Saturday, June 6, 2015, 1:09 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Muted Trumpet.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Galatians 6 (NASB). Caught in Sin Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. Previously I had always, to the best of my recall, looked at this scripture purely in the context of a brother or sister in Christ who has fallen into sin, i.e. who has been overtaken by sin and who needs to be restored in his or her relationship with Christ back to fellowship with God and a continued walk of faith in Christ. Yet, as I studied this passage much closer, I realized that the “anyone” in this passage could refer to any human being, not just to Christians. As well, the “spiritual” could be a reference to all who are born of the Spirit, and the “restoring” could be a reference to what takes place when someone believes in Jesus Christ, for the fellowship and communion with God, which was lost when man sinned, was restored for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and is ours by faith in Jesus Christ. So, whether we are helping a fallen believer to get back up on his feet, and to be restored in fellowship with Christ/God and in his or her walk of faith, or whether this is speaking of us sharing the gospel of our salvation with someone who is lost in sin and is need of hope, healing and restoration to God via Jesus’ shed blood on the cross for our sins, through faith in him, our attitude should be one of humility, love and kindness. We should remember that we were once bound in slavery to sin, and we should recall that Jesus Christ died for us, not because we were righteous or because we deserved his grace to us, but he died for us (all of humanity) while we were still steeped in sin. So, we should show the same love to them as what Jesus showed to us. We should have compassion and mercy on them in showing them the way out from underneath the curse of or this fall into sin, and we should point them to Jesus Christ as the one who paid the price for their sin, and is the one who can save them and/or restore them back to fellowship with God and their walks of faith. Yet, we must always be on guard that, in helping a drowning person to be revived, that we are not led into sin ourselves. We should not think that we are so righteous that we could not fall, and thus leave ourselves wide open to be tempted. We must be wise and discerning, be prayerful always, and make sure we remove any logs out of our own eyes before we work to help someone remove a speck out of his or her eye. Sowing and Reaping The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. To sow something means “to plant seed for growth especially by scattering; to set something in motion; to introduce into a selected environment” (M-W Dictionary). “Seed,” besides being “a small object produced by a plant from which a new plant can grow,” is “the beginning of something which continues to develop or grow” (M-W). Basically, whatever we do with this life which God has given us, in essence, is planting seed, nurturing the seed, and results in some sort of growth or plant or fruit. To reap, thus, means “to get something, such as a reward, as a result of something that you have done” (M-W), i.e. the fruit. So, if I spend my life living for myself and for my own self-pleasure, all I will receive in return, in this life, is some momentary gratification, which is fleeting, and which will perish. It will not amount to anything, and my life will have been wasted, and for what? Nothing! What will I have to show for my life? When I stand before God, do I think he is going to be impressed or satisfied with the fact that I spent my life living to please my own flesh? No! He did not put me on this earth to please myself and to do what is sinful. He put me here for his glory, and for his purposes, to do his will, and to live my life in submission to him, in surrender to the cross of Christ, and with the goal to please him in all that I do. So, what does it mean when it says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked”? The Greek word which we translate as “deceived” means: “properly, go astray, get off-course; to deviate from the correct path (circuit, course), roaming into error, wandering; (passive) be misled” (biblehub.com). “Mocked” is: “properly, to turn up the nose, turning away to sneer; (figuratively) mock, scornfully disdain (contemptuously reject)” (biblehub.com). We should not allow ourselves to get off-course and to deviate from God’s plan for our lives, or from the truth of his word, thinking we have the freedom to live for ourselves and still have the promise of heaven when we die. When we continue to walk in the flesh after we say we have been saved, and after we claim we have been given the Spirit as our guarantee of eternal life, we are showing great contempt and disregard for God and for the gift of life he has given to us through Jesus’ blood he shed on the cross for our sins. It is like we are sticking our noses up at God and are saying to him, “I don’t need you!” Yet, it will come back to bite us, both in this life and in the end of time when God judges us for what we did with his Son and with his gift of life, for God will not be mocked. We will pay in the end. All throughout the New Testament we read that a “saved” life is one which no longer walks (conducts its life) according to the flesh (what is sinful), but is one which walks (progressively) according to the Spirit and by the Spirit, in the ways of God, and not in the ways of the flesh, in order to please God, and not to please ourselves. We learn that a “saved” life is one which has been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and has been made alive to God by the Spirit, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” In other words, we are not saved just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. We have been, and are being, and will be saved when Christ returns so that our flesh can be put to death, and so we can live for righteousness. If we sow to please God, we will reap eternal life, and we will reap a spiritual harvest in our own lives and in the lives of all those whose lives we influence for the grace of God and for his purposes and for his glory. Flesh or Spirit? See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. As I have stated before, circumcision is a non-issue in my world or in the Christian family here in America, so we have to read these passages of scripture and seek God for what meaning we might gain from this for our own lives. The requirement for circumcision, for one, was old covenant, and we are under the new covenant, so it does not apply to us. God did away with this requirement, so we are not bound to it, not that Gentiles ever were. Circumcision was also something done outwardly, not inwardly, and did not necessarily result in changed hearts and lives. Many of the things God did and required of his people under the old covenant were symbolic of things to come, which were fulfilled in Christ and in his death and resurrection, and in the gift of his salvation which he has given to us. For instance, theirs was a physical temple built by human hands. Ours is a spiritual temple. God’s presence was in the Ark of the Covenant, which was inside the physical temple. Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, now dwells within the hearts of those who have been crucified with Christ and who have been resurrected to new lives in Christ Jesus, by the Spirit. We are now his temple, and he lives within us. Circumcision is now circumcision of the heart, which is the cutting away of our sinful flesh, not the cutting away of physical skin. The Holy of Holies now dwells within us. We no longer need human priests to sacrifice for our sins every year and to intercede for us, for Jesus Christ is our high priest who sacrificed his life for sin, once for all, and he now lives to intercede for us. The law and the prophets found their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, so we are now subject to Christ and to following after him. So, why do so many people still hang on to so many of these things from the old covenant? Some do it because of tradition, or because it is what they have always been taught, and so they still have this idea that there is something sacred about these types of things, and they feel they are worshiping God when they do them. Some do it because they believe that they can earn their salvation through doing so many religious or good things, but then it becomes about what they are willing to do for God, rather than it being about submission to the cross of Christ. When they perform religiously, they are the ones in control. The cross means we are no longer the ones in control, but God is. Many people want to be religious, but they don’t want to be submissive. The cross means death, not just for Jesus Christ, but for our flesh, and that is a tough thing for many humans to relinquish. Yet, for us who have truly come to the cross of Christ for salvation, the view we should hold is that, through the cross of Christ, we have been crucified (put to death) to the world and the world to us. We should no longer walk in the ways of this sinful world, but we should now walk in the ways of the Spirit, no longer living to please ourselves, but living to please our God. In this, we will know the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding. Muted Trumpet / An Original Work / October 14, 2011 Softly He speaks gently to us, Giving us His messages, and He waits patiently for us to Respond to His words. Will you listen to Him speaking? Will you waken from your sleeping? He is calling; hear Him whisper His truth unto you. Jesus speaks His words unto us, So that He might live out through us, Giving light to all who need Him, So they can obey. He gave His life to die for us, So that from sin He would free us To walk humbly in obedience Unto Him each day. Hear the trumpet clearly calling. He died to keep us from falling. Won’t you listen; heed His call to Turn to Him today? Hasten to Him calling to you. Turn from sin and follow Jesus. He loves you so much He gave you Life eternally.