By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-01
“Orthotomeo” is Greek for ‘rightly divide’, or ‘making a precise, straight cut, to dissect.‘ We are told to precisely cut or dissect the Word of Truth. Are you doing this? I think we read the Bible too rapidly, to get our chapters in so we can feel holy. Why should we divide the scriptures? Why does Paul tell us to separate the scriptures from each other? And which ones should we separate? What is it about the scriptures that they need to be separated? Why did Jesus say to not put new wine in old skins? Why would that destroy the wine??? Did you think that Jesus was just waxing poetic when He said this? Was He wasting His breath with words that had no real meaning? Why is not dividing the Bible hurting you spiritually? I am not saying to throw out parts of the Bible. I am saying to keep parts of the Bible away from each other, to understand which part we are under and which part we are not under.
We can rightly divide the scriptures, wrongly divide them, or not divide them at all. Do the first one!! Too many people divide them into too many parts. This is wrongly dividing them. Jesus only mentioned two parts: the old and the new. What are they? The old cloth and new patch, the old wine skins and new wine, and the new covenant in His blood as opposed to the old covenant, or the law of Moses. These are the two dispensations of the Bible.
What did Paul say about this? Romans 7,6 says that we died to what once bound us, we have been released from THE LAW so that we serve in the NEW way of the Spirit, and not in the OLD way of the written code. Wow !!! When was the last time you were told to die to the law of Moses because it binds you? To serve in the new way of the Spirit means to have life from God. Believers exist as new creatures by faith in Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. To serve in the old way is to read laws from the outside, instead of being renewed from the inside by grace through faith.
The Old Testament was for Jesus. The New Testament is for us. Adam sinned, so God made a way back to Himself. He introduced the gospel in advance to Abraham. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him for righteousness. After this, God gave the law of Moses.
The law was a system of commandments and sacrifices. The commandments showed us what to do, and the sacrifices showed us we couldn’t do it. The law shows us that we are sinful and cannot obey the law.
Enter Jesus. Jesus came, not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. He was the only person who ever lived who did not break the law, so he never needed to sacrifice for His own sins. In fact, the perfect Lamb of God became the sacrifice for all sin. After he did away with all sin by the sacrifice of Himself, He said, “It is finished.” That’s when God nailed the written code to the cross and ended the first dispensation of the old wine skin. But there are still many people who say “the old is better.” The old is not better, it’s hopeless. The new covenant is the only everlasting way to life. The New Covenant started when Jesus died, Hebrews 9:16 & 17. It was published through the preaching of the apostle Paul, Titus 1:3. Think of it this way. When Jesus died He left us an inheritance. Not money or material things, but His perfectly lived life and payment for our sins. This is what qualifies the believer to go to Heaven. If you still live for the old covenant, it’s like you are denying the inheritance of the new covenant.
Enter us. Now that the old is gone and the new is here, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. We do not need to be supervised. God is our Father, not our Boss. We obey as children, out of love. We do not earn God’s love by works. Christianity is not a religion derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s the bringing back of fallen mankind through the actions of Jesus for those who believe. Christianity is not a list of do’s and don’ts. It is the new life given by grace through the actions of the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now then, can you see the folly of trying to abide in the two covenants at the same time? Can you see that living this way denies Jesus and His cross? Live for the new way, the way of grace through faith. Realize that in Christ there is a righteousness that is apart from the works of the law. This God given goodness is for those who just believe!!!
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-03
Category: Religion and Philosophy
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Here is a passage that legalists use to justify following the law. Their false interpretation goes against the entire context here. They claim that Paul is teaching us to establish the law of works in Romans 3:31. But Paul is saying just the opposite. He is telling us to establish the new law of faith, or the principle of faith, which says we are saved without works, see Rom. 3:28. In this section, Paul is telling of two laws, the law of works, which is the old covenant, and the law of faith, which is the new covenant. The new testament is a fundamental axiom which is accepted as truth by genuine believers. The new testament nullifies the old testament. You cannot have both! The word “new” automatically replaces the word “old”. This is only common sense!
If someone earns salvation by his own obedience and goodness, this gives him the capability to boast. Salvation by works enables people to glory in themselves; but Rom. 3:27 says that in Christianity, boasting is excluded. Here is another reason to reject legalism and accept grace. It is more godly, humble, and thankful to believe in salvation by faith in Jesus without works. A major principle of Christianity is this….. law observers are boastful; believers are humble. Be humble by letting Jesus do the saving.
We cannot trust Christ, and at the same time trust ourselves. Our efforts to save ourselves are futile. We can only place our trust in Jesus to save us. This is the law of faith and the principle of true salvation by which the trusting person is redeemed . This is because of his belief that Jesus is the only Savior. The law of faith is Christianity; the law of works is Judaism. Judaism ended with the death of Christ.
The reason why I speak so much of faith in God’s grace is that I am maintaining the gospel. Right in Rom. 3:28 it says, “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” Paul is concluding his theology. He is stopping at grace, and sustaining the gospel. We must also preserve the gospel by maintaining grace.
Notice Paul says that we are justified apart from, or without the deeds of the law. The NIV translates it, “apart from observing the law”. This weakens the phrase because the word for “observe” is really ergon in Greek. Ergon means: to toil. So we do not have to “toil at” obeying the law to be saved. We are saved apart from our efforts. We do not labor under the law, we just believe the gospel in our heads, and this is what saves us. Since Jesus chose Paul to bring the gospel to light, Titus 1:3, I believe the letters of Paul are the most authoritative writings concerning the gospel, and should be received as such.
God never intended to choose Israel, and condemn the Gentiles. God always was, and always will be the God of everyone, both Jews and Gentiles. God offers salvation to all, freely, through faith in Jesus. The primary reason the Jews were chosen was to bring Jesus into the world. God had to choose a people through whom the Messiah would be born. This one God only justifies one way. The Jews must come to God through faith in Jesus, and so must the Gentiles. There is no special favoritism herein.
So we do not nullify the law of faith, we establish the principle that a man is justified freely through Jesus. We do, however, nullify the law of works, as Rom 3:27 says. The idea that a man can save himself is just wrong. Christ is the end of the law, so that there can be a righteousness that is by faith, as Paul later reveals in Rom. 10:4.
The law is ended for the believer, but it continues for the unbeliever. This is another way we establish the law, it continues as a tutor that leads people to Christ. Without the law, there is no sin. And where there is no sin, there is no need for a Savior. So we bring out the law as a tool to reach the unconverted. They see their sin in the law, and are convicted as sinners. When this happens, we present Jesus’ sacrifice to the lost , and salvation can happen if they trust Christ. If the unconverted refuse to trust Jesus, then their law continues for them, as the holy accuser and silencer of every Christless soul.
So be wise. Enter into grace by faith and escape the just accusation of Sinai. Calvary, where the law died, is the hill for me, and I hope for you too. Amen.
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-05
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-09
Trying to earn right standing with God is a joke. We should never think that we are good enough for God? Listen, if God wanted to, He could condemn us this very moment for something in our lives. It doesn’t matter who we are; He could find something about us that would send us to hell.
God sees things that we are not even aware of. The reason why people do not go to hell, is because of God’s mercy in Christ. There is nothing about our lives that contribute to salvation. There are things in our lives that could justifiably damn us; things of imperfection. Thank God that He doesn’t damn the imperfect. He could, you know, but He doesn’t, if we believe the Gospel. If someone doesn’t believe he is imperfect, that is the same as saying he does not need to grow. Are you finished growing in Christ? Are you just as good as Jesus in your flesh? If you are honest you will say “no.” Christianity is the only faith, that believes in a personal God, which doesn’t try to indebt their God through works. It’s foolish to think you can indebt your own God. That would place your God underneath you. Unfortunately Christianity is becoming more and more legalistic. Pastors everywhere are constantly harping on works. They are mixing the old with the new, to a bad ending.
God does, however, consider habitual rebellion to be unbelief. Those clear cut cases of the impertinently ungodly reveal people who are not serious about God.
But even the serious are imperfect. Even the best Christian, if there is such a thing, is worthy of hell in and of himself. The only reason that a person can be self assured is because of deception. We should place our assurance not in self, but in Jesus.
Why am I saying this? So that you will trust entirely in the cross and be happy. You cannot be happy with even a little self assurance. This leaven will spoil the whole lump. There are only two sets of people - Jesus the Perfect and all the rest of us. A person who thinks that he deserves Heaven, only does so because he does not look at his own life closely enough. Religious legalists have trained themselves to look away and judge others. But God wants us to realize our own desperate need for the work of Jesus on the cross. He wants us to know, to really know, that it is only because of Jesus that we go to Heaven.
Do you know this? Or do you kind of split up the credit? Do you give a portion of the credit to yourself for God’s salvation? If you do, then stop it. Trusting in the only Savior for all your salvation is what you should be doing. And to trust in Jesus is not taking some credit, as some erroneously say. Faith in the cross is not trying to earn salvation. It’s just the exact opposite. It’s admitting that only the work of Jesus can save us.
There are all sorts of people who might be reading this. If you deny a personal Creator God, I am not trying for your soul right now. We must go back to the ant, the bird, and all the tiny machines in this world that prove a Creator first. We must stop being willfully blind and foolish before we can see that God made us. If you are capable of reading this, then you are not a fool. This means that deep inside you really believe in the Maker. You are suppressing it. Let it out before your conscience becomes too numb to see the truth of creation.
The only reason you deny a Creator is because you are looking past too many things. You think you can see the big picture, but you should be looking at little things. You should ask yourself, “How does the bombardier beetle work?” “Why is there a fragrant flower and a nose to sense it?” Try to see the thoughts of God behind creation. This may help you to believe.
But if you do believe in God, this blog is for you. It’s for you to help you see that God is too big to owe you anything. So enter His rest and trust in what Jesus has done. This is the only way.
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-12
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
God laid in Zion the stumbling stone of Jesus. God did not say that He put the rock of offense in another place, only in Israel. The stumbling stone is said to be lying in the Jewish homeland because Israel tries to attain salvation by works of the law, and not by faith in Jesus alone. Israel finds it hard to let God save; instead, Israel tries to save itself. The legalistic church also tries to save itself, and so Jesus has now become a stumbling stone for much of the so-called church. The legalistic church has abandoned the gospel for fellowship with Israel, and has thereby made Jesus Christ its enemy.
Those who are unsaved are outside of God’s blessing and fellowship. The unsaved are in this miserable state because they do not believe in Jesus. Paul prayed that Israel would be saved. He prayed this because Israel was unsaved.
Since Romans 10:1 clearly says that Israel is unsaved, how can anyone call Israel “the chosen people”? How can God’s people be unsaved and under His curse? Obviously, they cannot. The chosen people of God is now the church. This truth is revealed in many places in Paul’s letters. If Israel is still God’s people, then why does Paul petition God for the salvation of Israel if Israel was saved? Israel needs salvation today. They need to be delivered by the blood of Jesus just as the Gentiles are. Salvation is the same for everyone. We must all come to God by faith in Jesus apart from works. This gospel, preached by Paul, was the reason why Israel sought to kill Paul. When you hear the phrase, “Pray for the peace of Israel,” it doesn’t mean to ask God for a cessation of earthly war. It means to pray for the salvation of Israel, for the peace with God that can only come from simple faith in Jesus’ cross.
Israel has a zeal for God. Their fervent enthusiasm for God is not based on knowledge, however. Israel has no recognition of the truth, and so despite their sincerity, they are yet unsaved. This shows us that no amount of sincerity can make us right with God. Even though people think they are correct, this doesn’t make them correct. This is what it means to be deceived. If someone’s genuine feelings can save them, then Jesus is not necessary. But we know that Jesus is the only Savior, and so feelings, however sincere, can never save from hell. If Israel cannot be saved because of its sincerity, then no heathen nation can be saved without the gospel, even though they truly believe in their false ideas of God. Sincerity does not save, Jesus does. A person can be sincerely wrong.
Goodness can only come from God, for only God is good. Israel tries to set up human goodness out of ignorance. Legalists of any ilk are also guilty of this error. People cannot be good. To obtain one’s own goodness, separate and alone, is impossible. In order to be saved, people must submit themselves to God’s goodness, and let themselves be made good by faith without works. This is the gospel. This is the truth. If someone does not know of God-given goodness, acquired by simple faith in the cross, they will try to establish their own righteousness through ignorance. But there is no such thing as private righteousness. All goodness comes from God, and is freely credited to the believer.
Seeing that goodness is not private, meaning that it does not belong to any particular person, we must seek goodness from outside of ourselves. The gospel is God’s way of imparting goodness to people. Hearing and believing produces goodness. Not just hearing anything, or believing anything. We must hear the one thing needful. We must believe the one thing needful for salvation. Jesus and Him crucified is the one thing needful. Hearing of Christ and trusting in that story produces salvation. Following the law of Moses does not produce salvation. Christ is the end of the law, in order that there may be righteousness by faith. If the law was not concluded, then real Christianity could not exist. Hearing and believing, and the very existence of such a wonderful salvation mechanism, necessitates the end of the law.
Christ set out to fulfill the law for us, and after living the only sinless life, He laid down that perfect life in our place, as payment for sin. This satisfies God and clears the believer of all guilt. To try to appease God with human effort is a denial of all Jesus has done. Jesus terminated the law after He accomplished it. The perfection has come; we need not try to improve upon Jesus. So rest in Jesus, and let Him save you from everything that defiles body, soul, and spirit.
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-14
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
At just the right time Messiah died. Someone will claim to be Messiah in the future, but it will be the wrong time according to Daniel. Prophecy declares Jesus of Nazareth to be the one and only Messiah. All others are fakes and phonies. Daniel 9:25 and 26, written in 607 B.C., is proof positive that Jesus is the Christ. A commandment went forth, a decree of King Artaxerxes, to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This happened in 444 B.C., and was the beginning of the countdown to Messiah’s sacrificial death. Daniel says there shall be seven weeks, or 49 years, allotted for the rebuilding of the city and the wall. History tells us that this happened under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra in troublesome times. This 49 year period unmistakably pinpoints the start of the countdown because only once in history was Jerusalem rebuilt in 49 years. The next period of time is threescore and two weeks, or 434 years. After the city and the wall are finished, until the arrival of Messiah the Prince, there will be 434 years. When the 434 years are completed, it says Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself. In other words, Messiah will die for the sins of others. This brings us to the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Messiah had to come 2,000 years ago. Then the prophecy says that the people of another prince that will come,i.e. the Romans, will destroy the city and the sanctuary. This happened in 70 A.D. by General Titus.
Sir Robert Anderson figured out the total period of 483 years, when the decree was issued until Messiah died in his book The Coming Prince. Here are his findings:
“From 444 B.C. to 32 A.D. is 476 years; 476 x 365 is 173,740 days; from March 14 to April 6 (the day of Christ’s triumphal entry) is 24 days; add 116 days for leap years, and you get a total of 173,880 days, or 483 years. Since the prophetic year of the bible is always 360 days, the 69 sevens of this prophecy in Daniel (69 x 7 x 360) is 173,880 days! And so the time given by Daniel from the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” to “Messiah, the Prince” comes out perfectly – to the very day.” Since God has pinpointed Jesus as His Christ through time restriction, let us now examine why He died for us.
It says that Jesus died for the powerless, and that is what we are. Only false doctrine and sinful pride would deny the fact of our total inability to save ourselves. We are without the strength to make it right with God. We are weak, sinful, feeble, impotent, sick and without strength. Can you admit this about yourself? If you can, then you can have Jesus as your Savior. If you can’t, then your human pride will stop you from having faith in Jesus, for to trust Jesus is to distrust yourself.
Romans 5:6 also calls us ungodly. The Greek word means even more; it means irreverent. To be ungodly is one thing. Maybe weakness causes ungodliness to our dismay. However, to be irreverent is another thing. This means that we have a distaste for God. We are impious, profane and willfully unholy. This is whom Jesus died for.
This doesn’t mean that God leaves us in a state of Satanic behavior. This would not support the fact of the Father heart of God. No, He not only saves us by grace, He changes us by grace, so that we are like Him in this world. To believe that God leaves us in rebellion would be a denial of the new creation in us. Nobody is perfect, but we should all be perfecting in life.
If there were such a thing as a perfectly righteous man, rarely would someone die for him. It would be a scarce thing. So this lowers our chances for someone to die for us. Jesus must be incredibly loving to die for us. God exhibits His love, His affections, and His benevolence by sending His Son to die for the irreverent. God’s kind nature and charity are introduced in Christ. God’s love is scripturally linked to His Son’s death.
If someone thinks he is righteous, this means that Christ did not die for him. Of course, He did die for him, but the sinner’s unwillingness to confess his evil cancels Calvary for himself. Remember, Christ died for sinners. Christ did not call the “righteous” but sinners to turn to Him.
We receive God’s love by confessing our sins and believing in Jesus. We admit God’s love by agreeing with the gospel. Trying to earn salvation takes away from God’s love, for God showed His love by dying for sinners.
It is easy to get saved. Just admit you’re a sinner and believe in Jesus. It is easy to change for the good. Just trust God to do it when He creates in you a new nature. We are saved by grace, and we are changed by grace. All this happens when we trust in the good news of Jesus.
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-17
First of all, Christians do not believe in any present tense blood sacrifices. It says in the Bible that Jesus was sacrificed, once for all time. It is finished, so don’t point your finger at us in self-righteous indignation.
God is not, nor was he ever, in heaven demanding death and blood because he is angry and only violence will quell His indignation. If you understand God to be like this, your condemnation is deserved. How dare you make God like you. You think the worst of God because you think others are like you. But you are the angry one, who’s only satisfied when you hurt someone else.
I heard of a person who was filled with lust for women. So, because he became that way through many wrong decisions throughout his life, he thinks Jesus is like that too. People always project their own sins onto other people.
The sacrifice of Jesus was the only solution to a big problem that we started. Sin came into the world, and death through sin. Do you admit that death exists? Do you admit that this is a problem for us? Some people who believe in the false science of evolution actually glorify death and make death the mechanism by which mankind becomes better. Tell me, who is the evil person now? It is evil to believe such a thing.
But if you’re thinking is correct, then you will believe that death came into the world through one man’s sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The cross is the solution for our universal problem of sin and death. The cross is God’s mercy, not His anger. Only people who have minds that have been corrupted by evolution, false beliefs, and sin would think of God in these terms.
I know your objection to the Garden of Eden. You blame God for sin. You say that anyone would have sinned in such circumstances. Here’s another example of your ignorance. I’ll tell you something you never considered. Did you know that Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature? That was only given to them after their sin. You cannot compare our condition with those of Adam and Eve’s. We all have sinful natures because we inherited those from our first parents. But Adam and Eve did not have such a disadvantage.
They did have, however, a whole world to do anything they wanted. A whole world’s worth of choices, enjoyments, and pleasure. They only had one tiny prohibition. Just one. Not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Their sin was truly a sin indeed. God warned them that they would die on that day, and spiritually they did. Physical death also started on that day. Their sin was a sin of the highest rank because they had such an advantageous position, and they blew it. God had to put one condition - just one, however small, to create something called free will. It was the best case scenario for free will. Without free will, we would’ve just been robots who could not really love. But Adam and Eve sinned and created death.
God could’ve said, “To Hell with you!” and given up on us. But instead, he became a man himself, called the Second Adam. He fulfilled the law, and lived the only perfect life ever. And in mercy, He died in our place to pay for our sins. He rose again on the third day to give life to anyone who would just believe this story. And you call this evil. You call this a religion of blood. Well, your blood is on your own head. You have heard, now you’re accountable. You’d better believe in Jesus before it’s too late. You will find His story in the New Testament of the bible.
By Joe La Bianca, 2009-03-25
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about – but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham was the first Jew, the one whom Israel called ‘father”. It is strange that the one Israel holds up as their progenitor, the one so highly esteemed by them, was the first believer. Abraham totally contradicts Israel’s method of salvation by works. They should use someone else to lift up and take pride in. Paul, in Rom 4:1, calls Abraham our
forefather. He is the first Christian, for he was the first to trust in imputed righteousness.
What did the patriarch of Israel discover about the matter of salvation? Is the teaching of Jesus Christ something new, or does it go back to the beginning? If Abraham was declared righteous because he was good enough, then he had something to boast about, but not before God. No man can boast before God. We can boast before men. We can deceive people into thinking we are fit for heaven, but we can’t fool God. So what did Abraham find out? First, we must realize that the promise of salvation through faith, and credited righteousness, was before the old covenant, before the law. So the promise out-ranks the law, and is it’s superior. The old testament part of our bibles is not just old covenant law, it is also a more ancient, more important revelation of righteousness by faith. This is what Abraham discovered – the gospel. The gospel was before the law, and the first Jew was declared righteous not by the law, which didn’t even exist yet, but by faith in the promised seed of blessing, the coming Messiah that would give His life for the sins of the world. If Abraham didn’t have the right to boast before God, then surely we do not have that right. Let us never praise self, but rather give all our praise to Jesus, the only Savior!
People will say this, and books will say that, but what do the scriptures say? They say that we are righteous because we believe, and because God credits goodness. This is what the scriptures say, and this is what we must say also.
People want to follow the law, at least in part. They feel that they should contribute to their salvation. They try to outwardly obey the tablets of stone, even though the tablets are faded away (2 Cor. 3:7-11). These people exist in the past. They follow the ministry that brought death. The ten commandments is the ministry that brought death (2 Cor. 3:7). God made the face of Moses shine, and then fade when he came down with the tablets, to show that this ministry of death was only temporary. Like Moses’ face, the old law also faded away, to make room for the ministry of life. Believing in Jesus, and being saved by Him, is the ministry of life. Abraham saw Jesus’ day and was glad. He was also made righteous by his faith in Christ’s ministry.
The glory of grace should blind us to the glory of law (2. Cor. 3:10). When you put grace next to the ten commandments, you can only see grace, you cannot see the law. The glory of Jesus Christ surpasses the glory of Moses, so that Moses no longer has any glory. The ten commandments have faded away. The grace of forgiveness in Jesus will never fade away. This is why we are given righteousness by faith without works.
The hope of grace makes us both humble and bold. We are humble because Jesus saved us and we did not save ourselves by our own goodness. We are bold because we stand firm in Jesus’ righteousness and not our own, and Jesus never fails. If we will not shipwreck our faith by placing it somewhere else, we will finish the race.
Abraham foresaw the justification of the Gentiles by faith, howbeit in a shaded way. The gospel was announced in advance to Abraham, and he believed it, and was considered righteous (Gal. 3:8). When God told Abraham that “all nations would be blessed through you,” and when Abraham believed God, Abraham was saved. Abraham believed in the Messiah to come. And anyone who wants, can also have justification by faith in Jesus the Messiah.
In this portion of scripture, faith is opposed to works. Paul, through the inspiration of Jesus, is announcing the good news. He is saying that we can be saved the same way Paul was saved, the same way Abraham was saved, and the same way everyone is saved, by faith without works, by simple trust in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. So we say, “Christians believe God, and it is credited to them as righteousness.” Amen.