If Jesus never sinned, how do you explain turning over the money-changers tables in the temple?

If Jesus never sinned, how do you explain turning over the money-changers tables in the temple?

We read about Jesus clearing from the Temple the money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals in all four of the Gospels.

John records the first instance shortly after he is baptized at the outset of his ministry.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
John 2:13-16.

The second incident was when Jesus entered Jerusalem prior to his arrest, trial and crucifixion. It was recorded by Mark and Luke as well as Matthew.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Matthew 21:12,13

In both instances, Jesus did not display anger because he couldn’t get his way, but because the priests and merchants had turned the most sacred place of worship into a religious bazaar. The motivation for Jesus’s anger was pure, not out of pride or selfish ambition that is the typical root of anger.

Jesus may have felt that the transactions were usurious—that the merchants were getting rich exchanging common money for temple coinage required for the temple tax—but the text doesn’t say that. What we read was Jesus’ objection to the commercialization of God’s house.

Anger is one of many emotions that God built into the heart and mind of every human. Throughout the Bible we read about God’s anger. Clearly, then, anger is not sin. However, what we’re angry about most certainly can be sin, and when we don’t check the emotion of anger we often behave in a sinful manner.

If anger is something you deal with, talk to God about getting it under control. One way to do that is getting into a right-relationship with God and then petitioning him for help. If you are not sure where you stand with God, we encourage you to check out our blog post: How does one become a Christian?

Why doesn’t God fix racism?

Why doesn’t God fix racism?

We’re first going to have to define racism. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary lists as its first definition:

“a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”

Some say that racism is more than a belief but is a practice of implementing laws and policies or establishing societal norms that discriminate against individuals or groups because of their race, ethnicity or skin color. In America, people are often categorized as those who benefit from or those who are victims of racism. This divisiveness exacerbates relationships, tears at the fabric of our society and often prevents seeing others as individuals made in the image of God.

The answer to your question is found in the Bible. Men and women have repeatedly turned their backs on a loving God who wants, more than anything, to be in relationship with him. Because we are in a constant state of rebellion against God, we no longer pay attention to our moral compasses. We no longer listen to God’s spirit within us that wants to show us how to live in right relationship with God and with our fellow man. As a result, all of us imagine that we know what’s best for ourselves…and we want others to affirm that belief.

So, we seek out like-minded individuals. In doing so, we feel obligated to find fault in others who do not think or act as we do. We seek to minimize the accomplishments of others and think of them as somewhat of lesser value. That, in turn, allows us to imagine that we are somehow superior to others—a foundation of racism. Those attitudes lead to wars, conquest, and the infliction of pain and suffering on others.

Racism, then, is the extension of man’s individual rejection of God and his creation. The fix that God has provided is the transformation of an individual’s heart and mind. It begins with confession of one’s own sins, and a cry to God for forgiveness. Recognizing that we have turned our backs on the God who created the universe and knows everything about us is very sobering. It comes with a realization that the penalty for our sinfulness is greater than we’re willing to bear. That’s why God allowed his son, Jesus, to come to earth and to die on a Roman cross, substituting his death for the death we deserved.

When we accept what he has done for us and let him refocus our lives to be more like him, we will begin to see others as he sees them—not looking on their outward appearance, but on their hearts. That’s God’s fix for racism. That’s why true followers of Christ cannot be racists, and should actively seek to drive racism from society.

Throughout history, Christ-followers have worked to end divisions between peoples. In America, it was predominantly Christians who worked tirelessly to end the scourge of slavery. For example, the nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams was a deeply religious Christian who did something no president, before or since, has done. After leaving the White House he fiercely fought against slavery for last 17 years of his life as a Congressman.

Would you like to know how to embrace a faith that leads to an end to racism as the hearts of men and women are aligned with those of Jesus?  We encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian? 

How can a person be seen as righteous before God?

How can a person be seen as righteous before God?

The dictionary defines righteous as “morally right or justifiable.” The question could be phrased what do I need to do to be seen by God as justified to be in his presence. Since God cannot tolerate sin, the question can further be asked, what can I do so that God sees me as someone who is sin-free? The answer is simple. You can’t–at least not in your own power.

The Bible makes it clear that human beings are not able to obtain through their own efforts the perfection required to stand before God. Paul, an apostle of Christ, in writing to the Church in Rome almost 2000 years ago, quoted from ancient scripture:

As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12

 The only way anyone can be righteous or right-standing before God is by trusting in Jesus and the sacrifice he made for us on the cross.  When our sins are covered by this atoning sacrifice, the shed blood of Jesus, we are forgiven and are then accepted as righteous before God. Think of it this way, Jesus’ righteousness–His perfection– is applied to us and God then sees Jesus in us and not our sin. How can this happen? John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples spelled it out in one of his letters.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

 If you would like to learn more about this process of being seen by God as righteous, then we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

 

 

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Is same-sex marriage a sin?  Why?

Is same-sex marriage a sin? Why?

Yes, same-sex marriage is a sin. 

 It goes against God’s created purpose for us as male and female and disobedience to God’s precepts and laws is sin. 

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. 

Genesis 1:27

The practice of homosexual relationships in any way, including marriage, is an abomination to God. In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul explained it this way:

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:24-32

God created man and woman to enter into marriage so that they could be “fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth with future generations, i.e. children.  This is obviously impossible in a same-sex marriage. God in his infinite wisdom knows that children ideally need both a mother and a father to be properly and lovingly raised in a family. The family is also God’s basic building block for a joyful, safe, moral and just society.

 

 

How can God know our thoughts?  Are bad thoughts sin?

How can God know our thoughts? Are bad thoughts sin?

God is Omniscient which means he knows everything including your thoughts. The Psalmist David clearly tells us that God knows our thoughts and He can purify our thoughts if we allow Him.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23,24

Bad thoughts are difficult to control and can truly lead to sin if we ponder on them and allow them room to grow in our mind and actions. God has given every person a conscience from birth. It is the mind’s and soul’s warning system which enables a person to know what is right and wrong and discern between good and evil. So when a “bad” though enters your mind, dismiss it at once and it is not then a sin.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Why is pornography such a bad thing?

Why is pornography such a bad thing?

 The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Certainly, by any reasonable measure, pornography is not any of these things! Looking at pornographic material can lead to sins of the flesh, lust for desires and despicable abhorrent behavior. The Bible repeatedly warns us against such activity. First Corinthians 6:18-19 urges us to flee from sexual immorality and tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies and our minds are to be kept clean for a dwelling place of God’s Spirit.

It is a fact that pornography messes up one’s mind and becomes an addiction so powerful that can impact the lives of everyone around you. It ultimately prevents you from having normal intimate relationships as God designed in a marriage. Pornography is a temptation of Satan whose objective is to destroy you and your Christian faith. The good news is that God always provides a way out to flee from any temptation.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

 So, if you are struggling with pornography, ask God to free you from your addiction to these impure images in the name of Jesus. Christ death on the cross and his resurrection provides forgiveness from sin, freedom from addiction and the promise of eternal life!  Seek Jesus and live!