Monthly Archives: July 2016

Life thoughts: The state of the unbeliever

The state of the unbeliever according to Paul in Ephesians 2:1 is dead because of their trespasses and sins. We were all born dead spiritually, and the unbeliever is continuously dead in his trespasses and sins because of the sin we inherited from Adam. 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22 (NASB) says, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

The word used is νεκροὺς (nekros). νεκροὺς means dead, lifeless and useless. It also refers to a dead person or a corpse. Ephesians 2:1 refers to a spiritiual death. This can be seen by looking at the use of νεκροὺς which was used three more times in the book. Eph. 1:20 talks about how God raised Christ from the dead, which is both a physical and spiritual manifestation (Jn 4:24: “God is spirit…”); Eph. 2:5 which is Paul’s further explanation of 2:1 talks about being dead in transgression and sins; Eph. 5:14 says “Awake sleeper, And arise from the dead…” which talks about being the urge for the sleeper to be awake through Christ.

Being spiritually dead is being separated from the presence of God. This is the state of the unbeliever. He is eternally separated from God and cannot enjoy his presence forever. Since the unbeliever is dead, he is a spiritual corpse. Therefore, he cannot and is totally unable to do anything to save himself from being eternally dead and separated from God. How can a dead body save himself? How can a corpse live again? How can an unbeliever, who is dead, save himself? How can an unbeliever, who is a dead corpse, be alive again? It is impossible, because he is DEAD! This is where God’s grace comes in.

Rom. 6:23 NASB:

23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life thoughts: 1 Timothy 4:1-5

1 Timothy 4:1-5

As short as it is, I’ve learned a lot from this passage. Some will abandon the faith being committed to false teachings. Paul just used the word πλάνος or planos (deceit) twice in his letters. In 2 Corinthians 6:8, he uses the same Greek word to refer to themselves preceived as others as deceivers. In 1 Tim. 4:1 the context is not of themsleves but can be pertained (in lieu of 2 Cor. 6:8) to those who pretend to be part of them, those who pretend to be Christians, but teach a different Gospel like the Judaizers of the Galatians. Paul differentiates it from the doctrine of the devil in the passage which shows that there are 2 different teachings pulling away both Christians and non believers away from the saving knowledge and devotion to God. I would say that the “later times” Paul is referring to is now.

I made a paper on prosperity gospel in my Soteriology class. I enjoyed it as I discovered how they teach. They teach from the Bible but they deceive people into believing the Bible in a different perspective–out of context perspective; or lack of it. Verse 2 says that is “seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron.” Paul uses the word seared or kasteriazo just once, as it also appears just once in the whole Bible. So intense is his warning about people who teach these lies like they have no conscience–blatant liars. Verse 3 says that these are people who give so much rules and instruct people to abstain from some food and practices. In this day and age, people like this are living in double standards. They say one thing, yet do it differently. I know of a denomination that, years ago, prohibits their women to wear shorts and prohibits the use of technology. But I know of some of its members, even the pastors family who use technology a lot. The pastor’s daughters even wear shorts outside of the church.

I can go on and on with this passage. But primarily, this passage has taught me to guard my stand on theology and the Bible and only trust on what God says in His Word.

Life thoughts: Psalm 51

Psalm 51

 

Yesterday, me and my group did some serious spring cleaning in our office. This is an office/classroom/rehearsal room. I am a director of an instrumental ensemble and we have a concert this July and we need all the space we can have for a comfortable rehearsal. It amazed us how much dirt and clutter are in the room even examinations from the 80s! It’s an old room full of history of knowledge and sometimes shame. I saw some of my exam results in my early years as an undergrad music student. It surprised everyone that I almost failed my entrance exam to be a freshman music student. It was such a shame. But then they also saw another test paper of mine with the highest grade possible. I told them that it just goes to show that I learned a lot. They agreed. As I was searching the other test papers, one member of the group told me that I was looking at the papers of her class many years ago. I saw her name, and she quickly snatched the paper from my hand and tore it apart. Apparently she failed that exam. But she’s graduating now, so it really doesn’t matter.

 

Psalm 51 talks about how David was begging God to cleanse Him. Verse 7 says:

1Purify me awith hyssop, and I shall be clean;

2Wash me, and I shall be bwhiter than snow.

 

Hyssop is a type of bush that has had a lot of Biblical history. Hyssop was used to daub blood over the doorposts of the passover, it was associated with cleansing, also, Jesus sipped wine from a sponge raised on a hyssop branch. That hyssop represents the blood of Jesus and his death in the cross. David is saying, “God with your blood, please cleanse me so that my fellowship with you will be restored.”

 

I need cleansing with the hyssop right now. I have wronged God so many times, promised to not do it, but still do the same thing over and over again. But the Bible does promise, that our guilt and shame has now been washed away. I am just holding on to that promise right now. I’ve confessed so many times and have prayed for victory over this sin, but it seems that my sinful nature is still trying to win me back. But the promise is true. However sinful and shameful I may be, I am already cleansed, sorted out by the grace of God. Thank you Lord!

 

 

New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ps 51:7.

Life thoughts: Psalm 52

Psalm 52

Delayed for some days, yes. But nonetheless trying to catch up. I’ve been so busy and tired the past two days because I’ve been rehearsing my group for a series of concerts this July. I am their conductor and it is an immense responsibility to fulfill the task of leadership and musicianship. The last chapter I read was Psalm 51, so I thought why not continue to do it.

I am amazed on how God speaks to me in a very unique way. I read the chapter without expectations, but truly the Bible is God’s Word. It talks about seeing someone boast on his evil deeds and the other person reflecting on how a punishment is waiting for that person and how he is protected by God forever.

The Bible considers reliance on self and independence on God as unGodly. The word boast means “to shine.” This reminded me of my career as a musician. As an artist and performer, I cannot help but think of myself as someone who could “shine” in a performance. We are performing really difficult pieces, and as the conductor, all glory will go to me. This is the most difficult thing that someone as myself can face–accepting all their praises. It is a kind of boasting after all. But verse 5 says, that God will break down that who boasts, will snatch him up, and uproot that person from the land of the living–which means abundance of life here on earth. Being boastful about my own talents and independence from God sure has a lot of consequences.

I learned that trusting on my self is not what the Bible teaches. I should pray more and rely on God more and more each day.

Life thoughts: 1 Peter 1:20-21

1 Peter 1:20-21

 

He was foreknown. Before the world began, He is alive, He is existent. Trying to simplify through diagram the passages of verse 20 and 21, I believe that it goes like this: He has appeared in these last times for the sake of the believers in God, so that your faith and hope are in God. Makes me ask, did they have their faith and hope in something or someone else before? He has appeared for you so that your faith and hope are in God. If He didn’t appear, it seems that their faith and hope will not be in God. But, since He appeared, until now we can say that God is real and that our faith and hope are in Him. Which can also be taken further into God’s manifestation of glory even in present times. Manifest doesn’t mean that He appears physically but that He is seen, manifest, through us because of our works in faith in Christ Jesus that other people see, and that we ourselves have seen as we become sensitive to the leading of God through the Holy Spirit and through His filling of us in times that we do our ministry that seems to be impossible to do in our own strength but then God allows us to accomplish with His strength manifested in us.

 

Now, this is the reason why our faith and hope are in Him. They are in Him because we have seen how He has worked in our lives, in our relationships, our finances, our health, our safety, our achievements. He has “appeared” in us. The more He “appears” in us, the more we have faith and hope in Him. Which leads me to conclude that even if we don’t physically see God, we have faith because of His manifestation in us.

 

How, then, can He be manifested in us? He does not manifest Himself to people He doesn’t know. It’s like seeing more and more a person’s friend in him if they are always together, or a couple who are almost identical in their mannerisms because they know each other so well and are very intimate. God’s manifestation in us will come as we continue to know Him, to be intimate with Him. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments. This is the beginning. He will reveal more of Himself to us, be made manifest in us, people will see, we will see, and the more we and others see Him in us, according to Peter, we will have more hope and faith in Him. It all begins with being intimate with God.

Life Thoughts: 1 Peter 1:17-19

I’d like to focus on two things that struck me in this passage: Perishable and Precious. NRSV says that we should live in reverent fear because we were redeemed not with perishable things like silver or gold (aren’t these considered precious stones?), but with precious blood, the blood of Christ. Perishables are those things that decay–food, drinks. I usually see a truck that has a print that says: do not delay, perishable goods. Perishables are of the world. It means that nothing in this world could have brought us out of our chains and saved us from our sins. But why liken it to silver and gold? Yes, they are made here on earth, but they are still considered precious stones. I can see it this way: sometimes what we are made to believe seems like it is from the Bible. It might have passed every checklist that we have which pertains to doctrine. It might be preached by the best of the best pastors, but at the end everything and everyone is of the earth. We are, ourselves, perishables. Relying on someone for strength, hope, and direction could be a world’s worth of gold or silver. But it is clear. It is perishable. It will decay and soon be gone. But the precious blood of Christ, a blood that is pure and spotless is worth all and more of these perishable stones. The blood of Jesus is worth more than anyone that we think we can rely on, anyone that might be made and refined by gold and silver. The blood of Jesus is pure and spotless already thus it doesn’t need time for trust to be built upon it. It is already worthy of trust.

And this is the reason why I should worship. This is the reason why He is worthy of my trust. This is the reason why no other human being, however intelligent, and strong, and joyful, could ever match pure love of Jesus, sacrificed on the cross, blood shed for us. This is the reason why I should live all of life in reverent fear of Him.

Life thoughts: Luke 2:15-38

Luke 2:15-38

This passage spans the part of the Christmas story where the shepherds went to see Jesus as a baby to Jesus as a child being offered to God in the temple. The characters are of course, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but of notice are the shepherds, Simeon and Anna. The shepherds, Simeon and Anna had a common thing that they did. They believed what was said to them, they went to Jesus to see, and they told others. Believe, draw near, proclaim to others.

This might sound like a 3 point sermon on salvation, but I beg to differ. All of them I will assume are believers. I don’t think God will reveal himself to those who don’t believe him. So the shepherds might be believers. Simeon and Anna are definitely believers. All of them were told that they will see Jesus. See=experience. They came near=all senses. They were joyous=all that is within them. After that, they proclaimed and all wondered. Simeon will depart in peace, Anna gave thanks to God. The point is, once we draw near to God, all that is within us will be joyous for the glory that His presence in our lives bring. And this will, in turn be our motivation or our excitement to tell God to others, to praise Him, and to surrender our life to Him.

I was just asked to day to preach in church for the first time. Please pray for me. All that is within me is rejoicing on what God has been doing in my life. It’s my turn to tell the people of it.