The Nature of God — part 2

Yesterday I started a blog post series entitled The Nature of God.  In it I shared about a Bible study I attend that is doing a curriculum by a well-known Bible study teacher on the book of Romans.  We are in Romans 9.  I don’t care for the curriculum because it doesn’t come from a grace-based, finished work of the Cross teaching.

Our most recent lesson was on the nature of God and I won’t go back into it today…. you can click the link above and read the blog from yesterday if you want.  One of the attributes or nature of God that was listed was “Just.”  I don’t disagree that God is just…. He absolutely is.  I didn’t care for the definition that was given to describe God’s justness. It said:

  • Just – God rewards righteousness and punishes sin proportionate to His love of the former and His hatred of the latter (Psalm 89:14; Numbers 14:18, 23:19; Romans 9:14)

Let’s look at the verses that are used to prove this Bible teacher’s lesson on the nature of God being “just.”

  • Psalm 89:14 (KJV) – Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

In the Hebrew it says that Justice and Judgement are the dwelling place of His throne. Covenant Loyalty and truth shall go before your face. 

The foundation of His throne is Justice and Righteousness but when He turns His face toward us….. what flows from that throne…. that beautiful throne of grace…. is mercy and truth.  Or as it actually says in the Hebrew, covenant loyalty (chesed) and truth.  Psalm 85 also talks of covenant loyalty (mercy) and truth together.  God’s covenant loyalty and truth, of course, are really met together only in Jesus Christ.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ

To be just, God had to punish sin (Ezekiel 18:4 and 20). But His mercy didn’t want to give us justice (James 2:13). This problem was solved in Jesus. God the Father laid our punishment on Jesus (Isaiah 53:6), and now through Jesus, we can receive God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:4-6). Oh happy day!!!  Mercy triumphed over judgement.  Therefore, mercy and truth have come together. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Thank You, Jesus!  This is a miracle that could only occur because Jesus took all of God’s wrath for our sins (Isaiah 53:6 and John 12:32) into His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).

Justice and judgment are seldom combined with mercy and truth. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), all of us deserve death (Romans 6:23), not mercy and truth. But because Jesus paid for all our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 2:24), mercy and truth are now offered to us in Jesus (Psalms 85:10).

Now what about Numbers 14:18

  • Numbers 14:18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

I have a couple of issues with this verse in regards to the New Covenant.  First of

First of all it says He by no means clears the guilty.  That was under the Old Covenant.  Under the New Covenant, our guilt has been canceled.  The Law produced guilt.  Jesus took the Law as a document and nailed it to His cross, in effect writing across the bill “Paid in Full.” The New Testament believer is no longer under the Law ( 1 Corinthians 9:21, 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 3:19).

  • Colossians 2:14 – Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
  • Romans 3:19-20 — Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

I also have an issue with this verse saying God will visit the iniquity of the father’s upon the children Ezekiel 18:3 and Jeremiah 31:30 both say that everyone shall die for his own iniquity.  This is speaking of the New Covenant….. Jeremiah 31:31-34 says Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34)And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. 

Under the New Covenant, the sins of the fathers are not passed down generation to generation.

As for Numbers 23:19 I’m not sure why this one is included to prove that God hates and punishes sin and rewards and loves righteousness.  This verse is talking about Balaam being powerless to overturn God’s blessings.

The last verse given is Romans 9:14.

  • Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

The verse before it says Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated.  Jacob was called to a higher position than his brother, Esau, before they were born, but that does not display any rejection of Esau on God’s part.

I’m not sure what this verse has to do with God punishing sin and rewarding righteousness.  If anything it disproves it.  He chose Jacob and Esau before they had done any good or evil, to illustrate that election was not based on performance but choice.

Of course I believe God is just.  Sin had to be dealt with.  The price for sin, all sin, has been paid!  God dealt with sin once and for all in Christ. He is now focused entirely on righteousness. Jesus did not just take our sin; He became the embodiment of it, so that we could become the embodiment of righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Some scriptures about God being just that should encourage you…..

  • He is merciful and remembers our sins no more
    • Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
      • the word for merciful is hileos which means appeasing divine wrath; It means propitious, describing God’s covenant-mercy which rescues the believer by His atonement (bringing divine satisfaction).
  • Jesus became the propitiation for the WHOLE WORLD’S sins in order to satisfy the debt the Law had placed us under
    • 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. 
      • propitiation is hilasmos in Greek meaning to appease wrath; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party.
  • Jesus offered Himself for our sins ONCE for ALL
    • Hebrews 7:26-27 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
  • Jesus came to take away the sins of the world
    • John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
  • We have been sanctified and perfected by Jesus’ sacrifice
    • Hebrews 10:11-14  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
  • Jesus took our sins so that we could have His righteousness
    • 1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
  • God reconciled the world to Himself — making us friends instead of enemies
    • 2 Cor 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

      • reconcile is katallaso in Greek meaning to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile
  • Jesus took our chastisement for our sin, giving us instead healing
    • Isaiah 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.
  • God in His kindness declared us righteous and freed us from the penalty of sin
    • Romans 3:23-24 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (24) Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 
  • Christ died for us… justifying us and saving us from the wrath that the Law brought
    • Romans 5:8-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (10) For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (11) And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
  • Grace abounded to us through the righteous obedience of Jesus
    • Romans 5:18-21 So then as through one transgression there resulted in condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted in justification of life to all men. (19) For as through the one man’s disobedience, the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (20) The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are so many more verses that we could list.  I encourage you to study it for yourself.  Instead of finding Old Covenant Scriptures to “prove” that God hates and punishes sin look for New Covenant Scriptures that will show you what Jesus did for you.

Romans 3:26 shows us the nature of God being Just…… This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.  

His righteousness and His justness are demonstrated in that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (v.23) and yet God with undeserved kindness declared us righteous through Christ when He freed us from the penalty of sin (v. 24) because Jesus became the sacrifice for sin, shedding His blood for us.

He is a very just God… who has defeated sin and its power in our lives, completely forgiven us and has declared us righteous.  IN CHRIST His justness is clearly seen.

Next blog post is part 3 and talking about wrathful…..

~ Robin

Wise home builders — Deborah

This has been a fun series and we’re only just getting started.  So far we’ve looked at God’s purpose for women (Wonder Woman) and 3 wise home builders… Eve, Sarah, and Rebecca.  Now let’s look at Deborah.   This post will probably be a bit long.. because there is just so much about her! This woman broke traditional, male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women….

This woman, called by God, broke traditional male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women…. that we can be all that God has called us to be and our being a woman is a strength and an asset.  God didn’t use Deborah because He couldn’t find a man who would fill the position!

He chose Deborah to lead Israel because she was the person He anointed and appointed for the position!  Deborah was in a class of her own; her leadership role was unprecedented and unparalleled! She was a woman who led a nation to victory against all odds.  She was the 4th judge out of a total of 15… and the only woman who judged.

She was a born leader.  She was an intercessor, a judge, and a prophetess.  She was a deliverer and a military strategist! She was also a mother to Israel.  She possessed wisdom, strength, and compassion.  While she was judge, the land had peace for forty years.  She held the highest executive office in the land!  She led a nation to victory against all odds!!

I love Deborah!  I love the inspiration she gives us as wives and mothers.  Especially as mothers.  My ceiling is my children’s floor… so I am constantly raising that ceiling.  Breaking boundaries.  Pushing limits.  And showing my kids… especially my daughters…. that you can continue to go higher and that there isn’t anything you can’t do with God.  I’m a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a business owner with my husband, I also run a second business with my mom and a couple of friends, I teach Bible study, and I write.  I want my ceiling to be as high as it can be so that their jumping off point is from a great height.  I want them to follow me as I follow Christ and go higher than I ever will!

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed.  Each line of Proverbs 31 begins with a Hebrew letter from the aleph bet (alphabet).  Verse 28 is the letter “kuf.”  Kuf is a picture of the back of a man’s head.  The idea is following after or behind.  Her children arise.  Arise is “kum” in Hebrew which means to rise up, to go higher spiritually.  And they bless her.  Bless is “ashar” which is not the typical word for bless but rather means guide, advance, lead.  Put it all together and it shows us that her children are following after her lead… after her advances…. she is guiding them and they are going higher spiritually because of it!  This is what a wise home builder looks like.

Although there is no evidence that Deborah had children, she was a mother of Israel.  She led her “children” to go higher spiritually.  Deborah broke outside of her culture, but she wasn’t in rebellion.  She wasn’t a feminist,  she was in obedience to her God.   As a result she was used radically to set her people free, and the people loved her.  Her life is a wonderful story of faith in God.

She spoke life and released what God was saying NOW!

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. ~ Judges 4:4

This is our first introduction to Deborah….. she is a prophet, she is Lappidoth’s wife, and she is leading Israel.  The first description we have is her name.  Names often have profound prophetic meanings.  Names reveal the character of the person, unusual circumstances at birth, or prophetic destiny.  Names are so important that at times God changed the person’s name to reflect what He said of them.

Deborah’name means bee (devorah).  Bee comes from a word that means “word” (davar)  and can also be translated thing or matter.  The original picture painted by this word to the Hebrews is the arrangement of things to create order. The fact that God said she was a prophetess tells us that she was saying what she heard from Heaven restoring or arranging order in Israel.  She was one who would set things in order and release honey….. a time of plenty, a time of peace in the land designed to flow with milk and honey!

Deborah operated in a heavenly dimension of a spirit of wisdom and revelation. She spoke life and released what God was saying to Israel right now thereby restoring order in the land.  And the result was 40 years of peace for Israel.  40 years represents a generation….. like David would one day do, she served her generation well.

But that’s not all we know about her… that’s just the first thing


She was a prophet.  There were seers (ro’eh and chozeh) and prophets (nabi).  1 Samuel 9:9 says tells us that prophets were once called seers.  In Judges 4:4 Deborah is called a nabi… a prophet… but she must’ve at one time been called a seer.   Samuel was the only other person who was both a prophet and a judge.

2 Peter 1:21 tells us that prophets were holy “men” who spoke under the power of Holy Spirit.  They were anointed by God to call the people to repentance and to reveal the will of God for Israel.  Numbers 12:6 says that if a person was a prophet then God made Himself known to them in visions and spoke to them in dreams.

The prophets are called by various names including: “Man of God,” “Servant of Jehovah (LORD),” “Messenger of Jehovah,” “Interpreter,” “Sentinel,” “The Man of the Spirit.”  I like the last one… man (or in this case woman!) of the Spirit.  The Old Testament only mentions 4 women prophets…. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3).  And 1 woman prophet who attempted to stop God’s will for Israel….. Noahadia (Numbers 22-24).  

She was a holy woman…. a woman of the spirit.  God spoke to her in dreams and visions. And she boldly spoke under the power of Holy Spirit the will of God for Israel.

She burned for God

In addition to being a woman who restored order to Israel and a prophet who spoke with divine authority, she is referred to as the “wife of Lapidoth.”   His name means flame or torches.  According to rabbinic tradition, she was a keeper of the oil and the lighter of the lamps.  I’m not sure about that because Exodus 30:7-8 and Leviticus 24:3 tell us it was the priest’s (Aaron’s) job to do that.  She wasn’t a priest.  Of course, it may be saying “woman of fire/torches” instead of the wife of Lapidoth.  Either way, whether she was a woman of

Either way, whether she was a woman of lapidot or Lapidoth’s wife, she was a woman who burned for God.  She was a keeper of oil… of Holy Spirit.  She obviously valued and guarded her relationship with Him.  And she was a light given to Israel to deliver them from darkness.

She judged righteously

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.

She held court under the Palm of Deborah.  She would judge under a palm tree.  This was her court.  Palm tree means righteousness. Psalm 92 reveals that palm trees represent a life of righteousness that flourishes in God.  Her court would be a reminder to the people that a life of righteousness is what would cause them to flourish.  This would be a refreshing prophetic reminder to them after so many years of cruel oppression….. a wonderful encouragement.  Palm branches also represented victory…. through this woman’s leadership they would achieve victory over their enemies.  

She had Holy Spirit revelation and employed divine wisdom and strategies to influence her world.  John 7:24 tell us to not judge by appearances but to judge all things righteously.  We are to judge things the way God judges them….. His righteous judgments are always founded on restoration and reconciliation. Reconciliation to Him.

We judge righteously by applying 2 Cor 5:20-21 to our life “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 

From the palm tree bearing her name, and elsewhere, called “the sanctuary of the palm,” she dispensed righteousness, justice, and mercy.  She was God’s answer to the Israelites, who cried out for help to the LORD, who had been cruelly oppressed for the last 20 years by Jabin, king of Canaan.

 She was abundantly fruitful 

She dwelled under the palm tree (righteousness) between Ramah and Bethel in the valley of Ephraim, which means doubly fruitful.  The one city was Ramah, which means “high place or the seat of idolatry.”   Bethel was known as the house of the Lord with open heavens….. this is where Jacob had his ladder experience in Genesis 28.  Bethel housed the ark of the covenant (Judges 20:27).

From this place, she judged.  From this place that she abided …..victory and righteousness (under the Palm), Deborah was abundantly fruitful.  She turned the Israelites hearts back to God.  Back to a desire for His Presence.  And away from idolatry.  And it stayed this way for 40 years.  Double (Ephraim is double fruitfulness) the time of their oppression.

She would hear from God and release Heaven on earth.  He led, she followed. She led, Israel followed.

She loved well

Of all the things that we learned about Deborah…. a prophet, a judge, a leader of Israel, a military strategist, a warrior, one who burned for God, there were, however, a couple of things she said about herself.  And both of these things are about how she loved…. first God and then out of that, others.

  1. In Deborahs Song, her love for the Lord is described as “like the sun, when it comes in full strength” (Judges 5:31).
  2. She called herself the Mother of Israel.

Deborah was a lover above all things.  She loved well!  She loved God fully — like the sun in full strength.  Hot and bright.  There was no dimness or coolness in her love for Him.  It was a wholehearted love…. one that could pour out to those around her.

She loved Israel. She prayed, interceded and judged them as only a mother can…. tenderly, lovingly… always with a heart of restitution and reconciliation to God.  And she was obviously loved by the people…..the eleven other dispersed tribes of Israel walked for miles and literally risked their lives on the dangerous highways as they pushed through to hear from God, through Deborah’s voice.  They must’ve felt her mother’s love for them.  She felt the ache in their hearts for God. She knew they had come so far, how could they leave empty-handed?  Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were oppressed for 20 years and feel the pounding pain in God’s heart over His peoples sin and oppression. I believe that it was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to save a nation in a day.

Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were cruelly oppressed for 20 years and feel the love in God’s heart for His people…. a love that wouldn’t give up on them.   It was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to turn a nation back to Him.  Deborah ruled with the sword of a prophet but with the heart of a mother.  She led well because she loved well.

In “Matthew Henry’s Commentary,” he writes  “…..She was totally devoted to Israel. After Jehovah, Israel was her first love.”

Will you be like a Deborah?  Hearing God’s heartbeat and expressing His love for those who are oppressed?  Judging them in righteousness and victory?  Waging war on an (already defeated) enemy by declaring them free IN CHRIST?

~ Robin



10 Commandments – a ministry of death and condemnation

But if the ministration of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  ~ 2 Cor 3:7-9


A couple of months ago I joined a Bible study at our church and the study is on the book of Romans.  As much as I love teaching, I also really enjoy being a student and learning from someone else…. and I LOVE studying the book of Romans!!  Although I have to admit, this Bible study hasn’t been my favorite.  I love the women in it and especially their hungry hearts to know the Word BUT I’m not a big fan of the type of study we’re doing.  It’s a Bible study curriculum from a well known Bible teacher… but it’s just that a mainstream curriculum is not my favorite way to study the Word.

The past couple of months we have been studying chapters 6, 7 & 8 and because those chapters deal a lot with the subject of the Mosaic Law, our study has mostly centered around the Law and specifically, what place it has in our lives after we’re saved.  I was surprised that although most Christians consider themselves living under grace, they still love having the Law as a guideline for living righteously.  In fact in this Bible study, I attend, the teacher called the Law (specifically the 10 commandments) our moral compass.  And YET Paul said you cannot mix the two…. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works (law); if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6)

As believers, we would all agree that following the 613 commandments of the Mosaic Law is not necessary because we are not under Law but under grace (Romans 6:14).  Yet we consider the 10 commandments (which are a part of the Mosaic Law) God’s standard for right living as a Christian and a good thing for us to adhere to.  Our concept of victorious Christian living is to avoid wrong actions and do right ones.

But Paul referred to the 10 commandments as a ministry of death and condemnation in 2 Corinthians 3:7-9.  In this verse, he is specifically contrasting the 10 commandments (tablets of stone) and grace….. “the letter kills”, “the ministry of death” and “the ministry of condemnation” versus “the Spirit gives life”, the ministry of the Spirit … more glorious” and “the ministry of righteousness exceeds more in glory”.  He called it a ministry of condemnation because all who looked upon the holy demands were condemned as law-breakers.

He is not denying the power of the commandments, as evidenced by Romans 7:12, “Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”  He does, however, deny that the believer has anything to benefit by knowing those commandments.  To Timothy, Paul states, “But we know that the law is good if a man uses it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient…” (1 Timothy 1:8, 9). Notice that the law is not for the righteous man, and you and I are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God gave the 10 commandments along with the other 613 commandments known as the Mosaic Law to the Israelites (the Jewish people) not the Gentiles.  We (the church) were Gentiles who were grafted in as believers.  We were never meant to live under any part of the Law but only under grace.  Galatians 3:24 tells us that the Law was a tutor to bring us unto Christ so that we might be justified by faith.  And after faith came we would no longer be under the tutor of Law.  Galatians 3:19 says that the law was given to “shut up everyone under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”  

But it wasn’t God’s original plan for the Israelites to live under the Law either…. they were always meant to live under a covenant of grace based on faith.  In Exodus 19:5-6 God spoke through Moses to the people and said “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’”  The people responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has commanded.”  

Notice God said, “keep My covenant.” What covenant?  In Exodus 2:24 it says God heard their groaning and He remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.  It was His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

So God gave the 10 commandments along with the rest of the Law to the children of Israel in Exodus chapters 20-23.  And the covenant…. the promise that was given to Abraham was postponed. The children of Israel now entered a new covenant called the covenant of Moses.  A covenant which required man’s participation in the area of obedience… it rested completely on man’s ability to keep/obey the conditions of the covenant. 

The covenant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the covenant that rested totally on what God would do. It was a covenant of pure belief.  It was God plus nothing…. God made the covenant with Himself and Abraham was simply the beneficiary of that covenant.   It was purely a grace covenant… not a mixture of law and grace.  God’s blessings to Abraham’s family was based on His promises alone, not their obedience.  When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God treated them with grace instead of as they deserved.  They were constantly murmuring and complaining but at every place they encamped in the wilderness, grace was available to them.  In fact, the word encampment in the Hebrew means “grace”…. but that’s for another blog post!

At Mt Sinai everything changed, the people now wanted to participate by doing instead of just “being”.  They said to God “whatever You say we will do.” It sounds like a good response, a right response to a Holy God.  But it wasn’t.  It was a presumptuous response rooted in self-effort, not in faith.  They replaced the covenant of rest with the covenant of laboring.  They opted for a law-based covenant where God’s blessings now hinged on their faithfulness instead of His.  They didn’t want an intimate face to face relationship with God.  They wanted a mediator to speak for them and for God.  They fell from grace!

When Moses came down the mountain with the 10 commandments written on stone, 3000 people died that day!  The Law demanded death for sin… Romans 6:23: the wages of sin is death.  But there was another mountain, Mt Zion, that resulted in 3000 people being saved (Acts 2:41).  It really comes down to 2 mountains.  Which mountain are you on?

When God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments it was at Mount Sinai, during Shavuot (Pentecost) 50 days after they had celebrated their first Passover and come out of slavery in Egypt.  When God gave the outpouring of Holy Spirit… the Spirit of Grace…. it was during Shavuot (Pentecost) 50 days after they had celebrated the last Passover with Jesus before He went to the Cross and ended 1500 years of slavery to the Law.

Hebrews 12:18-24 highlights the different natures of the two covenants by comparing these mountains — Mt Sinai and Mt Zion. The old covenant given at Mt Sinai emphasized law and the distance between man and God.  The law reminded people of their sinfulness and God’s holiness and of the need for a sacrifice to make one able to stand before God (Hebrews 10:3). Mt Zion, on the other hand, represents the place where God, the King, dwells with His people.  The Spirit of God now abides in us and continually reminds us that we are sons of God (Galatians 4:6).

So, if the Law isn’t our moral compass, what is?  Grace is our moral compass!  Titus 2:11-12 says For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. It instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age.  

There is no such thing as grace-based Law.  It’s one or the other.  It’s law or grace.  Which will you choose?

~ Robin





God’s great mercy………

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  ~  Genesis 1:27

made in his image

That has become one of my favorite verses lately.  It’s our blueprint… our original design.  No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him not as we are at the moment.

The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern.  But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into ALL the world.


All men born after him forgot they were born in God’s likeness and image. Adam gave birth to Seth and in the verse the order is reversed… instead of image and likeness it says likeness and image. I believe that reveals man’s distorted view of who they were.  Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”  Sin had been introduced into the world through Adam’s disobedience. 

Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark.  To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony.  It is to believe a lie about ourselves.  It is to miss out on sonship.  Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design.  Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

God’s timing was absolutely perfect.

He always had a plan to redeem us.  He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam!  Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. God never abandoned His creation!  Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s great mercy is FAR reaching and ALL encompassing.  Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn ALL of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare ALL mankind innocent.  Romans 5:18  “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.”  Freely acquitted in the sight of God.

Through Adam, we were ALL were condemned and death reigned in BUT through Jesus, we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God (2 Cor 5:19) and to our original design of sonship.  The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new heart.. a new spirit… His Spirit.  Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”   

Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL.

God did not love us more once we were reconciled.  Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness.  To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST.  Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges.  And not just to see ourselves in this new light, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16).  We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.

He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world.  Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God — because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them.  He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.

The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”.  The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.”  It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s simply a matter of the lost awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST.  So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”

God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go.  His Covenant love for us is because He continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.

I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:

Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift;  He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified!  (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy.  In His blood conciliation, God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice but providing the sacrifice of Himself).  Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us.  (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind.  At this very moment, God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.

It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.

~ Robin

Tishrei – 5776 (2016)

We are currently in the month of Tishrei.  It is the month of the Fall feasts… Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth…. feasts that teach us to return to God and experience His glory.  Tishrei begins the Autumn months and a new season.  In the Bible, Tishrei is referred to as “the month of the strong” or “the month of the ancients”  It’s name means “beginning.”  It is the first month of the year on the Jewish civil calendar (Cycle of Blessing)  – this was to begin a new year of peace, health, joy, and provision in God’s presence…  and the 7th month of the year on the Jewish religious calendar (Cycle of Redemption) —  He rescues us from the effects of sin and restores us to His original plan….. 7 signifies completion or fullness.


A month where things are completing and things are beginning.

These feasts of God are called God’s appointed times. They are not just rituals. But they are times that are set by God where He wants to meet with us to accomplish some specific things in our lives every year.  God’s appointed times are eternal. They were not given just as temporary holidays…but the feasts of God are for all time. Leviticus 23 says “these are lasting ordinances for all generations and that they belong to the Lord.  Born again believers are not required to keep the feasts, however, understanding them enhances our faith…. they are after all revelations of Jesus.

Key New Testament events took place in the context of the feasts.

  • Jesus could have been crucified any time of the year, but it just happened to be on Passover (Pesach).
  • He could have been raised from the dead anytime, but it just happened to be on the Feast of Firstfruits — the firstfruits of a new creation.
  • The Spirit could have fallen any day of the year, but it just happened to be on the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot).  

Chuck Pierce described these appointed times this way:   “God instituted the feasts so His covenant people would always be reminded of who He was and what He had done in the past.  These feasts were also given to remember God’s great acts of salvation, deliverance and healing grace.   He knew that if we would remember His power displays of the past, we would have faith to see Him move today and in the future.   By participating in the prescribed Feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), Israel’s worship would remain fresh, vibrant, and properly aligned with their Maker.”


The Feast of Trumpets is also called Rosh Hashanah, the “Head of the Year.”   Rosh Hashanah is the “Birthday of the World,” or  the “Anniversary of Creation.”  The trumpet blast at Rosh Hashanah is the signal to shift out of the old cycle and enter the Presence of God.  The Feast of Trumpets sets your feet on the path to revival!  As you listen to the trumpet blast you were to let go of old forms of security… break out of old habits…. to repent of old ways of thinking!


The 10 days from Rosh Hashanah – Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe. They are also called days of “Teshuvah.”     Teshuvah is a Hebrew word that means “to turn” and “to return.”  Repentance!   Isaiah 44: 22 says, “I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist.  Return to Me, for I have redeemed you!”   During these 10 days, we rejoice and stand in “awe” of Jesus (Yeshua) who made us “at-one” with God, the Father through His atoning sacrifice.   Yom Kippur is a day for us to honor the One who purchased us and redeemed us from the enemies grasp…. Col 1:13-14… He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.


Sukkoth or the Feast of Tabernacles is a time of rejoicing in the Lord…. of feasting on His goodness. This is a unique feast recognized by temporary shelters (sukkot, or booths) being constructed and lived in during the week of the festival. A sukkah is a reminder that our lives on earth are temporary, and our reliance and trust are not in our material possessions but in our faithful and loving Father and in the One who “tabernacled” among us – Jesus, His Son, and our Messiah.

Ancient wisdom called it a “shelter of faith” – trusting God as Jehovah Jireh. Succah also means to “see through” – a season of spiritual vision-looking beyond the natural. It was also a joyful harvest festival and is prophetic of the great harvest that is to come. Sukkoth is a good time to rejoice before Him… seek His face and experience His glory. Let’s call out to God for a fresh outpouring of His glory in this new year.  

Deuteronomy 16:14-15 says, “Be joyful at your Feast (Sukkoth) for the Lord your God will bless you and your joy will be complete.”


The final day of Sukkot is known as Hoshana Raba, “the day of Great Salvation”.  It was on the last day of Sukkot that Jesus stood up and cried out “if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow waters of living water.”  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive….. ~ John 7:37-38.

Ephraim is the tribe associated with this month.  Ephraim was the 2nd son of Joseph but the one who received the first born blessing from Jacob.  His name means double fruitfulness.   When he was born Joseph said “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction”….. this is a month to be fruitful and multiply.  Ephraim was a blessed tribe.  In Gen 48 Jacob said, “Manasseh will be great but Ephraim will be greater”.  The tribe of Ephraim was described as mighty men of valor, famous in their father’s households.

The Lord calls Ephraim the helmet of His head.  They were the dominant tribe in the Kingdom of Israel when Israel and Judah split.  But in spite of all the blessings, Ephraim messed up.  Jeroboam, an Ephraimite, was the king of the northern tribes.  He re-introduced the worship of the golden calf…. because he was afraid that if the people continued to go to Jerusalem to worship they might eventually reject him and reunite with Judah.  God had chosen Judah, and Jerusalem was the chosen place for worship.  Unfortunately, his fear of rejection, caused him to lead those under his leadership into idolatry.  

He told the people they had been going to Jerusalem long enough.  He set up 2 golden calves and told the people, “here is your God!”  Although Ephraim experienced times of repentance — it was always temporary.  Ephraim couldn’t get past bitterness.


The good news is revival hit Judah and the first place it spread to was Ephraim.  In 2 Chronicles 34, they tore down the altars and destroyed the idols.  The last reference to Ephraim in the Old Testament is Zech 10:7 and it says that Ephraim is fully restored to the Lord and rejoicing before Him.

In the New Testament we see Ephraim mentioned favorably.

  • The woman at the well not only received the gospel but evangelized her entire village (Samaria consisted mostly of Ephraim territory).  
  • In John 11 when the Judeans are trying to kill Jesus, he finds a place of safety in Ephraim territory.  
  • In Acts 8 the first church planted after Jerusalem was in Ephraim territory (Samaria).  Ephraimites joyfully received the Gospel!

  I love what Robert Heidler teaches… Ephraim is the story of the Fall Feasts.  Ephraim sinned, they messed up and fell away from God and lost the Blessing.  BUT they had a wake-up call….the trumpets of an attacking Assyrian army (Rosh Hashanah).  The remnant of Ephraim repented of their sins and sought God (Yom Kippur)  And they entered into a time of great rejoicing in the Lord (Sukkoth).  

There is never anything you can do that would cause God to give up on you and turn His back on you….. He is not counting your sins against you!  Jesus paid the price of the penalty of sin for you, to restore you to that right relationship with God…. the place of unbroken fellowship with Him.

So in this month of Tishrei be like Ephraim… awake to righteousness, repent and return to God and be fully restored to Him….enter His Presence and experience His glory and REJOICE!  

~ Robin