It was the very thoughtful Saint Augustine who once said, “Lord command what you will and grant what you command.” It was that thought that stirred a controversy that has lasted some 1700 years.
For Augustine, God’s commands can only be accomplished through Him. It was Pelagius who first found fault with the idea, because he believed in the teaching of free will as it is so commonly believed today. Proud men find anything short of complete freedom and autonomy in humanity as offensive. In this thinking we see the sinful heart of men who would place themselves on an equal footing with God.
When Jesus spoke of blessings He began by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) It is odd, and completely at odds with the thinking of the world, to think that the blessed man should be poor. But that’s what Jesus said.
The man is blessed who acknowledges his spiritual poverty, he is broken by his sinful condition, and a beggar in his own assessment. As sinful men prefer to think of themselves as accomplished, intelligent, “free”, and dare I say it, good; the blessed man agrees with God’s description of his sinfulness, and if left unchanged will have to face His anger on the Last Day.
Therefore, when God spoke though the Psalmist in the very first Psalm, He began by describing blessings in a negative way. He describes blessings by what a righteous man does not do. He said the blessed man does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. Jesus referred to men as sheep. Such men follow blindly along because it makes them feel more secure.
THE COUNSEL OF THE WICKED
Can you discern the true from the false? She’s not true!
God begins with the world as it is; and it is not seen by God as good. The thought, “follow your heart and you can’t go wrong”, was not stated by God. The world is governed by the philosophy of a fallen angel, we know as Satan.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:1, 2)
The undeniable reality is that we follow along blindly, not knowing from where the counsel comes. Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he has been doing the same to all of us ever since.
The devil has captivated the minds of men in every academic discipline, so that university professors lead the charge in philosophical deception. In science it is evolution, that is, creation without a creator. To the psychologist evil behavior is never the result of a sick soul, but always a mental disease. Sociology has become the science to sidestepping broken relationships as a result of the first great relationship between God and men, it finds its origin in poverty or some such thing.
Again and again we are told that the problem is not inside of us, but it is always something external, and ultimately it is God’s fault and we are given another reason for unbelief.
The Greatest deception of all can be found in empty religion and false prophets, wolves disguised as “Christian” pastors.
“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.
“…They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”
“…But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.”
“…But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:1-12
It was the most religious of Jesus’s day that sought His death. “Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council …so from that day on they planned together to kill Him. (John 11:47, 53)
THE COURSE OF SINNERS
“…blessed is the man who does not … stand (take his stand) in the way (on the practices) of sinners…”
The second blessing in Psalm 1 according to God has to do with altering the course of our life. To stay on the original path is to end in ruin. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12) Therefore, it is necessary for every man to identify his own evil heart and anger toward the One true God and turn from it.
Be it secular or religious the course of this world ends in destruction. To read the book of Revelation is to understand the reality of our own demise. God is not pleased with us or this present world system. Therefore, the Gospel of Mark begins with this great statement about John the Baptist and his ministry.
“John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:4)
Apart from the grace of God, no man will recognize, let alone acknowledge his own inability to gain God’s acceptance or merit heaven. The testimony of the honest and true Christian is this, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. … ” (1 John 5:11)
The testimony of the Christian is not that goodness abides in him, as if it came from within himself. Eternal life, good and acceptable life comes from God’s son, and it must be imparted.
The result of eternal life in Jesus is eternal life with God. “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
To stay the original course is to be destroyed on the Final Day. It may not feel good but it’s true as God’s Word says.
THE CONTINUANCE OF SCOFFERS
The terminology as recorded in Psalm 1, “…nor sit in the seat of scoffers” holds the picture of abiding in a place or assembly of scornful mockers. The question then remains, who and what is being mocked? For the answer one only need read the next verse.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
…In contrast to the man who is blessed because he has departed from the counsel and course of this present world is the one who mocks God, His Word, and His ways and laws. For this reason destruction is eminent.
The Atheist flat out denies the existence of God.
The religious who deny God’s truth as recorded in His infallible and inspired Word, no matter what worship may come out of their mouth, are still mocking God and His way of salvation.
Jesus Christ need never live as a man, die as a criminal, be buried in a borrowed grace, or be raised by the power of a pure and indestructible life, if man could merit eternal life on his own.
WHY I WRITE THIS BLOG – TO MAKE GOD’S WORD KNOWN.
To know His Word is the only way to know Jesus. To know Him is the only means of receiving eternal life. “And this is eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ” (John 17:3)
THE JESUS YOU NEED TO KNOW is a book about the most influential person in all of human history. Jesus has changed the stony hearts of men that believe in Him to caring, loving, empathetic hearts of flesh. His teachings have changed whole civilizations from tyrannical, aggressive war mongers to democratic liberties where they have been applied. This book examines the godly character, integrity, and motives of the greatest man that has ever lived, and how saving faith, in the right Jesus, can, by the grace of God, make Him the source of your own.