During the reign of Tiberius Caesar, in 27 A.D., God sent a young man [John] to be His messenger to prepare the way for the Messiah, who would come just after him. This man lived in the wilderness, the desert area of Judea; he wore garments made of camel’s hair and wore a leather girdle around his waist; his diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. His dress was typical for those who would be considered the poorest of the land in the time that he lived. His diet would seem very peculiar to us, but was common for the poor people living at that time.
Regardless of how strange his lifestyle, John the Baptist came with a very important message to give to the people of Israel. He lived in the area around the Jordan River and all the people of Jerusalem, Judea and the regions surrounding the Jordan went out to see this man and to hear his message. What was the message that he had for them, the message entrusted to him from God to give to the people of Israel? His message was simply: “repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)
He had come to prepare the way for Jesus the Messiah, and His ministry was to preach repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 1:4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 1:5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 1:6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
John’s ministry paved the way for Jesus to begin His ministry; both were united in purpose in their preaching sincere repentance, which would open the way for the eventual salvation of all those who would choose to accept to live by every Word of God.
Luke 1:67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 1:70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 1:72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 1:73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 1:74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 1:75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
The Mission of John and of Elijah
1:76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 1:78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
When Jesus began His ministry after John had been preaching and baptizing in the wilderness, His first recorded message as written in the Bible, was to preach about repentance; His words were, “…repent and to believe the gospel.”
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Repentance: this word and what it stands for is of such supreme importance, so vital to the overall plan of salvation that without it there is no salvation, no turning from our sinful ways, no growth, only a looking forward to destruction and death and not to a glorious life everlasting. Repentance is the catalyst that begins the process of translating a person from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
The sincerely repentant are redeemed [purchased back from a debtor] by Christ’s sacrifice, this is true; but the first thing we have to do in order to be forgiven, is to repent of our sins against God. It is this prerequisite action that begins in the mind, which is absolutely necessary for the other important actions that follow repentance.
John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Jesus preached in Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Peter told the crowd that gathered at Pentecost to: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
The English definition for “repent”:
1.To amend or resolve to amend one’s life as a result of contrition for one’s sins.
2.To change one’s mind with regard to past or intended action, conduct, etc. on account of regret or dissatisfaction.
3.To feel regret, contrition, or compunction for what one has done or omitted to do.
The Greek word for repent is metanoeite (Strong’s #3340) it means: to change one’s mind or purpose, to think differently; or afterwards i.e. reconsider (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct).
In Matthew 3:7 it says that when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducee’s come to be baptized, he said to them “O generation of vipers (venomous snakes) who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
In saying that they were the children of Abraham, the Pharisees and Sadducee’s thought of themselves as being righteous because they were his children and because of their link to him and his faithfulness; they could not really see any need to repent of their own sins.
Their “righteousness” was a facade and they apparently wanted to be baptized under false pretenses, to impress the people; but John was able to discern their true heart and told them that they needed to show certain fruits or proofs of true repentance if they really were to be forgiven for their sins and be baptized.
John said that they needed to examine their personal conduct and to repent with true sincerity of anything which is offensive to God. The fruits of repentance is a genuine change in behavior, and if they truly began to live a godly life they could then be called Abraham’s sons in the spirit as well as in the flesh . (Galatians 3:6-8)
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
This is what Paul had to say in his letter as he commended them of certain things after they had repented of tolerating the man in their congregation who had been sinning with his father’s wife. The Corinthian congregation had responded to Paul’s command to disfellowship the sinner for his own good and for the good of the congregation. (1 Corinthians 5:13)
2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance:for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
The antecedent of true repentance is godly sorrow, which if it is truly godly will bring about repentance and a CHANGE of behavior. Godly sorrow is not the same as repentance itself, but it is a good preparative to repentance, and is an intense heartfelt acknowledgment of our sins.
2 Corinthians 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Paul says that he can see that they had really repented in this matter and he praises the Corinthians for repenting of their sin as he says that these fruits were wrought in them: carefulness, clearing of yourselves, indignation, fear, vehement desire, zeal and revenge.
Carefulness: The Greek word is spouden (Strong’s #4710) and means haste, diligence, it’s root is from the Greek word speúdō, (Strong’s #4692) which means to “move quickly, “speedy diligence” (intensity). (a) speed, haste, (b) diligence, earnestness, enthusiasm, forwardness.
Carefulness means all these things and the Corinthians were diligent and enthusiastic to repent of this matter of sin in their midst and were on fire to make things right. When Paul first became aware of this sin he implied that they had been lax, and very casual in tolerating this man and what he was doing: this could even mean that they had a Laodicean type attitude about what was happening and it appears they were indifferent to their spiritual responsibility to rid this sinful leaven from the congregation and themselves.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul then says in his second letter, after they had repented, that they had used “carefulness” (diligence) to speedily or with eagerness, earnestness, enthusiasm repent: and did what they needed to do to set things right.
If one truly repents; one of the fruits of that repentance will be diligence and by it you can see some proof that the repentance is real.
The Corinthians were NOW applying their knowledge of God and diligently obeying God’s Word in this regard. God will empower us to accomplish what is right and good if we do our part in being diligent. We often get somewhat lazy in applying ourselves; but real sorrow over our sins, motivates us to the action of repentance; the action of a diligent effort to accomplish the CHANGE that needs to take place, whether it be sins of commission or omission.
Clearing of ones self: The Greek word is apologia (Strong’s #627) means defense, “intelligent reasoning” – properly, a well-reasoned reply; a thought-out response to adequately address the issue(s) that is raised. The Greek root word of apologia is aololuho (Strong’s #628) and means to “wash away” or to “wash oneself” which seems to fit better in this particular context; as when one washes away the dirt or sin, then things become clearer (or cleaner).
The members in the Corinthian congregation at first were not dealing with the filth of this sin in their midst and it was harming their reputation and they were not glorifying God in allowing the stain of tolerating sin in their midst.
Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all [every] appearance of evil.”
In 1 Corinthians an 5:13. Paul says in no uncertain terms “….put away from among yourselves that wicked person!” Not only was this person and his sin staining their reputation but they were in danger of being influenced to do evil themselves, because it is by walking with wise people that we become wise, but if we associate with those who claim to be believers but are openly sinning in an “in-your-face” type of way, we will only suffer harm and slowly we will begin to think and act like they do (Proverbs 13:20). It is a natural consequence and that is why God is so adamant about His holy people staying away from willfully wicked, sinning people, and casting them out of our assemblies.
Haggai 2:11 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 2:12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 2:13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 2:14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. Brethren, we live in such a generation.
By putting this man out of their congregation; they had cleared their name and had restored their reputation in the sight of men and of God.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
If we genuine repentant, God will clean away the dirt and stain of sin from us; and make us spiritually clean.
Indignation: The Greek word is aganaktésis (Strong’s #24) and it means: feeling of anger, indignation, vexation, to be greatly afflicted, be much (sore) displeased. Have (be moved with) indignation or anger.
An English definition: anger excited by that which is unworthy, base, or disgraceful; righteous wrath.
An example is when Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple
John 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
After Paul had pointed out to the Corinthians their sin, they became filled with indignation, an emotion directed by righteous anger toward things that are not right. They were angry over what they had allowed and then drove the sin from their midst because of their righteous indignation.
Deuteronomy 29:28 And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.
Nahum 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
Sin often does and should evoke a kind of strong emotion of righteous anger, and if directed at sin as God does with His indignation, this righteous anger at sin can be a tremendous tool in rooting out sin when we find sin within ourselves.
Fear: The Greek word is phobon (Strong’s #5401) and means panic, flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror.
English definition: to fear is to have painful emotion marked by alarm; dread, disquiet. A state or habit of fearing, anxious concern, solicitude, awe; profound reverence especially for God.
If we truly do fear God in a healthy way, then we will fear to sin against Him and we will quickly and diligently repent of sin when we become aware of it. As David says in this psalm; he thought on his ways and made haste to turn himself to keep God’s commandments.
Psalm 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. 60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
Psalm 119:38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. 39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.
To have this kind of fear to disobey God and to repent quickly when we discover any sin in ourselves will help prevent us from sinning and is for our good.
Exodus 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
Deuteronomy 6:24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.
Deuteronomy 8:6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
Vehement Desire: The Greek word is epipothéō (Strong’s #1971, and from potheō #1909) and means to yearn for properly, to long for, especially as it is fitting (apt) i.e. builds on (Gk epi, “upon”) the objective, “yearn affectionately,” having a great affection for, to have a yearning love for, i.e. to long for, strain after, desire greatly, indicates a strong and persistent craving, not necessarily sin, but often it can be sin. In this case it is a good fruit: A strong intense persistent craving for the things of, and the keeping of, the righteousness of the whole word of God.
We know from experience that if a person doesn’t really want to change, he won’t. But if he comes to the point of really wanting to change something in his life, he will take the necessary steps to make that change come about.
It is like someone who tries to quit a bad habit; for instance smoking. If family members, who care about the person, nag at him to quit, usually that person will make a halfhearted effort to quit.
To really succeed at quitting, the person has to come to the place where he from his heart has a vehement desire to quit.
One who is is truly repentant will have a deep burning desire to change, and then will apply himself to change, he will sacrifice and do whatever it takes; and this is why vehement desire is one of the fruits of repentance.
The Corinthians fulfilled their desire to be righteous in God’s eyes, by changing their attitude and behavior toward the sin of tolerating this man’s sin in their midst. If we vehemently desire to be righteous we will repent whenever we see sin in opurselves.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Zeal: the Greek word is zeo or zelos (Strong’s #2204, 2205) and it means to be hot, boiling, of liquids: or glow, of solids i.e. be fervent (intense, earnest) fervency, jealousy, zeal.
The English definition:
1. Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal, and tireless diligence in its furtherance.
2. Fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration, prompt wiliness, 3. enthusiasm, passion, zest, fire, spirit, warmth, devotion, ardor, fervor, eagerness, gusto, militancy, fanaticism, ardor, earnestness,keenness, fervency.
3 A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause)
4 Great fervor to do something or accomplish some end
5 Feeling of great warmth and intensity
6 Prompt willingness
7 Cheerful compliance
Zeal signifies ardor, fervent enthusiasm, whole-hardheartedness, and a passion for accomplishing a task or giving of our lives and of our time to a worthwhile cause.
The kind of zeal Paul speaks about in this verse is a zeal for God; for studying and learning God’s Word, and applying it to our lives.
Zeal is passionate action for a purpose
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Revelation speaks of the lack of zeal in today’s Ekklesia in the message to the Laodicea Church.
Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Before the Corinthians repented, they lacked real zeal for God and His commandments, His righteousness and purity, as evidenced by tolerating a man who was far from pure at that time.
Those people in Corinth had been deceived into thinking that tolerating wickedness among them, was somehow a demonstration of godly love; when it was the opposite.
Godly love condemns sin, and corrects and convicts the sinner of his sin, so that he genuinely sorrows over sin and repents to do that sin no more.
Revenge: The Greek word is ekdikeo (Strong’s #1556) and means to vindicate, retaliate, punish. Sometimes it is translated “vindication”.
This is a rather difficult 1611 usage, but here Paul is using this word in the sense of correcting those who are sinning and are in need of being rebuked, and in need of being told about their sins; and when they refuse to repent, inflicting the kind of correction that God lays out in His Word. Like distancing ourselves from the sinner and his sin, or as a group disfellowshiping him, or if the group as an organization is sinning, to remove ourselves from the group.
This is done in the sense of “maintaining godly righteousness,” or “setting things right,” when applied in a godly sense, and is not about hatred against anyone but done to bring the willful sinner to repentance, which is what the Corinthians did.
As a result of their conviction and repentance, they set things right regarding the man who was sinning. They put the person out of their fellowship and thus corrected him which then resulted in his sincere repentance. They in essence, were used as God’s instruments of His righteous revenge [correction] by correcting their brother through putting him out of the Ekklesia so that he would be influenced to sincerely repent.
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
As a result of this type of revenge [correction], the man repented and was later welcomed back into their fellowship.
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
If we study the Word of God and correct ourselves, then God doesn’t need to judge us and chasten us in respect to that sin.
1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged [by God] . 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Sincere repentance opens the way for us to truly become more and more like God our Father and His Son, shaped in their image, our minds trained to think like they think and to live as they live and to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
In saying that they were the children of Abraham; the Pharisees and Sadducee’s thought of themselves as being already righteous; they could really see no need to repent because they thought of themselves as being all right, just as the spiritual Ekklesia does today (Rev 3:14-22).
John said that they needed to prove the sincerity of their repentance with a genuine change in their conduct.
2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
How Deep is Your Love
God the Father showed the depth of his love for us when he sent the Creator to be divested of his God-hood and be made flesh that he might die for his creation, so that we could become sons of the Father.
Jesus Christ demonstrated his love for us, when he gave his life for us, when we were yet sinners and his enemies.
Jesus said in: John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John tells us 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
The scriptures clearly tell us that to love God is to keep his Word!
We also know that the sin is the breaking of the word of God; 1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
And that breaking God’s Word separates us from God.
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Now if we really deeply love another and we find a problem in our relatuonship which separates us from our beloved; what do we do?
In our physical relationships, if we have a spat with a passionately loved spouse, we usually are separated by daily activities. We burn and boil in passion for our own way, and slowly the heat cools and we begin to see things in a much different light as we realize that we have offended the one that we love above all else.
Then we begin to be filled with fear that our relationship has been damaged and within hours most would be rushing to our beloved to try and resolve and repair the breach.
What about our spiritual relationships?
As we learn, what do we do when we realize that we have sinned and separated ourselves from our beloved espoused spiritual Husband and our Father in heaven?
Are we full of passionate love for God and his Word; to seek to please him with our whole hearts? or are we more concerned about getting our own way?
The depth of our conversion can be judged by how quickly we sorrow over our sin and repent, by how quickly we RUN to reconcile with our Beloved Father and our Husband!
The zeal of the church of God groups today is a zeal of words; without the actions, the fruits and the deeds of true sorrow over our own ways and sins, and true repentance unto godliness. Like the Pharisees in John’s day, we do NOT love God in deeds, but only in words; preferring our own ways over any real love for keeping the whole word of God.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Laodicea means: “The people will be judged and corrected:” Mainly for saying “I love God”, while having no zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God; openly rejecting the truth and the warnings God has provided to them.
Let us each continually study, reflect upon and internalize the whole word of God; seeking passionately to please and to become like our God always. Let us be doers and not merely hearers of the word of God! And when we find greater understanding, let us test it against the word of God, and if found consistent with the whole word of God, let us passionately embrace it and make the needed changes in our lives; for by doing so, we reveal to God the depth of our love for the Father and the Son, and for all their ways!
14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.
14:5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
14:6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.
14:7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psalm 14 Commentary
Psalm 14 is a wisdom psalm and is attributed to David as the author; it has three main themes:
1. A description of the pervasiveness of evil,
2. A declaration that final judgment is coming,
3. An enthusiastic affirming prayer that God is going to bring His kingdom to earth and that it will reign supreme; salvation will come out of Zion and will spread to all mankind then living and then Jacob (Israel) will truly and whole-hardheartedly rejoice for what God has done.
Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
The psalmist speaks of the foolishness of men who think that there is no God. They live their lives oblivious to the fact that God is real, that it is He who created the whole universe and sustains it by His power, that He has laws; physical and spiritual that when defied, break us and cause all kinds of havoc in our lives, and collectively bring destruction and misery to the whole order of the world in which we live.
When God speaks of the fool, he is not talking about a mentally inept and clumsy person, but about those who refuse to acknowledge Him and His greatness.
Psalm 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
In contrast to men thinking that God is far off, He looks down and can see everything and He knows everything; this verse describes the omniscience of God!
Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10)
God sees that the whole world lies in wickedness and that all the people on earth are to some degree or another in rebellion against Him and His moral laws. Their sins are keeping them separated from Him; every person stands guilty of breaking His Word. Jesus told the young rich man that there is no man that should be called good but only God. (Luke 18:18-19)
Psalm 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.
God can also see the oppression and people constantly trying to take advantage of each other, and He sees those who persecute His faithful and it grieves Him. The oppressors have no knowledge of God’s truth and of what it means to live a godly life; of caring for each other and treating others with love and respect; instead they try to do harm to those who are trying to be faithful to Him.
Psalm 14:5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.
God has called out a small number of people from their bondage to sin at this time, to seek Him and His ways. They are the ones that have sorrowed and who weep over sin, who have sorrowed unto repentance and have received forgiveness for their sins by the application of the sacrifice of the Messiah, the Son of God.
God says that He is with the His people and lives among those who are faithfully living by every Word of God.
Psalm 14:6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge.
God opposes those who oppose His children and He brings their counsel to nothing; if not right away then in the resurrection to life eternal. God protects and provides a refuge for those who are faithful and he shelters them from the evil that pervades the society around them; if we seek to live by every Word of God.
Psalm 14:7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
David concludes his psalm with an impassioned prayer, that Jesus Christ would return and would take the reigns of ruler ship from all the foolish people of the world.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of this future reality in Isaiah 29.
Isaiah 29:22 Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. 29:23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. 29:24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
This is God’s promise, that all who have lacked understanding will eventually have an opportunity to understand and to live in the light of every Word of God.
The key word is “repent,” for repentance changes how we think and live. The future is very bright for all those who will repent and believe God, for then all people will be living in God’s righteous ways and they will live at peace with God and with each other.
Along with King David, we too pray; “thy Kingdom come” and so look forward to that day!
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.
Constance left any association with TheShiningLight in late 2017 and is no longer of like mind.
At the end of 2016, beginning of 2017, Constance retired from writing for TheShiningLight, and in 2017 she drifted in another direction and disassociated herself from TheShiningLight by the end of 2017.
Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 2:13 And rend your heart [sincerely repent], and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil [corrective affliction from God for our sins].
The word “evil” is better translated as affliction since it refers to the correction of God; which is not evil in the sense of being wicked, but is correction for our own good.