Skip to content

Msindisi #121

October 1, 2014

SALVADOR AND DIANNES MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 121          Oct 2014

 

P.O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

 

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

 

Email: msindisi@gmail.com, salv.di@gmail.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Website: www.kwazulumission.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

 

 

Outside Vryheid

Outside Vryheid

 

Greetings all. It’s that time again to start renewing visa’s. Di’s current visa expires in Feb of 2015 and Sal’s in June. This means facing the challenge of Home Affairs!!!! Presently Di is waiting for her current visa to be transferred into her new passport. We started this process in Feb but still have not received any news back as yet. Please could you keep this in pray as she is unable to submit anything for the renewal of her visa until this current visa is transferred into her new passport? Salvador is waiting for his new passport from the UK and then he needs also to apply for transference of visa before he can apply for his visa extension. The requirements for visa renewal generally include; police checks from UK, NZ and SA, letters of contracts from Road to Recovery with our voluntary work, X rays to check that we are TB free, doctors letters, bank account details and forms etc. Apparently as of this year, Home Affairs have contracted out this service. This makes it more pricey to apply but hopefully more efficient. We will wait and see.

 

Sal has many things on the go presently. He is cracking on with his studies and jamming in reading at all hours of the morn and night. He was able to have a Skype chat with his American tutor concerning his dissertation while we were in Gauteng for a week (more on that later) .He was very encouraged by this. Alongside his study, he is recording the Zulu discipleship material that was written between himself and Phumlani, they want the book to be printed with website links to audios on how to teach and go through the material. This will give solid material alongside with New Tribe Mission foundation material for new believers to be grounded in the history of Israel and the ongoing understanding of the fundamentals of the faith. They will help prevent what is often common of us, taking Israel out of consideration, and applying the scriptures to ourselves, without seeing things in context. Sal is hoping that this will be finished by the end of the year. Sal is also working on a book concerning Israel’s importance for the unity of scripture, which we hope will be published as the first book in a series.

 

Salvador is recording the Zulu discipleship material's for the Book.

Salvador is recording the Zulu discipleship material’s for the Book.

 

Evangelism and discipling, kids club, cell group etc., continue each week. This month we were so blessed the have the baptism of Mkhulu’s wife. The discipling group meet at their home every Tuesday. She had never been interested and always disappeared when we arrived. Mkhulu shared one week that she wanted to repent, come, and follow the Lord. After she started to come to a few of the meetings, and the gospel was shared clearly, she asked if she could be baptised. We pray that the Lord will ground her in the word and use them as a couple to speak to many by their lifestyle and words.

Salvador Playing the Guitar in Cibilili

Salvador Playing the Guitar in Cibilili

Salvador Preaching in Cibilili

Salvador Preaching in Cibilili

Phumlani witnessing in Cibili

Phumlani witnessing in Cibili

Baptising Mkhulu's Wife

Baptising Mkhulu’s Wife

Mkhulu's place, where we have bible study

Mkhulu’s place, where we have bible study

Bible Study at Mkhulu's place

Bible Study at Mkhulu’s place

 

As we mentioned earlier in the letter, we had a trip to Gauteng, namely Pretoria and Springs in the month. This was primarily due to getting our SA police check clearance certificates and Salvador’s application for his Portuguese ID. We coincided this with attending the opening of our friends’ Midek paint shop in Fourways. Riaan and Debbie Roux are good friends. It was their daughter Bianca and Braam’s wedding that Salvador took at the beginning of the year. They have had an extremely difficult and testing few years so we pray that this business will be successful for them all.

Riaan and Debbie's Midek Paint Franchise

Riaan and Debbie’s Midek Paint Franchise

Riaan and Debbie Roux at the opening of their Midek paint franchise in Fourways.

Riaan and Debbie Roux at the opening of their Midek paint franchise in Fourways.

 

While in Springs, we were able to stay with Allen and Sue for a few nights. It is always good to see them all. The children can no longer be called children apart from the smaller ones! All have taken on their own interests. They are doing well in their individual learning and also are maturing with their walks with the Lord. Lizzie, who will be turning 21 this year, has completed Trinity Guildhall London grade 8 recorder and is going to do her Performance diploma for recorder next year. She has grade 5 for piano, flute and theory and will be completing grade 6 for flute, piano and theory exams this year. This will qualify her to study for a diploma in instrumental teaching, which she wants to do. She also has 3 students that she teaches recorder to. Thoko, who turned 19 this year, has completed the Basic Educare Teachers Training course for early childhood and gained 24 credits on NQF level 4. She would like to continue studying possibly the Montessori Method and find employment as a teacher’s assistant in a nursery school. Thabo hopes to do an American GED (General Education Diploma) in the middle of next year, which can be converted to a South African Matriculation qualification. Both he and Ernest are busy with non-accredited online courses in logic. Ernest did a computer science course, and music appreciation course, all through Stanford University in the US and is also doing an introduction to accounting. All the others have completed non-accredited “How to do Maths for students” with Stanford online. The younger ones are doing this with Sue. Walter, who is now 18, is now doing voluntary work each day in a sheltered workshop and has settled well. We could go on and on …. When we visit we are always inspired by this amazing family. They continue with their ministry without fuss and faithfully do what the Lord requires from them. Alan and Sue Wells are such a picture of the Lords faithfulness as they teach and equip their children His ways and prepare them for their futures. When Di looks back at when she first met them in 2007 she is blown away, 7 years in a flash !!!!!!

Thoko doing her course work

Thoko doing her course work

Rosie Wells doing her schooling

Rosie Wells doing her schooling

The Wells kids back in 2007

The Wells kids back in 2007

 

 

We had the privilege of doing a Passover with Morne and Doret Lombard and their bible study group while there in Boksburg. There were about 32 people. This was a great night of fellowship, laughs, and reminding us again of the significance of the Jewish Passover to our own walk with the Lord.

Preparing for Passover

Preparing for Passover

 

Salvador teaching the Passover in Boksburg

Salvador teaching the Passover in Boksburg

People at the Passover

People at the Passover

 

This month we are so pleased to tell you that electricity has come to the area. Eastmine, where Celani (Phumlani’s sister) lives, and where we meet for church, has power already. We are still waiting but it should be by us within the next few weeks. Sal has been out digging a ditch for the wire and we have purchased a few light switches and power point plugs. We do not intend to go crazy but do hope to have a fridge up and running for the warmer weather. It is amazing to think that we have had no electricity for 5 1/2 years but as Phumlani said he was not in a hurry for it and there are many blessings in having it and also in not having it.

Salvador digging a trench for electricity

Salvador digging a trench for electricity

Sal was been able to show the older children at kids club a DVD by Dr Randle Smith on Psalm 23. Tembelihle has been sharing the teaching of the younger children with Celani.

Singing at kid's club

Singing at kid’s club

Salvador's group watch Randall Smith speak on Psalm 23

Salvador’s group watch Randall Smith speak on Psalm 23

Tembilihle teaches kids club

Tembilihle teaches kids club

Sal had an amazing experience this month when some friends from Australia, who we met while visiting earlier in the year, got to meet up with his grandmother and some of his family in China. Lionel and Suzanne Letcher were missionaries in China for several years and had planned a trip to return and see everyone again. After meeting Sal and hearing the story of his grandmother, they decided to include visiting her in their trip. We were able to see photos and watch videos of their visit. She went to be a missionary in her homeland of China in her late 70s. She has been feeding the poor and sharing the Gospel. Unfortunately she has fallen ill lately and her health is not good. Please pray for her. If you would like to watch her story you can watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLu1YMugZ4I 

 

Lionel and Suzanne Letcher Visit Salvador's Grandmother in China

Lionel and Suzanne Letcher Visit Salvador’s Grandmother in China

 

At the end of this month, we thankfully got RAIN! It has been incredibly dry and our one tank had just a small amount remaining. After the evening of rain all, the tanks are full! This of course means that Di will be out planting up the veggie garden with peppers, lettuce, basil etc. It is secure from goats, chickens, dogs, cows etc.

Di with Tholakele and her children.

Di with Tholakele and her children.

Kids waiting for us at Joyland Creche

Kids waiting for us at Joyland Creche

Kids at Joyland Creche

Kids at Joyland Creche

Kids love the singing at Joyland

Kids love the singing at Joyland

Salvador cooking meat on a Cobb Braai (BBQ)

Salvador cooking meat on a Cobb Braai (BBQ)

Scenery in Cibilili

Scenery in Cibilili

Please can you keep in prayer:

 

  • Our visa applications
  • The health of Salvador’s Grandmother
  • Give thanks for the rain and electricity
  • The ongoing spiritual growth of Mkhulu’s wife.
  • A suitable house for our friends Alan and Brenda MacKenzie in Port Elizabeth
  • Persecuted Christians around the world
  • Thank the Lord for His faithfulness to the Wells family

 

Many thanks for your support, love, encouragement may our Lord bless you and keep you as we put our hand to the plough and don’t look back. We pray this letter will encourage and bless you all.

 

Sal and Di

 

 TWO

 

MAN’S GUILTY STANDING BEFORE A HOLY GOD

 

ROMANS 1: 16 – 2: 29

We have already seen that Paul was writing to a congregation that were predominantly Gentile but had a Jewish contingent. He expressed his desire to share the Gospel in Rome and this Gospel was to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles. This Gospel speaks of God initiating salvation and man responding with an attitude of humility and servitude. We lay down and God raises up in His own time and it is when God raises up that we may get up. Paul exemplified this Christ like attitude and that is why he wanted to share the Gospel. He did not do it out of his own initiative, but because he was commissioned by the Lord. He wanted to be obedient. Paul wanted to share the Gospel with these believers in order to remind them of it. We need to be reminded because the Gospel is something that we must continually remain in for Salvation. Paul also wanted to be mutually encouraged by this group whose faith had made its mark upon the whole known world. He also wanted to share it because the Gospel is the power (Dunamis) of God unto salvation to those who believe.

 

We are going to look at the beginning of the Gospel message. You could call this ‘a history of religion’ and it is going to lead up to chapter three in what is some may call “the condemnation of all men”. Firstly we will look at ‘The Guilty Standing of the Gentile Nations’, secondly we will look at ‘The Guilty Standing of the moralistic Gentiles’ and lastly we will look at ‘The Guilty Standing of the Jew’.

 

 

ROMANS 1: 16 – 19:

THE TWO REVELATIONS

 

In verses 16 – 18 we read about 2 different revelations. There is a revelation of God’s righteousness and there is a revelation of God’s wrath. God has, and will show His wrath against all men because it is against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness. If you are in Christ, then you saw this revelation when the Holy Spirit convicted you of your sin. As Ephesians 3: 2 teaches, before we were in Christ, we were children of wrath. God’s anger was against us but now God has forgiven us our sins. That was the revelation of God’s wrath. However, God only gives the revelation of His righteousness to those of faith. The righteousness referred to here is not simply righteousness as an attribute of God’s nature. Read the argument preceding it from verse 15 onwards. Remember to note terms of contrast and conclusion. The word ‘for’ is a conclusive word, it ties together two verses and brings out an explanation for what was said in the previous verse.

 

Read verse 15: “So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Why is Paul eager to preach the Gospel to the believers in Rome?

Read verse 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Why is it the Gospel that is the power of God to salvation? How is it so?

Read verse 17: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” Because in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.

 

The Gospel is the Power of God to salvation because in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. But what happens when we come face to face with God’s righteousness character? Is the result salvation? Just look at Isaiah 6: 1 – 5.

 

1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted; with the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.””

 

Isaiah saw God in His holiness and such holiness exposed him for the sinner he was. He said ‘Woe is me, I am undone’. Paul cannot be referring to God’s righteous character because God’s righteous character results in the condemnation of our guilt. Rather, Paul is speaking of the righteousness of God as a gift of God imputed and imparted to us. God not only grants us righteousness in our standing before Him but also begins to make us right in our nature, as He changes us from glory to glory.

 

Romans 3: 21 – 24. “21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus:”

 

Philippians 3: 8 & 9. “8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of the knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith:”

 

We need God’s righteousness because we do not have a righteousness of our own. This is what Paul sets out to show us in this next passage of scripture. Let me put it this way. What can God do with a rebellious, sin-ridden person like me? I know the power of my flesh nature. I know that I have backstabbed God. So how can God bring salvation to me? It is because the Gospel itself is a dynamic power. Through it, as I believe from faith to faith, God installs His righteousness into my heart and this righteousness starts to change me. Yet, even if our hearts condemn us, God is bigger than our hearts. What Jesus did on the cross is sufficient to cover any sin. Nevertheless, we must receive this righteousness by faith. Thus receiving is essential and the next verse explains why. God has revealed His wrath against all who suppress the truth. If we read these verses in reverse order we get the basic Gospel message.

 

1 – We are sinners and God is angry about it.

2 – God has given a remedy for our sin. He can give us His righteousness, which satisfies His holiness. This is because Jesus satisfied His wrath on the cross.

3 – Therefore, the Gospel is powerful enough to save because as we believe it, God reveals His righteousness in us.

 

Note that the Gospel first starts with our guilt and God’s anger. That is the starting point.

 

 

 

ROMANS 1: 18 – 32:

THE GUILTY STANDING OF THE GENTILE NATIONS

 

God has revealed this wrath against a certain group. It is against those who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness. We were once in this group before God saved us and there are times where we can still act like this group. The problem, however, is that many people do not believe that there is anything wrong with them. They claim that they are not bad enough to deserve God’s anger. For God to be angry with them would be unloving, fussy, pedantic and just plain harsh. Is it any wonder why Paul spends the last half of this chapter and the whole of chapter 2 to go to such lengths to prove that all have sinned? When we observe the Truth and it comes into view, it is obvious. When pushed to it all of us know and acknowledge that we do and think evil things. The verse under consideration says that these men suppress the Truth (lit. they hold it down). The same word for suppress is used in Romans 7: 6, which speaks of the unsaved Jew being bound up by the Law. Therefore, these people are trying to shut the Truth up, to silence its voice, to ban it, to bind it up. They are doing it today in Canada, in America and in the UK to a certain extent. In the West, people are becoming more antagonistic to the Gospel message and especially to the Bible.

 

Proverbs says of wisdom, that she stands at the top of the heights and cries out, “Unto you, O men, I call; O you simple, understand wisdom and you fools, be of an understanding heart.” Yet alas, just as the Jewish leaders did with Stephen in Acts 7: 54 – 60, so the pagan nations did and still do today. What does it say of the Jewish leaders? They stopped up their ears and they silenced the word of God. They resisted the Holy Spirit because at the end of the day they knew that the Truth was right. The Truth is not a vague message that only a few can discern. Look at Romans 1:19. That which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. Almost every tribe on earth knows that there is one Creator God above all others. There is such a thing as natural revelation. Look at verse 20. There are three things that the Pagan nations, though fallen, all knew. In fact, these things were not ambiguous but they were clearly seen. How could people understand them? They understood them through the things, which God made. These things are as follows.

 

1 – God’s invisible attributes.

2 – God’s eternal power.

3 – God’s Divine nature.

 

Just look at DNA. It is a genetic code of information way more complex than the most complicated computer program. Information implies intelligence, selection implies choice and the desire for variety is a hallmark of personality. The light of the night stars speaks of the concept of eternity. The order of creation tells us that God is a God of order. The fact that there are laws that govern the universe speaks of a lawgiver and the fact of creation speaks of a Creator. This general revelation is not as vague as some may make it out to be. In fact, verse 21 says that originally these Pagan nations actually knew God.

 

Now how can that be when there is such an ignorance of God today? This is because all the nations go back to Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth who knew God. God, also, made a covenant with Noah and his descendants to preserve humanity from another worldwide flood. They originally knew God. That is why so many tribes have a creation narrative and a flood narrative in their mythology. Then something happened. They willingly turned to idolatry. Why would they do such a thing? It is a bewildering thought that people would turn away from the True to falsehood. Yet people do this all the time. The scripture shows us clearly that they did this because of their lack of honour for God and because of their ingratitude. So therefore, they made gods in images that suited them. This links with Nimrod and the tower of Babel. These nations at the time of Paul’s writing were suppressing God’s Truth just like they did back in Nimrod’s day and just like they are doing today. What happens when nations, whom the Truth once influenced and molded, turn against the Truth and turn against God’s glory? God gives them over to three things.

 

  • In verse 24 He gives them over to impurity in the lusts of their own hearts.
  • In verse 26 He gives them over to degrading passions to commit flagrant homosexuality, in which they receive a judgment in themselves for such perversions. Some people think that this penalty refers to AIDS and HIV or various STDs. However, I am not convinced about that. The word for ‘their persons’ in Greek in the 3rd Person plural pronoun ‘eautois’ which is in English ‘themselves’. It relates to the person and not to the body. However, whether it is to do with STDs or just refers to a change in personality, as happens when certain people come out of the closet, one thing is certain; they are given over to it and this is a penalty in itself. This is not to say that they cannot be saved. 1 Corinthians 6: 11 says that some of the Christians there were homosexual before getting saved. In this context, we are talking about the giving over of whole societies to perversions.
  • Thirdly, in verse 28 God gives them over to a depraved mind, which then opens the door to the following. Read verses 29 – 32. What used to be influenced by biblical precepts has, since getting rid of the Truth, since kicking the Bible out of the school system, since getting into a multifaith agenda, has gone degenerate and eventually becomes like Sodom. Just like Revelation 11: 8 says, Jerusalem will mystically be called Sodom and Egypt when Antichrist is on the scene. God’s city, where He has put His name, will become a cradle of sin, witchcraft and depravity.

 

So we see how God dealt with the Pagan nations but let us move on to the second section.

 

 

ROMANS 2:1 – 16:

THE GUILTY STANDING OF MORALISTIC GENTILES

 

 

Not every single Gentile went to the same lengths as society. Nor did all Gentiles agree with the evils of their society. There were ascetics who saw it all as evil. They deplored all sorts of physical pleasures. According to FF Bruce, Paul’s contemporary Seneca, who was a Stoic Moralist, would have deplored these things publicly as much as Paul did. Now how does God deal with these individuals?

 

Firstly, in their condemnation of others they condemned themselves. Theirs was not a judgment where they were merely identifying good and evil. Neither was it a judgment of exposing and eradicating evil to purge out the leaven of sin or wrong teaching. Rather, they put themselves in a superior moral position and condemned others without paying heed to their own vices. God’s judgment is still reserved for these individuals but notice that God deals with these individuals differently to the way He dealt with the pagan nations on mass.

 

God is rich in kindness, tolerance and patience to these people. Why? Because He endeavours to bring them to repentance. Now this kindness has a twofold effect. It is there to bring men to repentance but it will never be in vain. To those who would think it heavy and important it brings them to repentance but to those who think light of it, they store up wrath for themselves in the Day of Judgment.

 

 

 

CAN WE BE SAVED BY DOING GOOD?

 

Those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory, immortality and honour will get eternal life. However, those who are selfishly ambitious, do not obey the Truth, but obey unrighteousness; they will get wrath and indignation. It seems from a superficial glance at the text that Paul is claiming that it is possible for this group of people to get to heaven by good works. Just by persevering in doing good they may get eternal life. Nevertheless, look at the context. He does not say of them that they could attain to eternal life by doing good. Rather he says concerning these individuals, that they do not even know that God’s kindness is bringing them to repentance. He also says that they are stubborn and have an unrepentant heart. How much sin do you need for God to regard you as evil or a sinner?

 

James 2: 10 & 11. “10 For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY”, also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”

 

When we break the law, it does not matter if we break 0.5% of it or 99.5% of it. In either case we have broken God’s perfect law and are counted lawbreakers.

 

Ecclesiastes 10: 1. “1 Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness it weightier than wisdom and honor.”

 

This verse compares perfume to foolishness. Flies would land on the perfume, due and turn its sweet smell into a putrid stench. However, a fly is a small, little thing. Yet mixing it in with the perfume has such great consequences. Sin is like that. Sin is like the cordial that you pour into a glass of water. It stains the whole of it and the more you add the stronger it gets. God is patient towards this people, and endeavours to bring them to repentance but they are stubborn and unrepentant. There are times when unbelievers show a form of obedience to God’s law. Even Paul admits this in verse 14. Yet this does not make them good people. Even Jesus said of the fathers in His audience in Mt 7: 11, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts”. Just because I might be a nice person, charitable and polite does not make me a righteous person, any more than you can call a glass of orange cordial ‘a glass of water’. It is mostly water! Nevertheless, a little foolishness is heavier than wisdom. A little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough. It is only a little leaven but a little leaven is a powerful thing.

 

Just because the Gentiles can instinctively do things that the law commands does not make them righteous because even then they still go against their own consciences. It rather shows that everybody knows it is wrong to murder, everybody knows it is wrong to commit adultery; everybody knows it is wrong to lie, to cheat and to steal. God is not going to judge those people without the Law by using the Law. He will simply use their consciences. Even with their watered down moral code, the Gentiles are even guilty of breaking that. God is not unjust. Nevertheless, every one of us will be without excuse on the Day of Judgment. Both the Pagan societies and the morally upright among the Gentiles are all under sin and children of wrath. What about the Jews?

 

 

ROMANS 2: 17 – 29:

THE GUILTY STANDING OF THE JEW

 

 

The Jews were a chosen race of people. Romans 11: 28 says that from the standpoint of God’s election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. According to Zechariah 2: 8, anyone that touches Israel touches the apple of God’s eye. With this knowledge of their privileged position, Jews tended to boast “but we are Abraham’s descendants!” We see this dealt with at the preaching of John the Baptist in Matthew 3: 9 where John told them not to boast that they were Abraham’s descendants. Paul turns his gaze in this chapter to the Jew and looks at that fact that he also is guilty of being a sinner.

 

What we notice first, is the criteria of the person to whom he is referring. It is not just that this person bore the name, ‘Jew’ but that also that he boasted in God. This is just as the Jews said to Jesus in John 8: 41. They said, “We have one Father, even God”. This ‘Jew’ also knows God’s will and approves the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law. The Pharisees and scribes were masters of this. According to Elwell’s encyclopedia of the Bible, the Pharisees regarded the traditions of the Elders on a par with the books of Moses. As Jesus said in Mt 23: 2, the Pharisees sat themselves in the seat of Moses. Paul also says that this Jew claims to be a guide to the blind. In Mt 23: 24 Jesus said of the scribes and the Pharisees that they were blind guides. Paul said that this Jew was a light those who were in darkness, a corrector of the foolish and a teacher of the immature. According to Jesus, it was the scribes and Pharisees who took this title of Rabbi, or teacher, to themselves. The Pharisees are the group that Paul seems to be dealing with here. If this is so, then why did Paul choose this group of people to speak of all Jews?

 

  • Firstly, as a pastor of mine once said, people tend to get the leaders they deserve. We just have to remember the type of prophets in the Old Testament and the rulers who ruled by their own authority but God’s people loved it so.

 

  • Secondly, the Pharisees tried to observe the Law meticulously. So if they, who “upheld the Law of God” in outward show of righteousness were sinners, then what chance, did anyone else have of being righteous?

 

It seems that Paul is using the scribe and Pharisees to describe a race of people who saw themselves as a people, who were supposed to teach, lead, correct and exhibit God’s righteousness to the Gentiles. They were supposed to put them on the straight and narrow path.

 

What does Paul do with the person who boasts in the Mosaic Law? He uses the Law that this person boasts in to convict him of his sin. Psalm 19: 7 says, “The Law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul.” The Law of the LORD is like a mirror, which shows up the real condition of our soul. It is like a light that shows us the filth, muck and grime of our lives. Yet the way Paul used this Law was different to the way that the person he is addressing used it. This other person is a person who is using the Law, believing that he is somehow morally superior to others. He is seeking to make a show of correcting others without acknowledging that he himself is a sinner. On the other hand, Paul is using the Law to show this person his sin so that he can bring him the remedy that is in Christ Jesus. It is wrong to proclaim ourselves judge and jury over everybody else’s lives so that they may come to us to be pronounced guilty or innocent. It is unloving to point the finger at everyone else without looking at our own faults first. However, when someone is dying of TB and is in denial of it, would you not alert them to it and try your best to get them to a physician that can help them? I saw this happen when I lived in KwaZulu Natal in 2003. We had a neighbour called Mr. Danisa who had TB and must have had AIDS. Both his children and his wife had died. It was evident that there was a problem. The signs were in others before and now he was displaying the same symptoms. I, and others, repeatedly told him that he needed to go to hospital. It was only when his foot swelled up badly that he decided to go. However, it was too late, for that weekend he died. People need the doctor. Jesus Christ alone can save.

 

What is the result of this Jew breaking the Law?

 

24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

 

This verse quotes from Isaiah 52: 5. It had said in the previous verse that, first, Egypt oppressed Israel, and then Assyria and finally Israel was taken away by Babylon. Yet Israel had not done anything to these nations. These nations did this to Israel without cause. According to Ezekiel 36: 20, when they were dispersed into these nations, God’s name was profaned because the nations did not see the dispersion as a judgment from God. They saw it as indicating that Israel’s God was weak and unable to save His people. Through Israel’s breaking of the Law, they dishonored God in two ways. Firstly, in behaving like the Pagans around them, they communicated the lie that God was no different to the Pagan deities around them too. Secondly, because God had to chastise Israel, they had given the nations an occasion to mock God. This also happens in the churches also. TBN airs its money-grabbing preachers and people then think that Christianity is no different to a TV sales business. Not only that… When the miracles turn out to be bogus and the prophecies fail to happen, the world mocks and exposes it and then says, “See, your God cannot heal, He does not have any power, it is all a con, a show, an illusion.” We must take heed when we make a stand for Christ. If I am preaching the Gospel but I contradict the message with my life, then God’s name gets blasphemed among the Gentiles. As an old pastor of mine said about your witness, ‘It takes a life time to build it up and only a minute to lose it.’ This judgment in Isaiah and Ezekiel that led to the dispersion and the blaspheming of God’s name among the Gentiles would happen again to the Jews in the future. In Paul’s day they were not only breaking the Law but also many of them rejected their own Messiah. Therefore, from 12 years of the penning down of this letter, God’s judgment would come. The Romans would destroy the Temple and God’s name would be blasphemed.

 

 

MAN’S GUILTY STANDING BEFORE A HOLY GOD

 

Paul demonstrates that when Israel acts like Gentiles, they are regarded like Gentiles. The Jews regarded circumcision as fundamental to their identity as the people of God and this was a symbol of them being set apart from every other nation. God commanded Abraham that all his descendants should be circumcised on the 8th day. They were circumcised because they were Abraham’s descendants and thus special to God. However when they behaved like the Gentiles, this symbol lost all its significance and therefore turned it into uncircumcision. The reality is in the heart. As a Gentile, if my heart is circumcised, my uncircumcision is regarded as circumcision. Just like conversion. The Christian who is born makes the baptism real. The baptism does not make the Christian real. The real Jew is the Jew who has the inward reality of being circumcised and does not rely on outward appearances. Therefore, the external trappings of Jewish culture and society, do not count whatsoever to a Jew’s salvation, The Jew has broken the Law of God and by this has nullified his circumcision. The Pagan, the moralistic Gentile and the Jew all have a guilty standing before a Holy God.

 

 

Advertisements

From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name they rejoice all the day, And by Thy righteousness they are exalted. Psalm 89;15,16. Blessed be His name.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: