Saturday, September 19, 2009

A CALL TO ANGUISH by David Wilkerson and an AMEN From me

Hello Beloved Saints of the LORD,

I've received this message from a sister at the church where I fellowship; it was a composite message from a 5 part series by pastor David Wilkerson of Times Square Church in New York City (all 5 segments are included here-see below).

This message has so struck me, struck me so deeply, that as soon as I finish this posting, I'm going to retreat to my room and get down on my knees and seek God with all my heart concerning the state of our nation, the state of our church, the condition of the hearts of believers, especially the young believers who are falling by the way side, abandoning the faith because of the indoctrination of godless university professors that denounce the Bible.

Pastor Dave has spoken of "a call to anguish", and I have heard that call.

I desire to answer that call, and there is only one place I can go to deliver that answer:

To the very throne of God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel. I don't know what will happen as a result, I don't know what the LORD will speak to me. I only know that I want to share in God's heart, and to know the agony that's there over the condition of His body, the church; the compromise and the sin that's afflicting it.

I want to spend that time in God's presence and to see this nation as He sees it, no matter what it may cost me. I want to renew my commitment to intercessory prayer, and labor intensely in this work, and persist until I see a crack in the satanic walls that circumferences our nation; those satanic forces that have pushed and pushed against the church, goading it to deeper and deeper forms of compromise and sin.

I am going into prayer with the purpose of sharing God's heart, and with the intent to make a difference in the lives of my precious brothers and sisters in the LORD, and this nation that I love so much.

After hearing this message, its my heart felt prayer that you will join me there, in the spirit, at the throne of God: shoulder to shoulder - co-laborers in this agonizing ministry of intercessory prayer. Or perhaps it will be myself, joining you who are already there! I'm sure that must be the case . . .

Its far past the time when the church, with one heart and one soul, the saints of the LORD Jesus Christ should have declared war against Satan and his principalities and powers, and we have lost time to make up for. This is an engagement of war! Suit up your armor!

Let's get before God: one on One - in our prayer closets.

Let us see what God desires us to see: what will bless His Holy heart, and rain down a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit - - a bride that yearns to return to her First love, that yearns to be spiritually chaste and holy; walking in the righteousness of Christ and trembling at His Word; a bride that refuses to compromise with the world, refuses to tolerate spiritual impurity in the pews or leaven-rotted sermons in the pulpits of our churches.

A Church that doesn't shy away from declaring the Truth of God's Holy Word and His everlasting Gospel!

Here is pastor Dave's white-hot, God breathed message: may it break all of your hearts as it has broken mine. Amen.

Here is the full message, unedited:

A CALL TO ANGUISH - Full Sermon: 56:02 minutes

For a composite message, watch this:

BRAVEHEARTED THOUGHTS: A Call To Angusih - 7:24 mins

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Poem - "HEARKEN"


Hearken to my words, ye rebels of the LORD,
You rage against your Maker in strife and discord.
You rend the earth in battle with blood upon your sword,
The riches of Satan's kingdom, you do lust to horde.

Listen to my cry, ye traitors of the KING:
You've followed after sin and felt its deadly sting.
Satan is your chosen master and to hell he shall bring:
Your immortal souls, in the flames writhing.

Hearken to my words ye transgressors of His Law:
Who of you is innocent, holy, without flaw?
Your hearts are wholly wicked, just as He foresaw.
You're trapped and snared beneath Satan's crushing claw!

Listen to my cry, ye traitors of the King:
You are wretched, poor, pathetic things.
Helpless upon your feet to trod the living road,
enter into heaven, and there make your abode.

Hearken to my words, ye hopelessly lost:
Are you fearful of hellfire, and there be tossed?
There is a way of escape, a means to meet the cost.
For the Son of God Himself has come, to save the lost!

Take heed His Word, ye tired and heavy laden.
Born into this world was He, and in a manger laid in.
He lived pure and holy and within there dwelt no sin,
A Lamb to be slain was He, that we might enter in!

He healed the sick and uplifted the lame,
gave His Holy Spirit; souls were never the same.
He lived a life of purity, in His heart there was no shame.
He came to purchase salvation; for our sins, to take the blame.

Ravaged by the horror of death, He hung upon the cross.
Tormented for six long hours, He suffered all our loss.
The gates of hell, the sins of all men, came down upon His heart:
He cried to the Father, and His Spirit did depart.

He slept in the earth for three days, and then He rose anew!
He destroyed the powers of sin and death, for the sake of you!
He'll show you His Almighty love shining: a heavenly hue!
Healing your blind eyes, He grants a glorious kingdom view!

God Himself shall enter your heart and make within His home.
He'll lift you to heavenly places, you'll never need to roam.
He'll make in you a new creation, a wonderful, beautiful poem.
Look upon your LORD Jesus; seek New Jerusalem, your home.

Rejoice in the LORD always, ye citizens of heaven above!
For one day He shall return! We'll take to flight like a dove!
We'll see His Holy face, and be made like Him in perfect love!
And through agape, His children shall be drawn skyward above!

Praise the name of God, for He alone is worthy of our praise!
Let His bride be standing ready, shining forth in these last days!
He'll speak forth His Word, and the universe shall pass away!
Before the eyes of His beloved, a new world shall He lay!

Come unto the LORD and glorify His blessed Name eternally!
You will be filled with love, joy and peace, radiating fervantly!
Throughout the millennia, the glory and the power of God we shall see!
Forever through the ages we'll be one in love for all eternity!

dedicated to the KING of Kings, the LORD Jesus Christ

by James Fire - 1984

Praying For The Persecuted - Part II of II

The Purifying Effect of Persecution For the People of God is not something to be feared, although we might dread the thought, and any pain or suffering associated with it.
Here in America we are beginning to see the first signs of persecution, and for those who aren't seeing this, may I suggest a reading of the book by Janet Folger, The Criminalization of Christianity.
Increasingly the Federal government is enacting legislation that would hinder the church and the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Hate Crime law and the proposed Fairness Doctrine.
As humanism and atheism expands across our landscape, producing more adherents via our public (socialist-style) school systems, or as I like to call them 'propaganda centers', these same youth are abandoning the evangelical, fundamental, Bible-believing churches.
This is creating an environment where it's believed that there is no absolute truth, no exclusively divine source of truth; its an ecumenical perspective couched in pantheistic dogma which will inevitably be sanctioned and ratified by our government as a State religion, excluding all others as illegal forms (including biblical Christianity).
J. Vernon Mcgee was once quoted as saying that when the persecution of the body of Christ would strike the saints here in America, it would be committed by the denominational churches.
As a matter of biblical history, its always been the religious who have persecuted God's people. From the priests of Baal, to the multitude of false gods in Canaan, whom many Hebrews worshipped and themselves persecuted their righteous brethren, to the Roman empire (Caesar worship) that persecuted both Israel and the church, and throughout time, we see that this holds true.
Even among Communist regimes, where humanism is held sacred and man himself becomes the object of worship, and thus 'religious' in that sense, Christians are persecuted; and of course Islam is a tremendous proponent of persecution.
Voice of the Martyrs and DC Talk have collaborated in writing two books, simply entitled: Jesus Freaks, Vol. 1 and 2, and in these pages we read about the early church during the first two centuries, the church in the Dark ages, and the church in contemporary times that have suffered persecution. Of course there is that much older text that's become very well known: Foxes Book of Martyrs, and this along with the two more contemporary books are quite the humbling read!

I would recommend all of these as must reading for any Christian. They are as inspiring as they are humbling, and I believe we need to learn some valuable lessons from these, our brethren who have passed on to reap that "eternal weight of glory" where they have sown the seeds of obedience to Christ Jesus and His Gospel, even unto death.
Our primary source of information when it comes to learning about persecution and how to deal with it, is of course the Holy Bible, but before we address these verses and a bit of exposition on them, I'd like to share with you what Richard Wurmbrand (Pastor Richard Wurmbrand Biography, Founder of Voice of the Martyrs, Tortured for Christ » Biography) said about this subject:
When you face that time of pain and suffering, and have to come to the decision to walk into such for Christ's sake, it won't be the accuracy of your doctrine that will carry you through, it won't be the number of scriptures you've memorized, it won't be your acts of charity or church service that will sustain you. The only thing that will sustain you is your relationship with Jesus Christ!

Mat 5:10-12
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
We don't associate persecution with "blessed" and yet the LORD, the Truth incarnate has said as much. The essential in this blessedness, and our reason to be "exceeding glad" is that we are persecuted for righteousness (not holier than thou attitude, arrogance, rudeness, smug exclusivity) sake.
It's when we conduct ourselves as befitting citizens and true ambassadors for Christ, and as a result of such righteous, holy living, and the proclamation of the Gospel, we are persecuted by those in darkness who are unwilling to come to the Light, that we find a blessing that is, the assurance that "great is your reward in heaven".
When we live as Jesus did on this earth, its then that we can expect the same world that crucified our LORD, will vilify and persecute us, as He said it would:
Jhn 15:20
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
In the third chapter of Daniel we read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the trial they faced in the furnace of fire, but this trial was at its heart, a persecution of these OT saints who refused to bow the knee to a false god, and stand for righteousness; in maintaining their allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Note the final outcome of that trialsome persecution: their enemies were destroyed (that is, those soldiers who were commanded to throw them into the furnace, heated seven times greater than usual); their bonds that restrained them were burned away; they enjoyed fellowship with the LORD, and so much so, that even though they were freed of their bonds, they remained in the furnace, rather than to leave their LORD! The LORD was glorified by none other than the King of Babylon himself who proclaimed a royal edict stating that any who would speak a word against the God of these three Hebrew saints would be executed!
We too will find that in the time of our LORD's choosing, our great enemy, Satan, and all of his legions will one day be perpetually destroyed in Gehenna. In the way of the persecuted, the saints have found that so many besetting sins that were once such a struggle, fall away when under the stresses of these greater problems, and yet in the midst of such, the grace of our LORD is greater still!
We find fellowship in the midst of these sufferings, indeed the fellowship of Christ's sufferings offer such a sweetness, that we would rather remain in the throes of such trials, and have this grace remain, than to depart from the LORD and that fiery furnace. As we endure such things with the JOY of the LORD as our strength, others around us will be mystified by our attitude and conduct, and they will want to know why we are the way we are.
At such an opportunity the hearts of the unrepentant are ripe for the harvest, as we proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and gently lead them to the Savior who alone can bring them to the Kingdom Eternal.
Four more scriptural references and we're done here!
In Acts chapter 4, the apostles, now empowered by the Holy Spirit boldly proclaim the Gospel and they are brought before the Sanhedrin, demanded by them to account for themselves, imprisoned, scourged, and commanded to not preach in "this name again".
Yet Peter and the others were unrelenting!

Act 4:19
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
When they returned to the fellowship, they had a prayer meeting and said . . .

Act 4:29-30
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to
. . . what? to smite? to judge? to mete out destruction? No! . . . to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Lastly, consider Paul and his afflictions, and how he considered these things:

1Cor 4:11-13
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
And . . .

2Cr 4:11-18

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory*; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
*Consider what afflictions Paul endured (2Cr 11:23-28), and yet he thinks of these things as "light"? Yes! Compared to the reward he will receive in heaven, YES!
Blessed are YOU also when you endure these trials, persecutions, sufferings in Christ, and yet glorify God through it all, and remain steadfast as a faithful witness for JESUS our LORD and SAVIOR! Amen!
Please remember to pray for our persecuted family in Jesus the world over, and to visit VOM (Voice of the Martyrs - web site at this blog under "Links To Live By").
Yours in the battle,
Nikao Aionios AVRAS!

May the LORD Jesus bless you all WAY TOO MUCH!

brother JAMES FIRE

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Simple and Serious Gospel of Salvation - part 2

The Salvation SolutionThere is a dreaded disease far more destructive and insidious even than A.I.D.S., and has a far higher mortality rate as well.

This disease has effected every man, woman and child on the planet.A.I.D.S. results from HIV which can incubate for up to 15 years without symptoms showing.

This deadlier disease always results in death, and everyone has tested ‘positive’.Indeed, we are all S.I.N.+ and symptoms show almost immediately in our existence.

Sin is so devastating that it’s affected the heart (that is, the core essence of one’s being or “spirit”) to such a detrimental level as to be considered irreversible.

We find this passage in
Jeremiah 17: 9-10 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

The Hebrew word for “desperately” means “incurable”! Even God can’t cure a heart that has been ruined by sin? No, even God is unable to accomplish this, as incredible as that sounds.

What God must do is replace the sin-infested heart with an entirely new one, completely and utterly free of even the slightest trace of sin: a totally pure heart, fully holy and untainted.

The LORD Jesus who said “Blessed are the poor in spirit”, also said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5: 3, 8). By what means does God perform this astounding miracle? We’ll get to that presently; first I must address something of utmost importance.

All of this talk of “sin” and “judgment” and holy demands of perfect obedience to the Law could mislead people into thinking that God is a harsh and cruel judge, vindictively intent on the condemnation of hopeless sinners. Many have turned away from God for this very reason. Atheists and humanists believe that God’s love is a sham, because while on the one hand, He offers this salvation and love to all; if any reject His offer, then He casts them into hell! “What sort of love is that?” they ask. “‘Either you love Me or you perish in hell’?”

We must remember that from the time when Adam sinned by partaking of that forbidden fruit, he not only condemned himself to the judgment of a Holy God that must judge sin in order to vindicate His Holiness; but Adam, acting as the corporate Head of humanity likewise condemned all of his offspring through his fall.

We were all headed to that Throne of Judgment, there to be condemned by the Judge of all the Earth, long before Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin, was raised in that small town where He was trained as a carpenter by His step-father, Joseph; long before He began His ministry at thirty years of age.

It was an act of intervention on God’s part that interrupted our eventual flow down river and into damnation. So, any who reject God’s offer of salvation, isn’t then determined to be cast into hell, but merely continues uninterrupted towards destruction.

As it states in John’s Gospel, 3:18 –"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

The truth of the matter is that God loves you, personally. He has gone to the greatest length and furthest extent to demonstrate this love, as we shall see. God knows you intimately, for He created you. He knows you even better than you know yourself, believe it or not. He knows your every thought, your dearest dreams, your heaviest burdens, your deepest sorrows and your fondest hopes.

He’s well acquainted with your times of loneliness, frustration, anxiety and your harshest struggles in life.He knows what you will say and do tomorrow as well as every sin you’ve ever committed or thought about committing, and for all that, He loves you and yearns for you!

Yet there is a dilemma: While God’s nature is “love” (1 John 4:16), God is also holy and He cannot partake of sin, but as the holy Judge of all souls, by His Divine, holy nature, He must judge sin. Were He to ignore or overlook sin, it would violate His Holy nature. Still, His love remains and He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)!

God drags His feet when He brings judgment, but sprints to deliver mercy! This is why God so hates sin, why He is so opposed to it: because sin separates those which He dearly loves apart from Him: that’s you! Isaiah said it quite clearly:

Isaiah 59:2“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

God knew full well the choices that our father, Adam and our mother, Eve would make while in the garden of Eden; yet He allowed them their free will in order for them to demonstrate either their love and devotion to Him, freely given, or their disobedience to His command, that resulted in the fallen human race we see today.

From eternity, from that lofty vantage point, the Almighty foresaw this great infraction of iniquity and was fully prepared in offering the one remedy that would prove abundantly and gloriously effective! And so His plan began to be revealed:

From Genesis 3:15 God Almighty, King of all Creation made His Royal declaration of war against the serpent a.k.a. the devil (whom Jesus called a “murderer” and “the father of lies” for it was through his lies, he deceived Eve, and Adam followed along with her into sin, effectively murdering, spiritually speaking, the human race).

God warned Adam that the day in which he would partake of that forbidden fruit, he would surely die, that is, in the Hebrew: “dying, you shall die.” However Adam lived for hundreds of years after he took that forbidden fruit, on a physical level. Spiritually, Adam died when he disobeyed God by taking the forbidden fruit; being severed through sin, from the very Life Source that is God alone, and thus began the process of death - spiritually it was immediate; physically it was a slow, wearisome ordeal.

Separation from God always leads to death, just as a fish separated from water, a plant from the soil, an astronaut cut off from his life line while space-walking outside his space shuttle results in eventual death.

In God’s mind, there resided a plan by which sin would eventually be obliterated and its deadly effects nullified. It began in Genesis as God pronounced before the first human couple:

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Note that peculiar phrase “the seed of the woman” – that is a Messianic title, the first of many throughout the Bible; since the woman bears the egg, not the seed, this title hints of the virgin birth of Christ.

Even then, in the garden, God took away the fig leaves Adam and Eve wore (for they learned that they were naked) and gave them coats of skins, that is, animal skins. Imagine the horror on their faces when they witnessed for the first time ever, the slaughter of animals, the shedding of blood, death and dying, for their own sakes, so that they could be covered from their shame. Even in this, they began to understand that by the death of another, they would be delivered!

God likewise made a pronouncement to Abram (“father of many”), later called Abraham (“father of many nations”), saying that through him, the father of the Hebrew nation, all the nations of the world will be blessed. In Genesis 15, God promised Abram the land that would later come to be known as Canaan, and would eventually become the land of Israel. God also promised Abraham a son, Isaac, through whom these promises would be fulfilled.

In Genesis 22, God did the unthinkable: He commanded Abraham to take his son, (in God’s eyes, his only son even though he had an older son, Ishmael) whom he loved, and offer him up in sacrifice in the place that God would show him! God never commanded any one else to perform a child sacrifice, and elsewhere condemns this very practice; He actually prevented Abraham from carrying out the command in the end. So, why the big performance? God was actually teaching Abraham, and via the recorded scripture of this event, all of us who read it, what His plan would entail.

God showed Abraham where he would offer up Isaac, and Abraham called that place, “Jehovah-Jireh” that is, “in the mount of the LORD, it shall be seen.” What was seen there? I believe that God gave Abraham a vision that paralleled what he himself was enacting when he laid the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s back, when he led him to that place of sacrifice, when he bound the hands of his beloved son, and poised the knife to strike.

Remember the words of Jesus Christ . . .

John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."

For there would come a day when another Son had wood laid on His back, the cross-beam of a crucifix; He likewise was bound, and brought to the place of sacrifice (many biblical scholars and archeologists believe that the place where Abraham offered his son, was the same mount that was later called Golgotha, or Calvary, the place where Christ was crucified).

Slowly, throughout the centuries, God inspired various prophets to write the holy scriptures, and to them were given visions, oracles, and divinely granted understanding in regards to the mystery of him who is called “the Messiah”, that is, “the anointed one” (being anointed by the Spirit of God, and thus empowered to be both the King, and Savior of all Israel). Two primary chapters that speak of the Messiah-King or “Meschiach-Nagid” in Hebrew are Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53.

May I encourage you to read these passages before you continue on with this article? I’ll sit here and wait for you to finish!

In Psalm 22, the very first and last verses are the same first and last statements that Jesus Christ made on the cross:

Psalm 22:1"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?"

Psalm 22:31"They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this."

That phrase in vs. 31 “that he hath done this” can easily be translated “that he hath finished this” and that’s what Jesus declared – “It is finished.” More about this distinguishing phrase later on.

Rather than review the physical aspects of crucifixion as Psalm 22 prophetically entails, I believe it would prove useful, not to mention emotionally moving, to examine the following articles by physicians who’ve studied the crucifixion and the physiological aspects people suffered during this excruciating process. There is also a video file on the last link for you to watch.

One thing I will say: I was leaving the theater one day after seeing Mel Gibson’s The Passion, and overheard two girls talking. One of them said she felt that the film wasn’t accurate, that the violence done to Jesus was exaggerated.

I gently interjected and said to her, “You’re right about that film, it isn’t at all accurate. “As a Bible student of over twenty five years, I’ve studied this, and what I can tell you is that this film doesn’t even come close to the violence done to Jesus! According to what we saw in this film the actor James Cavaziel who played Jesus was still recognizable as a man; you could distinguish his features quite readily, even through the blood.

Yet in the book of Isaiah, it states that he wasn’t even recognizable as a human being, He was so beaten and abused!” (Isaiah 52:14)

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - The death of Jesus on a cross.

Once the last prophet of the Old Testament canon completed his writings (Malachi), there was a span of four hundred years when there was no holy oracle given by any other prophet. It seemed that God had gone mute, but no further revelation was necessary than what they already received; sufficient were the scriptures imparted to Israel in order for them to rightly identify their Messiah who would come.

Finally one last prophet arose, who would herald the arrival of the Messiah: John the Baptist; and while John wrote no scriptures, he was indeed the last and greatest of all the Old Testament prophets as stated by the LORD Jesus Himself (Matthew 11:11), and he boldly declared the need for the nation of Israel to repent of her sins, and to make ready the way for the Messiah their King.

This is not the end by far! There is much yet to look into regarding these eternal truths by which immortal souls hang in the balance; whose eternal destiny hangs in the balance depending on what decision they make regarding the gospel.

Lord, for those readers questioning where they stand with you in eternal matters, open the eyes of their understanding, open their ears so that they can hear you, and soften their hearts to receive You as Lord and Savior of their lives.


One day, the Man from Galilee came to the river bank of Jordan where John was baptising and I can well imagine that when their eyes met, John must have smiled with recognition of two sorts. Firstly, he recognized his cousin, for Jesus and John were just that. Secondly, he recognized by divine revelation that Jesus was far more than merely that!

The Baptist stepped forward, wading in the streams of Jordan, pointing his finger and shouting, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!” John 1:29b.

That term “lamb of God” would be familiar to the Jewish nation for they were accustomed to offering up lambs in sacrifice for their personal sins at the Temple, an institution God established through Moses, and was carried on some forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus (before it was destroyed by the Roman army led by General Titus in 70 AD).

However, this was a lamb with a difference! This was the very Lamb of God!

Such was prophesied by Isaiah in ch 53 which we just read,

Isaiah 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

Isaiah says much about the Messiah and His mission –

Isaiah 53:4-6 "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

So now we come to the central issue: the solution to the sin problem.

While the physical aspects of crucifixion were unimaginably barbaric and agonizing beyond belief, they were the least of what the LORD Jesus endured on that cross.

Jesus Christ, the sinless Man, who Himself was just and perfect through and through, before God Almighty and His scrutinizing eyes of Holy Fire, would not receive any condemnation from His Father, but rather commendation, as the Father so spoke:

Matthew 3:17 "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Matthew 17:5 "While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

Scripture has stated emphatically that there is no one righteous, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God: include in this all-encompassing category: Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, Moses, King David, Mary, etc. These all died as a result of their sins, but of Christ Jesus, He is declared time and again in scripture to be sinless. (This is why the virgin birth is so essential to the message of the Gospel: the sin nature was carried along through the lineage of Adam, but Christ Jesus was not the son of Joseph, so He didn’t carry with Him that sinful inheritance like all the rest of us. He is God’s Son, and has His holy, sinless nature!

He is, as opposed to Adam, the last Adam (see 1 Cor. 15: 45-47), the beginning of a whole new race of mankind: those born of God’s Spirit via Jesus Christ and Him crucified, buried, resurrected, and ascended!)

See Romans 3:10-12, 20, 23; compare these with 1 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15 and 7:26; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22.

Just like those sacrificial lambs that would be sacrificed on the altars in the Temple had to be examined by professional priests who knew what to look for in the way of blemishes and imperfections, and reject such; any in whom resides the blemishes and imperfections of sin would be rejected by God as a viable sacrifice.

The LORD Jesus is literally in a category by Himself; He is in a class of one! There are no other viable sacrifices that would be approved by, and acceptable to God. That is why Jesus is called “the propitiation (only acceptable, satisfactory sacrifice) for our sins.”

See Romans 3: 25; 1 John 2: 2; 4: 10.

And like those lambs, on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur when the priests would lay their hands on the sacrifices, and pray, and figuratively transfer the sins of the people onto that animal, and in so slaying it, ‘kill’ the sin that would ruin God’s people; now the Lamb of God has come, and as Isaiah stated, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities . . . and the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all!”

Just think of the astounding Truth of this Supreme Act of God! The LORD God took the sins of every-single-human-being-in-the-entire-race - - with all these sins laid upon Jesus, our precious, tender hearted, loving LORD willingly took on Himself the full capacity of wrath, all of the judgment, all of the punishment that the Just God of Holiness would demand!

Jesus literally got nailed for you and me!

He took our punishment in our place!

In other words the records for all of our sins were slain right along with the LORD Jesus, Himself slain for our sins! Paul the Apostle states as much:

Colossians 2:14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

“Ordinances” in this case refers to criminal charges of one found guilty, and in the court of God, that was us! That is, until JESUS came along and took it upon Himself, having it nailed to His cross!

More than this: are you aware of the fact that Jesus not only bore our sins, but that in some deeply spiritual sense, actually became sin for us?

2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us (emphasis mine), who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Having taken upon Himself the sins, and the punishment for all these criminal charges (“ordinances”), in His dying breath, He declared “It is finished!”

In the Greek the word there for “finished” is teleo- “complete, execute, conclude, discharge (a debt), finish, fulfill, accomplish, pay, perform, expire, make an end, fill up.”

That debt of sins was entirely satisfied wholly paid for, with no indentured remainder! As the old hymn says,“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow!

During the days of Moses, after the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt, and during the time of their wandering through the wilderness, the people were plagued by fiery (poisonous) serpents because of their constant whining, unbelief, and sin against God.However, as always, the judgment of God was tempered with mercy, for He had Moses make a serpent of bronze (bronze typifies ‘judgment’) and mounted it on a staff (some biblical scholars suggest that this staff actually had a cross beam on which this brass-fashioned serpent was coiled); any who would simply look to this bronze staff would be healed.

“Bizarre” you say? Yes, indeed!

Why did God go through such an elaborate method, when He could have simply spoken His Word, and it would have been done? Lessons! Lessons from the Old Testament for us to learn by, as it states:

Romans 15:4"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. "

The LORD Jesus used this historic event for an illustration to exemplify His own offer of salvation, to Israel and to the entire world, everyone who has been bitten by the ‘serpent of sin’ and thus be cured of its malignant malady. By faith any who looked on that bronze serpent were healed, so too, by faith all who look to Jesus are saved!

John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up."

But it doesn’t stop there! It gets even better than this!

Not only can you, RIGHT NOW, on this VERY DAY be cleansed of all of your sins, and transgressions, and have the record wiped away from the account God has registered for the Day of Judgment, but you can also have imparted to you eternal life, a result of receiving the Resurrected LORD, Christ Jesus into your life (My own experience was on June 20, 1980: to read my testimony please visit FROM The MIND Of FIRE; use the search engine there: Scoping This Mind and type “Can I Get A Witness”)!

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. "

With the sin solution made available, any who receives this can then be abundantly blessed with a real, live, ‘breathing’ relationship with God Almighty! It’s what God created us for, to please Him by interacting with Him, partaking of a love relationship!

Revelations 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

1 John 1:3 "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

The Foundation of Fellowship with Our New Father -

From the very beginning of the creation of man, God has had in mind a particular form of fellowship with us, of the highest quality possible, and this would entail the very God indwelling in us, all of us who receive Jesus Christ as our Sacrifice, our Savior and our LORD!

Astounding! We actually become a kind of temple in which God resides; we’ve all heard the expression ‘my body is a temple’ . . . well its one that was designed to have God dwell within, as scripture explains. Here, Paul reminds Christians of this supreme truth:

1 Corinthians 3:16"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

1 Corinthians 6:19"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

1Corinthians 6:20"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

2 Corinthians 6:16". . . for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

This is what the LORD Jesus was referring to in John 3:3-5 regarding the spiritual truth of being born again. Because of the fact that the human race had fallen into sin, because of the fact that the human heart could not be cured spiritually, because of the fact that salvation was impossible by any other means (see Matt. 26: 39; John 14:6), Jesus Christ Himself died for our sins, and slew our sins at His death, AND when He was resurrected, He brought with Him new life, made available to all, and upon the forgiveness and washing away of our sins, our newly created, clean hearts are made hospitable for the Holy Spirit of God to take up residence in!

Once accomplished, we are born from above (heaven: that is, a heavenly interaction between God and the repentant sinner), or “born again” as it states here:

John 3:3"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4)Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

Nicodemus was obviously confused about all this talk about being born again:

John 3:9 "Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"

And it seems that the LORD reproves Nicodemus, who was a highly regarded teacher (“master”) of Israel, for his apparent lack of knowledge concerning this spiritual truth. I used to think that this was a bit unfair, as the ‘born again’ teaching and experience was strictly New Testament.

Well as far as experience yes, it is a New Testament phenomenon, but this truth was certainly taught in the Old Testament!

Isaiah 57:15 "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Ezekiel 11:19 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh."

Ezekiel 36:26 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."

And the spiritual birth is likewise taught later in the New Testament:

John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God*, even to them that believe on his name. (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

*This term “sons of God” (Hebrew: “benai Ha Eloheim”) refers to a direct creation from God Himself: all angels, for example were created by God directly thus they are referred to as “sons of God” in Genesis 6 as well as in Job 1, 2, and elsewhere; angels have no progeny after their own kind. Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38), for he was created by God from the dust of the earth; Adam’s sons were not “sons of God” for they weren’t created directly by God, but by God through Adam.

Any who are born of God (i.e., born again) are “sons/children of God” because God directly created new hearts within us!

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Titus 3:5"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."

1 Peter 1:23"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."1 John 5:1"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."


If you have read this, and understand now what salvation means; if you begin to have an inkling of the depths, heights, widths, and breadths of Gods insurmountable love FOR YOU PERSONALLY, you can exercise your faith in the truth of God’s Word as represented in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and conduct some heavenly interactions with the Creator of the Universe!

How do you go about this precisely? As it’s been said before, it’s as easy as A, B, C!

Firstly, Admit to God that you are indeed a sinner, that you have broken God’s Holy Law and are, in the Court of the Holy King, guilty as charged. This is something that requires a little humility.

Not every one is willing to humble themselves with such an admission, and that’s because of pride. DC Talk has an album out where they said, “The leading cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who profess Jesus with their mouth, but then deny Him by their lifestyle!”

I would agree that this is certainly one of the leading causes, however, the one primary cause for atheism has always been, and is, pride. They refuse to admit that they are in any way a sinner, that their heart is as the Bible states, desperately wicked (remember Jer. 17:9).

They refuse to admit that they need help of any kind, most of all, any help from God! Yet God promises that whoever humbles himself before the LORD, He will exalt in due time! See: 1 Peter 5: 6

The salvation of the soul is a glorious exaltation of love, grace, joy and peace!

Secondly, Believe that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, having paid for the penalty of our sins, and utterly destroyed both it and its power over our lives! Believing God’s Word, and submitting yourself to the TRUTH of His Word will bring the desired results!

Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Lastly, Confess Jesus Christ with your mouth. That is, you declare to Jesus Christ that you are committing your heart, your life, your everything to Him, and receive His salvation freely given as the GIFT of GOD.

You do this simply by praying to Him. It doesn’t have to be an eloquent prayer, but it does have to be sincere. You must fully and truly mean what you say as you address the LORD.

When I first came to understand what salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ was all about, my prayer was simply (having no one to guide me in prayer) “LORD, if this is it, if this is my purpose in life, to accept You as LORD and SAVIOR, then take me, I’m Yours!”

Here is a prayer that you might pray, but remember it’s not so much the words, as your heart that’s important.

"LORD, I admit to You that I have sinned in my life, and that I am guilty of disobeying your Holy Law, but I also understand that You loved me enough to send Your Son, Jesus to take my place on the cross, to take my own sins upon Him, and suffer the Judgment of God for me, and allowing me to escape the punishment of hell.
"Thank You LORD for doing this for me, and for making a Way to forgive all of my sins, to wash me clean from all of them, and providing the means to creating in me a new, clean heart.I receive you now Jesus, as my LORD and Savior, I receive you into my heart and ask You to come live inside of me forever, and make me a new person. "I believe You LORD Jesus, and Your promise to me for salvation, and for assurance that when I die, or until You return, I will have a place guaranteed in heaven with You! Thank You LORD Jesus, and thank You God, for becoming my Father! May I live a life that is honoring to You!In Jesus Name, I pray, amen!”

Now if you have prayed this prayer, and meant it, at this point in time, regardless of how you may feel, YOU – ARE – SAVED!

The LORD Jesus has cleansed you of sin, and in a very real, spiritual sense, you are indwelt by the Spirit of the Living God!

What do you do next? I would encourage you to contact me here at FROM The MIND of FIRE via email, and share with me what you did!

I will be very happy to share with you, and rejoice in your decision to receive salvation!*

You haven’t joined a denomination or a church per se just now; you have joined the kingdom of God, and have become His child!

It is very important that you find a good, Bible teaching church, but you need not feel all alone in this; pray! Ask the LORD to guide you to where He would have you go, and He will!

Also, because of the fact that spiritually speaking you are a brand new person, a kind of new born baby ‘in the faith’, eating is very important! That is, spiritual food in the Word of God, the Bible. Begin reading this daily for nourishment, spiritual strength, wisdom, guidance, instruction, etc.

Most of all, realize that the Bible is God’s Love Letter just for you! You will learn all about Jesus, and how He loves and cares for you, His plan for your life, and what He intends for you to do with what He has now granted to you. If you’re not sure where to start, what do you do? Right! Pray! God will guide you in this as well!

Speaking of prayer, remember to pray to the LORD daily; set aside a special time to talk to Him, bring before Him your needs, and ask for guidance in all affairs in your life, Prayer is simply talking to God (and you can do this anywhere and any time), be real with Him as you would a close friend, for indeed, the LORD Jesus is your most faithful and closest Friend you will ever have!

Begin to share with others what you have done; it’s the Gospel, “good news” and we can sure use all the good news we can get in such a world we have today! Its ok if you’re asked questions that you don’t have answers for! Allow the LORD to speak through you; when I first came to the LORD, I was astounded at times at the things that came out of my mouth! I remember thinking, “How did I know that??”

The LORD can and will speak through you in sharing with others!

Most of all, live a life of gratitude for all that the LORD has done for you, and remember: Jesus died for us so that we can live forever in Him; likewise we are to ‘die to ourselves’ to allow Jesus to live through us!

In another segment of this ongoing article we will address God’s plan for those who are now born again, members of the kingdom of God, and what He intends for us in the glorious purposes He has prepared for us before even the world was made!

Ephesians 2:8"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

I pray that the LORD Jesus bless you all . . . WAY TOO MUCH!

The Simple and Serious Gospel of Salvation part 1

The Simple and Serious Gospel of Salvation - Part 1
(this article was originally posted by yours truly in The TRUTH Under FIRE in 4 parts; its re-posted here in two parts)

The Gospel in the modern, materialistic world has been at best misunderstood, and at worst, perverted into a “happy” gospel that seems to have more to do with successful living than with the salvation of a life.

During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s we’ve watched televangelists declare that if “you have enough faith, you can acquire health and wealth, fat bank accounts, a big house, an expensive car and be blessed with all the amenities of a real “King’s kid.”

The poor, the sick, and the needy, these were the weak in faith that were despised by the so-called spiritually mature which looked down on them with disdainful disapproval.

In our current environment, Christianity has sunk even deeper into an apostate, carnal belief system as an increasing number of pastors, leaders, bible teachers, and lay people endorse an “emergent” philosophy that denies the Gospel by declaring it unnecessary (Note to reader: review the excellent article on TNT by A.M. Kisly regarding the Emergent Church Movement- “Invasion of the ‘Body’ Snatchers” and my own article on FROM the MIND of FIRE, “Triumphant But Tragic Trojan”)!

Yet because of all these deviations we’ve never had a time in which the pure, unadulterated Gospel was needed more than in this world succumbing to increasing darkness.

While strenuous endeavors to ‘un-gospelize’ the church by emergent influences continue (and thereby accommodating it to a universal religion comprised of an amalgam of the major belief systems represented in Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.), those of us who are called by the Name of Jesus Christ our LORD must stand firmly in our convictions based solely on the very Word of God, the exclusive source of spiritual Truth, to combat these falsehoods.

No one needs to define the Gospel, nor is the Gospel open to interpretation by theologians, pastors and Bible teachers (particularly of the liberal sort). Further, there is only one Gospel of Salvation, and the apostle Paul expressly stated that Christians are to accept NO SUBSTITUTES (See 2 Corinthians 11:4)! The Bible itself states quite plainly and succinctly what the Gospel is, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."

Dr. Schofield comments in his study Bible on 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:

“In vs. 1-8 the apostle outlines the Gospel of God’s grace. (1) It concerns a Person – the Christ of the Scriptures and history. (2) It concerns His death – “for our sins according to the Scriptures.” His burial is asserted as the evidence of His death; and that He was seen alive is declared as the proof of His resurrection. This is the Gospel that Paul preached; that the early Church accepted; and by which men are saved (vs. 1-2)”

The very word “Gospel” means “glad tidings” or good news, and it’s intertwined irrevocably with the term “saved”.

In today’s preaching, even among evangelical churches, the issue and reality of hell is seldom mentioned; when an offer of receiving Christ Jesus and His salvation is made, it's associated with a better life, an improved marriage, the means to solve problems, lift burdens, break bondage, brighten gloomy, down-trodden souls and other benefits.

Certainly such things as listed above may result as a by-product of salvation, yet the primary purposes of the Gospel are the forgiveness of sin, without which the unrepentant sinner will perish and spend eternity in hell (in regards to that horrible, deplorable situation, I’ve often said, “There are no exit signs in hell”); as well as this, the redemption of a lost soul via the spiritual birth in Christ Jesus and the new life that this brings to the believer.

We must wonder, where are the on-fire preachers of days gone by, full of zealous love for God, and for sinners? Where are the holy heralders of the Truth, who refuse to compromise or soft-pedal God’s Word? Where are the thundering pulpits that boldly declare the desperately wicked condition of fallen, sinful man and proclaim warnings of an interminable torment in the flames of hell-fire?

How can a people acknowledge their need of salvation, if they don’t know what they’re being saved from?

Since the fall of Adam, our human father and the progenitor of our race, sin has been passed on to all of us and no amount of religious devotion, no substantial weight of prayer (ritualistic or otherwise); no sacrifice or religious duties fulfilled can ever erase the deadly reality of sin in our lives. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ and “believing faith” in such can redeem us from sin, and from its inevitable penalty, hell.

I’ve been given this opportunity and privilege to share the Gospel, and I pray that the LORD is honored by it, and that all who read this are blessed, particularly those who do not yet know Jesus as their LORD and Savior.

We shall examine the doctrine of salvation by biblical ‘exposition’ (that is, what does the Bible mean?) to determine what the Gospel actually is. We will ask, and prayerfully answer, why salvation is necessary, as well as why Christ alone sacrificed on our behalf is sufficient as payment for the sins of the world, including yours and mine.

Further, we shall delve even deeper into this study and examine the component ‘parts’ of salvation and see how they relate to the newly born and saved in Christ, and the maturing saint, as well as the saint who has passed from this life into the next.

You may prefer to read the scriptural references in your own version. I will be posting verses here in the King James Version, but please feel free to grab your own Bible and look them up in your own version.

We will now uncover together "A divine Diagnosis".

A Divine Diagnosis

Just as with any visit to the doctor’s office, before the necessity of treatment can be ascertained, there must be a proper diagnosis to determine what is wrong. Likewise before one perceives the need for salvation, there must first be evidenced the deficiency of righteousness and holiness, both of which God requires of all of us:

Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

1 Peter 1:16 "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

The Ten Commandments (found in Exodus, chapter 20), as well as the Law in general, found throughout the Old Testament, is God’s righteous standard, a yard stick so to speak, to see how we all measure up. Even a superficial overview of the Ten Commandments will snag every one of us, yours truly included, in at least one point.Failure to obey God’s command is generally known as ‘sin’.

One may endeavor in all sincerity to obey God’s law, but never quite obtain a perfect performance. We “fall short of the mark” much like a contestant at a carnival, who, with hammer in hand, tries to strike the bell high above, but as he strikes, the iron ball rises, only to fall back down, without sounding the bell. He has fallen short of the mark, he has failed.

A different kind of offense is one in which a person knowingly disregards the Law of God, and in a spirit of rebellion, disobeys His Holy command. This is known as ‘transgression’. For such an example in our every day world: 55 m.p.h. Enough said!

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, any sin committed by a living soul will reap the judgment of God and due punishment:

Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die."

The justice of God is inescapable and we will all one day come Face to face with our Maker! We are all diagnosed with sin. If we look into the Law of God - - this Law (i.e., as in the Word of God) is very much like a mirror:

“But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass [mirror]; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and immediately forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:22-24

It reveals our sinful condition and our need for a remedy. Even the most religious and ceremonious leaders in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees, were convicted of their own imperfections and sins:

John 8:3-5 "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?"

John 8:7, 9 "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."

Jesus shocked His hearers when He declared this, in regards to the ‘professional law-keepers’ and ‘religious leaders’:

Matthew 5:20 "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

The Pharisees deluded themselves into thinking they were pleasing God, that they were in obedience to the LORD; they in fact believed they could be saved by the Law; yet the LORD Jesus rebuked them for their outward religious show, and formalism (a superficial observance and adherence to a religious belief system w/o having any inward effect on spiritual purity and moral integrity, known also as “legalism”) as in Matthew 23: 25-33.

The LORD raised the standard regarding the intent of the Law, in his preaching of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 43-44), thus rightly using the Law for its Divinely appointed purpose – to reveal what’s in our hearts:

Matthew 15:18, 19

"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"

It is our hearts, much more than our actions that God will judge! This leads to a verse found in the book of James that many have misunderstood and think that this passage is terribly unfair:

James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."

Why would God find someone guilty of breaking all the Law, if in fact they kept it all, but failed in one point? When one commits a sin, this reveals a spiritual truth – that this person is a sinner. Without the sin nature one would not be compelled to commit sins, yet this nature so drives the human race!

You can’t expect a dog not to bark, or a fish not to swim, or a bird not to fly, or for a sinner to not sin. Each will act according to their nature; to do otherwise would be unnatural.Thus, having a sinful nature, all one requires is time and availability to have such lusts manifested in one’s heart which God will judge; it’s the nature of a sinful heart, more than sinful actions committed that is being addressed here by James. Right now, you could be thinking, “If that’s the case, then God is asking for the impossible! I can’t be expected to live such a holy, sinless life!”

Exactly right! Romans 3:20 makes it quite clear:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

What hope then do any of us have to obtain God’s favor and acceptance, and to earn the right of passage into heaven? Excellent questions we will address in the second article entitled "The Salvation Solution" where we will find hope, forgiveness, mercy and grace.