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Dangerous Patience

Gal 5:22-23 (ESV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

While we as Christians are called to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, we won’t ever display them perfectly.  Only the Lord can display the fruits of the Spirit perfectly.  We struggle and must strive to exhibit fruit.  Some have trouble even having a little bit of fruit to show.  But others can have overly generous rotten fruits.  Did you realize you can actually exhibit too much of a fruit?  To where it becomes sin?

Consider “Joy” how could joy be corrupted by displaying too much or displaying it incorrectly?

What if you are talking with a grieving parent over the loss of a child?  While we can still be encouraging and place our hope in the Lord and His goodness, too much joy exhibited can be hurtful.  We are told to grieve with those who grieve. (Romans 12:15)  That doesn’t take away our internal joy but just maybe it should be tempered with compassion and grieving with others.

How else might we corrupt the fruits of the Spirit?

Here is a post that will help you consider if you display corrupt rotten fruit.  Click the link to read the whole article.

Is Patience Dangerous? by Ed Welch

 …

Patience can be passive

If we know anything about ourselves, we know that we are not perfect. We expect to have a long agenda for growth and change. Patience, however, tends to just sit around and wait. It has a keener vision for other people’s sins than it does for one’s own sin and weaknesses. This makes it a hopeless goal because it lacks furvor for daily growth. Instead, it waits to be “tried” by people or events.

Patience can be silent

Along with the smug self-righteousness that can seep into patience, another problem is that patience offers no compelling reason to speak with the other person. Patience tends to be silent, and, especially in close relationships, the last thing you want to do is be silent when the other person is being sinful or even irritating. If we are bothered by something that has happened in a relationship, our kingdom instincts should be to speak about the matter in a way that is humble and edifying. From this perspective, I would be so sad if my wife or friends were “patient” with me.

Patience without a willingness to speak openly and in the best interests of the relationship is cowardice, even hatred.


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Trying to Turn Apples In To Oranges

Most of us as Christian parents understand that we need to help our children grow into fruit bearing believers. However, often parents aren’t content with the fruit a child does produce. Some parents want orange trees while another wants an apple tree, yet a third parent may work really hard to produce a kumquat. There is nothing wrong with any of the above fruit but the problem comes when you try to turn an apple tree into a kumquat.

How do parents do that?

A parent may value education and deem it to be very important. I’m talking the focus on education beyond the typically expected learning of reading, math and science, the upper levels of education. They work hard to teach their child everything they possibly need to succeed in educational endeavors. They may struggle financially paying for a special private school which should ensure their child’s advancement educationally. Education can be a fruit if the child becomes a believer. The child could grow to be a very sound seminary professor who writes a well referenced Systematic Theology Book, like Grudem or Hodge. The child could become a world renowned doctor who finds the cure to cancer. Education as a fruit all depends on the Christian walk of the individual. Otherwise that same well educated individual might write a book trying to refute the existence of Jesus or develop a test so that imperfect babies can be aborted at the time a women finds out she is pregnant.

There are lots of fruit and good works that we can encourage our children in developing. Depending on their walk with the Lord will determine if they produce bad fruit or good fruit. But what happens if their parent tries to change the fruit from one type to another? To me this verse references that idea.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

What is the way he should go?

There are some ways that all children should go. They should be taught how to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit until they have the Holy Spirit guiding them along. Thus all children should bear the fruits of peace, patience, kindness and love like it says in Galatians 5:22. But when it comes to other matters we need the guidance of the Lord and also we need to know our children. While education itself is not a bad thing, we are not training our child in the way he should go if specific educational pursuits aren’t what the Lord has planned for him. See the Lord has good works planned for our children.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God has your child’s good works prepared beforehand. We as parents are to strive to equip our children to do those good works not to choose what good works they should do.

Most everyone knows examples of how in the secular world parents seek to produce apples from kumquat trees even to the point of plucking off the baby kumquats and trying to graft apples to the tree. Such as the father who wants a football star son and is driving his son to achieve football greatness yet the son wants to develop his skill in photography. Or the mom who wants a poised ballerina for a daughter but the daughter loves working with animals. We, looking from our standpoint, can easily see the problems with these examples. Of course, we as Christians and even as homeschooling families would not do that. Or do we?

How many times do we see an older homeschooled child and think that is what I want my child to be like? I’m not talking character or respectfulness but the actual skills (the fruit or works). Maybe an older teen girl bakes wonderful cakes, breads and pies which not only blesses her family and friends but provides a steady source of income. Now there is nothing wrong with teaching our daughters to bake and cook. All daughters should have at least a basic grasp of cooking. But what happens if we push for our daughter to be another “Miss Baker” while her heart’s desire is to play the violin. Can music not be as valid and as good of a fruit as baking?

Maybe we’ve got a son who dreams of owning a large farm with homegrown cattle, chickens and vegetables. He loves to ride and work on tractors but struggles with sitting still for school. Now granted there is a reasonable amount of education that all children should receive. But does that mean the parents need to pressure that child into achieving high scores on the ACT and going to college when he would rather learn from “Mr. Farmer” down the road forgoing the expense of college.

I seem old lately. 🙁  Old when it comes to homeschooling, at least, partly because I’ve grown so much and homeschooling has become so much easier to me. See I’m not trying to produce peaches from my life when in reality I’m a cherry tree. Gone are the days when I’m searching for the perfect curriculum or the perfect parenting book. Gone are the days when I read about a family that homeschools feeling we have failed to do so much. That doesn’t mean that I don’t try new things or change things when something doesn’t work well. But I’m not driving myself to be what I am not.

Baking bread happens around here but it isn’t a daily thing. It is also isn’t something I feel I must do to be a good mom. We sew some, but I found that I can buy clothes from thrift stores cheaper and with less hassle than making all our clothes. I’ve learned to take good but slightly imperfect clothes and make them work by sewing slits closed, adding an insert to the top or layering items. We have animals, which works well for us but that doesn’t mean every good homeschool family must raise chickens and goats. We have a garden, but not enough to sell and raise money. One child plays piano and violin for the church. She also teaches lessons now. My oldest son is the one everyone comes to for computer questions and repairs. That is some of the fruit and good works we produce here. I’m striving not to force them into some preconceived mold of this is what a good Christian homeschool family produces.

How are you trying to force yourself into producing different fruits or good works than God has intended for you?

Do you find yourself pushing for your child to produce fruit not in keeping with the “way he should go” but just your preconcieved ideas of good works and fruit? Or even worse according to the ideas of another “expert” on homeschooling Christian children?


 

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The Fruit of the Spirit

Yesterday I happened to be reading in Galatians and I noticed something about the Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control
; against such things there is no law.

This is our good works, the Fruit of the Spirit.

Notice that the fruit of the spirit is singular.  This isn’t Fruits of the Spirit.  It doesn’t say we will be given one of the fruits.  This is every characteristic that is in a Christian unlike in the case of Spiritual gifts.  The sum is one fruit not multiple fruits of different types.  This means we cannot have love but be impatient or have kindness and yet lack self-control.  It is a bundle plan, all or nothing.


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Jesus Died In Vain !?! – Heaven Forbid

Righteousness from the Law means that Christ died in vain!

Galatians 2:11-21 (KJV)
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 

 
Galatians 2:11-21 (ESV)
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.
13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!
18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for
if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Heaven forbid!

Salvation by the works of the law must be felt to be impossible by every man who would be saved. We must learn that salvation is of grace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, and not by our own doings or feelings; but this is a doctrine no one will receive till he has learned the previous truth, that salvation by the works of the law can never come to any man of woman born. Yet the law must be fulfilled. Many will say with Nicodemus “How can these things be?” I answer, the law is fulfilled in Christ, and by faith we receive the fruit thereof.

~~~~~~~~

Spurgeon



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Children of Israel verses Children of Abraham

This is a very, very simplified explanation of the “Children of Israel” and the “Children of Abraham“.

The Jews, descendants of Israel, is what is meant by “Children of Israel”.

Acts 9:15-16 (KJV)
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

Notice the Lord says the “Children of Israel” as opposed to the Gentiles.

But in Galatians believers are called “Children of Abraham“.

Galatians 3:7 (KJV) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

The “children of Israel” specifically refers to the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, believers or not.

The “children of Abraham” refers to Abraham and his believing descendants both by his linage (Jews) and by adoption (Gentiles).

The difference between being a “child of Israel” and being a “child of Abraham” is clear in Jesus’ words.

John 8:39 (KJV) They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

The “children of Israel” are claiming to also be the “children of Abraham“.  But if you read the whole context the Lord says that they are the seed (descendants of Abraham, Jews) but they are not Abraham’s children.  Even worse the Lord says that they are the children “of your father the devil”.  This is a very serious rebuke!

John 8:33-45 (KJV)
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

This is going to be very important when reading the NT.

Which are you?


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Bond or Free?

Here is another passage to ponder:

Galatians 4:21-31 (KJV)
21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Galatians 4:21-31 (ESV)
21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.
23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.
25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”
28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.
30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”
31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Notice Hagar represents the Law from Mount Sinai.  The Law that was given 430 years after Abraham (Galatians 3:17), yet it is represented by Hagar.

However believers are represented by Isaac born by the Jerusalem from above.

Do you want to be children bound for slavery (according to the flesh) or children of the promise?

Which covenant do you seek?



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Why the Return to the Law is so Serious

The seriousness of NT believers returning to the Law is shown through several verses in Scripture.  Here are just two of them in both the ESV and the KJV.

Fallen From Grace

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. ESV

Galatians 5:4 (KJV) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

This verse is pretty clear that you have fallen from Grace if you think the law will justify you.  What does justified mean?  To be counted righteous.  If you feel that being obedient to the law makes you more righteous, than you have fallen from grace.

Because see then your Salvation becomes Jesus plus the Law and not Christ alone.  Following the Law is a work of the flesh and no one can follow the Law.  Only Christ successfully followed the Law and thus He fulfilled it for each of us.

This commentary by Luther is quite helpful to understanding this passage.

Galatians 5:4 (Underlining added)

Paul in this verse discloses that he is not speaking so much of circumcision as the trust which men repose in the outward act. We can hear him say: “I do not condemn the Law in itself; what I condemn is that men seek to be justified by the Law, as if Christ were still to come, or as if He alone were unable to justify sinners. It is this that I condemn, because it makes Christ of no effect. It makes you void of Christ so that Christ is not in you, nor can you be partakers of the knowledge, the spirit, the fellowship, the liberty, the life, or the achievements of Christ. You are completely separated from Him, so much so that He has nothing to do with you any more, or for that matter you with Him.” Can anything worse be said against the Law? If you think Christ and the Law can dwell together in your heart, you may be sure that Christ dwells not in your heart. For if Christ is in your heart He neither condemns you, nor does He ever bid you to trust in your own good works. If you know Christ at all, you know that good works do not serve unto righteousness, nor evil works unto condemnation. I do not want to withhold from good works their due praise, nor do I wish to encourage evil works. But when it comes to justification, I say, we must concentrate upon Christ alone, or else we make Him non-effective. You must choose between Christ and the righteousness of the Law. If you choose Christ you are righteous before God. If you stick to the Law, Christ is of no use to you.

(from Luther’s Commentary on Galatians, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 1999, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Law is not of Faith

Galatians 3:10-12

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” ESV

Galatians 3:10-12 (KJV)

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

As we know “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23) and in Galatians Paul tells us that the Law is not of faith.  All through the OT we see that the just were saved by faith and not by the Law.  The Law never saved any OT saint.  The Law revealed our sin but Jesus fulfilled the Law and He saved us by faith in Him.

Are we justified through faith in Jesus or through the Law?  If the Law is not of faith then we can’t be justified by faith and the Law.

So does it matter that Galatians was written by Paul?  Did Paul change God’s instructions? Can we trust the words of Paul? Next we’ll look at Paul’s writings to see if we can trust them.



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The Law and the Believer

I must admit this wasn’t something that I was particularly interested in beyond the general interest I have in all of God’s Word.  But the Lord desired me to really study His Word concerning the Law.  I have had several people email me asking questions about it.  I also got a comment on a previous post about the OT dietary laws.  Beyond that I had been noticing more and more over the last few years an increase in the interest of believers following the OT dietary laws, feast and other regulations.  I’m not talking about Jews who have become believers but Gentile believers whom are turning to follow the Law.

It was clear to me in the NT that believers are not bound by the Law and are even warned to not return to the Law.  However, when I ran across this teaching essentially I ignored it as a wrong teaching and something to pity those who fell into it.  But the Lord has convicted me that this isn’t just some wrong teaching but is a false Gospel.  We are not talking about the differences between denominations but the differences between being a Christian and a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.

There is so much of the NT that deals with this return to the Law.  The whole books of Galatians and Hebrews are full of warning about returning to the Law.  All through the NT you can find references to the Law, Covenants and returning to the OT Law.  Paul warns the Galatians of this False Gospel with dire warnings of having “fallen from Grace” or being “under a curse”.  That is downright serious and thus I’m convicted by the Lord that I should not have let that slide without confronting it.

Galatians 5:4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. ESV

Galatians 3:10-12

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” ESV

Also as Terry and I discussed those who are teaching this return to the Law also tend to focus on what name they use to refer to Jesus and God.  I don’t know if that is consistent or not just something we’ve noticed.  Many of the differences in interpretation are furthermore blamed upon the differences in Bible translations with of course the KJV being the preferred translation.  I don’t know what significance those features all have with each other though.

So let us examine the Scriptures and see what they say about the Law and specific portions of it such as Dietary Laws, Circumcision, Sabbath observance, etc.

Because this subject can get so convoluted with different topics and verses I’m going to try to stick with one idea at a time.



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