a new blog series to ‘strengthen’ you

Posted: September 18th, 2011 | Filed under: life | 8 Comments »

…and make you think.

The other day I was studying one specific word in the Bible. I was writing an essay about when Joseph told his brothers that God used their evil intent for their good. It’s a powerful statement and I used it to explain what ‘repent’ means. I spent a long time studying the use of the word ‘repent’ throughout the Bible, and I studied what Biblical scholars and theologians say about it. In studying that word, I came across a scripture I know well. The scripture is only one sentence and it has powerful, practically intrusive, meaning.

I have experienced people using this particular sentence to back up the claim that once you are a Christian, you cannot sin and then come back, not entirely. That implies that real Christians do not sin or that restoration is incomplete if they do. I know it sounds crazy that people actually believe that there is a point of no return, but some do, even if it’s subconsciously. It is one reason, among many, why people have a hard time accepting God’s grace, forgiveness, and love.

It is also a great example of why there is a lot of double-talk in religious conversations. One statement contradicts another and thinking individuals find it hard to stomach. It’s also why people get agitated when they are in a conversation with someone who is challenging their beliefs. Usually, when things don’t add up logically, they’ll revert to default mode and say that ‘they just have faith’.

Default mode takes over when they can’t explain what they mean and they want to end the uncomfortable conversation. The problem is, they can’t explain it because they don’t fully understand it. But, the truth is real. It doesn’t have to be completely understood to, at least, be grasped at a much deeper level. It takes some unraveling of preconceived ideas, and that is always uncomfortable if you have no issue with knowing only enough to dog paddle. My motivation is to get more people actually swimming, or more than that. I want people splashing and playing in the ocean of truth. It gives life, it’s freedom, and it makes a huge difference in every single aspect of how we live our lives.

Besides, once you see it, it makes for some amazing, breath giving conversations.

You know the truth when you hear it (John10:4). Faith comes from hearing (Rom10:17). That’s scripture. The reason why those scriptures are true is because God has written the ‘Truth’ on our hearts. Even non-believers have it written on their hearts. It’s the reason why the Truth sounds like home.

A point exists when you can hear someone quote a scripture, but use it in a way that doesn’t sit right. If you don’t know enough about theology to argue, then you are kind of stuck in this gross feeling that something is off.

The sentence I studied uses words that tend to not be questioned and the general cultural understanding of the words leads to an overall theory that ‘doesn’t sit right’.

I’m going to focus on this one particular sentence this week. I’ll pick out the main words and take the next few days to squeeze as much meaning as I can express out of them.

When I study, I use my Vine’s Biblical Dictionary and read the associated cross-reference scriptures. The Bible is one entire message, not little separated messages. If it seems to contradict itself, it’s because you’re not understanding what it’s saying.

With this sentence, I looked up the key words and read every scripture where those words were used. This is the best way to get the full contextual meaning.

I have updated my comment system and will leave them open so some great discussions can take place. This website is like my living room and I want people to feel safe, loved, and, most importantly, learn something that increases their faith in Jesus.

Here is the sentence we’ll be studying. I think that by the time we’re done with it, you’ll be pretty rocked. (in a refreshing way)…

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. – Hebrews 6:4-6

First up: ‘enlightened’ 

Second: ‘the “heavenly gift”‘

Third: “flesh vs. spirit”

Fourth: “strange love story”

Fifth: “what ‘falling away’ means”

Sixth: “repentance: do you see Him?”

Final: “re-crucifying Jesus”

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8 Comments on “a new blog series to ‘strengthen’ you”

  1. 1 Eileen said at 2:57 pm on September 18th, 2011:

    I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this. I am one who “walked away” from the Lord for a season and was very disobedient. After all my mistakes and sin, I finally came running back to Him. And He accepted me back with wide open arms.

    I just finished writing about freedom and the verse in Galatians “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” resonates with me. There are season in our walk when we don’t allow the Spirit to guide us. That is when we are in danger of listening to our sinful natures. So many biblical figures struggled with this.

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 4:54 pm on September 18th, 2011:

    Awesome, Eileen. I look forward to reading your thoughts. 🙂

  3. 3 Michelle said at 11:17 am on September 19th, 2011:

    Ooooo! You went right for the jugular!

    I'm looking forward to reading your insights.

    Ain't Vines grand? 🙂

  4. 4 serenawoods said at 11:29 am on September 19th, 2011:

    Yeah, I love it. 🙂 the first post is up if you want to kick off the discussion. 🙂

  5. 5 Dawn R. Justice Phenix said at 9:39 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Your decision to do this is going to be part of your preparation for "Sifted as Wheat".
    I'm excited for more truth and the open forum to be able to ask questions. Thank you sister Serena. 😎

  6. 6 serenawoods said at 10:56 pm on September 19th, 2011:

    Thanks, Dawn. 🙂

  7. 7 Dawn R. Justice Phenix said at 6:21 pm on September 21st, 2011:

    so good, I just had read it again!

  8. 8 Robin said at 8:53 am on September 29th, 2011:

    This has always been a scripture that can leave one feeling it is impossible to "measure up" in the Christian life until one experiences the true freedom of God's mercy and grace after a failure. I look forward to reading more…

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