and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,
|August 1, 2008||
Volume 7 Number 15
Becoming as Little Children
The Pharisees tempted Yahshua (also called Jesus) in an effort to trap Him into a conflict between the law and the gospel. They asked Him many controversial questions. One such question concerned the issue of divorce:
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said to them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses allowed a man to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. -Mark 10
They were likely referring to the following Scripture:
1 When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
2 And when she has departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. -Deuteronomy 24
Yahshua then explained to them the context in which this Scripture had been written:
5 And Yahshua answered and said to them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife;
8 And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put apart. -Mark 10
Afterwards, His disciples privately asked Him to further clarify this matter. Yahshua followed with even stronger statements:
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he said to them, Whoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, commits adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she commits adultery. -Mark 10
Suddenly, the topic shifts! Young children were brought to Yahshua in the midst of a discussion about divorce and adultery. His disciples became upset:
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. -Mark 10
Yahshua used the children as an example to make an important statement about the kingdom of God. He said we can only enter into it as a "little child:"
14 But when Yahshua saw it, he was very displeased, and said to them, Allow the little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. -Mark 10
Getting back to the topic of divorce, remarriage, and adultery, Yahshua says that divorce has never been God’s will. He also concludes that those who divorce and remarry commit adultery. Therefore, it is clear that they, like all of us, are sinners! John explains:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. -1 John 1
It is tempting for us to judge sin by our perception of its severity. We may even try to deny or justify our own sin by looking at what we believe to be the greater sin of others. This was the issue that Yahshua addressed when the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman to Him who had committed adultery. After they demanded that she be stoned to death according to the law of Moses, Yahshua asked the one who had not sinned to cast the first stone:
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. -John 8
Yahshua wrote upon the ground and whatever He wrote seemed to convict the conscience of each accuser of his own sin. Each of them then left, one by one:
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest, even to the last: and Yahshua was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. -John 8
Yahshua and the woman were left alone, without any of her accusers. He asked her if any man condemned her:
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Yahshua said to her, Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more. -John 8
The conscience, that inward part of the soul which guides us in distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, had shown the scribes and the Pharisees their own sinfulness. Consequently, they were no longer in a position to condemn the sin of the woman. Only Yahshua the Messiah, who had no sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22), remained as the righteous judge. In His mercy, He forgave her.
David, the King of Israel, having committed adultery with Bathsheba, confessed his sin before Yahweh and asked Him for mercy and forgiveness:
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving kindness: according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. -Psalms 51
David continues in his prayer:
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. -Psalms 51
David knew that, even though he was a king, he could not justify his sins with tangible sacrifices. Instead of vain sacrifices, Yahweh wants the sincere remorseful repentance that is characterized by a broken spirit and a broken and contrite (crushed) heart. David continues:
15 O Lord, open you my lips; and my mouth shall show forth your praise.
16 For you desire not sacrifice; or else would I give it: you delight not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. -Psalms 51
The kind of godly sorrow that David felt is the kind that brings us to the true repentance required for salvation:
10 Forgodly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. -2 Corinthians 7
Godly sorrow reminds us that we are sinners and that we, therefore, need to answer Yahshua’s call to repentance.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. -Luke 5
Having offered repentance with a sincere heart, we are ready to confess our faith. We thereby know that Yahshua did indeed pay for our sins by His death and He demonstrated His power over death by His resurrection:
9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Yahshua, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
10 For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. -Romans 10
Unrepented and, therefore, unforgiven sin keeps us in bondage to Satan. Yahshua told Paul to preach deliverance from the power of Satan through the forgiveness of sins:
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receiveforgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. -Acts 26
Yahweh says that once He forgives our sins through His mercy, He forgets that we even committed them:
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. -Hebrews 8
Once we are "converted" from our sins, they are erased:
19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; -Acts 3
When our sins are forgiven, we start a new life. Beginning again with a clean slate, we become the "little children" that we once were:
12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake -1 John 2
As our sins are forgiven, an old sinful man or woman is "converted" into an innocent young child. Yahshua says that we must become as "little children" in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven:
3 And said, Truly I say to you, Unless you areconverted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 18
We are miraculously "born again" as "little children:"
3 Yahshua answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. -John 3
Forgiven for our sins, we are totally innocent in the eyes of God and enter into His kingdom as "little children."
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