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Entries for 'orthodoxbiblestudy'

09
Grace in the Presence of the Lord God
Genesis is the book of beginnings.  In Chapter 6 is the first mention of the word "Grace" in the following verse: "But Noah found grace in the presence of the Lord God." (Genesis 6:8) This leads us to a series of more questions.  For example, What is grace?  What does it do for us?  How do we obtain it?  Once obtained, can we lose it?  etc...  To attempt to answer these questions we did a Topical Bible Study on "Grace" to attempt to gain more understanding and insight.  In doing so, we believe all the above questions are answered and more.  Having said that, we do not believe that this is an exhaustive study about grace.  This study does not include many sayings of the fathers about Grace, and it does not include any personal experiences about the topic either.  These will be left as an exercise to the readers to research and experience the Grace of God. First we start with 'What is Grace?'  Grace is a divine gift from God that is freely given.  "...much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many." (Romans 15:5) So it's a free gift, but why would we want the Grace of God? In other words, what does His Grace do for us?  From Our topical study, we find the following: The Grace of God cleanses us: "Moreover the law entered that the offense ...

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13
Waiting on God's Promises
In the first article we talked about God's Toil With His Creation and how virtues take time to blossom.  We would also like to note that sometimes God calls someone for a certain task or gives another a certain promise, only to be followed by a long period of waiting. For example, God promised Abraham that his seed shall be as many as "the dust of the earth" (Genesis 13:16) and as the "stars of the sky" (Genesis 15:5).  However it wasn't until years later when Isaac was born to Abraham from Sarah.  Abraham has waited so long that Sarah laughed at the idea that she can still have children since Abraham and Sarah were now "old and well advanced in years" (Genesis 18:11). Another example we see is Joseph.  He waited many years for his dreams to be fulfilled.  However, it wasn't until after he was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a well, imprisoned in Egypt, remained faithful to God and rose to glory again. Moses waited many years as well before God would use him to deliver his people from the hands of Pharaoh.  It wasn't until he fled to the desert and lived many years there that God appeared to him in the burning bush and told him how he was to deliver his people. Even when he delivered Israel from Egypt, Israel waited 40 years wandering in the desert before they entered into the promised land.  It wasn't until they saw G...

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30
The Righteousness of Noah
It is often said that it is impossible to live according to God's commandments in this Generation.  It is also said that God's laws may apply to the earlier days, but now however it would be impractical what with all the sin that is all around us.  Sometimes sin presents itself and is almost forced upon us.  People in the old days must not have had it this hard...  Or have they? In Genesis chapter 6 we read about Noah.  The Holy Scripture attests to him by saying that "Noah was a righteous man, who was perfect in his generation and well-pleasing to God." (Genesis 6:9).  So far nothing special since there were many good people a long time ago.  However, Noah did not live in any ordinary times.  Just a couple of verses later, the Bible tells us why Noah was special by describing the circumstances as follows: "Now the earth was corrupt before God and filled with unrighteousness.  Thus the Lord God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh corrupted their way on the earth." (Genesis 6:11,12) Noah wasn't just righteous.  He was "perfect".  Not only that, he was perfect while everybody else were extremely wicked.  The environment that surrounded Noah was much worse than anything we're seeing today. We can only imagine what Noah must have gone through.  How much pressure to do evil Noah must hav...

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26
The Love of God, the Father
There's a very interesting expression that was used in Genesis 6:6: "So God was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and He thought this over." (Genesis 6:6) What does it mean for God to think this over?  This expression implies that God had made a mistake for Him to reconsider.  It implies that God erred and He needs to correct it.  It also implies that God is not all-knowing.  Moreover it strips God from His perfection in His plan and diminishes His wisdom.  This verse renders God prone to error which in turn would destroy our trust in Him.  What then?  Was it just poor choice of word from the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit knowingly and intentionally chose these words and there's a reason behind them.  God uses human expressions to relate to us what's in His heart.  A father explaining a complex situation to his 2 year old son or daughter would have to revert to terms familiar to his 2 year old, otherwise the message would be misunderstood or completely lost.  So too our heavenly Father trying to relate to us this situation He uses human terms.  The father of the 2 year old could chose to use adult terms in the explanation leaving his child completely lost, but that wouldn't be a loving thing to do.  Here however out of His Love, God used terms we can relate to in order to express the situation.&nbs...

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17
Noah, and the Extent of Man's Wickedness
In Genesis 6, in the story of Noah, we read "Then God said, 'I will blot out man whom I created from the face of the earth, from man to cattle, and from the creeping things to the birds of heaven, for I am grieved I made them." (Genesis 6:7) But why would God destroy the creation which His hands have made?  Shouldn't God give them another chance to repent and live?  Where's God's mercy?  This seems too harsh at the first glance.  However, after careful examination, we discover the extent of man's wickedness and understand the amount of grief man caused God. Earlier in the chapter the Holy Scripture offers the explanation in the following verse "Then the Lord God saw man's wickedness, that it was great in the earth, and every intent of the thoughts within his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)  Man's wickedness was great.  It wasn't simple offenses.  But even great offenses could be forgiven if man were to repent.  The scripture however adds that evil was in "every intent of man".  Not just some or most, but man reached a state where every intent of his heart was displeasing to God.  Not only that, but each intent was also "only evil".  It wasn't partially good and partially evil.  It wasn't good towards some and evil towards others.  It wasn't good in certain situations and evil in ot...

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14
His Will and Free Will
In Genesis Chapter 5 we read the following: "This is the book of the genesis of mankind in the day God made Adam, whom He made in God's image.  He made them male and female, and blessed them; and the day He made them He called his name Adam.  Now Adam lived two hundred and thirty years, and begot a son according to his form and image, and named him Seth.  After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were seven hundred years; and he begot sons and daughters.  So all the days Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died." (Genesis 5:1-5) In verse 5 we read that Adam died.  However, it was not the will of God for His creation to experience death.  But if it's not the will of God, then how did it come to pass?  Can anything happen against God's will?  Isn't God the Almighty? God created mankind, and blessed them.  This is God's will.  God also gave Adam the free will to choose.  This is also God's will to grant man the free will.  However, it was through the will of man and due to the envy of the devil that death has entered into the world.  God's will was to create man and bless them.  His will was that man would live in Harmony with Him and with His creation.  God's will was for man to live forever in perfect union and communion with God.  Man, however, abused the gift of free will...

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08
Out of the Presence of the Lord
Genesis 4 talks about how Cain kills his brother Abel.  Verse 16 describes Cain's condition after his sin by saying: "Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod opposite Eden." (Genesis 4:16) Cain could have and should have repented to God, like King David when he sinned, and say "Do not cast me away from Your presence..." (Psalm 50:13)  However, not only did Cain not repent, he also chose to live away from the presence of God.  Notice that it was Cain's choice to live in this state.  The bible says that "Cain went out from the presence of the Lord..." not that the Lord cast him out of his presence.  Never!  "'Do I ever will the death of a lawless man,' says the Lord, 'since My will is for him to turn from the evil way and live?'" (Ezekiel 18:23)  The Holy Scripture also says "Who desires all men to be saved..." (I Timothy 2:4) But what does it mean to live "out from the presence of the Lord"?  Living out from the presence of the Lord means living without the following: Love: for "God is love" (I John 4:16) and "love is of God" (I John 4:7) Protection: "But You, O Lord, are a shield for me" (Psalm 3:3)  Also, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." (Exodus 14:14) And "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell i...

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06
How to Gain God's Respect
In Genesis 4 verses 4 and 5 we read the following: "...The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices." The question is: How did Abel gain God's respect? What did he do differently than Cain? "Now Abel was a shepherd of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now in the process of time Cain brought a sacrifice to the Lord from the fruits of the ground. Abel also brought a sacrifice from the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices..." (Genesis 4:3-5) Abel had faith and through his faith he understood the proper sacrifice. In Hebrews we read "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain..." (Hebrews 11:4) Abel by faith learned that a blood sacrifice had to be offered. Perhaps he observed the garments of skin that the Lord God made for Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:21. The skin garments had to have come from a blood sacrifice. Perhaps also he learned from his parents that they tried first to sew fig leaves together and that wasn't sufficient (Genesis 3:7). Abel's faith was one of the factors that caused him to gain God's respect. In Hebrews we also read that "...without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Hebrews 11:6). Abel had a discerning heart through faith to offer a more excellent sacrifice. Another factor that ca...

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30
God's Mercy Seen in His Punishment
In Genesis Chapter 3 we read about man's fall.  Adam's sin caused mankind to be exiled from the paradise of joy.  Even during the punishment however we see God's mercy and His compassionate hand start to heal us. We see that God punishes Adam by exiling him from the paradise of joy.  This punishment however is out of God's mercy and love for us "lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." (Gen 3:22)  God did not want man to live forever in sin, away from Him. Even the punishment of death we see His mercy.  St. Gregory the Theologian says "Yet here too He provides a benefit--namely death, which cuts off sin, so that evil may not be everlasting. Thus His punishment is changed into mercy." So too are our personal experiences with God.  Whenever God punishes us, He does it with mercy and utmost love.  He might bring temporary pain so that we may turn to Him for help.  And when He delivers us, the harsh experience becomes a solid foundation for faith which we can build a lasting relationship with Him.  In this case the pain is without a doubt for our benefit.  He prunes us that we may bear more fruit (John 15:2)  Job discovered this fact when he said "He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole." (Job 5:18)  In the RSV translation it reads "he smites, ...

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26
His yoke is sweet and His burden is light
Many times we feel that God's commandment is too hard or too unreasonable.  However this is usually because we don't understand the heart of the commandment or don't realize that God put His commandment in place because He loves us. This was the case with Eve.  She felt that God's commandment was unreasonable.  When the serpent asked her about God's commandment, her choice of words gave away what was in her heart.  She explained to the serpent that "God said, 'You shall not eat from it, nor shall you touch it...'" (Gen 3:3)  She was talking of course about the fruit of the tree of learning the knowledge of good and evil.  However God's commandment wasn't that she can't eat it or touch it.  God's commandment in Genesis 2:17 is "... from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat..."  God told Adam that he may not eat of it, however Eve added the part where she may not eat of it nor touch it.  This extra unreasonable request added by Eve shows what she thought of God's commandment.  She thought that it was unreasonable, or too harsh.  Perhaps she didn't understand why. This however happens with us too.  We sometimes read God's commandment and think that it's unreasonable, or too harsh. What we don't realize is that God put these commandments in place in order for us to live a ha...

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