1John 3:4                                         What Is Sin?                                                9/8/2013        

 

 

 

 

#1.       What Sin Does God Hate Most? (Isa 42:8, 44:10, 45:20, Matt 22:35-40)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Gospel in a Nutshell (Zech 11:7-9, Ezek 18:4,20)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 #3.      Then Beauty was broken (Zech 11:10-13, 13:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Proverbs of Solomon, Prov 3:19 (2X). The title of today's sermon is "What Is Sin?" (2X). Let us consider again "the Wisdom of God" (2X). How did we arrive at the subject of Sin in this harmonious structure that God is building before our eyes? Was the concept of sin also an element of the plan of God He had before the foundation of the world? And that is indeed true. God said in Eph 1:4 that "God has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world", which means it was God's plan that Christ would go to the cross to pay for our sins, and God decided that before the foundation of the world. Therefore Adam's sin did not catch God by surprise, and God included sin as an integral part of His eternal purpose for this creation. Although God knew that sin would enter the world, we may never call God the originator of sin. This is a principle we must never forget when we analyze the words of Scripture. We read in Prov 3:19,

·         The Lord, in Wisdom, Hath Founded the Earth (Eph 1:4, Prov 3:19)

Prov 3:19  The LORD by (or: in) wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

It means that this plan of God is the most perfect plan possible, because it was conceived in the mind of God who is infinite in wisdom. Then God went to work and we have seen how the Providence of God is providing for His Elect people everything they need for salvation and God is providing for the Reprobate all the opportunities they need for damnation. There are Elect and Reprobate people, just like in the realm of angels there are elect angels who remained faithful to God, and there are reprobate angels who rebelled against God at the time Lucifer rebelled against God. Reprobate angels were necessary to draw man into sin, and Reprobate people are necessary to inflict on the Elect the temptations, and the persecutions, and the sufferings that are necessary to make us grow in grace. It is the Love of God for His Elect that motivated God to create reprobate angels and Reprobate people. Then we saw in the sermon of last week, how the Love of God for His Elect "is shed abroad in our hearts by God the Holy Spirit", and it overflows into love for our brethren in the congregation. And when we look at the Love of God in the light of John, chapter 3 verses 16 and 17, we see that the Atonement of Christ on the cross in AD 33 was the outwardly visible Love of God for His Elect, and at the same time it was the outwardly visible Wrath of God on the sins of those He passed by. That is why the present sermon is titled "What Is Sin?"

What is sin? Sin is not only a violation of the Law of God, but sin is also a lack of what we are supposed to have. Man was created in the image of God and man was created for the purpose to glorify God. But man has lost this ability to glorify God. To man belongs originally the knowledge of God. Man has lost this knowledge also. But it is not a passive lack of knowledge. Instead of the knowledge of God there has come darkness and lies about God. Instead of righteousness there has come unrighteousness and sin. Instead of holiness there has come consecration to the Devil and impurity of mind, and wicked inclinations and evil desires. The human nature cannot stand in neutral. It is either motivated by the power of the love of God, or it is motivated by enmity against God. The lack of knowledge and lack of righteousness and holiness causes man to turn into the active reverse, like darkness and unrighteousness, and unholiness. This is the utter depravity of mankind. This how we all were born, serving the devil rather than glorify God.

I will skip the usual introduction that every preacher gives about the origin of sin in the Garden of Eden. I have preached on that subject in 10 sermons already. That should be enough. The Bible tells us that the introduction of sin in the world did not have its origin in the world of men, but in the world of angels. It originated in the mind of the angel Lucifer, who became Satan, and Satan tempted Eve to fall into sin, and the rest is history. But now we must ask:

#1.       What Sin Does God Hate Most? (Isa 42:8, 44:10, 45:20, Matt 22:35-40)

Let us turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah again, and see how God answers this question. Isa 42:8,

Isa 42:8  “I am the LORD (= I am Jehovah): that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”

Here is a form of Idolatry. God warns us here that He will not give His glory to another. This is a fundamental principle. We may not come up with a gospel whereby we give the credit of salvation partly to God and partly to a human work. God equates this to giving His praise to graven images.

Isa 44:10  “Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?”

And then follow 10 verses where God describes how foolish man is by making an idol from part of a tree, and the other part of the tree he burns in a fire to cook for himself a meal, and to warm himself. The wood of the tree was not holy because he burned it, but as soon as he made the shape of an idol from the wood of that tree he falls down and worships the work of his own hands. That is exactly what people do when they create a works gospel. Their hands are not holy. But they worship the work of their own hands. Once a beloved Pastor or a Theologian has written a book, or a paper, about what he thinks salvation is, without checking it out with the Bible, he has set up an idol, which cannot save because it is an impotent idol. It does not agree with the God of the Bible. Now turn to Isa 45:20 (2X),

Isa 45:20 ¶ “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they (i.e. the nations) have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.”

Interpreted: The call of God goes out to all the nations for people to escape the wrath of God, which is on all them that set up their own gospel instead of the Gospel of the Bible.

Do you get the drift? You can stop at almost every chapter of the Old Testament and see this phenomenon of idolatry. In ancient times it happened in every country of the world, at any month of the year, any year you may choose. It was a universal phenomenon, and God hated it. But murder, stealing and fornication were also universal phenomena, but God did not take time to record these kinds of sins in every chapter of the Bible; He did it only for idolatry. What must we conclude from this? It is that: Idolatry was the sin that God hated most! In fact, the Lord Jesus was asked this question by a lawyer, no less, and what did the Lord Jesus answer? We read in Matt 22:35-40 (2X)

Matt 22:35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Allow me to paraphrase this question. The Lawyer wanted to know: “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Or the real question: “Master, which is the most important commandment of the Law?” And here is the way the Lord answered this question. We read in Matt 22:37-40,

Matt 22:37  “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38  This is the first and great commandment.  39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Now, if this is the greatest and the most important of all the commandments, then what is the greatest sin? You guessed it. The greatest sin is NOT loving the Lord with all our hearts and souls and mind. This is what the nations of the world do when they totally ignore God in all their ways and in all their daily life. They are only dealing with God on legal terms, such as in His commandments. But they do not consider the love of God at all, neither do they consider the consequences of their sin of ignoring the God who sent His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. This is a love of God that was spurned. How great an insult is that?

Indeed, the commandments were designed by God to express His love for His people. The love of God shines through, because this is what people need to draw them to Christ. And what must we conclude if we are honest with ourselves, is that we cannot keep the commandments, and that we need a Savior who has mercy on us, and who can save us from the consequences of our sins, our transgressions of the Law of God. We do not want a God who is fair. We need a God who is merciful. If God is fair He would cast us all into Hell, for that is what we deserve. And here we see the love of God shining through, because "the Law is our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ". That is why the Lord Jesus summarized the Law in terms of love. But the love of God cannot be known without the wrath of God on each and every sin. God's righteousness demands it. Our sin might be that we do not love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength. But that means that we love someone else, or we love ourselves more than we love God. This is idolatry! Who then shall deliver us from the body of this death? What can we do? Where do we find the remedy for our sins, and for the consequences of our sins.

·         God’s Antidote for Sin (Rom 8:2-4, Eph 1:18-19, Psalm 119:11)

You all know what an antidote is? When we speak of an antidote we speak about snakes and about the venom of the snakes. When someone is bitten by a snake he needs an antidote for the venom that was injected in his body. When we speak of an antidote for sin we speak of an antidote for the venom of sin that flows through our body. But when were we bitten by the snake that gave us this venom of sin? It happened in the Garden of Eden where the serpent first bit Eve, and then Adam, and then the whole human race that came out of the loins of Adam (Gen 3:16). Spiritually we were murdered by the serpent which first bit Eve, and then Adam, and then the whole human race that has Adam as their federal head. The result was that the whole human race became as wicked as if we were children of the devil (Gen 6:5). The whole human race became like demons. God has no mercy for demons. But God had His counter-move ready for the occasion: God chose a people for Himself which He called the children of God, and God chose them from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4) to be the Bride of Christ. To all those who are the elect of God, God made His antidote for sin available. What is God’s antidote to sin? Of course, it is salvation. We thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ; for He alone can deliver us from our sins. Once we have been Born Again we also have been saved forever, and God the Holy Spirit has given us a regenerated soul. God gave us faith in the true God of the Bible, not a false god, for if we pray to a false god the true God of the Bible will not hear us and will not answer our prayers. The true God of the Bible requires that we believe the whole Bible. If we believe only a part of the Bible we actually have a false god in our mind and our prayers will not be heard. If we believe only a part of the Bible we are in violation of Rev 22:19, which says that we are still subject to the penalties of all the unsaved. And so, if we want to be saved we must believe the whole counsel of God concerning God’s plan of salvation. What is the whole counsel of God concerning salvation? Some believe that it is a willingness to obey all His commandments. Did the Lord Jesus not say in John 14:15, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments,” and is it not true that loving Christ is the most important thing we can do if we want to be saved? That is true, but it is not true that obeying His commandments is synonymous with salvation, no matter how sincere we are. There are some definite statements in the Bible which declare that obeying His commandments is not the key to getting saved. For example we read in:

Gal 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

The last few words in this verse make it clear that: “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Is that not perfectly clear? “By obedience to the law shall no flesh be justified.” Read the next verse, Gal 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” You see, obedience to the law is something that WE DO. But the grace of God does not require that we do anything. Salvation is by the grace of God, and not by something that WE DO. Many people read Gal 3:13, but the force of it does not penetrate their understanding until they are confronted with the fact that our obedience to the commandments, or our obedience to the law of God, is a curse from which we must be liberated. It is a curse because we cannot obey the law of God perfectly. We read in Gal 3:13,

Gal 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” 

Again it boils down to something that WE DO, or something that God does in us. Is it a gift that is obtained by us, or is it a gift that is received freely? Please turn to the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zech 11:7 (2X). We turn to the Prophecy of Zechariah, because we have here a beautiful parable which may shed some light on the subject of What is the true Gospel, and What is the whole counsel of God

#2.       The Gospel in a Nutshell (Zech 11:7-9, Ezek 18:4,20)

The Prophecy of Zechariah was written after the children of Israel had returned from their captivity in Babylon. It is a prophecy that is filled with parables and allegories. The parables in Zechariah are more difficult than the parables in Revelation. Chapters 9-11 contain references to Christ’s first coming, and chapters 12-14 contain references to Christ’s second coming. For this reason we can find 31 references relating Zechariah to Revelation. But since Zechariah is quoted in Matt 27:9, as if it was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, we know that Zech 11 must refer to the time of the cross.

Zec 11:7  “And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty (or Grace), and the other I called Bands (Lit: Binding); and I fed the flock.”

Who is speaking here? We can see from verse 6 that God is speaking. Christ is the Shepherd of His flock. Christ is in view in verse 7, and He says to the poor of the flock: "I will feed the flock of slaughter". That does not sound good. Why are the poor called the flock of slaughter? It is because God's Law states: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (from Ezek 18:4,20), and after Adam's sin every single human being coming into the world is a sinner. How can an immortal soul die? Well, the death that God has in view is not physical death, but it is the second death. Physical death is only a shadow of the much more horrible second death, which is a suffering for an eternity in Hell. That is why God calls the whole human race, "The flock of slaughter".

·         I Will Feed the Flock of Slaughter (Eph 2:3, Matt 5:3, Gen 3:15, Isa 4:1)

WE ALL are born as sinners, in rebellion against God, hating God, and deserving Hell, and are "by nature the children of wrath" (Eph 2:3) according to the righteous Law of God. God's righteousness cannot be broken. But God has mercy on some. That is why we read: "I will feed the flock of slaughter". Christ will feed the Gospel to those on whom He has mercy. They are "the poor of the flock", not the physically poor, but the spiritually poor.

Remember that Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matt 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Therefore, in Zec 11:7 Christ is addressing the poor in spirit. Paraphrased this is how Christ is feeding His sheep: He took two rods; one of them he called Beauty or Grace (this Hebrew word is a noun) and the other rod He called Binding (this Hebrew word is a verb, so the translation “Bands” does not fit the original Hebrew text). The first rod, Beauty or Grace, represents Christ who is the very essence of the Beauty and Grace of God. The second rod, Binding, represents the Law, which leads people to bondage, for transgression of the Law is sin, and people are bound to the Law. Now we read in Zech 11:8,

Zec 11:8  Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

These were three false shepherds who were cut off in a short period of time. Who were the three false shepherds at the time Christ was going to the cross? Here they are: The high priest Caiaphas, king Herod, and Pontius Pilate; respectively the religious shepherd of the Jews, the secular shepherd of the Jews, and the shepherd on behalf of the Roman authority over the nation of Israel.  These were the three human authorities who decided that Jesus must be crucified.

Now Christ is addressing those who are being led by these three false shepherds. And this includes practically all the world, for all the world of those days consisted of Jews and Gentiles and Romans. We read in Zech 11:9,

Zech 11:9  Then said I, I will not feed you: those that dieth, let it die; and those that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one (each woman) the flesh of another (her neighbor).

Literally the Hebrew text says: "Let the rest eat each woman the flesh of her neighbor". What does this mean? If we need a spiritual meaning for women in the Bible, they always represent a religious entity. For example, when God addresses “the woman” in Gen 3:15, God in fact addresses the church who will, together with Christ, be engaged in battle against the Devil. In Zech 11:9 Christ hated those who are following their false shepherds, and paraphrased Christ says of them: Let the individual churches consume one another by stealing away members from each other. I do not love them. This was the situation shortly before Christ went to the cross.

#3.       Then Beauty was broken (Zech 11:10-13, 13:7)

Zec 11:10  And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which  I had made with all the people.  11  And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.

Christ was broken for His people, and Grace was broken for Christ. He had to earn His way back to heaven every inch of the way. There was no grace for Christ. He the Judge had taken upon Himself the payment that we would have to make, and He had to pay the full price according to the righteousness of God, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

That also meant that Christ had to go to the cross alone. That is why God says in Zech 13:7, "Smite the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered". In that day Christ had to separate Himself from His people; He had to abandon all His people and be reckoned with the transgressors.

Then the poor of the flock, the saints that waited on Christ, knew that this was the will of God. Now we come to the passage that was quoted in Matt 27:9-10. Look here at Zech 11:12, 

Zec 11:12  And I said unto them, If ye think good (Lit: If it is good in your eyes), give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

Who is speaking to whom? We know from the New Testament that the pronoun "them" does not refer to the Apostles or to the poor of the flock, but it refers to those who were the enemies of Christ. But God is still speaking, and God says, "I said to them". God is indicating thereby that He is still in charge. Now read verse 13,

Zec 11:13  And the LORD said unto Me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Judas Iscariot acted totally in accordance to the Prophecy of Zechariah, because it was God who prompted him to cast this money down on the floor of the temple. Therefore Christ could say: "And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD". This is how the Potter's field was purchased with blood. It was the blood of Christ that purchased this field, called Akeldama, because the money did not belong to Judas, but it belonged to God.

When Christ was broken for the elect of God, also the Law was broken for the elect of God. Do I now mean just the Ceremonial Law? Absolutely not! The whole Law was broken, but only for the saints. This is an important principle. We need to understand this very well, for the danger exists that we will swing to the other extreme and become antinomians.

·         No More Law (Rom 4:8,15, 5:13, 6:7,18,22, 7:4,6, 8:1, Matt 5:17-18, Col 2:16-23)

Put a sticker here in Zechariah, for we will return there, and please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 4:8. First of all we need to understand that Christ paid for all our sins, past present and future sins, not one excepted. If we have become saved, and we have turned from sinners into saints, then God Himself is making His abode within us, and not one sin shall be added to our account, for God will not allow His home to be defiled.

Therefore God says to us in Rom 4:8,

Rom 4:8  “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Every saint is in this manner blessed, for after God the Holy Spirit has regenerated our soul, and has cleansed it from all sin, the Lord will not impute any more sin to our soul, for Christ has already paid for every one of them. Sin is a transgression of the Law, and thus where no more sin is imputed there is no law that can condemn us.

Therefore, when we turn to verse 15, Rom 4:15, we read there,

Rom 4:15  “Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.”

Why would God write these words? “Where no law is?” Was there at any time in the past a period when there was no law? Not really. When God created Adam, immediately God imposed a law. His law was, “Thou shalt not eat from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for in the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die.” And throughout the Old Testament dispensation there always was a law of God that defined sin, for sin is a transgression of the law. There was not a moment in time when the human race was free from the law of God.

But when Christ died on the cross for the sins of those whom God intended to save, He suffered and died for specific sins of specific people, who will receive this specific payment for all their sins at the moment that God the Holy Spirit makes them born from above, and God declares that they are no longer sinners, but saints. And from this moment none of the sins they commit shall be imputed to their soul. It is as if they have died to the law, and have been resurrected with Christ to a new life where no law can touch them anymore.

For the saints the whole law has been satisfied in full by Christ on the cross, but for the rest of the world the moral law still exists, for they do not believe what Christ did on the cross. And thus our separation from the law has occurred, not because the law died, but because we have died to the law. Let us take a brief look at the abundance of references to that effect. Drop down to Rom 5:13,

Rom 5:13  “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”

Until the law given through Moses, sin was already in the world, from Adam to Moses. And from Moses until the cross the law was greatly increased by the ceremonial law, which God required that it should be kept. But then came the cross. And from then on, “sin is not imputed when there is no law”.

But only the saints have died to the law. The rest of the world still stands guilty for transgressing the law. Therefore, when we drop down to Rom 6:7, we read there, “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” In other words, “He that is dead with Christ, and is risen with Christ, has been justified from sin”, for Christ has justified us from all our sins, even our future sins. Remember that when Christ died all our sins were still future sins.

And thus, when we were freed from sin, we became servants of Christ. Rom 6:18,

Rom 6:18  “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

In our old life we were servants of sin and servants of Satan. In our new life we are servants of righteousness and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we read in Rom 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Is that not glorious? Therefore we read in Rom 7:4, that with body and soul we are no longer in the clutches of Satan, but we now belong to Christ, because we have died with Christ and we have risen with Christ.

Rom 7:4,  “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Many times in the Bible God emphasizes that we have become dead to the law. The law no more exists in the life of the saints. The reason is that God wants us to be unspotted temples of God. We read in Rom 7:6,

Rom 7:6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

It means that we were dead when we were under the law, for the law was our accuser before God. But now that we have become saints in the eyes of God no law can any more accuse us. Therefore God says to us in Rom 8:1,

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

We needed this interlude about “No more law in the life of the saints” to clarify what we are going to read in Zech 11:14. Most of the time when we bring up the fact that there is no more law in the life of the saints, the response we get is: O of course, Christ fulfilled the law for us, and that is why there is no more law for us. Now that is a misinterpretation of Matt 5:17, where we read,

Mt 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

And so, people think that if Christ fulfilled the law, then we do not have to fulfill the law again. There are two errors in this kind of thinking. First, when Christ obeyed the law perfectly it does not mean that the law then was put away. There is no Scripture that would support this principle. Secondly, Matt 5:17 refers to Christ fulfilling the ceremonial law, which consisted of signs and shadows of Christ and of the church of Christ. From Col 2:16-23 we understand that the entire ceremonial law was done away when Christ died on the cross; not just done away for the saints, but done away for everyone in the world. In fact, if we go to the next verse, Matt 5:18, we see that Christ’s perfect obedience to the law did not mean that the law was put away. God did not write the law in such a way that it had to be obeyed only once and then it disappeared.

Matt 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

This tells us that we would have to wait until the end of the world, and then finally the law would no longer exist. Matt 5:17 tells us that all things in the law and the prophets have to be fulfilled, including the prophecies concerning the end of the world, and then everything would have been fulfilled. And so, this false interpretation of the fulfilling of the law should be replaced by the glory of the atonement, where the power of Christ in paying for all the sins of all His elect is on display. And this is a far more glorious interpretation, for it shows the efficacy of the cross.

And so, let us summarize what we have learned thus far, and let us get back to the parable in Zechariah. What is the antidote for sin which is available to all the elect? First of all, the staff that is called “Beauty” had to be broken, which means that Christ had to be crucified. (Zech 11:10). For whom was He crucified? He was crucified for dirty rotten sinners. If you are a nice person, if you are a decent moral citizen, if you are someone who never insulted God, and if you are not a sinner, then Christ did not come for you. But for the forgiveness of your sins your dearest friend, the Lord Jesus Christ, had to be crucified. Secondly, the staff that is called “Bands”, or better “Binding”, is also broken (Zech 11:14), for the law of commandments and ordinances that bind you to the law of sin and death also had to be broken, so that no law whatsoever could accuse you of any sin, from this time forth and forever more. The true child of God does not need any law to keep him in line. We already know what pleases God and what He does not like. The love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost will keep us desiring to do His will. And this explains why we do not need any law to keep us in line, for now having been made free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Rom 6:22).

The remainder of verse 14 has some important consequences. We read in Zech 11:14,

Zech 11:14, “Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”

What is the brotherhood between Judah and Israel? In the Old Testament days Judah and Israel refers to the Northern kingdom and the Southern kingdom, which were brothers because they were all descendants of Jacob. But now when we enter the New Testament days, more than 500 years after the Northern kingdom was destroyed, Israel refers to Christ, as we have seen from Matt 2:15. And thus the expression “that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” implies “that I might break the brotherhood between the nation of the Jews and the children of Jesus Christ,” for the nation of the Jews (Judah) adheres to another gospel than the nation of Jesus Christ. The nation of the Jews adheres to a works gospel, a gospel of obeying the law. The nation of Jesus Christ adheres to a salvation by grace. There must be a break between those two nations, for they tend to lead us on the path of sin. There can be no harmony between a Gospel of grace and a gospel of works. The Gospel of works is a condemnable idolatry.

God's desire is that we may know the riches of the glory of Christ's inheritance in the saints. Yes it is Christ's inheritance in us. It is only after His exceeding great power to us-ward is demonstrated in giving us a regenerated soul that we can believe in Christ's inheritance in us. Only then can we say:

Ps 119:11 ¶ “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

It is only then that we have found our Antidote to Sin.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.