Thursday, August 22, 2013

Justin Martyr and Judah's demise

I'm reading Justin Martyr again.  I do not remember where I left off as that notebook is upstairs.  So I read through the first apology, paragraphs 41 through 50.  Recall that Justin explains to his pagan rulers that he and his fellow Christians are not atheists.  In fact, they worship the only true God and shun all other idols.  They refuse to even solute them.  In this section, he highlights the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus, about his death, resurrection, and session at God's right hand.  I will share some quotations.

The Lord hath reigned from the tree.
The cross was actually part of Christ's inauguration.  He gained power over Satan and satisfied God's wrath.  This was the beginning of his power to save all God had given him, and this power has no end.

For not like other things, which cannot act by choice, did God make man; for neither would be worthy of reward or praise if he did not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.
I know this is not Justin's theology.  I do not have the time to reread his previous chapters.  Justin seems to have gone the route of belief that people can choose good of their own accord.  All people in their natural state can only choose evil.  God has to elect them to salvation before they can obey him.  Once saved, they do make the choice to obey, but Justin must know that anything we can contribute to Jesus comes from Jesus himself.

On the other hand, humans are responsible to obey Jesus if they claim Christianity.  No one can take our salvation, but we still must obey the Lord.  Either way, our reward will always be the full presence of Jesus Christ with his righteousness imputed to us.  There is no reward outside of him.

"The sword shall devour you"...the sword of God is fire, of which they who choose to do wickedly become the fuel.
I seek another day of giving advice to pregnant women tomorrow.  I wish I could tell him plainly that they are not Christians, or at least behave as non-believers.  They are no different than the zombies of Hollywood.  If you don't go to church, you are not a Christian.  If you keep disobeying the Lord and having premarital sex, and possibly even having abortions, you seriously need to question the sincerity of your faith.  There are times when believers will backslide, and then there are times when people just spit in God's face and kick him in the stomach.  The latter are not true Christians at least at this time.  Obeying the law won't save them, but at the same time, they will only end up in the eternal fire of God's wrath if they never surrender their hearts' desires to Jesus.

Isaiah 64
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
    Zion has become a wilderness,
    Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful house,
    where our fathers praised you,
has been burned by fire,
    and all our pleasant places have become ruins.
12 Will you restrain yourself at these things, O Lord?
    Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

 Justin explains how Judea's nation would be destroyed for their blatant rebellion against God.  The beautiful temple and beautiful Jerusalem are only beautiful with no substance if they continue to be distracted by idols.  It is even worse if they try to worship both God and idols and pretend the idols are part of worshiping God.  Their souls are only a wilderness.

Isaiah 65
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
    I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
    to a nation that was not called by my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
    to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
    following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
    to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
    and making offerings on bricks; 

Even in Israel's hardheartedness, Jesus still sends his word to them.  God does not give up on giving them the truth.

For the Jews, having the prophesies, and being always in expectation of the Christ to come, did not recognize him.  They even crucified him.
The Gentiles who did not grow up with God's prophecies were filled with joy and faith when they heard of Jesus.

Amazingly, people in America take God for granted.  The older conservatives still believe that this is one nation under God.  It's not one nation, and it's certainly not following God.  At this point, America's elite rebel against church while people in communist countries have the healthiest churches.  African denominations are sending missionaries to America.  We need to stop seeing Jesus as rote information and realize how much of the Bible we don't read.

Isaiah 52
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
    he shall be high and lifted up,
    and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle many nations;
    kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
    and that which they have not heard they understand.
 Isaiah 53
Who has believed what he has heard from us?[a]
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with[d] grief;[e]
and as one from whom men hide their faces[f]
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?

Remember Christ's generous gift to you in taking your punishment.  Also remember that when he comes again, he will return with justice.  Let us tremble as we live our lives unto Him and not as if we were still against Him.

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