I Never Knew You

Devastating, horrifying … hearing Jesus say: “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mt 7:23) Deceived about God and how to relate with Him, expecting Jesus to receive them with open arms, so many will hear these words in abject terror. (Mt 7:22) How do souls meet so dreadful an end, believing themselves servants of Christ while grieving Him and trampling His ways underfoot?

Whenever we hear God’s Word and don’t do it, we deceive ourselves. (Ja 1:22) Knowing about God doesn’t make us good; disobeying Him enables the enemy to blind us.

Why bother hearing God’s Word, studying Scripture and teaching it to others, if we ourselves are hating His instruction and casting His words behind us? (Ps 50:16-17) Willfully disobeying God reveals an enmity against Him. (Ro 8:7) We end up pursuing God’s blessings rather than God Himself; rather than seeking a deep relationship with Him, we simply use Him to further our own interests, trying to make ourselves look good on the outside while ignoring our hearts.

Having a religious exterior means nothing to God. Not loving truth (2Th 2:10) is rejecting light. (Jn 3:19) YHWH will cast all who don’t know and obey Him, both profane and religious, into a fiery furnace (Mt 13:49-50) to be trodden down, to inherit indignation (Ps 69:24), eternal shame and everlasting contempt. (Da 12:2)

Eternity is infinite in multiple dimensions: fullness, intensity and duration. Let’s give diligence to make our calling and election sure(2Pe 1:10) No one can afford to miss this. (Lk 9:25)

Though many affirm us in our own way, there’s no safety outside God Himself, no rest apart from knowing Him and being known by Him. (2Ti 2:19) Believing what we want, picking and choosing Bible verses here and there to succor our lies, ignoring those which counter us, is merely to deceive ourselves. In the end, there can be no excuse (Ro 1:20); His Word, taken as a whole, is simply too clear.

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One of Another

As YHWH instructs He speaks to us as individuals, yet also collectively, as souls and as community in the same breath, mixing singular with plural, at times within a single command.

For example, YHWH says: “Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it.” (De 14:21a) The first pronoun ye is plural, yet thou and thy are singular. He is addressing each of us specifically, while acknowledging the common human organism to which we all belong.

He’s walking out a truth in our presence that can be very hard to see: we’re distinct from each other, entirely unique, and yet members of each other, one of another. (Ep 4:25) As members of the human race we’re interconnected, affecting each other as if we’re cells in the vastness of a transcendent human being; as believers we’re even members of Christ Himself (1Co 12:27), and have become His people(1Pe 2:10)

The image of God within each of us is infinite, connecting us with each other and with Him in ways beyond our comprehension. (He 7:10) Our lives and actions ripple and reverberate over time in and through others, influencing and impacting eternal souls in God’s vast, eternal plan. No one lives or dies in and by themselves. (Ro 14:7)

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Children of JEHOVAH

As JEHOVAH recounts His instructions for us, He begins in an unexpected manner: “Ye are the children of JEHOVAH your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.” (De 14:1) What a fascinating way to begin!

Losing a loved one in death can be intensely difficult; to demonstrate our love we might even disfigure ourselves in some way as a token, a remembrance of them. (Le 19:28) But disvaluing ourselves doesn’t enrich others, and it’s disrespectful to our Creator, in whose image we’re all made.

And if belonging to God means we’re not to mar ourselves for such intense motivations, how much more should we refrain from doing so for more trivial, whimsical reasons?

And if we aren’t to mar our bodies, how much less should we ever mar our spirits? Putting ourselves down, wishing ourselves harm, fearing victory, achievement and success, neglecting God’s gifts within (1Ti 4:14), despising His design in us … how does this honor Him?

In this initial command, JEHOVAH’s telling us to respect ourselves because He has given us dignity, identifying with us. We’re to honor ourselves along with others, acknowledging that we’re all on equal footing before Him; loving our neighbors as ourselves implies loving ourselves.

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How Much More

In our pursuit of truth, YHWH encourages us to use induction, showing us how to draw general conclusions from specific details.

Fingal’s Cave, Hebrides Isles, Scotland

For example, He says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?(Mt 7:11) In saying “how much more,” God is telling us how discover more of His faithfulness by observing parents: since He gives parental instinct to move even evil people to care for their children, we should reason that He will certainly care for His own. (Is 1:18)

We learn similarly by beholding the fowls: if God takes care of the birds, how much more will He take care of us? (Lk 12:24) These samples just scratch the surface.

Jehovah has provided His Law to equip us to discern His will in any conceivable situation. (2Ti 3:16-17) He’s done this by writing it in such a way that we can employ induction to discern innumerable related truths from the truth He’s already provided. (Ps 119:18)

Torah establishes the boundary conditions of morality, and we can use these as axioms to derive any and all truth we need to walk with God. (2Ti 3:16-17) We will certainly make mistakes, but we can check and correct ourselves by loving the truth, allowing no contradiction with any text of scripture, and humbly considering all challenges in their strongest possible form.

We don’t get this treasure by merely reading scripture; it comes from hiding it in our heart, meditating on it and praying through it, asking God to reveal Himself to us through a living Word. (Ps 119:99)

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Blaspheme the Holy Ghost

Christ says blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will never be forgiven. (Mt 12:31) What kind of sin is this? How do we know if we’ve committed it?

Christ is responding to the Pharisees’ claim that He Himself, as He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, cast out devils, and preached good news to the poor, was in league with and empowered by Satan. (Mt 12:24) They found no evidence of evil in Him, but despised Him for denouncing their hypocrisy and wickedness.

Rather than acknowledge Christ’s godly power and turn to God, the Pharisees chose to sin grossly against plain fact, and publicly accuse Christ of being insane and demon possessed. (Jn 10:20) This kind of blatant disregard for truth, this level of aggravated insult to the divine being, a deliberate choosing of deception and lies in the face of miraculous, divine revelation, is what Christ is describing. (Jn 15:24) It’s in this specific context that Christ recognizes the unforgivable sin. (Mk 3:29-30)

As a person continues to give themselves over to this level of deception and wickedness, they’re giving themselves over to darkness, to Satan himself, to be captured and ensnared by him. (2Ti 2:26) There comes a point of no return, at some level, from which no one will ever recover, where one’s conscience is seared with a hot iron, such that distinguishing between good and evil is no longer possible. (1Ti 4:2)

This isn’t the kind of sin a child of God can commit. (1Jn 3:9) A person who’s committed to this level of wickedness isn’t going to be worried about it; they’ll scoff at the idea that they’re in danger of hell fire. There will be no fear of God in them, no desire to repent and cease from their pride and wickedness (Mk 15:31); God will have given them up, turned them over to their own way (Pr 1:31), and abandoned them in their sin. (Pr 1:28-29)

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I Am Chief

Who, in your opinion, is likely the worst person, the most wicked, the most evil person who has ever lived?

This isn’t merely academic. We instinctively rank others in moral goodness, invariably finding someone worse than ourselves.

However, arguably the greatest Christian ever, writing more books of the Bible than any other, answered this question: “Me.”

The apostle Paul thought of himself as less than the least of God’s elect (Ep 3:8), the chief of sinners, the worst who ever lived. (1Ti 1:15)

How can this be? And is this a coincidence? Is this true humility? Or insanity?

Well, how do you know you aren’t the worst person who’s ever lived? What evidence do you have that the moral choices you’ve been making, based on the raw material you have to work with in your upbringing and experiences, won’t put you last on Judgement Day?

The answer is simple. You don’t. For all you know, you actually might be the worst person who has ever lived. (Ga 6:3)

This changes everything.

Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to His cross I cling. He died for me.

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Wonderfully Made

At the core of every living cell is an extremely complex, self-replicating machine; billions of perfectly interconnected parts forming a network of living computer programs which read each other bidirectionally: forwards to do one thing, and the same exact piece of code read in reverse to accomplish something entirely different. Genius computer geeks can’t even begin to touch this kind of complexity.

Electron Microscope image of DNA

Each plant and animal species has its own version of this peculiar machine. Three amazingly complicated, interdependent macromolecules comprise it; any two can combine to construct the third, and it’s the only way any of the three is ever made.

Scientists call the three parts DNA, RNA and protein; the building blocks of life, a trinity both encoding and replicating the unique genetic code of each species, constantly configuring themselves in various ways to build the complex network of tissues and organs within every life form. We don’t know what makes them tick or how they could possibly have evolved.

What we do know is that the entire biological system breaks down if we remove any one of the three components of these incredible machines, each one being perfectly designed to work only with the other two. We call this irreducible complexity, and it’s evidence of Intelligent Design in Creation.

Though some dismiss ID as pseudoscience, they must do so irrationally: not only do we remain at a loss to explain how this kind of machine could ever appear apart from Intelligent Design, it’s inconceivable that anything this complex could ever could do so by chance. When studying wrist watches, it’s not pseudoscience to claim a watchmaker exists; in fact, toying with any alternative is patently absurd. Only hopeless ideologues persist in such mindlessness.

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”  Charles Darwin

Darwin and his contemporaries had no idea of the complexity of a living cell, each like a city in itself, a vast network of thousands of intricate components working seamlessly together, or of the incredible design embedded in each and every molecule within each cell. If it is theoretically possible to demonstrate that evolution breaks down with a set of facts, then this has indeed been shown with the facts presented here.

The truth is, we’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), created in the image of God, to fellowship with Him.

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In His Image

Man is unique among the creatures; we live as if good and evil exist, as if we all have an obligation or duty to do the right thing. We call it moral law, and I find it fascinating.

Bonnie and Clyde – 1930s

When we think of good and evil we’re evaluating human behavior: animals can’t murder, lie, cheat or steal.

And what we call good or evil has little to do with the action itself; it’s largely based on motive: killing by accident or in self-defense isn’t murder.

In short, we believe in a real moral standard, an expectation for human behavior that’s independent of opinion or culture, and it isn’t optional or evolving: we expect it to be timeless.

However, we rarely agree on exactly what this standard is, and we never keep it perfectly ourselves, so we often feel guilt, and find ourselves accusing and judging others, experiencing offences, injustices, bitterness, contempt, indignation, shame, mercy and forgiveness. These emotions imply a perception of transcendent metaphysical reality, one above and beyond Nature which we didn’t invent or create; we act as if it’s been revealed to us.

And though we seldom agree on the standard itself, we never argue that there isn’t one. Essentially, we’re continually acting as if there’s a timeless, intelligent, supernatural Being, a numen … a God, benevolently and impartially requiring goodness of us. We know we’ll have to give account for our behavior (Ro 14:12), and that we aren’t perfect. (Ro 3:19)

Yet even in our brokenness and imperfection, as gods we impose our own version of right behavior upon others, thinking we know what good and evil are all on our own, calling for justice, seeking revenge, dimly reflecting God’s own moral nature within us. Every single human being lives like this, every single day; no one can live otherwise.

This doesn’t scientifically prove God exists, but that’s irrelevant; our goal in science is to convince ourselves of the nature of reality, yet we’re all already instinctively aware of this particular Reality.

It’s as if we live in a broken relationship with God, bearing His likeness, made in His image (Ge 1:27), yet alienated and estranged from Him (Ep 4:18), both longing for justice and hoping for mercy. Rebelling against Him while, in the end, expecting Him to win.

The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that we’re all without excuse. (Ro 1:20) Instead of debating God’s existence, we should be seeking Him out, so we can find Him and be aligned with Him. (Ac 17:27)

It’s only by God’s own benevolent design in us that we’re even aware of Him, so it only makes sense that He wants us to find Him and be reconciled with Him. (Je 29:13) He wouldn’t make us like we are for any other reason.

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