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.

It was by faith that Joseph, when he was about to die, said confidently that the people of Israel would leave Egypt. He even commanded them to take his bones with them when they left.

It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command.

It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger. He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.

It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red  Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.

It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.


REFLECTION:

The characters in the Bible showed exemplary faith but did not receive the promises of God. An example is the promise of Abraham where his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. (Genesis 22:17). We can all testify that this promise was just fulfilled in our lifetime. But look at how Abraham’s faith is. He did not see God but aligned his life to following God’s will.

Another is Joseph. He died with the promise that his people, Israel would go back to their promised land. He was so sure of the promise that he even told his people to carry his bones when they leave Egypt.

These people did not have the Bible to rely on nor other people before them to emulate. They each showed such faith that they were willing to die for it. Some were tortured, thrown into the lion’s den and even sawed in half. They were willing to give up their lives and not enjoy the momentary pleasures of this life but were looking for the great price ahead.

In our time, we have numerous Bibles, examples of faith-filled people but oftentimes we still fall short of our belief in the Almighty. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So whatever he did in the past, He will surely follow through because he has no sin, can’t lie and is perfect. There is no shadow of him turning. (James 1:17).  Whatever He says in his word, he will complete it with surety.

 

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The Consequences of Hidden Sin

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On my previous post, I talked about how the words that come out of our mouths is a reflection of the condition of our hearts and how sins can cause physical diseases. Now, I will expound a little deeper on physical ailments due to sin. I want to be very clear though that not all diseases are caused by our sinful ways and behaviors.

In today’s culture, the entertainment mediums are flooded with sexual scenes and full of filthy language. Men and women dress not for protection but for sensual enticement to the opposite sex. Clubs and social places are hubs for finding mates that lead to casual sex. Hollywood couples change partners just as easily as they change their wardrobes and marriage vows are no longer permanent promises but only last until the other is dissatisfied with the relationship. I can go on and on with this but I know you get the picture.

If you live your life without any care in the world just so you can have your way – alright maybe not this kind of life but you live a coquettish kind of lifestyle; involve in illegal activities or maybe a subtle way of life that you know is in conflict with God’s laws and you can feel the Lord putting his hand on this kind of behavior and still you continue living that way, don’t be surprised if  you find yourself  in bondage – it might be financial problems, issues with your career, marriage, or suffer from health issues. Remember, that for every action, there is a corresponding blessing or consequence that goes with it.

Take the case of King David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and who eventually had her husband, Uriah, killed in the heat of the battle.

Found below is the Psalm of David written during the lowest point of his life when God chastised him for his sin that he so covered until Nathan, the prophet, exposed it right at his face.

Psalm 38: 1 – 11
A psalm of David, to bring us to the LORD’s remembrance.

O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger!
Don’t discipline me in your rage!
Your arrows have struck deep,
and your blows are crushing me.

Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
my health is broken because of my sins.
My guilt overwhelms me
it is a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and stink
because of my foolish sins.
I am bent over and racked with pain.
my days are filled with grief
A raging fever burns within me,
and my health is broken.
I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.

You know what I Iong for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
and I am going blind.
My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
Even my own family stands at a distance.

WINDING AND TWINING AND SHRINKING

Some scholars think David wrote this psalm shortly after his sin with Bathsheba. Other says he must have written it later when he was in ill health. Whenever it was that David wrote the psalm he knew that he was sick and that he had sinned.

John Bunyan, the author of the Pilgrim’s Progress, records a similar time of anguish. Bunyan had just become a Christian when he succumbed to temptation. Spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical disturbances knotted him up. He wrote: “I struck into a very great trembling, insomuch that sometimes I could, for whole days together, feel my very body, as well as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of the dreadful judgment of God … I felt also such a clogging and heat at my stomach, by reason of this my terror, that I was, especially at some times, as if my breast bone would have split in sunder . . . . Thus did I wind, and twine, and shrink, under the burden that was upon me, which burden did so oppress me that I could neither stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet.”

God has made us in such a way that our spiritual well-being is closely connected with our physical well-being. When we are plagued by guilt, all is anguish, fear, and loneliness. Is there any way out? Yes! We find it in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”

David Wilkerson has succinctly written a topic regarding this issue. It will give you a much detailed, thorough explanation of the consequence of hidden sin.

Strive to have a clean heart and live a godly life so you will have a blessed, rich life in this world and in eternity.

Reference:

Petersen, William and Petersen, Randy. One Year Book of Psalms. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 1999.

 

 

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