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Free on Kindle for a limited time: Pardoned or Paroled?

Pardoned or Paroled?: Escaping a Prison of Guilt to Find Freedom in Christ,  Kindle Edition
by Jefferis Peterson (Author)
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Do you feel sad, guilty, unworthy, or ashamed? Does it seem that no matter what you do, you can’t live up to God’s standards? Are you always trying to be on your best behavior, but still feel like you aren’t being good enough? If you always have the feeling you are being watched and judged, then you know what it means to be living on parole. God does not want you to live that way. He wants you to know his love. He wants you to feel freedom and joy.

 

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From the Archives: Mischief By Statute

cbl2_https://www.scholarscorner.com/mischief-by-statute/
Volume III, Issue 1
Spring 1995 Mischief By Statute
Jefferis Kent Peterson

O Theophilus is the Quarterly Journal of The Center For Biblical Literacy

 

Psalm 94:20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who write mischief by statute?

Many people have suggested that the Declaration of Independence introduced a concept of individual rights into the values of this nation. They insist this concept of rights is foreign to authentic, biblical Christianity. Instead, the concern for “rights” is a product of 18th Century Enlightenment philosophy and is opposed to the very heart of Christianity. They argue: “Christians don’t have rights. Our life is a gift from God, and we give up our right to do what we wish when we acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. We yield our ‘right’ to pursue happiness, to have liberty, even our ‘right’ to life in order to become His servants. As Martin Luther King, Jr. so aptly put it, a Christian is not called to pursue happiness, but ‘to do the will of God, come what may!’ ”

What is missing from this argument is the social context in which the Founding Fathers thought and reasoned. The Founders of this nation never denied social obligations incumbent on individual members of society. They recognized that individual liberty was cradled in the larger responsibility of preserving the general welfare. The modern atomization of individual liberty into a selfish assertion of “rights” above the welfare of the community never entered their minds, for they understood every right presupposes responsibilities. The Founders accepted the necessity of sacrifice for the sake of the community, and to that end, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They lived in such a context that our modern craving for selfish interests would have been intolerable to them.

As they forged a new form of civil government to preserve the general welfare, the Founding Fathers were concerned about the accumulation of excessive power by government. Their recent experiences with British tyranny left them with a great distrust of centralized authority. The Constitution was so written as to restrict the accumulation of powers by civil government. But these limitations of power were not based on Enlightenment philosophy (though that influence was part of contemporary political thought). Rather, this founding principle of the Constitution was the Biblical acknowledgment of God’s supreme right over the lives of men, a right that even a legitimate civil government has no authority to transgress – not because a government would be robbing the people of their rights, but because the government would be robbing God of His!

The opening lines of the Declaration of Independence declare:

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…”


This statement about “equality” is not rooted in egalitarian philosophy, but in the belief of our equal value and worth to our Creator. Because we were created by God in His own image, we belong to Him. Because we belong to Him, He has certain rights over us that no State has a right to transgress. The Declaration was written to affirm God’s right over His creatures in opposition to a King who attempted to be god over his subjects.

Although we may have no rights that we can assert before God, He Who owns us has given us rights before one another, and has ordained civil government to protect His people from injustice (Romans 13:1-7). For example, God set a legal restraint on our right to do to other men what we want when He commanded, “Thou Shalt not Murder.” Capital punishment was prescribed as an instrument of just human government because God determined that no man has the right to infringe upon the right to life of another (Genesis 9:6). Capital Punishment is God’s response to man robbing God of his possessions!

The framers of the Constitution did not reason from a purely secular understanding of liberties but looked to the Old Testament for a godly pattern for civil government.1 The Scriptures acknowledged civil authority as delegated authority from God, upon which He placed divine limits. Even kings were not allowed to abuse God’s people. Those who did suffered not only divine retribution, but natural disaster.2 Biblical principles cautioned the Founders of the need to restrain the exercise of civil authority to its God given charter. The Biblical charter ordained civil authority chiefly to restrain evil and the wickedness of men and to promote an environment where the proclamation of God’s Truth was permitted freely.3 The Constitution framed the legitimate use and role of secular authority according to these Biblical patterns.

Can a civil authority remain legitimate and under divine favor if it throws off restraint and claims for itself rights and privileges not granted by God? No! Such a government sets itself up as a higher authority than God when it presumes to write and implement laws opposed to God’s Law. We have that situation today in America. The laws of the land, which now forbid the teaching of God’s Law in the schools and in public, imply that God is a threat to the State. The State must therefore control the free expression of religion in order to protect the people from harm. But the truth is that the State is entirely dependent upon the Law of God for its very existence! Yet the State, by its laws, has made itself the enemy of God.

If there is no authority higher than the State, then the State effectively becomes the arbiter of all that is just and right. The danger of this autonomous humanistic State is that it will not be restrained from exercising despotic and tyrannical power over its citizenry because it has become accountable to no one but itself. Recognizing no divine limit to its function, it becomes the arbiter of morals as well as policies. When a religious objection arises to a particular law or policy, the State appeals only to itself for its decision. It has no guiding principle higher than a flimsy social contract that is easily reinterpreted to suit present whims. There are no abiding principles or enduring truths to which the government must subject itself with reverence, respect, and awe. There is no absolute authority to which it may turn for counsel and wisdom.

When the Supreme Court publicly and officially expelled the Ten Commandments from our public schools in the 1960’s, it denied a divine sanction for morals and the State declared itself “Supreme.” A black-robed, gang of nine has become our nation’s god. It has declared its authority higher than the Creator’s by standing in opposition to God’s Law and by presuming to pass judgment upon the counsel of God. As a result, our protection as God’s property is being removed. Today, individual rights may serve the State’s interests, but tomorrow the State might change its mind. Who is to stop it now from dissolving those rights we so cherish? Are we nor already seeing an erosion of our freedom?

Cut off from divine favor and divine justice, the State can write laws opposed to the heart of God. Babies can be murdered in the womb as a legal right. Practicers of moral perversion can become a protected class deserving special privileges. The State is able to frame mischief (evil) into the very foundation and fabric of the law. Injustice and immorality are promoted and evil is rewarded and righteousness punished.

Secular authority in a vacuum cannot last. Without a divine sanction, a State loses its authority and ability to govern. As it writes mischief by statute it opposes God, and then God opposes the State. Just as Israel and Judah were destroyed by God for their defiance of His laws, His justice, and His divine compassion for the poor, so God’s patience with America draws to an end. The Founders knew, and cited often, the fact that when rulers in the Old Testament heeded God, Israel prospered, but when rulers did not, their nation floundered.4 Our Forefathers begged for mercy from Almighty God, lest this nation also fail to be sustained by divine favor and providence.

Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice does not sleep forever….”5
With the rejection of conscience and the Word, with the promotion of immorality and perverseness under the banner of liberty, with selfishness and greed replacing commitment and sacrifice, and with the blood of 30 million innocent children on our hands, can we really believe God remains indifferent to our disobedience? Can we really hope as a nation to be spared the rod of his wrath?

Endnotes

1. For extensive documentation of the Founder’s reliance on Scripture as the principal founding document for the U.S. Constitution, get David Barton’s video or audio cassette entitled “America’s Godly Heritage,” Wallbuilders P.O. Box 397, Aledo TX 76008; Tel. #817- 441-6044.

2. See the life of David as one example (esp. 2 Sam. 24). Chronicles and Kings are full of examples too numerous to mention.

3. Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 3: 10, & John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV. XX. 3, 6, 8, 9,31 & 32.

4. From a Conversation on the Floor of the Constitutional Convention, the Founders discussed how a nation will answer to God: “As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, so they must be in this, by an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” As recounted by David Barton, op. cit.

5. Thomas Jefferson, from A Summary View of the Rights of British America, & Notes on The State of Virginia, Query 18., as quoted on the Jefferson Memorial, Wash. D.C.

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Are You Pardoned or Paroled?

Do you feel sad, guilty, unworthy, or ashamed? Does it seem that no matter what you do, you can’t live up to God’s standards? Are you always trying to be on your best behavior, but still feel like you aren’t being good enough? If you always have the feeling you are being watched and judged, then you know what it means to be living on parole. God does not want you to live that way. He wants you to know his love. He wants you to feel freedom and joy.

If you have been trying hard to find peace with God, but cannot, then learn what it means to be pardoned. Find release from the prison of guilt, fear, and condemnation. This liberating book answers many questions Christians ask themselves: “Although I believe in Jesus, why do I still do bad things? Am I doing enough to please God? Am I truly saved? If God has called me to be holy, why do I still live in sin?” These are questions asked by people who want to know God better. It is a question of sanctification: how can I be pure before God, have intimate fellowship with him, and walk before him unashamed?

If you have ever asked yourself questions like these, this book is for you.

Pardoned or Paroled? Escaping a Prison of Guilt to Find Freedom in Christ

Pardoned or Paroled? Escaping a Prison of Guilt to Find Freedom in Christ

Now available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle. New 3rd edition. Also with this link to Smile @ Amazon, a portion of your purchase will help support the South East Asia Prayer Center or a charity of your choice

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Jeremiah, the Complaining Prophet

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New On SongShare

We Are Worship has added a song share section, and I joined and put up a couple of my worship songs here 

Come to the Table, and Heaven on Earth, are uploaded with lyrics and scores. There is a limit of 3 pieces. I’m working on other compositions, and updating others to better digital sound.

To hear 8 samples, visit my Scholars Corner Composer Page

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Make Me a Man Like Enoch

Make Me a Man Like Enoch

©1988 Jefferis Kent Peterson

Men:
Make me a man like Enoch
Make me a preacher like Paul
Give me a song like David’s
Make me a servant of all

Women:
Make me a woman like Deb’rah
Like Anna, teach me to pray
Give me a heart like Mary’s
Let me know God’s ways

Bridge:
O, God my Savior
Set me free
O, God my Savior
Let me Worship Thee

All:
Make us a people of Courage
Make us a people of faith
Give us an hope eternal
Let us finish the race.

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We Have Been Made Righteous!

From The ScholarsCorner.com

He took our Sin and having become Sin for us, is our Savior from Sin. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  2 Co 5:17–21.

from the ESV Study Bible note: This means that God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ himself never sinned (Heb. 4:15; cf. Gal. 3:13). Further, we see that God did this for our sake—that is, God regarded and treated “our” sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us but to Christ himself. 

It is As If All your sins are not your sins, but it is as if Jesus committed them and not you. That is how God sees you. Like you have never sinned.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned … much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5: 12-19

How do we become God’s Righteousness? 

In the beginning, God’s fellowship with humanity was unbroken, for each had within them the Holy Spirit: then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being – Gen 2:7.    Adam and Eve shared God’s Spirit and had perfect fellowship with the Father. 

But Adam and Eve’s sin caused fellowship with God to be broken.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15–17

Adam’s body did begin to die after eating of the forbidden fruit, but his separation fin from God was immediate. His unbroken fellowship with God was gone.   

For God is “too Holy to look upon sin.” He is too holy to fellowship with evil. He could not commune with Adam as he had done so before. Fear in Adam replaced love for God.  In order for God to restore us to unbroken fellowship, he had to remove the barrier of sin and fear. The only way to do that was to experience death and pay the consequences of our sins. 

Jesus had to die and be resurrected for us to receive God’s Holy Spirit anew. Before Jesus, no one, not even the most righteous had received an indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit rested upon the prophets, but did not indwell them.   John quotes Jesus, and then offers an interpretation:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:38–39

Yet after he was raised something happened.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Judeans, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-23

Jesus gave back to us what Adam had lost… God’s Spirit. 

He Who is Holy now lives inside you. You are Holy because he who lives in you is Holy. You have been made righteous by virtue of He who lives in you. Not  in yourself, but in Him. 

Therefore, guilt and condemnation over sin in your conscience is not from God, but a lie to keep you bound to sin, doubt, and feelings of separation from God. In short, to keep you from trusting Him, running to Him, from fellowship with Him. 

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