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Monday, February 24, 2014

Great Peace Found in God's Word

Psalm 119:165 (ESV)
165  Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble. 

The object of war is victory. From victory comes peace. Surrender also bring peace. So, are the ones who love God's law on the side of victory or surrender? I think both.

One must surrender in his love of the law of God. Love demands more than a casual relationship. Love always demands sacrifice. Sacrifice demands submission. Jesus submitted Himself to be sacrificed on the cross. It was the greatest act of love. He even said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends.

The one who loves the law, therefore, submits himself to it. He cannot read it casually. He cannot decide whether or not it is right. Loving the law demands submission. It is a surrender to obey whatever it says whether or not the one who loves it wishes it said something else.

Great peace comes when one is at peace with God. The world comes unraveled when there is no peace with God. There is nothing but chaos. Every other relationship loses its standard. What is wrong with adultery or robbery or hatred if there is no standard set by God? Even those who do not believe in God have a tacit  understanding of what is right and wrong. They desperately try to hide their guilty consciences. There can be no guilty conscience when one is at peace with God.

On the other hand there is victory in loving God's law. Stumbling can be understood as falling. Falling is giving into temptation. This temptation will either be given into in sin or run from in a challenge.

I was twenty-three years of age working on a college campus when one of the female students came and sat on my desk. I told her, "Just a second, I need to do something before we can talk." I proceeded to call home. I said, "Honey, I forgot to tell you that I loved you before I left the house." There actually wasn't an answer at my house. I just pretended to talk to my wife. However, the young lady got off of my desk and soon left my office. I thought of what Paul said of there being no temptation that isn't common to everyone but that God would give us a way out. I had victory of something that I desperately needed victory over.

For some reason people don't understand that you must flee temptation. That comes from the Bible. They haven't read it. They don't love it. Therefore, they try to resist temptation. Temptation is like water on a rock. Water will eventually win even though the rock seems to be much stronger. (Take a look at the Grand Canyon if you don't believe me.) Resistance is futile.

There is no victory in resistance anyway. Resistance keeps the battle going. Victory ends the battle. The only way to defeat temptation is to flee it. One must not hand around temptation.

The word of God describes righteousness and unrighteousness. Those who love it know what it says. Those who love it know that victory comes in righteousness. They do not stumble when temptation knocks. They do not falter when a crisis looks insurmountable. They know what the word says and they do not fall into the temptation of fear brought on by a lack of trust, spiritual weakness and a lack of faith. They have victory because they have peace.

Therefore, those who love God's law have great peace whether it is with Him or within themselves.


Anthony Chia said...

First, we need to agree we are NOT to give in, to temptations. Meaning, temptations are bad, NOT good; that is the connotation as used in Scripture. So, I balk at people using the word to conjure up other connotations; temptation should NEVER be casted as good; to be engage in, to flirt with. I have boycotted a certain brand of ice-cream for many years now, because in its advertisement, it suggested flirting with temptation (with voicing), and pictured a sexy woman along with the ice-cream.

When we say we give in NOT, to temptation, it means we stand up under temptation. Is it always to flee a temptation? I know one class of temptations, the Word said to flee; and it is found in 1 Cor 6:18a – Flee from sexual immorality. For this class, it is always we flee; you stay, it is really hard, you probably end up “dead meat”, so to speak. Don’t try to stick around and resist, chances are that you would NOT make it!

There is a verse in Scripture talking about Jesus, because He has been through life on earth, He is able to help us, and so, we need to note that there are times, in Scripture, the Lord was suggesting it is difficult (for us) for us to do (something), and He advised against it. It is NOT that it is absolutely impossible to do it, but the wisdom is NOT to do it. Examples included NOT to remove the tares from the field where wheat are planted, prematurely (parable); and to flee from sexual immorality. This is the verse: Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. – Heb 2:18

Next, we need to understand how sin comes about, so that we do NOT argue with words, per se. For example, is it “flee from sexual immorality” or “flee from sexual temptation”, or is it “resist temptations” or “resist sins”. There are scriptural verses on resisting sins and resisting the devil, too. More importantly, the over-arching approach is, “whatever the course of action, do it IN THE LORD”, and NOT by OUR OWN STRENGTH. So, when it is to flee, we flee IN THE LORD, when it is to resist, we resist IN THE LORD. If we do it, either flee or resist, IN OUR OWN STRENGTH, there is a good chance we can fail. And so, everyone needs to figure out what the two phrases mean, although I will NOT be dealing with that, here.

What I will do, is to give a sampling of verses on the subject, and give a comment or two, against them {in square brackets “[]”}; including the text of Heb 12:4 where it said to resist sins, & James 1:12 where it calls for enduring temptations (standing up under temptations). James 1:12-15 is the text telling us how a sin (generally) comes about (temptation comes, we entertain it, and we be led away {go astray}):

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: - 1 Pet 5:8 [Now, temptation is from the evil side. Temptation is NOT from God; we will see a text (James 1:12-15), further down. The devil will tempt, even the believers, NOT just the non-believers.]

Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matt 26:41 [Our flesh is weak; the verse says a prevention strategy is “watch and pray”. Many believers (I cannot exclude myself) are lazy fellows! In my country where the LBGT is minority, a recent petition, each, put up by both the LBGT and the “straights”, separately, on a stance taken by some government agency, manages, more or less, the same no. of signing (of support) - some 3,000 signatures (numbers probably different, now) on either side. Hello, minority – 3,000, majority, also 3,000! Believers are just NOT watching and praying enough, for themselves and for the wider context! I am NOT against the individuals who are homosexuals {love the sinner, hate the sin}, but I am against the promotion of homosexual lifestyle.]


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Cor 10:13 [This already mentioned and explained with eg. by Ps Prentis; and a good example, too!]

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. – Eph 6:11 [Go to Eph 6 to get what is in the full armor. The devil’s scheme includes tempting you, of course, and you are to be with the full armour, so that you can take your stand.]

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Ps 119:11 [Ps 119, I believed written by King David. We need to have the word of God in our heart, and that means we are to obey it, so that we may NOT sin against God. If we feed NOT on the Word, how is the Word to be in our heart?!]

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept your word. – Ps 119:67 [Ps 119, the author was afflicted {vv 71 & 84 – being pursued and persecuted}, and he admitted: before his affliction, he went astray (gave in to temptations and sinned); but afterwards, he (learned) went NOT against God’s word. Some {NOT all} of the troubles we have had or are having, were/are due to us NOT heeding or keeping God’s word. ]

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. – Heb 12:4 [We are to resist committing sin, and since temptation precedes sinning {see James 1:12-15 – below}, we are to either flee from it or stand up under it, but entertain it NOT]

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 [What the devil wants is to cause you and I to fall, and he will tempt you {he tempted even Jesus}, the “weapon” here is (a) submission to God, and that means obedience, and (b) we are to resist the devil. NB: You don’t need to demand understanding before you obey God {I am referring to God}. People say, “But I don’t understand” You don’t need to understand; you just obey. God is always right, so you and I are to just obey, no matter what!]

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that LOVE HIM.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:12-15, KJV) [King James Version overwhelmingly used G3986 (peirasmos) as temptations {Strong’s Lexicon}, although NIV and ESV used the word “trial” for it. The same Greek word was used in vv13 & 14, and so, it is appropriate to say that temptation was intended too, in v12. The Amplified Bible version has both trial and temptation in its translation – “12 Blessed (happy, to be envied) is the man who is patient under TRIAL and stands up under TEMPTATION, for when he has stood the test and been approved, he will receive [the victor’s] crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him.”]


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

I just want to underscore that at times, it is NOT necessary that we extricate ourselves immediately (for sexual temptations, you are to). All kinds of temptation are around us. For example, if you are a cashier and you handle lots of cash, temptation (to take some of the money as your own!) presents itself so very often. It does NOT necessarily mean you should flee from your job, but it does mean you are NOT TO ENTERTAIN the temptation.

The other theme I also want to underscore is the PEACE. If you want this peace, you get yourself to reach: obey God, no matter what, even without understanding. What if I will die?! Die, die-lo! Don’t you trust God or have faith in Him? You have to get there. Don’t you love God, that you can sacrifice for Him? You have to get there. And so, don’t you understand that loving God and obeying Him and His commands are bounded together (John 14:15 & 14:21)? You have to get there. When you have settled it, that “God and only God matters”, you will have this peace. Those who teach peace (losing peace) is NOT that important in our decision-makings, are themselves, still having much to “get there”. I have entitled Ps 62 by King David as “God and only God matters”; if you want to read my article on it, hop over to:

Anthony Chia, high.expressions