All sin offends God.

The ungodly don’t understand that their sin is against God (see Psa. 51). They believe certain sinful actions are morally acceptable “as long as they don’t hurt anyone.” But all sin offends God. The true convert understands that he has transgressed against a holy God (see also 3:13).

Jeremiah 2:29 “Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord.

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In the “wilderness.”

God will often speak to our hearts in the “wilderness.” There are times when we find ourselves in the heat of burning tribulation, and times when God comforts our hearts and His grace becomes sufficient for us.

Numbers 9:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying:2 “Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time.

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An incomprehensible spectacle to angels.

By Bruce Garner

When you look through the life of Christ, one of the evidences that this is no mere man is seen because His life and work were witnessed and supported by angels. Jesus lived His life, I am confident, as an incomprehensible spectacle to angels.

What are angels? The Bible tells us that they are ministering spirits. Just like you and I, they are creations of God, but they are of a higher order than you and I. They are created for God’s service. The Greek word literally means “messengers.” They are simply creatures that God has created to serve Him and to serve believers. And they are all through the life of Jesus Christ.

They praised God at His birth. Angels filled the heavens in a moment and praised God and sang the first Christmas song, celebrating that the Word had become flesh.

They served Jesus after His temptation by Satan. They met Him in the desert, and after His days of fasting and temptation by Satan they ministered to Him.

An angel strengthened Jesus as He prayed in Gethsemane. As Jesus agonized, literally, to the point of suffering a very rare medical condition, whereby his sweat became as drops of blood because of the severe physical and spiritual stress He was under, when His prayers were concluded, the Gospel says an angel came to Him and strengthened Him.

And here’s the part that tore me up: Thousands of angels were available to rescue Him from His crucifixion. A mob with weapons and sticks has come to arrest Jesus. The boldest and the most impetuous of His disciples strides forward and with the clumsy attempt of a man who is not trained for war takes what probably amounted to a dagger and lops a man’s ear off. It was noble, it was heroic, it was manly and it was utterly ineffectual because he was a fisherman. And Jesus stopped this well-intentioned but practically meaningless defense, healed the man, and here the Scripture says this:

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Put your sword back in place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?’” (Matt. 26:52–54, HCSB)

A Roman legion was 6,000 men. What’s the significance? If I do the math, Jesus says to Peter, ‘Put your sword away. It’s not necessary. Don’t you know that I have more than 72,000 angels who would be here at a moment’s notice to rescue Me?’ And here’s the part that moved my heart, because it speaks so deeply of the courage and the strength and the absolute self-sacrifice that marks all greatness and that marks Jesus Christ as not only a man among men but the God-man. At the very moment that vile, wicked men laid hands on Him, 72,000 and more angels stood ready to come at a moment in His defense. If you look through the Old Testament, you will find that on one occasion, the Angel of the Lord killed 185,000 men of a foreign army in one night. One angel—5,000 dead. That essentially amounts to the population of Huntington Beach, California. And that was one angel! It’s as if Jesus says, “This moment is so great that twelve legions and more—72,000 angels—stand ready, Peter to come rescue Me, but put that sword away because this is exactly what the Scriptures said must happen.” Though I do not know much about angels (the Bible simply does not tell much about them), but I can imagine these created beings, perfect in holiness, amazing in power—if one can kill 185,000 (men) they are without a doubt the most feared fighting force that has ever intersected human history I can imagine…ready…waiting…just a word from the Father to put an end to it…to stop our salvation, to set our redemption aside. It would take one word from the Father, and both Father and Son refused. And the Son went on to endure the crucifixion that those men had come to deliver Him to, and wicked hands laid Him on a cross, and made a public spectacle of Him, beating Him and cursing Him, and tearing out His beard, and blaspheming Him, and He did it all…for you…and for me. That’s love.

And that makes such an astonishing difference to your day to day life. If you know that God loves you like that, it pushes all your questions about Him and against Him out of the way, because you know for a fact that He refused rescue so that you could be saved and forgiven. That an amazing rescuing force stayed its hand because the Father and the Son did not will it to come. And they could have come at any moment. And you and I would have been lost…

All of that in this single phrase. When Jesus was on earth, after becoming manifested in the flesh, after living a righteous life, after being justified by the Spirit, He was seen by angels.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

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A direct reference to the Ten Commandments.

Deuteronomy 6:5–9. This is a direct reference to the Ten Commandments (see 5:6–21). Teach your children the moral Law—not to improve their memory or to help them win an Awana contest, but to awaken their conscience and prepare the soil of their hearts for the life-giving seed of the gospel. Do it throughout your day, from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. This will instill in your children the knowledge of sin (see Rom. 3:19,20; 7:7,13), teaching them that it is wrong to disobey, lie, steal, covet, etc. The purpose of God’s Law is to teach them the holiness of God, to show them their need for the Savior and bring them to the foot of a blood-stained cross (see Gal. 3:24). No wonder the enemy hates God’s Law.

Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

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Excessive light.

“The Law searches to the dividing asunder of joints and marrow, and it is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Its excessive light strikes us like Saul of Tarsus, to the earth, and makes us cry for mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon 

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“What if someone doesn’t believe ‘taking God’s name in vain’ is a sin?”

The lost may argue that they don’t consider casually saying “God” to be blasphemy. In fact, the phrase “omigod” is so embedded in the vocabulary of youth today that it is shortened to “OMG” for ease in text messaging. It is just a meaningless word to them. In other words, they don’t esteem the name of God. The Hebrew word used for “vain” means nothingness, emptiness, vanity. According to John F. Walvoord, to misuse God’s name means literally, “to lift it up to or attach it to emptiness.” The Third Commandment forbids using God’s name flippantly or in profanity. So using the Lord’s name lightly or without thinking is the very essence of taking it “in vain.”

Another argument you may encounter is that the Seventh Commandment refers only to adultery, not fornication (sex before marriage). But 1 Tim. 1:8–10 makes clear that the Law also pertains to fornicators and homosexuals. God’s design is for sex to occur only between a husband and wife, and any sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage are forbidden. In an effort to counter homosexual marriage, many have used the argument that it is wrong simply because a child is better raised with a mother and a father than with two parents of the same gender. However, homosexuality is morally wrong because it violates God’s Law.

Finally, there are some who claim the Ninth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness,” refers solely to giving false witness in a court of law, and therefore doesn’t include everyday lying. Another untruth. First Tim. 1:8–10 also says that the Law was made for “liars.” So, as much as the world would like to do away with the Law, or at least water it down, it is immutable. It is not going away, and it will be the unbending standard of judgment on the day when God judges the hearts of men and women (see Rom. 2:12).

1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.

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A good mind to be a Christian.

“Poor youth! He had a good mind to be a Christian, and to inherit eternal life, but thought it too dear, if it could be purchased at no less an expense than of his estate! And thus many, both young and old, now-a-days, come running to worship our blessed Lord in public, and kneel before him in private, and inquire at his gospel, what they must do to inherit eternal life: but when they find they must renounce the self-enjoyment of riches, and forsake all in affection to follow him, they cry, ‘The Lord pardon us in this thing! We pray thee, have us excused’ …He will not!” —George Whitefield 

“Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown . . .” —William Penn 

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

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