Who can forgive sins but God Alone

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him, because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”Immediately he arose, took up his bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”   Mark 2:1-12

The Bible teaches that sickness and death entered this world through the misused freedom of our original parents, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Since then it has been the saga of humankind to deal with all kinds of diseases and sickness. And in the Scriptures, we can read that Jesus not only cured diseases by laying His hands on some people, but also like our text, merely had to speak the word, and this man, a paralytic was healed. Let’s go deeper into God’s Word. First off, let’s take notice that by now Jesus had made quite an impact on the lives of the people around them. And so now we read that He’s entered a house in Capernaum, and word got around that He was there. So they gathered there, in what I’m sure was a tiny house and all, that the people crammed their way into the house, and there was no way for anyone to make entry through the door. A second observation is what drew the people, And He preached the word to them.(v.2) God draws His people in where His Word is being taught and rightly divided. The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.(Psalm 111:2) Imagine being taught the Scriptures by Jesus Himself, the good news of the gospel, that salvation is by grace alone, our response through faith alone, for the forgiveness of sins.

So Jesus was sitting in this house. The place was packed both inside and outside, you couldn’t even get near the door because of the multitude of people. And here come four men carrying perhaps their friend or family member, and they become desperate, because they know Jesus is near by. So it is with us today. We have this chronic and reoccurring problem with our lives, if its medical, doctors don’t seem to know what to do? If its something else, financially, or the loss of a loved one, whatever the case it may be. How desperate do we become in finding Jesus Christ for our lives? We know He is near, but are we desperate enough to “breakthrough” the barriers of what other people might think of you, by doing so? Seems we care often too much of what another person might think of us, instead of what God says to us in His word. In this case, these men became so desperate that they tore through the roof of this house so that could lower their friend down in front of Jesus. They didn’t care what others might think of their actions. They did what they believed to be the right thing for their friend.

Jesus saw their faith—When Jesus saw what lengths they went to just get His attention, and to bring healing, He deemed it to be that their faith in Him was strong. And He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Now, imagine the reaction from these four friends at Jesus’ words was probably that of disappointment. “Lord, we didn’t bring him here to be saved!” “We brought him here to get healed!” But Jesus is taking care of the most important thing first. He sees the condition of our heart, and knows what it needs most. So we too must ask ourselves, “What is really most important, my loved one’s healing, or their salvation?” Better to have suffered in this life so that it would draw me to Christ, that I might be saved, than to go on with life without ever concerning myself to what awaits me after this life, eternally separated from God for my sins were never dealt with in this life.

Now what is so significant of this healing is that it cannot be explained? This was not about a man’s ability to believe, but about withered twisted legs that became immediately and visibly whole again at the authority and word of Jesus. Yet, the greatest miracle God can ever perform and work in any of our lives is the miracle of freeing us from the power of sin and transforming us into the kingdom of light.

The scribes response—What these men were there for our text doesn’t say, but most definitely they were listening to Jesus speak to the crowds about the kingdom of God, as rulers and teachers in the synagogues they knew the Law of Moses; but when they seen His actions which included this miracle of healing, rather than believing like the rest of them the amazing work of God; they reason in their hearts that He, Jesus is an imposter, because He is giving His authority to forgive sins. “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They were absolutely right about the second statement, but were dead wrong on the first. And immediately Jesus picked up on their thinking and reasoning inside. I love this! We can never hide our true nature from God, He is the One who created us! David wrote in Psalm 139: O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether(vv.1-4). David understood that nothing inside of him could be hidden from God. A valuable lesson for us too!

Which is easierTo say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk?  Well, if you’re Jesus Christ, neither one of them is difficult. Here is an observation: To say “Your sins are forgiven you.” Is in fact easier to say, because we cannot see the condition of the heart. Yet, when in fact to see a miracle of physical healing right before your eyes would be more difficult for us to say, convincingly, because of the response would be immediately made known to verify this. Yet, Jesus is giving us the priority of the heavenly kingdom. Which the spiritual life of man comes before the earthly natural life of man. Indeed, it is looking at the bigger picture, of where we will spend eternity at.

Beloved friend, The Greek word translated “amazed” is existemi or literally “to be beside oneself,” but the reaction of the crowd was not just of awe of this never seen before and unexplainable act. The miracle also prompted the crowd to glorify God (v.12). The onlookers recognized that the source of the miraculous healing was the Creator God who had initiated the healing process by supernatural means. Now they had reason to take Jesus at His word seriously when He offered to forgive their sins. Jesus said to His disciples on the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they glorify your Father which is in heaven.”What Jesus demonstrated for us is that we should be Christians who love God in how we love others. Meaning our works on this earth which can be seen by men, should be bringing glory to God the Father, by His love radiating through us, so that others may live and give their praise at what they have witnessed in the lives of believers, and they too would desire for all eternity to be in the presence of God.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!

Renew the Spirit of Your Mind

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:17-24

This instructional text we read today we find Paul giving very practical words of instruction and exhortation in how the believers newly converted perhaps, should be walking in the Lord. The Bible is first of all very practical. It won’t ever ask you to do anything beyond the help of God, and will give you very simple and basic instructions in how we ought to do things. So we are told, first of all, walk in a way that is fitting for a child of God. “Walk” expresses daily conduct and refers back to what Paul has said about the believer’s high calling in Christ Jesus (v.1). Meaning to walk worthy of this calling by God in your life, the believer must take his instruction from no where else but from God Himself. And because now you are placed in the body of Christ with other believers, it is important that we don’t revert back to our former ways of living after the flesh, but rather, rely on the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us to walk in the new life in Christ. Were told also not to walk as the Gentiles. That word is used for “heathen,” all the ungodly, unregenerate pagans who walk after the vanity of their mind or who are “empty headed,” because they have their understanding darkened, and are alienated from a life with God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart (v.v. 17-18). The unbeliever is spiritually separated from God, thus ignorant of God’s truth that is available to all mankind.

Being past feeling—Unbelievers are morally insensitive as they continue to live in their lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Thus the outcome of their lives depicts their sexually impure acts that are results of their insensitivity of what God’s Word says about it, and their wanton lusts for more. Greed— Today the real problems of the world you can trace back to greed. The greed of man, all of the social ills come back to the greed of man. The exploitation of people come from the greed of wanting for myself.

But that is not what you have learned from Christ—As the truth is in Jesus, What did He teach? That we should love one another, even as I have loved you. He taught that love should be the motivating factor behind our lives and behind our actions. And that it should be others centered, not self centered. Too many Christians want to put self first, we talked about it in my last post, “Lord, let me first go and do such and such!”There is no individual kingdoms in the body of Christ, except God’s kingdom from which we yield, and submit to the edifying and building up of others in it, as we do it unto the Lord. Think about it. There are two motivating factors in this world today that move men. You are either motivated by love, or you are motivated by greed. The man apart from Christ is motivated by greed. He cannot ever seek to please God, when he has placed himself in the position to be like a god, with his life’s agenda is to have the most of ____ you fill in the blank. The world has suffered greatly by these kind of actions from powerful men in this life. But the man who is in Christ and is motivated by love for Him, you can see the results within the church, wherever they are who are following the truth that is in Jesus. It is definitely a glorious thing to see the body of Christ, a melting pot of all walks of life knitted together as one. One body in Christ, working together for the glory of God the Father, and for His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and soon coming King. The truth about Jesus is the truth about salvation that leads to the fullness of truth about God, and man, about creation, and the history of life with it’s original meaning and right relationship standing with God. It also teaches about heaven, and hell, and eternal life, and eternal judgment. And anything else that is truly important for us to know as a Christian believer, and follower of Christ. All that God wants from us, is that we would become more and more dependent upon Him, and His Holy Spirit given unto us, to allow His working in our lives that will help us be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind—This is the way I am to walk now. After the new man, the new nature that is now in me, is that of Jesus Christ, in righteousness and holiness. The renewal of the mind in salvation brings not simply a renovation of character, but transformation of the old self to the new self. Which was created according to God. In Christ, the old self can now no longer exist as it had in the past, we don’t have to be bound by its former lusts, we can now walk in the newness of life that is patterned after Jesus Christ. And this is the will of God for us, that we no longer be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).

Beloved friend—The Bible says: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).God so disdains human wisdom, pride and arrogance, by not ever allowing it as becoming a means of knowing Him, but also by choosing to save the lowly, the humble and contrite man who realizes I have no rights to insist that God save me. But come to God broken, humbled in spirit, realizing I have not kept His commandments, and indeed am a condemned sinner. He does not call many whom the world would call wise, mighty, and noble. God’s wisdom is revealed to the foolish, weak, and common man, those considered as nothing to the elite, who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. So that God would clearly receive all the glory for His transformation of human lives, and so that we can used by Him to witness to others. This all starts after your conversion on a daily basis when you start your day. Get into His Word, pray in the power of His Spirit, and walk in the sweet fellowship with your Lord. Will you be used by the Lord today? It’s up to you.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!


A Stone of Stumbling and a Rock of Offense

“Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went to a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.  Matthew 21:33-46

Okay everyone reading this, take a deep breath in and exhale. Thank you for reading this rather longer than usual text, but it all flows with what the Lord wants to share with us. You see, God does choose whomever He desires to serve Him and glorify Him in this life. But if we are not willing, if we refuse to believe in the prophecies concerning Him, hanging on to traditions and religious rituals will be no substitute when it comes to serving Christ. Let’s take a look. Jesus was clearly referring to an Old Testament passage by the prophet Isaiah, chapter 5, which would have been familiar to the Jewish leaders. The “vineyard” is a common symbol for the nation of Israel. The minute He announces this vineyard, which was hedged and the winepress and all, this was exactly how Isaiah described the nation of Israel. How God planted the vineyard, and He came to gather the fruit, and all there was, was wild grapes. The owner made every conceivable provision for the vine’s productivity and protection, illustrating the Lord’s purely gracious choice of Israel. And justifiably, He expected a good yield of fruit from His investment. And so He just let the vineyard go into captivity. And they knew that this vineyard was representative of the nation Israel.

Now God did not act without warning. We see from the parable Jesus tells, that the landowner sent servants to the field. These represent all of the prophets God raised up to tell of their coming Messiah, and that Israel as a whole ought to have heeded these men God sent them because these were His messengers, to warn them that they ought to repent. So here we read, after their response to Jesus’ question; when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers? These chief priests and synagogue rulers again trap themselves in their challenging of Jesus’ authority. The son in the parable represents the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they killed by condemning Him to the cross. They pronounced their own judgment upon themselves. The kingdom of Christ, and all of their spiritual advantages would be taken away from them and given to those who would be willing and humble enough to accept them by faith and believe in the redemption offering of Jesus Christ for their sins. The “other vinedressers” symbolizes the church, which consists primarily of Gentiles, Paul wrote in Romans: “salvation has come to the Gentiles” something that the Old Testament had long prophesied when God told Abram: “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” which was explained that this was all in the sovereign plan of God.

The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone—Jesus took them back to the Messianic Hallel psalms sung at the time of Passover in which also in the New Testament, Peter wrote: “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame,”Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense”(1 Peter 2:6-8). The metaphor “Stone”  Peter used to show that Christ’s position is that of Chief Cornerstone of the New Testament church, foreordained  by God Himself. To every human being, Jesus Christ is either the means of salvation if they believe in Him, or the means of judgment if they reject Him in the message of the gospel. There is no other name by which we must be saved by, and no other foundation upon which we can build upon then of that which the Word of God says is Jesus Christ.

Beloved friend, “Whomever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”  To become a Christian is to fall upon the mercy of God, and be broken of our sin-laden life. We have no hope beyond this life whatsoever without Jesus Christ, He is our Rock of salvation. The spiritual blessings forfeited by Israel as a nation by refusing to believe in Jesus Christ as their promised Messiah are many; one of them being able to bless your families with the wisdom and knowledge of God the Father, through worshiping and obeying His Son, Jesus Christ. Our families are given a great legacy to follow after Christ by faithful godly parents. Children need their Christian role models to be in their home life as they are being raised. Mom’s and dad’s shape their spiritual destiny by introducing them at an early age to their God. Let us never forsake this given privilege given to us by God.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1-2). The picture of the vinedresser God the Father, getting rid of dead branches so that the living ones, fruit bearing branches may be sharply distinguished. This is a picture of the apostate Christians who never genuinely believed and will be taken away in judgment. Jesus also said earlier in His ministry, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”(Matthew 7:16-20) Living falsely will have its consequences. Don’t get caught up in any new age beliefs that are currently popular among mankind, these false seeking messages and methods of finding peace, through channeling and becoming one with mother earth will not fare well in the end. God is seeking those who will bear witness to the truth of His Word. And through the believing in His Word can you find the only hope, the only life filled with His peace, and the assurance of your salvation.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are what I need in the Person of Jesus Christ. I want to follow You and receive Your offer of forgiveness of my sins, and live a life that bears the good fruit described in Your written Word. Lord, fill me with the Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control, that are all characteristics of Jesus Christ, Your Son. Thank You Father, that you hear and answer this prayer, In Jesus name, amen.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!