Was blind but now I see

Job Sees The Light - Forty-third in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

What relief there is in renouncing false doctrine and what joy in repentance! Living in darkness is hard.

Job had carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, believing his relationship with God depended on his deeds. He has come to understand that his walk with God is enabled by God’s merciful inclusion of him in the life of faith. An amazing grace! He had not understood how he had offended the Lord by his self righteousness, but now he sees.

Job 42:1-2 RSV He also sees that God not only hears our words but reads our minds.*

Job 42:3-4 NIV In verses 3 and 4 Job is careful to repeat God’s words, making very clear that he is giving specific answers in response to the Lord’s specific questions, such as Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? (Job 38:2)

Job 42:5-6 NIV Today, we would say Job was born again. God’s covenant of grace was extended to the Hebrews, to Christians (whosoever believes), and to non-Hebrews like Job who lived before Christ. In fact, the Hebrew who would study Job would gain great spiritual insight about the ways of God. This is a mystery considering that only Abraham’s descendants were included in God’s nation.

Job 42:7-8 NIV Job could not say to the Rock of Ages, Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling, as we today may. Yet he had grown to understand he could not manipulate God by his personal works and long record of devotion.

God alone shall be praised and glorified for what he alone can accomplish, even the start-to-finish saving of souls.**

Job 42:9-10 NIV Eliphaz as the ring leader must now lead the other friends in an exercise of repentance for their wrong words about God. God emphasizes their error by stating twice that they did not speak of God what was right, as Job had done.

Each had viewed poor Job to be without any hope for release from his trial until he repented of his evil ways. Yet Job’s repentance was not for any gross sin as they had assumed.

Commentators differ on why Elihu is not included in the disciplinary action. Some believe that he spoke important truths, others say he was simply dismissed or given “the silent treatment.” He had not injured Job as a friend, but was one of those whom Job may have noted as deriding him. (Job 30:1)

After Job’s change of heart, God called on him to intercede for his friends, and after he interceded for them God restored his life.

Effective intercession has to do with a right understanding of who God is and a heart for worship, and heartfelt intercession for spiritually blind people meets with God’s highest approval.

- from God Remembered Abraham, a Bible study on the Sistersite website

Job 42:11-17 NIV The happy ending of Job.

*Other translations state instead that no purpose of God can be thwarted (vs 2b). Whether God reads our thoughts or achieves all his plans is a difference that proves it is not easy to translate the original language of the Bible.

**Some will object that this belief or doctrine opens the way for easy believe-ism and that man is responsible for his own salvation: Man must choose God, commit his heart to God, and obey his laws. All this we must do, but it is all through God’s loving help. (Phil 2:12-13) Salvation is by grace through faith—which is a gift from God to man. Eph 2:8)

A final word: To think we climb into his everlasting arms by our own will and intelligence misses the point that God alone is to be glorified for our trust in him. All who grasp this truth will not find it hard to accept Christ as Savior; thus, the importance of the book of Job in the life of the Jew looking toward the coming of the Messiah.

Whose dating system?

Thanksgivings on Special Occasions - Fifth in a series

Many feel Christ will return soon. So many signs point to that.

The realization that time is short lessens the importance of theological debate. The time is ended for quibbling over small differences that do not affect salvation. We turn now to the central concern: Are you saved? Do you know Christ as your personal Savior? Has he claimed you as his own? Are you walking with him?

But as we wait on the Lord, we will briefly look at a question that is not critical to the celebration of Easter, but holds interest for those who enjoy knowing about church history.

The early Christians disputed over when to celebrate Easter. A Bible verse caused the commotion: And you shall observe this event (the Passover) as an ordinance for you and your children forever. (Ex 12:24) Forever is forever, so the Quartodeciman faction sought to honor this command by keeping the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection on the same date as the Jewish Passover. Others associated it with the newly established day of worship, Sunday. You can read more about this schism here, and here, that an early church father Irenaeus entreated Pope Victor in about 190 not to excommunicate the Quartodeciman churches of Asia Minor. The controversy was finally adjudicated at the Council of Nicea (though some churches today continue to honor the Jewish dating system in their commemorations).

In 325 AD, only a year after the Eastern and Western Roman Empires had been united under Constantine, bishops from east and west met in Nicea for the first universal council of the church, primarily to settle the Arian controversy that had arisen.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to permit and to profess Christianity. Throughout his life he attributed his success to his conversion to the Christian faith. Some ancient documents that share the Nicean Council’s proceedings still exist, helping us to gain an acquaintance with Constantine. In the following excerpt, we see his enthusiasm over the successful Council:

Greetings, my beloved brothers! We have received a complete blessing from Divine Providence, namely, we have been relieved from all error and been united in a common confession of one and the same faith. The devil will no longer have any power against us, since all the schemes he in his hatred had devised for our destruction, have been entirely overthrown from their foundations. At the command of God, the splendor of truth has dissolved all the poisons so deadly to unity: dissensions, schisms, commotions, and the like. We all now worship the One by name, and continue to believe that he is the One God. In order to accomplish all of this, at God’s summoning I assembled a large number of bishops at the city of Nicaea, and I joined them in investigating the truth, though I am only one of you, who rejoices exceedingly in being your fellow-servant. All points which seemed ambiguous or could possibly lead to dissension have been discussed and accurately examined. May the Divine Majesty forgive the unfortunately huge number of the blasphemies which some were shamelessly uttering against the mighty Savior, our life and hope, as they declared and confessed things contrary to the divinely inspired Scriptures. (ref)

The Council of Nicea in 325 also established when Easter would be celebrated. Constantine wrote to the churches:

At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement? (ref)

Unity among the faithful was important to Constantine because he had witnessed the divisions caused by the Donatist controversy and he wanted his empire to be secure from divisions. Also, of course, Scripture encourages Christians to be as one (Ps 133:1; Eph 4:3-6).

Thus, Easter came to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox which was approximated to be March 21 by the Council. (It was several decades before the Alexandrine computations stabilized into their final form, and several centuries beyond that before they became normative.)

It’s somewhat astounding to think of an entire empire and all Christendom joining as one to celebrate Easter. I look for less allowance for this holiday in days to come, just as we have seen the erasure of Good Friday from the American calendar.

This blog series is about the special days in the Christian calendar celebrated by many protestants, however, Anglicans and other denominations today have more than the ones covered in these posts. The calendar dates of holy days leading to Easter are calculated, of course, by the Council of Nicea, and these are the ones we will look at next. Easter itself is not a Thanksgiving on a Special Occasion since those holy days are not observed on Sunday, as Easter always is.

Remembering God as Creator

Remembrance and its opposite - Seventh in a series

God is the only Creator.

Though we speak of people having creative skills, or of creating various things, did they not merely discover or manipulate what is at hand? When inventors join bits and pieces together in a new way, are they creating? This is manufacturing or devising, but a creator fashions elements whose substance is not made of things already made.

When God created the world and all that is in it, he employed the medium of his Word. This is a mystery. Somehow, the Word of God has creative agency to give life; to bring into being that which never before existed. (Jhn 1:3; Ps 33:6; Heb 11:3)

God's Word is speech; it is communication or narration; and it is the seed of the sower (Mark 4:14), the bread by which man lives (Luke 4:4), the glad tidings to publish abroad (Acts 13:49), the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), the means by which we are saved (Jas 1:18), the power that upholds the world (2 Pet 3:7), and the name of God's son (Rev 19:13).

Somehow the analogies grow into realities upheld by the Logos: In the beginning (Gen 1:1) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jhn 1:1)

Considering the marvel of the created world and its testimony about the Creator, it is no wonder that Satan worked to undermine the first chapter of Genesis by the false concept of evolution. As Christ pointed out, it is possible to nullify the Word of God by man-made traditions (Mark 7:13). But the faithful will remember and acknowledge the Lord as the Creator. (Ps 100:3; Rom 1:20; Ps 8:3-4)

We commemorate God's work of creation by resting on the Sabbath, which was established to be Sunday rather than Saturday, after the Resurrection of Jesus. (Acts 20:7; Jhn 20:1)

The instruction to remember the Sabbath is often noted. (Gen 2:3; Exo 16:23-30; Exo 31:13,14; Lev 19:3; Lev 23:3; Num 15:32; Deut 5:14; Isa 56:4-6; Jer 17:21-24 et al) The idea is not only to rest but to worship and to remember the Lord.

Satan strives to undermine this truth so that few today worship or rest on Sunday, often crediting Jesus for their notion that it is fine to work on Sunday (Jhn 5:17) as though he came to nullify the Ten Commandments. Also, many believe they are obeying the Fourth Commandment by attending or engaging in sports events or other leisure activities and leading their children to do the same.

Nevertheless, the Sabbath was made for man, (Mark 2:27) a profound statement. A day of rest in Christis essential to our emotional and physical health.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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