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2 Chronicles 21-23:21 (NKJV)

NOTE: For me a very good quick summary of these verses can be found in Ezekiel 18, as below. Even though Jehoshaphat was faithful to serve the Lord, his sons were not.

Ezekiel 18 (NKJV)
19
“Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. 20
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
~~~

These verses can be a source of great comfort and wisdom for godly parents who have tried their very best to raise children in love and to fear and love the Lord.

Yet, for some reason their children rebel against what the parents taught. IT IS NOT THE PARENTS FAULT that their children are not following after God and the Lord Jesus.

Yes, it is painful, and I am sure that it is easy for parents who love the Lord to feel guilty when they see their children not following the Lord. Humanly and emotionally, I am sure it is easy for them to feel “It was not a good parent, and that is why my children are not following after God.”

True, no human is without sin, and no parent is totally pure in the sight of God because we are all sinners.

Yet, God will not forget the labor of love, worship, and faith of parents (after repenting and following the Lord for themselves with all of their hearts) who have taught their children in love to follow after the Lord.

“The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.”
~~~

2 Chronicles 22 (NKJV)
7
His going to Joram was God’s occasion for Ahaziah’s downfall; for when he arrived, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.
8
And it happened, when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers who served Ahaziah, that he killed them.

NOTE:
Yet, consider the effect of chosen rebellion and sin on children when a parent does choose to disobey. David—called by God Himself to be “a man after God’s own heart” sinned, and look at the consequences that had on his children.

Notice the last part of verse 7 above: “…Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.”

God had appointed Jehu to cut off the house of Ahab because of his persistent wickedness.

Though children do not bear the guilt of the parents’ sins, when parents do choose to persist in deliberately chosen sin—those sins do open a door for the influence and consequences of sin on their family.

When we sin—though no one is responsible but us for our sin—the effect of our sin extends to our families. No one sins in a vacuum.

The idea that “it is my life and I can sin if I want to for it will hurt no one by me” is a lie.
~~~

Romans 11 (NKJV)
19
You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”
20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
21
For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
22
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness [of God], if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

NOTE:
No one is saved by works. Period.

Yet, if Christians choose to persistently disobey (which makes no sense) and do not want to turn from sin—the question must be asked: Are they really Christians?

Though God’s grace will never fail any man, a true Christian choosing to disobey can still choose to walk away from God’s grace. Again, the effects of that harmful and foolish decision are very destructive and dangerous.

“Grace” that does not create a desire to obey is not grace – it is deception.

Psalm 22 (NKJV)
7
All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8
“He trusted in [hoped in or praised] the LORD , let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

NOTE: There is much that could be said about this very excellent and rich passage of Scripture. Yet, I liked the quote below. Even though the quote is about Romans 11, I thought it really fit

I really liked this excellent quote below:

source: The Kindness and Severity of God (Romans 11:13-24) By: Bob Deffinbaugh , Th.M.

“Faith required Abraham to obey, trusting in God rather to live by appearances.”

“God calls upon us to give up our lives in order to gain them, to take up our cross in order to serve Him. OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD BY FAITH MAY OFTEN SEEM INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT HE HAS PROMISED TO ACCOMPLISH, BUT GOD’S WAYS ARE OFTEN ACCOMPLISHED BY THE MOST UNLIKELY MEANS.”
~~~

Very few, if any, of the Jews expected the Messiah to be crucified. After all, God would not treat His Chosen Servant that way.

And for us—yes it is true that God has chosen all who trust in Christ that we are to be “blessed in order to be a blessing”. Of course, the primary and key blessing is spiritual—we are made right with God.

Yet, God has also promised to provide blessings for us on earth so we can use those resources to further the Kingdom –
as seen in Psalm 67 (NKJV):
1
God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
2
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

~~~
OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD BY FAITH MAY OFTEN SEEM INCONSISTENT WITH WHAT HE HAS PROMISED TO ACCOMPLISH. Yet, God’s promises and His Word will never fail.

If we die for the Lord as Jesus died for us according to God’s plan—then we are blessed indeed.

If God allows us to have a lot of material blessings and have a lot of money so we can pray and give millions to support missions and God’s Word in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus—then we are blessed indeed.

Our blessings are in Christ. May we use all of our lives and all of God’s blessings for His purposes—otherwise we will held to account.

Vance

I had to leave for work, and I could not finish my thoughts.

CONCLUSION:

Christianity is NOT a religion. I hate religion.

It is a RELATIONSHIP with God through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The core of the living Christian faith IS THE CROSS.

For each one of us, regardless of our financial station in life, is called to the Cross.

Jesus Himself said, in Luke 14 (NKJV)
26
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
33
So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.

~~~
There is no second thought or no wavering in Jesus' words.

All people called by the Matchless Name of Christ are called to:
"cleave steadfastly to Christ, conform wholly to Christ's example in living and, if need by, by dying also."

(Luke 9:23 - AMPLIFIED BIBLE notes]

Does that mean we are all called to hate money and our families and live in a cave, depending only on the Lord to take care of us.

Certainly not. The Scripture says, "He does not work, let him not eat" in 2 Thessalonians.

Note what the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul in Ephesians 4 (NKJV):
28
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
~~~

Some may be called to literally lay down their lives in physical death for the sake of the Gospel.

ALL OF US ARE CALLED TO DIE TO THE LOWER SELF, and to sin.

Matthew 10 (Amplified Bible)
38
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conforming wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also] is not worthy of Me.
39
Whoever finds his [lower] life will lose it [the higher life], and whoever loses his [lower] life on My account will find it [the higher life].

~~~


But for those NOT called to literally physicially die for Jesus, how are we to live, to use our money, to use our time?

I really like and am challenged by what John Wesley had to say about this.

SOURCE: Wikipedia,
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Wesley

John Wesley in his sermon titled, "The Use of Money" said this:

"Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn."

"Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can."

"Statement known as 'John Wesley's Rule':
Do all the good you can,

in all the ways you can,

to all the souls you can,

in every place you can,

at all the times you can,

with all the zeal you can,

as long as ever you can."

~~~

As I reflect on what this means for my life, I ask myself these questions:

* Do I trust Jesus as Savior?

* Do I find Jesus to my loving Lord?

* Do I treasure Jesus?

I am challenged in my being about really LAYING DOWN my life for Jesus in modern America.

I have been moved to volunteer at a ministry which ministers to the homeless through giving food, hope, and the Gospel.

I believe I will follow up and become that volunteer and lay my life down for others in that way.

I will learn, by grace, to lay my life down for my wife and to love her as Jesus has loved me.

C.T. Studd was moved to give up his wealth of money.

He said, "If Christ be God and died for me, then there is nothing too great that I can do for Him."

WE ARE CALLED TO BE LIKE JESUS - to die to self and to follow Jesus in serving others for the Gospel.

If we do not do that, we are going to be severely disciplined by our loving Lord.

I Peter 4 (NKJV)
17
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18
Now “ If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” [Proverbs 11:31]
19
Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Vance

Romans 11:13-24

After Paul talks about the hardening of hearts of the nation of Israel, he says that because of Israels transgression it led to riches (or abundance) for the world and Gentiles.

Paul although he continues talking about Israel, speaks directly to the Gentiles.

Regarding Israel - vs. 15
"For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" NIV

Bob Deffingbaugh offered some insights to this verse, but I would like to offer anohter one. Paul is using Jesus, the cross, and ressurection as a "type" to talk about Israels future.

Reconciliation happened at the cross - it was great - and he is comparing this to Gentile inclusion in God's plan. The ressurection brought "eternal life" it was the apex of the three day event. That is what Israel's return to God will be like - the apex of God's plan regarding salvation.

vs.16
"If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches." NIV

The idea of "holy" here being "set apart".
======================================================
Ingrafted Branches

Before I was saved - I was trying to disprove the Bible by looking for "contradictions". These verses of the "ingrafted branches" are a favorite of Bible skeptics. They claim Paul talked about security of salvation (never separated from God) earlier in Romans, and now says the Gentiles can be set aside (separated) like Israel, or worse "cut off" from God. [Note: Skeptics are not trying to figure out what God is saying, they just look for contradictions in print. It is funny - skeptics will take things literally when it suits their purpose.]

Bob touched on it, but I think this is important in case you run into a Bible skeptic in your Christian walk. It is important to know what the (trunk) good olive tree represents.

What the (trunk) good olive tree is NOT:

1) It is not Salvation. The roots of tree are either patriarchs, or God's covenants and promises to the nation of Israel. Either way the tree cannot be Salvation rooted in either of these two things. Salvation is rooted in God.

2) It is not the nation of Israel. It can be symbolically used as Israel, and certainly the nation of Israel is rooted in Patriarchs/covenants. The unbelieving branches of Israel could be seen as separated from the nation via different dispersements of the Jews. However, the Nation has rejected Christ - so then (the Nation) the trunk is not rooted in the belief of Moses, Abraham, and David. Morever, Gentiles WERE NOT grafted (brought) into the Nation of Israel.

So what is the trunk of the good olive tree?

I believe like Bob says, that it is the priveleges, blessings and kindness of God that is rooted in the patriarchs/covenants toward Israel. Unlike Bob I do not see Salvation as part of these graces. Salvation is a work of God - brought about by grace and mercy.

John 5:29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

The tree trunk is like the vine Jesus talks about in John 15. Jesus talks to believers about abiding in the vine (grace) of God. I think Paul is talking about the same thing here in Romans 11. The tree provides sap (grace) so that the branches - natural (Jews) and grafted (Gentiles) will bear fruit (riches and abundance) to the glory of God.

[Note: Greek words of Wild Olive tree and olive tree are two different words. Wild - oleaster or wild olive tree. Olive tree - domesticated for fruit bearing.]

If this is all true, then Paul is saying to the Gentiles:

1)Do not boast over other branches. All branches share the same sap (graces) from God, which is rooted in Israel (patriarchs/covenants). All branches are on good olive tree by the same belief in God. You (Gentiles) did nothing to earn your way onto the tree.

2)Don't be arrogant about the branches that were cut off from God's Priveleges, Blessings, and Grace. For if you exhibit pride and arrogance in this, you too may be treated like the cut off branches who also were full of pride and arrogance instead of humility to the Lord.

3)Regard the sternness and kindness of God. Ancestry does not mean one will stay in God's graces regardless of belief, but if you stay in your belief and abide in Him, you will keep experiancing God's graces and bear much fruit (riches/abundance). Again - the idea of John 15 and the Vine.

And afterall, if the Jewish nation comes to believe, it will also be grafted back in. It can happen, because it will be more natural than the grafting of the Gentiles.


Romans 11:24-36

All Israel will be Saved

Paul has said why Israel is blinded, don't jump on their collective unbelieving backs in derision, because salvation is coming to the (collective) Nation of Israel.

When?
Vs. 25b
"..Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in."

"Full number" here is Gk. "pleroma" with the idea of a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e. manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers. (When the ship is fully manned we can take on the Jewish people and set sail.- ME)

Jews have been disobediant; just like you were before Salvation. Just like you they will receive God's mercy based on His word and the Prophets. Is that so hard to believe?

"The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable: This is another reason why God hasn’t given up on national and ethnic Israel. This principle, stated by Paul, comforts us far beyond its direct relevance to Israel. It means that God will not give up on us, and He leaves the path to restoration open." - David Guzik
======================================================
Doxology

Who can know, who can advise, who can lend to God.

No one, because -

36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

It is about God's Glory.

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