The View From Here

Context

Greeting cards pop up around Christmas quoting Rev 11:10 which says they “shall send gifts to one another.” Of course, the card features images of beautiful packages and ribbons in the Christmas spirit. However, the verse in Revelation describes the celebration in the end time when the antichrist kills the messengers of God and wicked people celebrate by sending gifts to one another.

Context makes a difference and is one of the reasons we are committed to studying the Bible in context. Our intent is to help you understand the whole Bible and how the authors present the truth of the Scriptures.

We might have seasons where we are looking at maps on the screen, times where we are visiting other verses to see what a word means or taking the time to review a long, complex passage in the book we are studying. But our goal is to help you see the big picture of what God says in His Word and not fall into the trap of lifting verses out of their context.

Perhaps you have seen a refrigerator magnet or greeting card that quotes Gen 31:49 “May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” It seems nice but in context the words are from Laban, the uncle of Jacob, threatening harm to Jacob if he ever returned to Laban’s territory. In modern terms it is something like “Cross this line and I’ll shoot you.” Not the sentiment we first felt when we read it out of context.

We believe teaching of the Bible in its context is what you want as well, so together we will seek to deepen our understanding of what God has revealed to us. And along the way, we will see the instruction from Rom 12:2 come true, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Thanks for joining us on this journey.

Posted by Bill Knepper with 0 Comments

Sin, What Is It?

My 7-year-old said, “It is something that you do wrong… disobeying God.” 

How would you answer? Is sin just an act of wrong doing? Where does it come from? Why do I need to know this?

Looking at what the Bible says about sin is worth the time and it helps in several ways.  It is convicting, strengthens faith, clarifies some gray-areas, and refreshes our view of the cross and the importance of an empty tomb. 

Sin is Separation from God.

Sin is not just an act of wrong doing, but a state of alienation from God.  You feel the reality of this when you come before a holy God.  David felt this when  Nathan confronted his hidden sin of adultery and murder.  You can see what this sin did to David when you read Psalm 51.  David wanted his sin removed.  “For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned And done what is evil in Your sight…” (v.3-4).  Of course David sinned against others, but He realizes that all sin is against God.  Your relationship with God does not depend on others forgiving you, it only depends on the forgiveness God gives. Separation from God is a life and death matter.  Sin must be dealt with. 

Sin is a Fatal Sickness

Sinful action is the outward sign of an inward reality.  "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9 NAU)  “…there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterward they go to the dead” (Ecc. 9:3). 

This heart condition is the source of all the evil that you think, say and do.  You don’t catch this sickness, you are born with it. David again says, “I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psa 51:5 NAU).  He isn’t commenting on his mom’s sin, but on the origins of his own sin-sickness. 

All of us are born selfish, sinners, separated from God by the sickness of sin—spiritually dead.  We are born in need of a cure.

Sin is War Against God

In wartime, aiding the enemy in any fashion is treason.  There is no such thing as a “white lie.”  The smallest lie, taking a pencil that isn’t yours or cutting corners is as offensive to God any other sin.  God does not “turn a blind eye” to anything you do.

“Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions (Col. 1:21 CSB). But, “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!“ (Rom 5:10).

Sin is what Jesus Became

Jesus interrupts your open rebellion against God by stepping in to mediate.  Jesus didn’t come for a “peace summit,” but for a bloodbath.  Jesus took your place on the battle field against God.  You would die on that battlefield, but Jesus, who had no sin of his own, became sin on your behalf.  He died your death, on the battle field of your rebellion.

In this moment, Jesus took on your fatal heart-sickness. “He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains” (Isa 53:1 CSB). And it was on the cross that Jesus took the ultimate penalty for your sin: separation from God.  The pain of it crushed Jesus as he cried from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me (Mark 15:34).

As Good Friday nears, take time to reflect on what Jesus became for you.  He became sin.  This means he became God’s enemy for you, bore the sickness of sin for you and was separated from God for you.  Jesus rose from the grave, leaving you sin behind.  In Jesus we have healing, reconciliation and relationship with God.  The Jesus who now lives wants to be an active part of your life.

Posted by Joshua Holland with 0 Comments

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