Category Archives: Adultery / Sex Outside Marriage

What Is Mardi Gras and Should Christians Celebrate It?

What is Mardi Gras and why do so many Christians celebrate it? I grew up in a Catholic church and never could quite figure out how people could say that Mardi Gras was a “Christian holiday”. People broadly seemed to have accepted the concept that Christ wants us to embrace wild parties, drunkenness, public nudity, gluttony and other sinful behavior as a precursor to a period of repentance which follows. If it is not obvious enough that celebrating Mardi Gras is not a way to edify, honor, or lift up Christ then try a more academic exercise. Where in scripture did Jesus demonstrate or teach that we should sin greatly before a period of repentance? It’s not there. In fact, the opposite.

The call to repentance is real, but not the call to sin before it.

This does not even begin to touch on the focus that Mardi Gras puts on pagan gods associated with parades and other events.

Matthew 4:17

      17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Romans 6

      1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

      8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

      12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

      20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are called to righteousness and not to sin. How then can those in the church widely accept and embrace sin as a “Christian holiday”? The answer is that we have not followed the Lord’s instructions. He commands us not to learn the ways of the pagans and not to celebrate as they do. But all too often our common cultural holidays have been greatly influenced by pagan celebrations. The church has chosen to accept and blend pagan practices alongside or in place of how the Lord wants us to worship Him.

Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia.

When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Deuteronomy 12:1-5

   1“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2“You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3“You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4“You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. 5“But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.

In order to choose to follow the Lord His way, which is the only true way to follow Him, then we must turn away from and reject pagan celebrations which have been blended with or replaced God’s instructions for how we are to worship Him and how we are to live. Let us not make excuses, accepting the lifestyle of the pagans as our own, no matter how long the family traditions have been established. When we start making exceptions, we often end up with things like Mardi Gras… many who claim to be Christian accept it and would defend it… but none can justify it based on scripture or God’s word. It has become part of the culture based on a historical choices and family traditions. Let us seek the Lord and the Lord’s way alone to live submitted to Him. Let us not blend with the ways of the pagans but rather turn back to our Lord wholeheartedly and without hesitation.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Choose Sanctification and Honor Over Sexual Impurity

Let us be set aside and made holy. It should be reflected in our lives as we walk according to the commands of YHWH. Part of this is to abstain from sexual immorality and control ourselves in sanctification and honor rather than being led around by lust like those who do not submit to and follow YHWH. Yes there is right and wrong. Yes, much/most of our nation has it wrong with regards to accepting sexual immorality and even attacking those who rightly call out sexual immorality. They act as if one who warns others of the fire burning down their house is the problem and not the fire itself. The problem is the sin and the one who accepts it… not the one who calls it out.

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

Sanctification

      1Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

Let us soundly reject impurity and seek out a life sanctified by YHWH. It is key to remember that YHWH, not people, determines what is pure and right and what is immoral and His decision on it does not change.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

When The Righteous Increase, The People Rejoice

Let us pray for an increase of righteous, godly people in our churches, communities, states, nation, and across the world. Let us seek righteousness in God’s word and through relationship with Him. Do not pursue the deceptions of worldly teaching on what is righteous and what is wicked for Satan revels in deception as those that claim God all the while rebel against His ways.

Proverbs 29

Warnings and Instructions

       1A man who hardens his neck after much reproof
Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

      2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
But when a wicked man rules, people groan.

      3A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.

      4The king gives stability to the land by justice,
But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

      5A man who flatters his neighbor
Is spreading a net for his steps.

      6By transgression an evil man is ensnared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices.

      7The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.

      8Scorners set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away anger.

      9When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man,
The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

      10Men of bloodshed hate the blameless,
But the upright are concerned for his life.

      11A fool always loses his temper,
But a wise man holds it back.

      12If a ruler pays attention to falsehood,
All his ministers become wicked.

      13The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.

      14If a king judges the poor with truth,
His throne will be established forever.

      15The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

      16When the wicked increase, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.

      17Correct your son, and he will give you comfort;
He will also delight your soul.

      18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.

      19A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

      20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

      21He who pampers his slave from childhood
Will in the end find him to be a son.

      22An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.

      23A man’s pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

      24He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He hears the oath but tells nothing.

      25The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

      26Many seek the ruler’s favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD.

      27An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

For those of you who read our article yesterday, the introduction to this companion article will be redundant, but we pivot to focus on the last 6 commandments in this article where we focused on the first 4 yesterday. (You Shall Love The Lord Your God With All Your Heart)

The ten commandments do not represent the sum total of God’s law or instruction for His people. However. He saw fit to focus on these 10 as He addressed the people. Much more detail was shared with the people through Moses and is available for us to study and learn in scripture. The point is, that learning and obeying these 10 commandments is not sufficient but it is a good place to start.

Some immediately want to say that this is out of date, “Didn’t Jesus say to love God and love others was all we need to do?”

Matthew 22:34-40

     34But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Context is important. This is not a new commandment replacing the others. Jesus lived obeying the law of Moses and quoting from it in His teaching. He explicitly said He did not come to change the law.

Matthew 5:17-19

      17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

What Jesus is essentially saying is that He can summarize God’s instruction down to loving God and loving one another. However, we don’t get to define what that means on our terms. All too often people today define that as accepting sin and encouraging people that they do not have to repent of sin to be in right relationship with God. God already defined what it means to love God and love one another. As a starting point, we can use the 10 commandments. The first four are about our relationship with God and the next 6 are about our relationship with each other. This is not an all inclusive list, but it is a good place to start and to a health check on our relationship with God and others. We focus today on our relationship with others.

Deuteronomy 5:16-21 (the last six commandments)

    16‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.

      17‘You shall not murder.

      18‘You shall not commit adultery.

      19‘You shall not steal.

      20‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

      21‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his male servant or his female servant, his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’

Let us first observe that loving God comes first, before loving others. This is true in the order in which the commandments were given by God and also the order in which Jesus spoke about them… love God and love one another… the order is important.

Honor your father and your mother. God has commanded us to honor our parents. In particular this is important for children when they are in the care of their parents before they grow in wisdom and relationship with the Lord. Their parents are there to protect and provide for and guide them. Even as adults we should honor father and mother. Children do not need to agree with parents in order to honor them.

You shall not murder. Too often this is mistranslated as “do not kill”. There is a difference between killing (e.g. in self defense) and murder. God’s people were often called to defend their nation in battle or to take the promised land at God’s command. God Himself provided a legal system in which some offenses are punishable by death. These are not the same as murder even though people die. On the other hand, abortion is the taking of an innocent life… it is murder. This will be tough for many to accept and internalize. However, keep in mind that Christ has died for our sins and so we can be forgiven.

You shall not commit adultery. Sadly, this should be obvious to anyone who loves their spouse, but our culture seems to be less and less concerned with calling out this sin. It is almost accepted as not ideal or flattering, but commonplace. It really should be considered a terrible offense and not lessened in significance just because so many fail in this area. It rips apart marriage, which is intended as a very close, personal bond between a man and a woman for life. It rips apart and damages families and children. It is very destructive on our society and culture.

You shall not steal. We do not love others by taking what is theirs. That is extremely selfish and hurtful.

Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Do not lie to get someone else in trouble. Speak the truth and treat people honestly and with integrity.

You shall not covet. Coveting is an everyday part of our lives. For America, and much of the world, it is the new favorite national pastime. Marketing constantly tries to make us covet what others have so we go buy it. People go deep into debt buying things they don’t need and can’t afford (e.g. houses, cars, clothes, phones, anything and everything) because they covet. People hate others and resent others because they covet. Do not let this sin sneak into your life because it is so accepted in our culture. Look for it and ask for God’s help for you to be content rather than coveting.

Think you are scoring well? Let’s take a look at how Jesus told us to judge against these commandments.

Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28

      21“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

      27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus shows us how high God’s standards are. We don’t get to redefine them so they are easy just because we fail. They are the righteous standard and good reference point to measure our progress in becoming more like Christ and less like the world. It should be clear by now that we all truly need the grace of Christ’s offer of forgiveness through grace by faith based on His death on the cross for us. None of us can meet God’s holy standard.

Consider this a health check on your relationship with God and others. Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love others as yourself? Most of us would admit we have further to go to live up to this standard… and we need God’s help to get there. Ask for Him to help you love Him more. Then look to understand more about how to demonstrate love for God through your decisions and attitudes of submission and obedience to Him.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Reward of Humility And The Fear Of The Lord

The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life. Pause and ask the Spirit to guide you and speak to you as you read Proverbs today. May He open our eyes to the truth of God’s word and how it applies in our lives. May we be humble enough to identify and admit where we need to make changes.

Proverbs 22

On Life and Conduct

     1A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.

      2The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The LORD is the maker of them all.

      3The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.

      4The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

      5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.

      6Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

      7The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

      8He who sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.

      9He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.

      10Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out,
Even strife and dishonor will cease.

      11He who loves purity of heart
And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.

      12The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge,
But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

      13The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside;
I will be killed in the streets!”

      14The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.

      15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

      16He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

      17Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;

      18For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.

      19So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I have taught you today, even you.

      20Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,

      21To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you?

      22Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;

      23For the LORD will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them.

      24Do not associate with a man given to anger;
Or go with a hot-tempered man,

      25Or you will learn his ways
And find a snare for yourself.

      26Do not be among those who give pledges,
Among those who become guarantors for debts.

      27If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take your bed from under you?

      28Do not move the ancient boundary
Which your fathers have set.

      29Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.

There is much wisdom, much treasure, in Proverbs. Read it slowly and carefully. Reflect on how each part applies in your life and the lives of others around you. Pray for insight and help to make necessary changes in your life to come more in line with God’s wisdom and advice rather than “how you have always done things” or “how the world does things” or what is “normal”.

Only God is truly wise, so let us listen and obey.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Walk No Longer Just As The Gentiles Walk

When we truly accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, how we live will change. We will put less focus on doing things the way we like to and the way “we have always done” and instead begin to change to live more according to His ways.

Ephesians 4:17-32

The Christian’s Walk

     17So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

      25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Jehovah Can Help Us With Deal With Adultery

The “adultery test” of Numbers 5 sounds very strange indeed to us today. For sure we can confirm that adultery is not a new sin that married people have to deal with, even those who identify as God’s people. So, too, we can see God is not pleased by adultery.  It is a common and destructive sin. While coming to a faith leader may not be a common approach today and certainly the test described is not common today, it is quite interesting to reflect that turning to God in such a situation is actually quite a good choice. Our loving Father can handle even these difficult situations, which are especially hard to handle for a man or woman if they do not know for sure if an offense has taken place. Going to God in such a case is much better than letting the spirit of jealousy ruin you and perhaps lead to physical anger and violence.

Numbers 5:11-31

The Adultery Test

     11Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13and a man has intercourse with her and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband and she is undetected, although she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act, 14if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has defiled herself, or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has not defiled herself, 15the man shall then bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring as an offering for her one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of memorial, a reminder of iniquity.

      16‘Then the priest shall bring her near and have her stand before the LORD, 17and the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel; and he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18‘The priest shall then have the woman stand before the LORD and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose, and place the grain offering of memorial in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest is to be the water of bitterness that brings a curse. 19‘The priest shall have her take an oath and shall say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you and if you have not gone astray into uncleanness, being under the authority of your husband, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings a curse; 20if you, however, have gone astray, being under the authority of your husband, and if you have defiled yourself and a man other than your husband has had intercourse with you” 21(then the priest shall have the woman swear with the oath of the curse, and the priest shall say to the woman), “the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people by the LORD’S making your thigh waste away and your abdomen swell; 22and this water that brings a curse shall go into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your thigh waste away.” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.”

      23‘The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24‘Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness. 25‘The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain offering before the LORD and bring it to the altar; 26and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial offering and offer it up in smoke on the altar, and afterward he shall make the woman drink the water. 27‘When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh will waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 28‘But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children.

      29‘This is the law of jealousy: when a wife, being under the authority of her husband, goes astray and defiles herself, 30or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife, he shall then make the woman stand before the LORD, and the priest shall apply all this law to her. 31‘Moreover, the man will be free from guilt, but that woman shall bear her guilt.’”

I am not proposing we repeat this specific test. It is not possible as the Levitical priesthood no longer exists. Bring instead the situation to our Lord Yeshua who now is our chief priest. Let Him help with the situation.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Put On A New Self… With the Help of the Holy Spirit

Want a quick, objective check on your personal relationship with Jehovah? Read through Colossians 3 with me. Let the Spirit guide you toward the areas in your life where you fall short and encourage you in the areas where God is transforming your life.

First, if you are made new through Christ, keep seeking the things of God. Set your mind on the His ways rather than the world’s.

Colossians 3:1-17

Put On the New Self

     1Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

      5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

      12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

This scripture serves as a great summary of some key character traits we should demonstrate as new creations in Christ and a list of traits we should not be demonstrating anymore. Pray for the Spirit to help you in areas where you are struggling. Praise Him and thank Him where He is helping you. What a wonderful Lord we serve that He is mindful of us! He sends His helper to dwell with us to transform us. Let us live in the world but apart from the world so as to glorify the Father.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Immoral Behavior Is Offensive To God and It Is Wrong For Everyone

Jehovah could not make it much more clear… He wants us to follow His statutes and not those of the pagans who reject Him. We are not to blend in in this world. He takes sin very seriously. There is absolute right and wrong and many in this world are doing wrong. He does not promise us His blessing regardless of our behavior. He does lay out clear consequences and accountability for those who choose to sin, to live outside of His statutes and guidance. Jehovah has not changed His mind on what He approves of since Leviticus. He is unchanging in His character.

Leviticus 20

On Human Sacrifice and Immoralities

     1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“You shall also say to the sons of Israel:
‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3‘I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name. 4‘If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death, 5then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech.

      6‘As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. 7‘You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. 8‘You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you.

      9‘If there is anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, his bloodguiltiness is upon him.

      10‘If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11‘If there is a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. 12‘If there is a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed incest, their bloodguiltiness is upon them. 13‘If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them. 14‘If there is a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is immorality; both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no immorality in your midst. 15‘If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. 16‘If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.

      17‘If there is a man who takes his sister, his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he bears his guilt. 18‘If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people. 19‘You shall also not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for such a one has made naked his blood relative; they will bear their guilt. 20‘If there is a man who lies with his uncle’s wife he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they will bear their sin. They will die childless. 21‘If there is a man who takes his brother’s wife, it is abhorrent; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness. They will be childless.

      22‘You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out. 23‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them. 24‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. 25‘You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. 26‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.

      27‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.’”

There is quite a list of immorality and rebellion identified in this scripture. Our Father is trying to be very clear about these sins. They are unacceptable. No excuses. No rationalizing. He has not changed His mind about these things being wrong. Take care in reflecting on these. Just because it is no longer common that someone may be sacrificing their child to Molech does not mean this is an obsolete passage. People today sacrifice their unborn children through abortion essentially to the god of self. For their own selfish desires they kill their unborn children rather than care for the children and raise them, taking accountability for past mistakes and showing respect for life. Globally there are over 40 million abortions a year. By the numbers, it is a much greater horror than any singular event in history, even the Hollocaust which was gruesome and killed 6 million. God is not pleased with sacrificing children through abortion any more than He was in killing them before Molech.

I do not believe that we are still commanded to execute those specific punishments, in light of Christ’s death and resurrection for our sins. But we are called to rebuke wrong behavior and call evil what it is and good what it is. We should not call what is evil good and what is good evil, as so many do today in our society. We should have laws against most of these behaviors, though some should need no laws, because our laws should reflect our Christian values. There should be punishments for these crimes to help discourage others from embracing sin and harming themselves and others.  Some should be laws, some should be active engagement from the Christian society to rebuke offenders (in love) so that they should repent. We should not cheerfully embrace offenders of these laws as if what they do is acceptable before God.

We can also bring forth the good news of forgiveness that is offered through Christ to those in sin. Jesus Christ died for our sins. We need to admit we are sinners who can not save themselves and accept His offer of forgiveness through grace by faith. Turn from our sinful behavior. Ask forgiveness from the Father. Turn toward the Father’s ways and ask for His help through the Spirit.

Take time to read the list thoroughly. Some of the sin covered here are rejected widely by society for now, but others have already been deemed acceptable and “good” by the world. Given a chance, the world will continue to redefine all of these sinful behaviors to caste them as “good” and caste those who rightly denounce them as “intolerant” and “cruel”.  We must repent personally, pray for God’s help for our nation and local government and the people, and stand against what is evil boldly by confronting it in our communities, churches, and influencing our legal system by actively engaging as a voters or in public office as followers of Christ.  We should never separate church and state. That is just an excuse to open the door for evil to prosper and it was never the intent of our founding fathers of the USA and is certainly not Jehovah’s desire. The founding fathers embraced Christian values and principles and teaching and integrated it into all aspects of the government they created (but that is a topic for another day).

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Imitate God Rather Than The World

Ephesians 5 speaks for itself. It is a timeless warning to avoid worldliness and a call to righteousness.

Ephesians 5

Be Imitators of God

     1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

      3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

      6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

14For this reason it says,
“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

      15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Let us take a challenging look at ourselves and our lives and test to see if we are living as imitators of God, or of the world. In most cases, we struggle at some level in that we still are reflections of the sin culture of the world. Let us call upon God to help purify us further and help us to change our attitudes and actions to reflect better and better the righteousness of God rather than the values of the world.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.