Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Let the Bible Speak for Itself: A Watchman... Then and Now...

17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. 20 If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” - Ezekiel 3:20-21 (NLT)

18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? 22 But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. - Jeremiah 23:18, 22

1 I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what [the LORD] will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. - Habakkuk 2:1

20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. - Jude 20-23 (NLT)

16 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death. 18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. 21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. - 1 John 5:16-21 (NLT)

6 comments:

Yehudi01 said...

Deborah, what does this mean to you, exactly? 16 If you see a Christian brother or sister sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.

I don't understand what it's implying. To which sin(s) is he referring?

Deborah said...

10 Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and this Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought each other in the camp. 11 And the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the name of the LORD and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12 Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD might be shown to them.
13 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
15 “Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16 And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death.
(Leviticus 24:10-16)

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30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. 31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:30-32)

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To me, knowing there is an unforgivable sin is very frightening to say the least! But as I understand it, "blasphemy" is reviling, cursing, speaking evil of, and/or railing against. In letting you in on a personal experience I suffered through, I'll quickly tell you my own experience in which I had to deal with the prospect of committing this sin.

The man who I call "dad" today is not my biological father; however, he is the only dad I know. When I was 12 years old, I found out that someone else was my biological father, and naturally, I wanted to meet this man. You see, I had never really felt loved by my dad, I was never a "daddy's girl" - the unconditional love and acceptance was never there. Oh, sure, my step-dad loved me, but I inherently knew I wasn't loved by my dad like most girls. So, after finding out I had the hope of being loved by my real dad, I went to visit him for two weeks over the course of the next three summers in search of the love and acceptance I had been missing. Well, one summer I called my mom and told her I wasn't coming home, I was going to stay with my dad, who allowed me to do whatever I wanted when I wanted - a rebellious 16-year old's dream. I hadn't been living with my dad for two months before he abandoned me... I mean outright abandoned me - he just never walked through the door, again. Wow! Talk about throwing a 16-year old girl for an emotional loop... yowsa!

My mother, wanting to teach me a valuable lesson didn't make it so easy for me to come home. For the next two months, I fended for myself in Los Angeles, California. I returned home in the spring semester of my Junior year. The experience had forced me to return to G-d, who I had forgotten when I entered high school. The experience of being abandoned by a parent was a means of deliverance from my attachment to marijuana - it definitely turned me around from being a D/F student who wanted to do nothing more than get high every day into a A /B student who made the National Honor Roll, was voted in as High School Student Council Secretary and cheerleader during my senior year. Talk about a radical change... and I owed it all to following Yeshua and His teachings, loving and honoring G-d with all my heart!

However, it wasn't two weeks after I had returned home that I read over this passage in Matthew during my daily Bible reading. Here I was, a girl who had been rejected by her earthly father, completely abandoned, and the only emotional anchor I had was the comforting thought that G-d would NEVER abandon me! But, here, in Matthew, I read there was a means by which He could and would abandon me. It scared me nearly to death. I jumped up and ran around the room, weeping because I found there was something that could come between me and G-d, an unforgivable sin. I was 16 years old.

Daniel, for the next 10 years, I fought the adrenaline (anxiety and panic attacks) that coursed through my veins at least two and three times every waking hour of every day. Thoughts of the prospect of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, forever losing my access to G-d who I loved so much, crossed my mind nearly minutes apart, yet, I remained a productive person... no one around me knew that I was suppressing roll-tides of adrenaline flowing through my veins. It was worse at night - my husband was aware of the torture I was enduring, but no one else. I buried myself in church activities, choir, Bible study, attending services three times a week, hospitality ministries, etc. Anything to keep me close to G-d and serving others... anything in trying to make sure G-d understood I loved Him. During this time, for the next ten years, I begged G-d to deliver me from the overwhelming fear of committing the unpardonable sin! Begged Him! I could not understand why He wouldn't minister to my fear and deliver me from the torture it held.

But one day, ten years later, I received instantaneous deliverance. G-d spoke to my soul, my spirit, and told me it was okay, I had not and would not commit that sin. He told me it takes a highly conscience decision to commit that sin. A person who commits this sin understands what they are doing, and they don't care - they are extremely belligerent in mind and heart toward G-d and His precious Holy Spirit. (Just to note: I found out after being delivered that my fears, nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks were all symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).)

So I guess the Scripture you're asking about is speaking of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit for lack of naming the sin by John. John was there when Yeshua talked about this sin, so I assume this is the sin John is referring to.

Why did G-d allow me to suffer so many years, let me tell you. Like Joseph's story, G-d is faithful to reveal later why we suffer at great lengths sometimes. G-d has recently revealed to me why He allowed me to suffer for ten years. In about 45 minutes, I'm leaving to attend the last all-day training session to be a lay counselor in a ministry called "Bridges to Healing," an outreach ministry to returning U.S. veterans who are suffering from PTSD. I definitely have an up-close and personal understanding of the effects related to PTSD. My heart goes out to the returning veterans who are now suffering from PTSD. Please pray for me, for this ministry. I'm sure you've heard from the secular, mainstream media lately about the rising numbers of suicides among the returning veterans who are suffering from PTSD. Please pray for them!

Shalom!
Deborah

Yehudi01 said...

Deborah, what a powerful story! I'm so glad you received deliverence from your fear. I still have a question about this pasuk, however.

But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.


Now I remember reading that "...the wages of sin is death." So when the verse above says, "All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death,"
it confuses me a bit. It seems to be a contradiction.

How would you explain that? I hope you're having a great weekend! I also hope you'll be tuning in the Super Bowl! Talk to you soon...

Brother Mark said...

Deborah,

Thanks for your kind comments.
I live your site and I live Israel.

You offer so much here...thanks be to the Holy Spirit..You listen to Him well.

I will return here and gleam more.
Thanks again,
Maranantha,
BrotherMark

Brother Mark said...

Don't know how I wrote live for love
twice in a row? Must get to bed.

God Bless,
BrotherMark

Deborah said...

Brother Mark,
Thank you for stopping by! I look forward to reading your blog. I thank Isaiah for recognizing you and making us aware of you!

God bless you, brother!

Daniel (Yehudi),

I can see why they seem contradictory. As a Jew, you may not appreciate my answer, but you've asked the question, so I will answer you accordingly... I pray you will appreciate the answer.

I believe the passage is referring to one sin that is unforgivable, and therefore, everlasting life is not attainable, even if one accepts the atonement Yeshua provides. That unforgivable sin is speaking against the Ruach HaKodesh. Otherwise, all sin is forgivable. However, according the B'rit Chadashah, those who do not accept Yeshua and His work for mankind's redemption, the offering He made of Himself on the cross, will die in their sins... the wages of sin is death.

Yes, the B'rit Chadashah does say the "wages of sin is death..." Followers of Yeshua have been told, from both the Tanahk and the B'rit Chadashah, that "...ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that the "wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a). It is upon understanding and acceptance of who Yeshua is and why He came the first time, upon repentance and confessing that Yeshua is L-RD, that we are forgiven our past sins, but repentance and confession are on-going as the sins we commit are on-going. We are human, and as such, we will sin though we do not want to sin anymore (1 John 1:10)!

"5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)"

The Apostle Paul lamented over his unavoidable propensity to sin though he loved G-d's Law with all his heart:

"14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God's law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin (Romans 7:14-25 (NLT))."

As you know, obeying Torah is LOVING G-d! Yeshua said, "If you love me, obey my commands," which were the Shema and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. We were never told to stop obeying Torah, we were told that it will be much simpler to obey Torah if we remember and apply the two greatest commandments of loving G-d and loving others (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:9-18). Under the Renewed Covenant (B'rit Chadashah), we are justified through our faith in Yeshua's redemptive work, which was performed by G-d's grace. It is impossible to keep Torah to the fullest, therefore, we are found with sin by G-d. Since we can't keep Torah, if for no other reason than not having a Temple, how do we approach G-d with sin in us? This is how:

"19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:19-26)."

I hope my answer clarifies the passage you are referring to.

Shalom!
Deborah