Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Are You a Sinner or a Transgressor?



We have been studying the Book of Revelation and come to another pause in the chronology of the story of God's judgment as it is being poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. God does this to infuse hope into us at this point because had He not, we might forget that God is merciful, He is loving and He is kind despite the wrath being unleashed. He reminds us that the victory has already been decided by the time we get to Revelation 10:1 to Revelation 11:14, in what is known as a parenthetical pause or insert. A pause button or interlude in the midst of what has been happening and from this point in our study, we know that God has issued a promise that there will be no more delay in dispensing forth His judgment upon the earth.

If you were to read the Book of Revelation from the beginning to this point in our study, you might find yourself a bit mixed up without understand what is happening and why it is happening through a parenthetical insert at this point. It would make sense to understand that confusion as I did when I read through Revelation the first time, without really studying the context and content of what is happening. Now it begins to make sense a bit more and I hope it is for you as well.

Anytime in Bible doctrine, before God sends judgment, He has always sent messengers or an announcement before it happens. He always gives people an opportunity to repent before it happens. I believe that God is sending that message to all of us today, especially in America to turn back to Him and repent of its evil, the church for its laziness, nationwide America is asleep spiritually, and we need to wake up before its too late. We see Christianity under attack like never before, from marriage, to sexual orientation, to privacy issues, in every facet of our lives. It is fine for other religions to stand for what they believe but no where is there more intolerance than when it comes from a Christian perspective. Don't think it will stop there. It will come to your door. Down south, the ACLU recently won a battle to prevent public baptisms from taking place in a city park, and even now in California the debate is on for the issue of privacy in public restrooms, showers and locker rooms to keep boys on their side and girls on their side, despite what gender they might identify with. I can't even imagine how this would even be an issue, but it is. The fight is far from being over. We, as a body of believers, need to stand up, wake up and get to work.

We know as we remember at the beginning of this chapter that there is a debate among scholars on who this mighty angel is in the first verse. Some commentaries would argue that it is Jesus, while still others believe it to be Michael, the archangel. We are missing the point however, the message or the origin of the message comes from heaven. This messenger is of divine origin. Who it is is irrelevant, it is the origin of the message that is important.

We know based on the description found in Revelation 10 about the appearance of this mighty angel that this is where so many scholars believe that it is Jesus. His face like the sun, his legs like fiery pillars, robed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head. No one knows the answer for sure. When God desires to speak to man, He speaks from above. We saw that through the prophets and the fathers of the faith before us. We saw it when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down and the Father spoke from above. We know that when Jesus was born, the angels descended from heaven and that they spoke.

Not only does the angel have a divine description, he also has a divine duty. Before he speaks his message, we have to note his posture. He puts one foot on the land and one foot on the sea, holds his hand up to heaven and swears an oath unto God. We know that only God can keep His oaths, man is not able. We need God's help to remember our promises we make to Him. We need to be dependent on The Promise Keeper. When God promises something, He will always keep His Word. When God swears an oath, you know that He will keep it. The angel is standing in a position of great authority.

We learn that what John sees and hears at this point in Revelation, he is commanded not to write down or speak of. We will not know what this means, what he heard. Despite the many commentaries written about what they think it might be, the only ones who will know for certain what it is, are those living on the earth during the final years of the Tribulation Period. It's not for us to know. We know that this messenger swears on oath on a divine promise from verses 5-8 in Revelation.

Revelation 10:5-7 ~ "Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

God never changes. Despite what is written in the Bible, we can rely on the things we read and rest in the assurance that God won't change. He remains consistent.

Hebrews 6:17-18 ~ "Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged."

Isn't it wonderful the know what our hope is anchored to? What hope does the world have and to what is it anchored to? People might place their hopes in the stock market, that it will continue to rise, but we all know it won't stay that way. People might hope that despite all their planning that they will stay healthy, but we know at some point, despite all their efforts, they will die one day. Know this that one day all the things of the earth will end eventually.

As a Christian, we don't have to hope as the world does. Our hope is sustained in two unchangeable things, that God the Father and God the Son, swore an oath to save me. That will NOT be broken. Even though I am a sinner, I still have hope in eternity. Jesus Christ paid the price. I couldn't afford the ticket. I get to go, because He said so. Don't take that as arrogant, because it is not about what we can do to get us there, it is all about what Jesus did. I can't save myself, Jesus did that for me. This is why I can be assured that won't hope it will be alright in the end, I know it will be alright in the end. My hope is guaranteed on the basis of the cross, the resurrection, the fact that He ascended back up into heaven, that the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost to assure us that Christ arrived in heaven, remember He said when He got there, He would send us the promise of the Father. If you're a Christian, we know that the Holy Spirit lives inside our heart.

If Christ comes back to day to rapture the church or I die today, I know I am going to heaven. I have that 100% assurance by my faith in Jesus. Now let us understand the "mystery of God."

Colossians 2:1-2 ~ " I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ,"

It's that Jesus Christ, alone, saves us.

Ephesians 2:5-9 ~ "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

Notice it doesn't say sin? It says transgressions. If sin is bad, transgressions is worse if you could place a meter on it. Sin in the Greek, means to miss the mark. It's an archery term taken from the Olympics. When he pulled out his arrow and missed the target, he was called a sinner. Back then, no one got offended and went back home. He simply didn't hit the target, he missed the mark. Now when we think we are doing things our way, living life to the best of our own expectations, doing what we think God wants, it is the Holy Spirit who calls out to us, "Sinner!" We might say we will pray more, attend church more, live up to the 10 Commandments better, but each time, the Holy Spirit calls out to us, "Sinner!"

For a transgressor, it is like this, God draws a line in the sand, God hands us His Bible and tells us for example, not to have sex before marriage. It will mess you up both spiritually and physically. We see the line in the sand, we know that it was placed there by God for our own benefit because He knows what is best for us, and we take our own will into consideration and cross the line, willfully knowing what you are doing is wrong, but you do it anyway. It's not that you missed the mark, you saw the line, knowing what it meant, and basically said, "I don't care," and walk over it anyway. Your will not God's. That is transgression.

Jesus died for us even when we were transgressors, 2000 years ago. For both sinners and transgressors alike. The Old Testament called transgressions "sins of the High Hands," or to boldly sin against God. You know what you are doing is wrong. It's our sin nature and we are rebels without God's control in our lives. We love to admit that we are sinners, but I wonder how many of us would admit that we are transgressors. We demand our own way and that is the problem with the world today.