“…You died… with Christ and this has set you free from following the world’s ideas of how to be saved—by doing good and obeying various rules—why do you keep right on following them anyway, still bound by such rules as not eating, tasting, or even touching certain foods? Such rules are mere human teachings, for food was made to be eaten and used up. These rules may seem good, for rules of this kind require strong devotion and are humiliating and hard on the body, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.
“You shall not make yourselves any idols: no images of animals, birds, or fish. You must never bow or worship it in any way; for I the Lord your God am very possessive. I will not share your affection with any other god…” (Exo 20:4, TLB)! “…Worship only the Lord God. Obey only Him” (Matt 4:10, TLB). “…I know how rebellious and stubborn you are…. While I am still here with you, you are defiant rebels against the Lord…. I know that after my death you will utterly defile yourselves and turn away from God and His commands…” (Deut 31:27-29; 4:15-19 & 25, TLB).
God wrote the original Law on Tables of Stone (Exo 34:28, NLT), and housed it in an earthly temple (Exo 25:8-9, 16, 21; 26:30-34, NLT). That plan did not work well, God constructed a new temple for the Law. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God…” (1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Cor 6:19, NKJV)? Where ever God’s temple exists, you will find His Law. “…This is the new covenant I will make with the people, [not nation], of Israel after those days. ...I will put My instructions, [My laws], deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts/minds.
“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness…” (Pss 4:1, NKJV)! “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…” (Pss 5:8, NKJV). “…He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Pss 23:3, NKJV). “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue [that] rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me…” (Isa 54:17, NKJV). “…The righteousness of God [comes] through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…” (Rom 3:22, NKJV). “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.
1. The dawn of human civilization was not an afterthought, but rather aforethought. The Biblical account in Genesis describes a convention that occurred on the sixth day of creation. At that meeting, the Godhead adopted this policy position—"Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves...." (Genesis 1:26, CJB). All parties to the agreement were in one accord, so the plan for human development was unanimously approved and implemented.
1. Your life, as a Christian, is a pilgrimage. The journey toward the New Jerusalem is difficult (Revelation 7:14)! You will pass through "...a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to [eternal] life, and only a FEW find it" (Matthew 7:14, CJB). Along the route—which is NOT for sightseeing—there are tests just as t
1. Character development is not the first topic of evangelism. Proselytization of prospective converts calls attention to more familiar topics such as baptism, forgiveness of sin, the love of God, the Kingdom of God, the resurrection, the second advent, and any number of other biblically appropriate, introductory topics. Against this background, discussion of character development may be deferred until after baptism. If that was the case in your conversion experience, then it is fitting that you begin self-study, examining the role of suffering in the develo