A calculated Choice – Die or Live

After the movie, The Passion of The Christ was released, mistakenly, an antisemitism notion was evoked, but the Holy Bible teaches us that Jesus was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God into wicked hands that took, crucified and slew him (Acts 2:23). Thus the crucifixion of Jesus was a calculated choice of God and not a mere tragedy orchestrated by men.

The choices Jesus had was either to “Die so man will live forever with God.” or “Live and man will die forever, separated from God.” Jesus chose to die so that man can live, and he expressed this, when he said, “I lay down my life on my own free will and no man takes it from me.” (John 10:18).

Points to ponder:
What is your response to this God who willingly gave his life for you? Out of his own free will, Jesus gave his life for you. Out of our own free will, are we willing to die to self and sin, so that we may live forever with God? Whoever gives up his life for Jesus’ sake will save it, but whoever tries to hang on to their life will lose it. (Matthew 16:25). If to die for man is God’s calculated choice, then to live for God should be our calculated choice. Is it?

Acts 2:22-24 (KJV)
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

John 10:18 (KJV)
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Matthew 16:25 (NLT)
25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Biblical Oxymoron – Dead Life

When God created man, man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7), meaning that man’s Spirit (soul) was alive and until they sinned they were not conscious of the nakedness of their bodies (Genesis 3:7), which makes me wonder if the body, until then, was merely a dead jar of clay that contained the Spirit of the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:7) in man. And by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12) and from then on, each time a child was conceived, that child was conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5) and with the wages of sin being death (Romans 6:23), in essence, each time a child is born, that child is born dead (in the Spirit) and alive in the body (flesh). Jesus reinforces this in his conversation with Nicodemus, whom He counseled saying that in order for anyone to see and enter the kingdom of God, they must be born again (John 3:7), by expressing that, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6). Jesus then goes on to say that in believing in Him is Life, Life Eternal (John 3:16) and though one were dead (in the Spirit), yet shall he live (John 11:25).

Being born is being alive in sin and dead in the Spirit, but when one believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God as their Messiah, he/she becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). That person is born again. Ever wondered as to what it means to be born again? The revelation of this hidden treasure is startling. To be born again is to die first; die to being slaves to sin (Genesis 4:7, Romans 6:17-23), and die with Christ (Romans 6:2-4). Being born again is being dead to the flesh and its lusts (Romans 8:13), and rising to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:2,4).  And in dying to sin, in dying with Christ, we are made alive (Romans 6:2-4)

The oxymoronic aspect here is this:
In being born (natural birth), we are born dead in the Spirit, alive in the flesh. This is the first birth, the natural man.
In dying (to sin; with Christ), we are born alive in the spirit, dead in the flesh. This is the second birth, the spiritual man.

We can live to die or we can die to live! What is your choice?

Romans 8:5-13 (KJV)
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Bilbical Oxymoron :: Up Down

Many of us aspire to climb to the zenith of the corporate/secular ladder, sometimes at the cost of trampling over our loved ones and other times by leaving our peers behind. Sadly, even Christian leaders have been known to obtain positions made by men within the Church using  hook (punching other fellowmen down) or by crook (by sinful) methods. Fishermen have long known that there is no need to bother putting a lid on the bucket they use to catch crabs. This is because the crabs in the bucket seldom allow their own to climb out of the bucket. Unfortunately, many time we tend to exhibit such crabby behavior ourselves. When it comes to someone else succeeding, in our stead, we work hard at making sure that that becomes an impossible task for our peers. We always want to be on the top because the world glorifies the man/woman on top.

Interestingly the Biblical perspective on being on top is quite contrary to the world model. In fact the Scripture states clearly that those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, shall be lifted up by Him (James 4:10). The Bible also counsels using the very words of Jesus that “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). The Lord brings down the proud. He did not spare even Lucifer, his angel, when Lucifer’s heart was lifted up and when iniquity (pride) was found in him (Ezekiel 28:2,15, Jude 1:6). The Biblical adage that pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), is true. Jesus made himself of no reputation and is now given THE Name that is above all names (Philippians 2:7-11).

When you rise yourself up above, you will fall down and hit the rocks. When you bring yourself down, and you stand on the ROCK the only way is up.

The oxymoronic aspect here is this:
Those who exalt themselves up (rise up) will be brought low (abased, brought down).
Those who humble themselves (go down) will be the ones who are exalted (rise up).

To go up, we must first go down.

Matthew 23:12 (KJV)
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

James 4:10 (KJV)
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Biblical Oxymoron :: Wise Fool

Many of us aspire to be wise in the sight of others. We even push our children to the limits of mental capacity sometimes at the cost of their physical, social and spiritual development. To be wise or to want to be wise is not wrong, but we must first recognize what it means to be wise, according to the Bible.

First, the Bible says that the fool says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). This makes the atheist and others who deny the existence of God to be fools. But before we jump to pass judgment, we ought to examine ourselves and all those who believe in God or in His existence, as well.  The Bible says that the one who knows God and yet glorifies Him not as God, has his foolish heart darkened, and though he/she professes to be wise, he/she has become a fool (Romans 1:22). So just as the atheist is a fool, so is the one who knows God but lives his life as if He doesn’t. A true litmus test to know if we (who know God) are fools is, if you hear someone who is familiar with you, exclaim to you, “I did not know that you were a follower of Jesus Christ or a Christian”.

Second, the Bible says that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God and that the thoughts of the wise (which the LORD knows) are vain (1 Corinthians 3:19-20). Therefore again, we ought to glory not in men (1 Corinthians 3:21), and deceive ourselves. If we want to be wise, we must first become a fool (for Christ’s sake – 1 Corinthians 4:10) and any who seems to be wise in the world ought to become a fool, so that he may be wise (1 Corinthians 3:18).

The oxymoronic aspect here is this:
To be wise in the sight of the world is to be fool in the sight of God;
To be a fool in the sight of the world is to be  wise in the sight of God.

Romans 1:21-22 (KJV)

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

1 Corinthians 3:18-21 (KJV)
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;

1 Corinthians 4:10 (KJV)
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

Biblical Oxymoron :: Filthy Pure

Merriam-Webster’s define the word ‘Filth’ as foul or putrid matter; especially : loathsome dirt or refuse and the word ‘Pure’ as unmixed with any other matter or free from dust, dirt, or taint.

Who can say that they are pure, who life is not foul or putrid, loathsome, dirty or as refuse? Only those who have believed in Jesus Christ and have been washed by His blood as a remission of their sins, by obeying THE TRUTH (Jesus Christ) through the Spirit.  (1 Peter 1:22). No one else is pure. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (pure); though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18) .

The oxymoronic aspect reflected in the infallible Scripture is this. They that are called filthy (when working for Jesus) are indeed the only pure because they are set apart and unmixed with any other matter (the world), sanctified, and free from dirt (stain of sin). So next time someone calls you the filth of the world because of your life in Christ, that only validates that you are blood bought and pure and worthy of being counted with some of the others who were called the same, including Apostle Paul. What a privilege? To be called filthy when serving Jesus is in fact the reflection of the purity of our life as we live for Him.

1 Corinthians 4:13 (KJV)
We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

1 Peter 1:22 (KJV)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Biblical Oxymoron – Beginning End

The year of the Lord 2009 has come to an end and the rising of the sun tomorrow will dawn a new year. While many (including myself) focus on the beginning of a new year,  we often forget the closure that needs to happen in the year that is ending. In order for the new year to commence, the current year needs to end first.

What are some of the things that we need to end with the ending year?
As I pondered over this question, I could think of two things that I should put an end to this year, so that the new me (creation) enters into the new year. These include Self and Sin. My prayer is that I start to think less of myself and more of Christ Jesus and others first and that I hide His edifying word in my heart that I may not sin against God or man, at least willfully. In order for the new creation [in Christ] to come, the old one [with self and sin] has to go (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Biblical oxymoron in this verse is that without an end, there is no beginning. There needs to be closure before commencement. The old has to go for the new to come as we cannot serve two masters.

What are the things in your life that need to end with the ending year? Think about it, make that list, act on it. Pray that the Lord God who begins the good work of conforming you to His image, putting an end to the old, will complete it according to His infallible Word (Philippians 1:6). In fact, do this before you start making your new year resolutions of the things you plan to begin, because it is better to end than to begin, as the Scripture so beautifully puts it in Ecclesiastes 7:8 which reads Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof..

Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV)
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone [ended], the new has come [begun]!

Biblical Oxymoron – Sealed Free

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘oxymoron’ as a concept that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements (such as cruel kindness) and there are hidden concepts in the Bible, which is the infallible word of God.

Ephesians 1:13-14 states that when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as God, sent from God the Father for the redemption of mankind and acknowledge his Sovereignty, we are sealed by God the Holy Spirit.
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

While it may seem that to be sealed would imply being subjected to or under captive hold (Paul introduces himself to be a bond servant in majority of his epistles to the Churches), it is interesting to recognize the oxymoron  in these verses  i.e., Only those who are sealed in this world by the Holy Spirit are the ones who will be free in the world to come. Think about it.
Are you sealed now so we can be free to reign with God in the world to come or are will you be under bondage in the world to come because you choose to be free from being sealed by the Holy Spirit, by not accepting Jesus Christ in this world, while life lasts ephemerally? This is a serious question and needs to be answered now because it has eternal consequences.

What is it – Sealed now, Free later or Free now and Sealed (in bondage) later?