Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pictures of Salvation

The Tree in the Middle of the Garden

YHWH gave Adam and Eve one law, Gen 2:15  The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 
Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 
Gen 2:17  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." 

One law was enough to produce sin, and to condemn Adam and Eve to death by their separation from the tree of life, shut out from life and condemned to death. 

Covering for Shame

God had already planned a way to rescue them from death, and pictured it by clothing them with the skins of some animals. The death of the animals in providing the covering for Adam and Eve, to cover their shame, is a picture of the sacrificial death of Jesus. 

Gen 3:19  By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." 
Gen 3:20  The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 
Gen 3:21  And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 

Mankind was created with the freedom to choose good or evil, and chose evil from the beginning. YHWH would provide a way for their victory over self and sin. He would demonstrate His love in a way that would encourage us to put our trust in Him and to love and obey Him, by providing His own Son as a sacrifice for sins.

Paul used this figure of putting on clothing referring to how we receive righteousness in Yeshua.

Gal 3:26  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 
Gal 3:27  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 
Gal 3:29  And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. 

As Paul says in another letter, Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 
Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 
Rom 8:3  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 
Rom 8:4  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

YHWH clothes us with the righteousness of Yeshua when we surrender our lives to His will by simple faith, which includes doing the simple things commanded by God. Simple things that make no sense to our human minds, but are a demonstration of trust, the death of our human ego, and the rising of the Spirit of Life in Him.

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Brought Safely Through The Water

The wages of sin is death, and the descendants of Adam and Eve became exceedingly wicked, putting to use their knowledge of evil. Selfish and unloving, their practice of wickedness broke the heart of YHWH. The world needed a fresh start. So He decided to destroy the world with water, cleaning it from sin. But Noah found favor with God, and was given instruction whereby he and his family would be saved by trusting the power of God. 

Noah did not save himself by building the big boat by the plan given to him by YHWH, but he proved his faith by trusting in God.   YHWH closed the door of the ark, and brought them safely through the water. 

Peter explains it like this:  1Pe 3:18  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 
1Pe 3:19  in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 
1Pe 3:20  because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 
1Pe 3:21  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 
1Pe 3:22  who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. 

Trusting God by obeying his command to build the ark, and the command to repent and be baptized, are illustrations of how faith works. Faith includes trust and trust involves simple submission to the commands of God. Noah was not saved by his works, but he was saved by faith in God, which included building the Ark and putting the lives of him and his family in God's hands.

From Slavery to Freedom

Israel's escape from slavery was blocked at Etham, where the mountains come down to the sea. There was no way for more than two million people with their livestock to pass farther. Why did YHWH bring them to such a place? He wanted them to learn to trust in Him instead of themselves. 

The Egyptian outpost at Migdol sent word to Pharaoh that the Israelites were trapped in the wilderness. The mighty army of Egypt with their horses and chariots came thundering in pursuit while Israel camped by the sea. 

Moses lifted up his staff, and YHWH opened the water to provide
a way of escape from slavery in Egypt. Paul compares this as a type of baptism, 1 Cor 10:1-4--For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 
3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 

Yes, when we are trapped by sin, Yeshua opens the way to freedom through the new birth of water and the Spirit. All who trust in Him will not be ashamed. 

Faith Made Real by Obedience

The Israelites were not happy with what YHWH was providing. He was providing food, clothing, water, and guidance, but no onions and garlic. So the people complained, and deadly serpents invaded their camp, and people were dying of snakebite. When they realized their hopeless condition, they cried out for mercy, and God provided a way for salvation. Moses prepared a brass snake, and mounted it on a wooden post, so that those who were dying might look up at the brass serpent and be healed. 

Of course, looking at a brass snake has nothing to do with healing snake bite, but trusting God is the only way to escape the death penalty for sin.  Yeshua compared his crucifixion with the lifting up of the brass snake by Moses. John 3:11-21-- "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 
12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 
13 "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 
14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 
15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 
17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 
18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 
19 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 
20 "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 
21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

If we want to be healed of the death penalty for sin, we have to look at Jesus, trusting Him for salvation. We cannot sit in our tent suffering from deadly snakebite, and expect God to heal us. We must crawl out on our hands and knees and look up at the snake, because God commanded it. 

Jericho Walls Fell After 13 Trips

YHWH commanded Joshua to march his army around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days, and then seven times on the seventh day. Thirteen trips around the walls, blowing trumpets, and shouting, has no power to bring down massive stone walls. 

But God brought down the walls and opened the way for entry into the promised land when Joshua and Israel respected his commandments. I am sure it made no sense to them, but by now they are beginning to realize that they do not have to understand God's commandments, they just obey them and God keeps His promises. 

In a similar way we trust the Power of God when we obey His simple commandments to repent and be baptized. Col 2:9-14
9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 
10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 
11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 
12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 
14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. NASU

Yes, we are baptized into the death of Christ, and raised to new life by trusting the Power of God. He gives us the power to enter the promised land.  Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 
Rom 6:2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 
Rom 6:3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 
Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 
Rom 6:5  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 
Rom 6:6  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 
Rom 6:7  For one who has died has been set free from sin. 
Rom 6:8  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 

Naaman Healed After Seventh Dip

Go and dip in the muddy Jordan river seven times!!  Naaman did not like the instructions because it did not fit what he envisioned as the right way to be healed by God's prophet. 

But the servant girl reminded Naaman that the prophet had not commanded him to do some great deed that would have merited healing, but simply asked him to dip in the river Jordan seven times. 

So Naaman relented, and decided to humble himself, even though it did not make human sense to him. So he dipped in the Jordan six times, and was not healed until the seventh dip. 

Muddy river water has no power to heal leprosy, but God keeps His promises. 

When Peter preached about Yeshua being the Messiah on the day of Pentecost following His resurrection, some who believed the message asked what they could do to be saved. Peter's answer is for us today, for all who believe. Acts 2:34-40
34 "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ -- this Jesus whom you crucified."
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 
38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
39 "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." 
40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" 

Yes, God gives forgiveness of sins and His Spirit to those who demonstrate real faith by submission to the will of God, such submission demonstrated by doing what He asks, within our power to obey. Repentance and remission of sins was preached beginning at Jerusalem, and went from there into all the world.  

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More Than 2,700 Baptized at Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea

Those who gladly received the message about Jesus were baptized that same day. They showed their faith by doing what Peter commanded, repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Immersion in water did not save them, but real faith that trusted God's power to save by simple obedience, not trying to argue about what faith is, but accepting that faith includes obedience. 

Acts 2:41-47
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 
44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 
45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 
46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being savedNASU

God gave his Spirit to all who were born again that day, and the promise is for you and me, all that are called by the gospel to enter into the family of God. God added to the number of His people those who were being saved. The saved are enrolled in Heaven, in the Lamb's book of life. We are saved eternally if we continue to trust in Him until our life is over. There is no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ. 

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