Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prayers for death?

There was quite a bit of discussion recently about a "Christian" pastor, who said that he prays that President Obama dies, and dies of cancer, and goes to Hell.

So what is the REAL CHRISTIAN response to this? There are several. First, Jesus Christ, from Whom we get the name Christian (meaning Little Christ), was persecuted, even murdered by the Chief Priests, with the cooperation of Pontius Pilate, because Jesus said He is God.

Jesus was flogged, had his beard plucked, was spit upon, cursed at, had the robes ripped off his back after the blood congealed into it, carried an approximately 200 pound cross to His own crucifixion on the top of Golgotha, Was nailed to the cross, and mocked, scorned, ridiculed. His response, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Lk 23:34

Therefore, if we are to be "Little Christs," we need to pray for our enemies, not curse them. When one of the most wicked men of the 20th and beginning of 21st centuries (Saddam Hussein) was executed (Definitely deserved, as he was single handedly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people,) I found myself praying, and hoping that he had repented, and found Christ and forgiveness prior to his last breath, so not even he would spend eternity in Hell.

Although I do not pretend to be the best Christian in the world, I do have a pretty good handle on what a Christian should be and do. Jesus prayed for his persecutors, even at His death. A horrible, painful, lonely death. The lonely part is food for another post, but I digress. Paul, one of the main leaders (not of the Church per se, but of the movement -- called Christianity) said that he would almost rather be cursed himself, if his fellow Jews could be saved by his condemnation.

Therefore, a Christian response to this Christian preacher who said he wished, even prayed for the President's death by cancer and confinement to Hell for eternity, is to pray for him, that he may see the error of his ways, and repent of his evil attitude. I pray that our President will receive wisdom from God, and that he will make good decisions, and lead our country well. I also pray that he will repent of any sin in his life, or that he supports. May God be merciful to us all.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Christians and the Law (part 2)

Continuing our discussion on whether Christians must obey the law, I point out that there are many facets to this question...

First, Christianity is founded upon freedom. We are free to choose what to do and what not to do. However this freedom is not license to harm or walk on others. Paul wrote in Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 13:8-10). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Further, He wrote in another place, that if by eating meat, he offended his brother, he would never eat meat again... Therefore, although we have freedom to do what we want, we should always be considerate of others in what we actually do.

Second, we have the obligation to abide by the (civil) laws enacted by governments, except when they contradict God's Laws... for example, murdering an unborn baby is "Legal" but murder is specifically forbidden, and carries with it a hefty penalty.
Romans 13:1-5 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 13:1-5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Third, the Law was written, not so that we could obey it, but to prove to fallen man that we cannot be good enough, obedient enough, to fix the relationship problem we have with God due to our sin. The Law was set up so we would know WE NEED A SAVIOR. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for ALL SIN once for all on the Cross, hence His words "It is finished." His work was to redeem fallen man so that we could be truly free.

So, a Christian does, and does not have to follow the Law. We are required to be obedient to God, and to live our lives in a way that glorifies Him. How each Christian works this out, is up to him, and those who love him. After all, we are called to community, and to holding each other accountable, see Galatians: Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ga 6:1-2). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Christians and the Law (To obey or not to obey, that is the question)

There is a lot of discussion today about Christians not obeying
(or saying they do not have to obey the Law)

So Let's look at the Rules, and what it means to be a Christian...

The Old Testament has 10 Commandments, and approximately 600 laws handed down from God, by Moses... Then there is the Talmud, a discussion on the points of the Law, by the learned Rabbi's (If any Jewish people read this, and I have made an error, please let me know).

Christians claim that they do not have to obey the Law, because Christ abolished it. Jesus was a Jew, and obeyed the Law, with a few exceptions. He went to church (synagogue) every sabbath, and then broke the law, by hangin' out with sinners. He touched a leper. Jesus did not chastise the woman with the bleeding problem, that touched him, and according to the Law, made Him unclean. Instead, He blessed her and said, "Woman, your faith has made you whole."

The New Testament has much to say on the Law, and a new concept, Grace. While Jesus walked the earth, He was constantly challenging the leaders of the temple and synagogue because they did not live their faith in such a way as to make life easier on the masses, they made it tougher on them...

Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Yet when He died, the temple veil was torn in half, from top to bottom. Now, to understand this, you must realize that the veil was woven cloth, 12" thick... It was the wall of separation between God (a very Holy God) and fallen man. Only the high priest, once per year could go into the holiest of holies to offer incense to God, because of the sin in our lives. So when the temple veil was rent in half, it signified the end of the separation between God and man. All men now have access to God because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin once for all time.

A Hebrew zealot named Saul was persecuting the believers in Christ early in the Church history, because they followed Jesus, and believed He was God. Then Jesus knocked him off his horse, blinded him for 3 days, and Saul became Paul, one of the greatest leaders in early church history, and the writer (under divine leading) of 13 of our New Testament books. (See his story in Acts chapter 9). One of the books (It was a letter at the time, and is known as an Epistle) that the Holy Spirit wrote thru Paul, was Galatians. Written to the church in Galatia, Paul dealt with the issue of obedience to the Law. Gal 2:21 -- I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (NIV) He pointed out to them, that if you cannot obey ALL the Law, then you are in trouble if the Law is your yardstick. Christ satisfied the requirements of the Law, because His blood covers our sins. As it is written throughout the Scriptures, apart from the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, and His blood shed once for all men for all time, attains us the opportunity to be right with God thru FAITH, not obedience to the Law.