Confession – Coming out Clean

Genesis 29:11-14 records the account of Jacob meeting Rachel and her father, Laban when he came into the land of his mother’s people. When Rachel ran and told her father of her encounter with Jacob at the well, Laban ran to meet him, embraced him and kissed him and brought him into his home, as a gesture of hospitality and kinship. And the Bible records, that Jacob told Laban all these things. In order words, Jacob came out clean, no longer deceiving as he did his brother, but instead confessing. We are not told what “all these things” are but from what is record of Jacob’s life till that time, we can assume that it was possibly:
– how he had deceived his father and his brother Esau of his birthright and his blessings,
– how his brother intended to kill him,
– how his mother did not want to lose him and sent him to Laban her brother to find a wife,
– how he had encounter the Lord God on his journey, and of God’s promises of God’s presence, provisions and protection, and
– how he had providentially met Rachel at the well.
And Laban exclaimed, you are surely my bone and my flesh and let him stay with him for a month.

Points to ponder:
Jacob’s confession was not warranted but yet he confessed and was accepted as family into the home of his kin. When we confess all our sins and come out clean, no longer deceiving ourselves (James 1:22), the Lord God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), adopting us into his family (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Have you come out clean?

Genesis 29:11-14 (KJV)
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father.
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

The first Gospel – cure for the first curse

Genesis 3:14 records the first curse of God on Satan, the ancient serpent, who beguiled man (and woman) to fall from the glory of God, but God in his infinite wisdom, announces his masterplan of Salvation for the very first time, following the first curse. This in other words is the first mention of the cure for the fallen state of man. Genesis 3:15 states that God will put enmity between the serpent (Satan) and the woman and between his seed and the seed of the woman and while Satan can merely bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, this God ordained seed will bruise the head of Satan. This announcement of God is often referred to as proto-evangelium, which means, the first Gospel.

Enmity here means – no friendship one with another – for friendship with one is in essence enmity with the other (James 4:4) and the Bible makes it clear that there can be no communion between righteousness (light) and unrighteousness (darkness) (2 Corinthians 6:14). Those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, who have believed in him, are the light of the world and they belong to the church (the bride (woman) of God). Enmity between the serpent and the Church (woman) has been thus announced, implying that those who belong to the church of Jesus Christ can have no friendship with the world or its god, which is Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4).

The seed of the woman here is speaking of The Messiah, who in God’s appointed time, will be made of a woman. This is a direct and explicit prophecy of the first coming of Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:4).

The bruising of his heel is in one sense reflective of the nails that pierced the heels of Jesus, when he was crucified and in the other sense could be looked at how the devil impedes the progress of the Church but it can never prevail completely against it (Matthew 16:18).

Since the devil does not have any physical progeny, who could the seed of the serpent be indicative of? The seed of the serpent is reflective of the spiritual descendants of Satan, who refuse to believe in Jesus (John 8:45-46) whom Jesus himself referred to as children of the devil (John 8:44).

The bruising of the head of the serpent (Satan) is the prophecy of how Jesus will completely destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) – for when you strike the head of a serpent (and not its tail), it will be killed (2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 3:8). By Jesus’ first coming (manifestation) and his shedding of blood, death and resurrection from death, he destroyed the power of sin and death (works of the devil) and upon his second coming Jesus will forever destroy the devil himself in the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10) and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain for these former things will pass away (Revelation 21:4).

Points to ponder:
The cure for the first curse was announced as the first Gospel by God himself. Have you heard this Gospel of Jesus Christ as to how he has destroyed the works of the devil and will eventually destroy him (crush his head) forever. When we believe in him, we will no longer be children of the darkness (or the devil), but children of God and we can address God as Abba Father. Can you address God as Abba Father?

Genesis 3;15 (KJV)
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Generations of the heavens and of the earth

Genesis 2:4 states “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” While many would read this merely as a restatement of God’s creation as mentioned in Genesis 1:1, close scrutiny of this verse reveals certain hidden truths that are intriguing for sure, but more importantly should not be overlooked.

In the article, “Heaven” or “Heavens” or “Heaven and Heavens”, we first learned about the singularity and the plurality of heaven and the singularity of the earth. Here let us look at another phrase from this same verse. The phrase is “generations of the heavens and of the earth“, implying that these creations of God, are not inanimate as one would expect them to be.

The primary definition of the word “generation” in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor.” Generations of the heavens – what could that mean? Before we get to that, let’s first look at the generations of the earth – what is that? The body of living beings (including you and me) constituting a single step in the line of descent from the first Adam make up the generations (children) of the earth for God fashioned man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, making man a living soul (Genesis 2:7). In fact, God then commands man to be fruitful and to multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:28).

Now coming back to the question, what does the generations of the heavens mean? The Bible makes it clear that no man has ascended into heaven unless he has come down from heaven (John 3:13) and it continues to clarify that no man can receive anything, unless it is given to him from heaven (John 3:27). Jesus is the last Adam, the Lord from heaven who has come down from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:45) and he ascended into it after finishing his work of redeeming all mankind unto God (John 19:30) by willingly sacrificing himself (John 10:18) and giving his life as a ransom (1 Timothy 2:6) to bring many sons unto glory (Hebrews 2:10). Because of Jesus, the Son of God who was born the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:16,19,29), man who was an enemy of God (James 4:4) has now the provision to be called the child of God (of the heavens and of the earth) and can get included in the genealogy of God when man believes and receives Jesus Christ for to them that believe and receive him (John 1:12), is granted the Spirit of Adoption, by which we can call God, Abba Father (Romans 8:15).

Points to ponder:
Everyone who is born in the line of the first Adam is of the generation of the earth. Everyone who is born again in the line of the last Adam (Jesus Christ) is of the generation of the heavens. We are born on earth and when we believe in Jesus; the One man, who is from heaven, who came to earth and ascended to heaven ; the last Adam, we are born again in heaven. We are of the generations of the earth, but are we of the generations of the heavens?

Genesis 2:4 (KJV)
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

John 3:13 (KJV)
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:45-52 (KJV)
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The first three verses in the Bible

The first three verses in the Bible (Genesis 1:1-13) read as follows:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

The first verse speaks of God, the Father, the Creator – the first person of the Trinity.
The second verse speaks of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit – the third person of the Trinity.
The third verse does not explicitly speak of God, the Son, Jesus Christ, but speaks of light that was spoken of God to shine on the darkness (verse 2). Colossians 1:15 refers to Jesus as the firstborn of all creation. While the English transliteration of the word firstborn can be misleading, implying a birth and thus a finite beginning, the Greek word used was prototokos meaning first to beget (protos = first and tikto = to beget), also implying first in time or first in priority. Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God, the firstbegotten of all creation. The Bible refers to Jesus, as the light that has been seen by the people sitting in darkness (Matthew 4:16) and Jesus refers to himself as the light of the world (John 8:12). Using these references, I feel convinced that the light mentioned in the third verse is speaking of Jesus Christ, God, the Son – the second person of the Trinity.

In other words, the first three verses in the Bible is about the One True God in Three Persons.

Points to ponder:
Are you still in darkness or have you believed in Jesus Christ (God, the Son), so that he, the light of the world, has shined on your life driving away the darkness of sin and death. When we believe in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God (God, the Holy Spirit) is poured out on us to seal you until redemption, to God’s praise and glory, as he has promised (Ephesians 1:12-14) and this Holy Spirit of God that is given is a Spirit of Adoption, by whom, we can address God (God, the Father) as Abba, Father (Romans 8:15). From Creation to Salvation and eventual glory of God, it is all about the Trinity of God, starting with the first three verses in the Bible. Are you in darkness or are you in the light?

Genesis 1:1-3 (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

John 8:12 (KJV)
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV)
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 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,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Romans 8:14-16 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Colossians 1:15 (KJV)
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Inheriting God’s favor (in a Son)

Reuben, our beloved firstborn son, turned 7 years old yesterday (January 20, 2013) and as we reflect, on this precious gift of God the Father (Abishai) unto us, we are grateful to God for his goodness and grace that we experience in and through Reuben. God has blessed him with many talents and gifts, in faith, academics and in sports. He is gifted with a good sense of memory, memorizes Bible verses speedily, prays with faith, was identified and placed in the gifted an talented program at his School, participates in gymnastics, swimming and is a 2nd degree Brown belt in Shaolin-Do Kung Fu.

The Bible says that “Children are a heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:2) and the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘Heritage’ as ‘property that is descended to an heir.’ As we reflect on these 7 years with Reuben as our Son, we recognize that “Reuben is a heritage of the Lord.”, a loan from above. In other words, he is God’s property given to us as a gift, as we are God’s heirs because of what Jesus Christ victoriously accomplished. Jesus restored the relationship of fallen man, with God, by his death and resurrection, and gives to all who believes in him, his Spirit of adoption, by which we can call God, Abba Father (Romans 8:15), making us co-heirs with him (Romans 8:17), and our prayer is that we will always be cognizant of God’s favor in Reuben whom we have inherited.

Our prayer for him is, as he grows up, he is first is a follower of Jesus Christ and secondly a Godly son to us and a Godly brother to his sibling Ittai; that he grows with wisdom, in stature and in favor of God and man (as Jesus did – Luke 2:52).

Points to ponder:
My beloved wife, Sangeetha and I have personally inherited God’s favor in our son, Reuben. But the whole world is eligible of personally inheriting God’s favor in his Only Begotten heavenly Son, Jesus Christ, if only they believe in Jesus. Have you inherited God’s favor in his Son, Jesus Christ?

Psalm 127:3 (KJV)
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

John 1:12 (KJV)
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Romans 8:15-17 (KJV)
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Our Father :: The Paternity of God

We celebrated Father’s day 2011 on June 19, 2011 and I wondered as to what kind of Father, our God is? As I wondered, I realized that the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray not only addresses God as Father, but in it, are hidden many characteristics of the kind of Father that God, Our Father, is. When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he started out by addressing God as ‘Our Father’. This establishes the Paternity of God. However, even in our natural self, we don’t go around calling anyone other than our earthly father (biological/foster) as our father. In the same manner, only if we have been born into or adopted into God’s family, can we address God as Our Father. So how can one be born into or adopted into God’s family or in other words, what would give someone the right to address the Almighty Creator God as ‘Our Father’?

We can address God as Our Father, only if you have been born again into God’s family. To be born again is to be redeemed by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Redemption comes by believing in Jesus Christ; believing that He is the Only begotten Son of God, and the Only Way to God the Father (John 14:6). Without believing (through faith), we cannot receive the Spirit of adoption in our hearts and without being adopted, we cannot address God as ‘Out Father’. The Paternity of God comes with the free gift of His Spirit being poured into the hearts of all who believe in Jesus Christ. When we believe, we receive as an inheritance the very essence of God which is eternal life, overcoming death and its power. When we believe in His Son Jesus Christ, God accepts and adopts us as His very own.

Many a times in the Bible, we see God saying, “I shall be their God and they shall be my people”, but in the consummation of the Scripture, from the book of Revelation, we see how God says to all who overcome by believing in Jesus Christ, “I will be his [her] God and he [she] shall be my my son [daughter]” (Revelation 21:7), implying that God will be ‘Our Father’.

Point(s) to ponder:
Can you address God as ‘Our Father’? In other words, “Have you been redeemed by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ?” i.e., Have you believed in Jesus Christ, God’s Only begotten Son? i.e., Have you been adopted into God’s family?

Matthew 6:9 (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Galatians 4:4-7 (KJV)
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

What kind of a father is Jesus?

We all celebrated father’s day 2010 yesterday and I thank God for having granted me the privilege of being an earthly father to Reuben Abishai Paul (RAP). As I reminisced about father’s day, I was reminded of my own biological father, Dr. R.A.C. Paul,  who on the 30th day of September, 1986 passed away from this ephemeral world to enter into an eternal kingdom. And as my heart wandered to wonder about why I was deprived of a father-son relationship, I was promptly reminded from the scripture that God is the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Jesus Christ addressed Almighty God as Holy Father (John 17:11) while affirming that He and the Father are One  (John 10:30).

But what kind of a father is Jesus/God?

He is a
Friend of the sinner (Matthew 11:19),
Alpha/the First (Revelation 1:8),
Teacher from God (John 3:2),
Holy (Mark 1:24),
Emmanuel/With us (Matthew 1:23) and a
Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) on whom we can depend.

And to all who believe and receive Jesus, He gave them the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12) and because we have received the Spirit of adoption, we can call God, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). Our relationship with God is that of a father-son relationship only because of our Spiritual Father, Jesus Christ; it is by adoption, and not by ancestry.

And as children of God, what kind of father’s do we need to be?
We need to be
1. the friends of those who are lost (who have not believed and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Father);
2. the first (alpha) to pass the baton of faith to our earthly children;
3. the teacher of the fear of the Lord;
4. holy as God the father is Holy;
5. always with and for our children and loved ones; and
6. the rock on which our children and loved ones can depend on.

John 1:12-13 (KJV)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV)
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.