Thursday, October 15, 2020

Jesus Christ: Our Antibiotic

Jesus Christ: Our Antibiotic

 

The word antibiotic comes from the Greek anti, meaning "in place of" or 'against' and bios meaning 'life.'  Antibiotics are also known as antibacterial. They are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria cause such illnesses as tuberculosis, salmonella, syphilis, and some forms of meningitis. Before bacteria can multiply and cause symptoms, our immune system can usually destroy them. We have special white blood cells that attack harmful bacteria. Even if symptoms do occur, our immune system can usually cope and fight off the infection. However, there are occasions when it is all too much, and our bodies need some help - from antibiotics. 


The first antibiotic was penicillin.  Since penicillin, scientists have developed other antibiotics.  Today, there are several different types of modern antibiotics to treat various infections, and they are only available with a doctor's prescription in industrialized countries.

 

Although there are many different types of antibiotics, they all work in one of two ways: A bactericidal antibiotic kills the bacteria. Penicillin is bactericidal. A bactericidal interferes with the growth of the bacteria; a bacteriostatic stops bacterium from multiplying.

 

So, antibiotics target not only microorganisms such as bacteria but also fungi and parasites. However, they are not effective against viruses.  With the overuse or misuse of antibiotics, there is a chance of the bacteria becoming resistant - the antibiotic becomes less effective against that bacterium type. 

 

Usually, the patient takes the Antibiotics by mouth (orally); Injection or applied directly to the affected part of the body are alternative methods. Most antibiotics start having an effect on an infection within a few hours. It is important to remember to complete the whole course of the medication to prevent the disease from coming back. If you do not, there is a higher chance the bacteria may become resistant to future treatments.

 

If Sin were a bacterial infection, then Jesus would be an antibiotic of sorts (Jesus is not against life).  Why antibiotic and not a vaccine?  First, vaccines are preventive, antibiotic remedial.  We are already sick with Sin (Romans 3:10 – 12; 5:12). We need a remedy.  Second, vaccines are typically a dead or weakened specimen of the same creature, making you sick.  We inject vaccines to make us immune to the disease, which is a different way of saying they are to boost our immune system to fight the disease, should we be infected.  Again, we are already infected, and God intends to kill the Sin in us.  God does not inject weak Sin in us to make us stronger. 

 

Jesus is both bactericidal and bacteriostatic.  He stops Sin from reproducing and also kills it.  When Jesus dwells in us, He changes the way we think.  He transforms us by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2).  He writes the Law in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33), thus getting rid of Sin's self-centeredness.  This is what He wanted to do with the Israelites.  But they refused (Exodus 19 and 20).  So, God gave them the Law, not as a way to heal them, but to diagnose their illness (Exodus 20; Galatians 3:19).  The Law was akin to a list of symptoms.  When any of these symptoms are present, you need Jesus your antibiotic to kill the bacteria of Sin or making sure it does not keep reproducing.  It is then that either the symptoms will go away or will not bother you.  But the Israelites thought that getting rid of the symptoms meant they were Ok.  However, the bacteria were still alive in them, creating havoc inside. 

 

The antibiotic is free to us (given by grace); we take it by faith.  We must take it for as long as we live in this world of Sin. Because as long as we are here, Sin always finds a way to resurface unless we take Christ.  The date when Christ returns (Galatians 3:23, 25; 1 Corinthians 15:52 - 54), the Holy Spirit will complete the treatment.  Until then, we will need that diagnosis list – The Law – so it will let us know when we have a symptom (Galatians 3:23 -25).

 

Jesus is better than an antibiotic.  There is something cool about this Jesus antibiotic that the literal antibiotic does not have. Jesus, as an antibiotic, not only kills the bacteria of Sin but also gives life to the Host of the bacteria.  We read in 1 John 5:11-13

 

 1 John 5: 11 And this is the record: that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

1 John 5: 12 He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life.

1 John 5: 13 These things I have written unto you that believe in the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God.

 

Since eternal life is in Jesus, when He dwells in us, we have eternal life.  So, Jesus not only eradicates Sin, but He also gives us life.  Praise the Lord!

 RR
Raul Diaz

Friday, October 02, 2020

The Fear of the Lord

This commentary was previously published. 

 

"The Call of Wisdom"

 

The lesson's title (a previous one) refers to verses 20 through 24 of Proverbs 1.  Let us read it,

 

Prov 1:20 Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:

Prov 1:21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,

Prov 1:22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Prov 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

Prov 1:24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

 

Notice that wisdom in this passage is personified.  Who could wisdom be?  Verse 23 gives us a clue: "I will pour out my spirit unto you…" This sounds like what the Lord tells Joel in chapter 2.  Let us read it,

 

Joel 2:28-29King James Version (KJV)

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

 

Peter says that this verse was fulfilled at Pentecost.  We expect this prophecy to be fulfilled again in a greater measure in the last days.  Those who receive the "latter rain" will be rebuked, heed the rebuke, and love the rebuker - unlike the foolish, who refuse the rebuke and hate the rebuker (Proverbs 13: 1, 15: 12).  God will pour His Spirit upon them.  It is a clear reference to Laodicea, who the Lord rebukes about their condition, and some respond, and let Christ in them (Revelation 3: 15 - 22).  Can wisdom be a person?  Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1: 30).  It is Christ who cries out, "come unto me all ye who tore burdened and heavy laden, … I will give you rest" (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).  So, if Christ wants us close to Him, the fear of the Lord cannot be us being so afraid of Him that, like Adam, we run away from Him (Genesis 3: 9).  Or even like the people at Sinai, who refuse to come close to God.  The following quote is a note from the translators of the NET version of the Bible.  I think it is enlightening.  Let us read it,

 

"1 in Heb "fear of the Lord." The expression יְהוָה יִרְאַת (yir' at yÿhvah, "fear of Yahweh") is a genitive-female construct in which יְהוָה ("the Lord") functions as an objective genitive: He is the object of fear. The term יָרַא (yara') is the common word for fear in the OT and has a basic three-fold range of meanings: (1) "dread; terror" (Deut 1:29; Jonah 1:10), (2) "to stand in awe" (1 Kgs 3:28), (3) "to revere; to respect" (Lev 19:3). With the Lord as the object, it captures the polar opposites of shrinking back in fear and drawing close in awe and adoration. Both categories of meaning appear in Exod 20:20 (where the Lord descended upon Sinai amidst geophysical convulsions); Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God arbitrarily striking them dead for no reason ("Do not fear!") but informed the people that the Lord revealed himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning ("God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him in you so that you do not sin"). The fear of the Lord is expressed in reverential submission to his will – the characteristic of true worship. The fear of the Lord is the foundation for wisdom (9:10) and the discipline leading to wisdom (15:33). It is expressed in hatred of evil (8:13) and avoidance of sin (16:6), and so results in prolonged life (10:27; 19:23)."

 

There are two kinds of fear: one that makes you run to God, and the other that makes you run away from God.  He engages us and we respond with fear: run to Him or away from Him.  Christ wants us to run to Him.  One of my favorite authors had this to say about the fear of the Lord,

 

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Prov. viii. 13. It is not to be afraid of Him and shun His presence, but to hate and shun that which is unlike Him. The love of God is that we keep His commandments. And as hating evil is identical with keeping His commandments, so the fear and the love of God are similar. God wants all men to love Him, and "there is no fear in love." E.J.W., The Present Truth [British] April 4, 1895.

 

If Christ stands at the door knocking, will you let Him in if you are afraid of Him?  If you believe that He is loving, merciful, compassionate, etc., will you not let Him in?  It reminds of me of the beautiful words of the hymn,

 

The Savior is waiting to enter your heart,

Why don't you let Him come in?

There's nothing in this world to keep you apart,

What is your answer to Him?

 

Time after time He has waited before,

And now He is waiting again

To see if you're willing to open the door:

O how He wants to come in.

 

O, will you not let Him come in?

 RR
Raul Diaz