Posts Tagged ‘religion’

English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue...

English: Picture of the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Lincoln Memorial. Italiano: La statua di Lincoln al Lincoln Memorial. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world desperately needs freedom, the freedom they can only get from Jesus, the Christ, the Savior, the Son of God, the Word of God.

John 8:31-38 (ESV):

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.
38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

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God's Will, Our Style

Bible’s Lessons:

The Bible records many distinctive ways people lived God’s Will, even though at times rebellion, sin, and disobedience surfaced. God’s Will allows for personal style consistent with God’s Commandments, and requires repentance in response to disobedience. As you live out God’s Will, distinguish between these:

      1. God’s Will
      2. Our Style consistent with God’s Will
      3. Our Way opposing God’s Will
      4. Our Sin & Rebellion

The key point is that as people are called to follow God, that God is also calling you to bring your essential individually, and then to seek God’s help to live it out without your inner sin.

God’s Will Generally:

The Bible emphasizes the importance (a) to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, (b) to repent from sin, (c) pursue righteousness, (d) to love & obey God with all your being, and (e) to love your neighbor as yourself. When selecting what to do in life, evaluate your decisions in light of God’s Will generally.

God’s Will Specifically:

Complimenting the already available guidance in God’s Will generally revealed, is the further knowledge that God works to bring believers through situations to improve them & help others. This is a process where our character, skills, and faith is meant to grow beneficially individually & collectively as life’s challenges are faced.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV): For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

God’s preparing good works for people to perform is observable in scriptures in several instances. God prophesied to Abraham hundreds of years ahead of time the slavery & release of his people, in which Moses & Aaron played a critical role. The life of Queen Ester and Mordecai evidences God’s coordination of redemptive events to protect his people from genocide. What instances do you recall from your studies of scriptures?

God’s Will Directly Articulate:

On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via direct communication. One instance is when God asked Moses to rescue his people from EgyptPharaoh (Exodus 3).

Exodus 3:10 (ESV):  10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

God’s Will and Our Style:

God permits the way in which God’s Will is lived out to incorporate our personal & collective styles to some extent. This is illustrated when God preferred Moses to directly deliver God’s Word and lead God’s people. Moses personality & style was inherently shy about speaking directly to his people, so God provided Aaron to Moses to work out God’s Will to deliver his people from physical bondage & slavery.

Exodus 4:10-17 (ESV): 10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”

While God’s Will does permit Our Style, Moses’ illustration encourages people to also consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new skills God knows we’ll be able to handle with his help. God preferred Moses to grow skills speaking directly to God’s people, even though Moses feared it. Even today, it is often reported that people find public speaking frightful.

God’s Will Indirectly Articulated & Our Style:

People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is implicit rather than explicit. As an illustration, Queen Ester and Mordecai both recognized that Queen’s Ester intervention looked like God’s first & primary preference for intervention on behalf of God’s people.

Ester 4:12-17 (ESV): 12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Mordecai previously asked Queen Ester to petition the King to rescue their people. Queen Ester agreed to risk her life by going before the King without being officially summoned, and her style was to fast first before God prior to executing this bold maneuver. Mordecai respected Queen Ester’s stylistic approach to fast first. It is reasonable to infer God did too.

Our Way Opposing God’s Will:

When facing decisions in life, evaluate your inner desires, motives, and means, to ensure they are living up to the standards God set. While your conscience can provide guidance, as can good godly council, God’s revealed word in the Bible is the ultimate authority. As an illustration, when King David’s inner being became lustful for Bathsheba after seeing her bathing on her housetop (see 2 Samuel 11), King David needed to evaluate his inner desires carefully, even though typically King David’s inner being desired to know God’s Will and do the right thing.

While in some cases, a particular action is not in & of itself immoral in the general case of God’s Will, it is still immoral to do in instances when God specifically decreed that action was not permitted. For example, Jesus instructed certain people not to publicly reveal the healing he performed for their individual benefit. They disobeyed, which caused Jesus difficulty in his outreach mission in several geographic areas.

Mark 1:40-45 (ESV): 40 And a leperf came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesusg sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Our Sin & Rebellion:

When evaluating our situational liberty & latitude, evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to repent & change. This analysis helps to distinguish Our Stylistic latitude from Our Wayward tendencies towards evil. In absence of accomplishing this effectively, sin & rebellion result. One sin has the dangerous potential to lead to many sins.

Consider how King David committed adultery, and then did not repent. This first sin lead to the first attempt at a “cover up” that did not work. King David still did not repent and instead resulted to murder in another “cover up” attempt (see 2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12). In King David’s case, God’s Will revealed adultery & murder is wrong, so King David knew these actions were not stylistic discretions, yet rather sinful disobedient rebellious actions against God. King David “cleverly by worldly standards yet unwisely by God’s standards” (cleverly yet unwisely) made plans to disobey God’s commandments not to commit adultery and not to murder. God severely punished King David by allowing evil enemies to obtain sufficient power to repay King David for his immoral actions.

In Conclusion:

Whether you receive God’s Will via direct commands or via God’s generally revealed will, carefully evaluate your inner being & decision-making process to ensure your thoughts & actions align with God’s Will. Just as God provided a lot of variety in nature, and this variety is consistent with God’s Will, so too God provided a lot of variety in people’s styles that are harmonious with God’s Will, Another way to understand it, is that in work positions, there are certain responsibilities & expectations that come with the role. Yet, within a given role, people find ways to contribute that brings out their own personal style, background, and vision through their contributions.


1. God’s Will allows for personal _______ consistent with God’s Commandments.

2. On rare occasions, God’s Will is made crystal clear via ________ communication.

3. People will often discover God’s Will in their specific situations is ________ rather than _________.

4. Consider whether God’s Will prefers us to embrace a style that will grow our comfort with new _________.

5. Evaluate decisions & desires in the light of God’s Will generally revealed to know when to ________ & ________.

6. Distinguish Our Stylistic _________ from Our Wayward _________ towards evil.

Related Articles:


  • Special Thanks to Microsoft Office Images & Tools used in the creation of today’s visual.

God's Will, Our Style

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Decision Point Do Right Do Wrong
One way God intervenes in our lives at times is by keeping us from sinning out of ignorance until there is a “Decision Point” where it is our choice to decide whether to sin or to do what is right. This class of Divine Intervention is clearly illuminated after Abraham and Sarah kept their marriage hidden, which almost caused King Abimelech of Gerar to sin by taking Abraham’s spouse Sarah as his wife due to this significant omission. Even though God in this instance revealed in a dream having leveraged this intervention type behind the scenes in King Abimelech of Gerar’s case, there is no requirement for God to reveal each instance when The Almighty intervenes in similar ways to protect each of us.

Genesis 20:1-7 (ESV): From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” 4 Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will you kill an innocent people? 5 Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” 6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.”

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Historically when Adam & Eve were in the Garden of Eve as husband & wife, they both ate fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, even though God had commanded them not to eat of it. God commanded this for their protection, since if they ate eat it, they would die, as they eventually did. To disobey God & sin was Adam & Eve’s own choice, and was contrary to the good image of God’s character already in them. The fall was not predetermined to happen, even though God planned for the contingency of this choice, and knew what they would do shortly before they did it. In the sovereignty of God, God set boundaries & limits on what Adam & Eve could do. Adam & Eve were not slaves to sin at the beginning. God made Adam & Eve good and made a very good world. It was their choice whether to obey or disobey God, so they had to bear the responsibility of their choice.

Genesis 3:1-7 (ESV): 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

As Adam was married to Eve, what does God expect from husbands?

Husbands are expected to love their wives in ways that sanctify & protect them bodily & spiritually in Christ.

Ephesians 5:25-31 (ESV): 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.

How does Adam‘s participation contrast to what is expected of husbands?

Adam was with his wife Eve, who was tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Adam also knew God informed them that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil would lead to death, so Adam knew the serpent was endangering his wive Eve. Yet Adam did not “Stand Up” to correct Eve who was endangering herself physically & spiritually.

1 Timothy 2:13-14 (ESV): 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

Did Adam sin also by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil?

Yes, Adam did sin.

Romans 5:12-13 (ESV): 12 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— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Was it God’s fault Adam & Eve sinned? Was God guilty?

The first thing that Adam did was blame God for providing Eve to Adam as the cause of the sin. This is the very same Eve that Adam longed for when naming the many creatures God created. This is the very same Eve that Adam called “flesh of my flesh”, that Adam happily received from God as awesome.

Genesis 3:8-13 (ESV): 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God was not guilty of deliberately disobedient choices Adam & Eve made. God made them good, enabled them to pick what is right, taught them good, showed them good, cared for them well, and cautioned them too.

Who did God punish?

God knew what had happened, and so punished the serpent first, since the serpent cleverly, yet unwisely, initiated the temptation that lead to the fall.

Genesis 3:14 (ESV): 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

Why did Adam sin and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil too?

Adam loved & obeyed his wife more than he loved & obeyed God, and God’s command. This misguided love & obedience contributed to Adam’s sinning against God. In loving his wife more than God, Adam effectively loved his wife less than if Adam had loved God first and foremost, and loved his wife second. Why? Because if Adam loved God first, and his wife second, then Adam would have intervened in Eve’s decision to disobey God’s command & would have protected Eve his wife and their family together. Adam eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil was not noble in any way.

Genesis 3:17-19 (ESV): 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Ever since then, people have been dysfunctionally loving family, friends, possessions, and worldly ways more than God.

How could God help future husbands & wives to avoid the same dysfunctional love relationship of Adam & Eve?

God made it crystal clear that the husband was the head of the household, which means the husband is absolutely responsible to protect the life of his wife physically & spiritually in Christ. Previously Adam had blamed Eve for his poor decision to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil and to not stand up to his wife nor for his wife. No longer could husbands use that same excuse. God laid that responsibility squarely on the husbands.

Genesis 3:16 (ESV): 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Was God going to help Adam & Eve and all humankind in this fallen state?

God foretold  sending his own son Jesus Christ generations later. Jesus Christ would have the victory, confronting the hypocrisy of Adam & Eve’s descendants.

Genesis 3:15 (ESV): 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Why was Adam’s wife called Eve?

Genesis 3:20 (ESV): 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Why did God put clothes on Adam & Eve?

One reason in context is that earlier Adam and Eve  indicated their discomfort without clothes.

Genesis 3:21 (ESV): 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Genesis 3:9-11 (ESV):  9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

In providing clothes for Adam & Eve, did God sacrifice an animal to forgive the sins of Adam & Eve at this time, as later done with the Jewish sacrificial system?

The Jewish sacrificial system was to remind people of the severity of their sins. It was to remind people that the wages of sins is death. The sacrifices of animals never took away sins. Only God the Father takes away sins through the sacrifice on the cross of the Son of God, who is Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:1-4 (ESV): 10 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Why did God cast Adam & Eve out of the Garden of Eden?

If Adam & Eve lived forever in their current condition, they would be marred forever by sin. Adam & Eve would also be tempted to eat of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Knowing they already ate from one tree that God commanded them not to eat, now it would be irresponsible to allow them to remain in a situation too harmful to their soul’s eternally. To spare them this risk of eating from the Tree of Life and remaining in a sinful condition forever, God kicked out Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV): 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

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The next time you encounter ice, whether ice outside, ice in your beverage, or even an ice pop, take a moment to think about the I.C.E. acronym. The I.C.E. Framework acronym reminds us of many aspects pertaining to living out the Christian life.

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[You can view the presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/ice-cubed or continue to read.]

Life Guide PostsThe Guide Posts are Integrity, Capability, and Eternity.

(1) Integrity points us to live life with a character seeking after God’s own heart, preferably in a way people respect & recognize.

Titus 2:7-8 (ESV): 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

(2) Capability reminds us to apply abilities in following God and in other areas of our life.

1 Corinthians 10:12-14 (ESV): 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

(3) Eternity focused means we need to ensure we are seeking & living out the faith & righteousness to be admitted into Heaven forever.

John 3:16 (ESV): 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Life Role Modeling: Life Role Modeling includes Imitate, Christ, and Equipped. Our Role Models are Jesus Christ and his followers for eternity. Likewise, Role Models are useful for skills to apply in our world.

(A) Imitate: Just as we are to imitate the Apostle Paul who imitates Christ by learning from his faith, love, and decision-making processes, we are likewise to learn from Jesus’ other followers too.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV): 1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

(B) Christ: Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and Redeemer. Jesus shows us the way to God the Father, and the way we are expected to live our lives with faith.

John 14:6 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(C) Equipped: Just like the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, so too faith in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life. To live this life properly involves continually becoming increasingly more equipped to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all people through studying & applying scripture lessons.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV): 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Life Monitoring & Correction: Our Life Monitoring & Correction includes Introspection, Confession, and Evaluation.

(I) Introspection: To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic mirror that God provides via his words and often those God sends into your life. To look at yourself without these diagnostic tools risks self-deception or self-despair. Even in worldly matters, organizations often bring in outside expertise to facilitate the diagnosis and repair process.

James 1:22-27 (ESV): 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

(II) Confession: As a result of our Introspection, each of us is to confess our sins to God and repent of them, and turn away from doing those kinds of sins again. Additionally, we are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our belief in him.

1 John 1:9 (ESV): 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 2:23 (ESV): 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

(III) Evaluation: Each of us is instructed to evaluate how our lives compare to living according to the Word of God, which can help to guide us in areas to correct. If we are remiss, and yet are true children of God, God monitors us to also help us to correct areas needing improvement.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 (ESV): 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Besides applying this I.C.E. Framework to your Christian life directly, you can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your worldly life domains supportively.

Galatians 3:23-24 (ESV): 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

The I.C.E. Framework (I.C.E Acronym) reminds us of many passages in God’s Word that pertain to our living our Christian life faithfully and fully. To keep the material brief & quickly digestible, only one or two supporting Bible quotes were selected for each area, though many more exist. You can search the Bible further at the Bible Gateway at http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Christ&qs_version=ESV or use a search tool of your preference.

[You can view the presentation at http://www.slideshare.net/creationary/ice-cubed and also download a copy if you prefer]

I.C.E. Framework Review:

I. The I.C.E. Framework encompasses several aspects pertaining to living out the __________ life.

II. Life Guide Posts are I________, C_________, and E_________.

III. Life Role Models are I________, C_________, and E_________.

IV. Life Monitor & Correct tools are I________, C________, and E_________.

V. You can also apply the I.C.E. Framework to your _______ life domains supportively.

I.C.E. Life Guide Posts Review:

A. Integrity points us to live life with a __________ seeking after God’s own heart.

B. Capability reminds us to apply our ___________ in following God in all our life areas.

C. Eternity focused reminds us to ensure we are seeking & living out faith & righteousness to be admitted into _________ forever.

I.C.E. Life Role Model Review:

1. Imitate the Apostle Paul & others who imitates Christ by learning from their ______, _____, and ______-______ processes.

2. Jesus Christ is Our Role Model and _________ who shows the way to God the Father and how to live our _______ with faith.

3. ________ in Jesus Christ is the beginning of the Christian life.

4. Christians must continually become increasingly more __________ to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and all ________.

I.C.E. Life Monitor & Correct Review:

i. To properly look inside yourself introspectively requires looking into the diagnostic _______ God provides.

ii. To look at yourself without God’s diagnostic tools risks self-_________ or self-________.

iii. Each of us is to confess our sins to God and _______ of them.

iv. Christians are to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our _______ in him.

v. Each of us must evaluate how our lives ______ to living according to the Word of God to help guide us in areas to ________.

vi. God monitors true believers to also help us to correct & improve areas needing _________.


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People have Choices:

You have choices: Pick Wisely.

Proverbs 27:12 (ESV): 12 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

You have a choice: A choice to pick good or evil:

Deuteronomy 30:15 (ESV): 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

You must decide: A choice to pick blessings or curses:

Deuteronomy 11:26 (ESV): 26 “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.

You have a choice to flee sexual immorality:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV): 8 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You have a choice to seek God’s righteousness:

Zephaniah 2:3 (ESV): 

3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;
perhaps you may be hidden
on the day of the anger of the Lord.

Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV): 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

You have a choice to pick slavery in sin or freedom in the truth:

John 8:31-38 (ESV): 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

You have a choice to pursue light or darkness:

John 8:12-20 (ESV): 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

You have a choice to fellowship with those who follow God the Father, his Son Jesus the Savior, and the Holy Spirit:

Hebrews 10:24-27 (ESV): 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

You have a choice to tithe, to give 10% of your total income, one or more times annually. Yes, that would add up to more than 10%.

Malachi 3:9-11 (ESV): 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.

You have a choice to pay your owed taxes:

Mark 12:13-17 (ESV): 13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

You have a choice to serve God or money:

Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV): 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

You have a choice to make your calling & election sure:

2 Peter 1:3-11 (ESV): 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You have a choice to sow to the spirit persistently.

Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV): 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Choose Wisely according to the Greater Wisdom!

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (ESV): 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

God’s cheering for you to make the right decision!

2 Kings 17:13-14 (ESV): 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God.

Matthew 23;37-38 (ESV): 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate

God tells the truth and does not lie. God gives you legitimate choices. God wishes for you to pick blessings, but will let you pick curses. Pick Wisely!

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Scan of a DVD 4.5 capacity disk

Scan of a DVD 4.5 capacity disk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People in God’s Image:

God created people in his image to be able to aspire to become increasingly like God as people increase in knowledge & experiences throughout their lives.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV): 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Computer Software Images:

Likewise when computers are setup physically or virtually, they are often setup from a software image containing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) provided operation system (O/S) & applications, or tailored configurations & applications for specific audiences & purposes.

Original Human Image:

The original image God provided for people’s mind & soul was not corrupted by sin & evil, just like buyers typically expect software images purchased & acquired to be free of viruses, malware, and other harmful programs. Our human image was originally an uncorrupted version of the image of God, and in the image of the Son of God, who came later as Jesus the Savior, who is one in essential character with God the Father.

Character Choice for Good and Evil:

Just like God has the choice of whether to choose good versus evil, so also people faced that same choice. God’s character, being solid, and unchanging, always chooses to be good, while people’s character had yet to be fully formed through their life experiences. Operating system platforms with included applications are typically very flexible. Likewise, God is very capable. So too people had a very capable platform in their mind & soul, which even supports upgrades, whether good or not.

Originally Narrow Path to Sin:

In the Garden of Eden, God mercifully setup a narrow path for people to limit their opportunities to sin, even though they could rebelliously & distrustfully choose that path. God narrowed this opportunity around whether to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God clearly instructed Adam & Even not to eat it. God advised the adverse outcome to be their death if they chose to eat it.

With Humanity & Choice, Comes Temptation: 

When Jesus the Son of God came to the Earth, Jesus was tested & tempted by the Devil, who is also known as Satan. God never subjects anyone to testing & temptations beyond their ability. While being tempted is not sinful, succumbing to evil is sinful. It is reasonable to expect that Satan had to secure God’s permission to tempt Adam & Eve, or negotiate terms under which they could be tempted, since this was similarly Job’s circumstance.

Limits to Human Wisdom:

It’d be wonderful if with freedom of choice also came perfect decision-making. King Solomon, the wisest person on Earth, even made poor decisions, despite having a multitude of counselors available & knowing advisors are valuable. The net result is there are limits to human wisdom. The Universe Tools Paradigm perspective is that Our Universe is being driven behind the scenes by computations. This perspective makes it apparent that the computation power of just a few pounds of material in the human mind is limited compared to city, county, continent, planet, solar system, galaxy, and cosmos size computational power. The net result is a proper character must underlie decision-making. This human character must be informed by God’s advice & involvement through faith.

The Decision & It’s Propagation:

Just like parents want the best for their children, and yet can not make the choices for their children as they mature, so too God had to permit people to make choices as they matured. While God provided good advice, it was disregarded deliberately, as was further consultation with God on that decision bypassed. When Adam & Eve decided to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil in midst of the Garden of Eden, it was a decision that corrupted their image. By analogy, this is like computer software’s image being corrupted so badly it can not be trusted nor easily rectified. When that corrupted image is duplicated to additional physical or virtual machines, the corruption is propagated. When Adam & Eve had children, this propagated the corrupted image.

You Reap what You Sow:

As people are aware today, there are so many ways to sin, that it is very easy to sin in thought, word, and deed, with the way to eternal punishment being a wide path. The original sin sown by Adam & Eve to disregard God’s voice reaped our human tendency to pick from a world full of sinful choices baked into our character. People are brought to justice when they use software in sinful ways, and efforts are made to eliminate that software. What is your recourse as a person, when your “mind & heart & soul image” is sinful and guilty? Even if your image were fixed, you would still be guilty of past offenses, and deserve to reap eternal punishment.

Ten Commandments Reveal Vulnerabilities:

The God-given Ten Commandments provide instructions on what God expects. Because our character has been corrupted, the Ten Commandments also serve to show that people have this corrupted image. To a certain degree, this is like intrusion detection software / anti-virus software identifying the signature of infections and viruses. The Ten Commandments reveal where vulnerabilities are, just like penetration testers often do with software & hardware platforms. While the Ten Commandments are strong in identifying corrupted images, they are weak as they justly sentence the entire individual image to eternal quarantine away from what is good & right.

New Incorruptible Image:

What is needed is an incorruptible image that is fully human, yet is fully righteous as God is, so that the compromised & corrupted image can be replaced with an updated incorruptible image. Jesus, the Son of God, as the Savior of the World, entered into humanity. God implanted this perfect image in the virgin Mary, who later married Joseph. The Holy Spirit worked diligently, even in the womb, to ensure the Son of God’s image was fully imprinted to meet this challenge. This perfect image was different, in that it was a fully developed character, the character of Jesus the Son of God, in the person of Jesus Christ.

Fully Tested Incorruptible Image:

Unlike Adam & Eve, Jesus’ image was proven incorruptible. Jesus’ character stood up to temptation, hypocrisy, threats, punishment, and death, even a brutally painful death on the cross. Satan, the Devil, like the ultimate penetration tester and ultimate hacker, yet with ill intent, fully tested out this incorruptible image as unbreakable. Just like updated software, applications, networks, and services are tested in the real world, so Jesus the Son of God’s image was tested. This image proved secure.

Incorruptible Image Available to All People:

Through Faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, this incorruptible image from Jesus the Savior is available to all people. Like a wise person building their house on a sure foundation is able to weather life’s storms, so too building our lives on this secure foundation of Jesus’ image by seeking & listening & following Jesus’ words is wise. This image upgrade process starts in this life, and finishes in the next life. To secure your future eternally, enroll for the upgrade to the only incorruptible image God is offering. It is the only human image ever proven secure! It is the secure image of Jesus Christ! People are inherently unable to make themselves & their image secure. Only with God’s intervention through Jesus Christ the Son of God are each individual persons’ image secured.

Secure Image Released from Eternal Punishment:

Even after starting an upgrade to the only secure image available, how would one become released from eternal punishment from past offenses committed previously by the corrupted image? The answer is the deserved punishment and quarantine was placed upon that secure image as well, as God temporarily forsook that secure image too, when death was wrongly inflicted upon the perfect uncorrupted image of Jesus Christ. This punishment could not justly remain on the secure image forever, being undeserved. Our goal is to have as much of the secure image of Jesus Christ in each of us, with as much of the older corrupted image eliminated as possible. This way, when judgement comes, God sees and rescues from eternal punishment that secure image in you, integrated with you, and you.

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Propitiation Past & Present Paid

Propitiation Past & Present Paid

Forgiveness was on Credit before Jesus paid the penalty, and was on Debit afterwards.

Romans 3:21-31 (ESV): 

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it– 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

Genesis 15:1-6 (ESV): 

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God , what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord , and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Mark 2:1-12 (ESV): 

1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.  3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd,   they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.  5 And when Jesus   saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  7 “Why does this man speak like that?   He is blaspheming!   Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them,   “Why do you question these things in your hearts?  9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” –he said to the paralytic–  11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and   glorified God, saying,   “We never saw anything like this!”

Romans 4:1-12 (ESV): 

1 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

1 John 4:7-21 (ESV): 

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Hebrews 2:5-18 (ESV): 

5 Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,
“I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,
“I will put my trust in him.” And again,
“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (ESV): 

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you– unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

Hebrews 9:11-28 (ESV): 

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Galatians 3:15-22 (ESV): 

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.  24 So then,   the law was our   guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.  25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus   you are all sons of God, through faith.  27 For as many of you as   were baptized   into Christ have put on Christ.  28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave   nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

1 John 2:1-5 (ESV): 

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin,   we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but   also for the sins of the whole world.  3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we   keep his commandments.  4 Whoever says “I know him”  but does not keep his commandments   is a liar, and   the truth is not in him,  5 but whoever   keeps his word, in him truly   the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  6 whoever says he   abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Hebrews 11:1-21 (ESV): 

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

1 John 1:5-12 (ESV): 

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and   do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and   the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On...

English: Isaac Feels Jacob as Rebekah Looks On, watercolor by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Primary Authentication Factors:

Modern security measures depend upon three primary types of authentication factors to validate an individuals identity claims. The three factors are (1) something you know, (2) something you have, and (3) something you are. Examine each authentication factor when reading how Isaac authenticates & authorizes an impostor, his own son Jacob impersonating his twin brother Esau, for access to the prized blessing.

Genesis 27:14-25 (ESV): 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. 18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank

Part 1: Three Authentication Factors

Jacob claimed the identity of Esau his brother. Jacob previously anticipated his father Isaac would conduct an authentication / verification of this identity claim / identity assertion. Let’s examine the interaction looking at the three primary authentication factors presented earlier. Typical ways each authentication factor is assessed will be presented, along with a historical parallel to Isaac & Rebekah and their sons Jacob & Esau.

I. Something You Know

Jacob comes to his father Jacob knowing something. Jacob knew it was the day for blessing his brother Esau, and knew it was time to bring food. In security today with digital devices, often something you know is a password, pass phrase, or a cognitive password. Cognitive passwords typically are questions related to personal information. Just like information Jacob came knowing was available via other sources, so too one shortcoming of many cognitive passwords is they are often known & knowable by others. Jacob reasonably was unaware his own wife Rebekah previously overheard his conversation with Esau and shared this “something you know” information with their son Jacob.

II. Something You Have

Jacob comes to his father Isaac with something he had. Jacob had food prepared as Isaac requested & expected before the blessing was to be bestowed & received. Jacob had the food ready sooner than expected, and explained this unexpected quickly to alleviate his fathers concerns by crediting the Isaac’s God. With digital devices today, something you have is often a security token card. Security token cards typically leverage specialized mathematical algorithms on a compute platform. Usually the security token cards either (i) generate new tokens sequentially (i.e. after a code is entered), or (ii) are time-based & generate new tokens frequently, such as every minute. As none of these technologies were available to Isaac, Isaac relied upon his son brining food as a prerequisite “something you have” to secure access to the blessing.

III. Something You Are

Jacob correctly expressed concern to his mother Rebekah that his father Isaac would recognize the identity spoofing attempt, and curse him rather than bless him. Jacob’s basic objection was being caught rather than whether it was morally reprehensible to steal his brothers blessing. Reasonable security measures visibly in place to catch those doing wrong with adverse consequences are often an effective  deterrent as a preventative security technique. In Jacob’s case, his mother Rebekah alleviated those detective & punitive concerns enough for Jacob to attempt to deceive his own father Jacob, much like criminal colleagues encourage risky behavior leading many to do wrong & committing crimes, resulting in prison time and/or their death as a consequence.

Physical Features

As physical features are naturally used everyday to distinguish each person’s identity, Isaac implemented two physical ways to verify the identity claims. Because Isaac’s eyesight had faded with his aging, Isaac relied upon non-visual physical attributes. First, Jacob listened to the voice, and correctly determined it was Jacob’s voice using his still reasonably well-functioning voice recognition capability. Second, Isaac also felt Jacob’s arms to confirm it was Esau, since Esau had hairy arms, whereas Jacob’s arms were smooth, and incorrectly identified Jacob as Esau.

Biometric Readers:

Authentication techniques around “something you are” relates to biometric sensed data on carefully observed physical features, like with fingerprints / finger scans, iris/retina scans, hand/facial geometry/features, signatures, keyboard / signature dynamics, and voice recognition. Because biometrics technologies are imperfect, measurements are made of their false rejection rate (FRR, type I errors) and false acceptance rates (FAR, type II errors), with the crossover error rate (CER) / equal error rate (EER) being where the type I and type II errors are equal. Isaac improperly authenticated Jacob using the physical attributes of the skin hairiness, effectively being caught by a false acceptance rate (FAR, type II errors) caused by Jacob offering a different sample (Esau’s animal skin) to the biometric reader (Isaac’s feeling Jacob’s arms). History here shows us that when using a biometric reader (i.e. Isaac feeling Jacobs arms), that compensating controls must be enacted to ensure correct samples are obtained to counter incorrectly affirming fraudulent identity claims.

Biometric Reliance:

In this case, Isaac now had two different biometric results, one that indicated it was Jacob impersonating Esau, and the other indicating it really was Esau. Unlike biometric technologies today, where it is known which measurements are more accurate (such as iris/ retina scans), likely there were no statistics available to Isaac to show that the voice recognition technique he employed was more reliable than checking whether the arms were smooth or hairy.

Part 2: Multi-Factor Authentication: 

Reliance upon just one of the above authentication factors (i.e. just one category) is less reliable than reliance upon multiple factors (i.e. techniques in two or more categories). So when more assurance is needed, then there is often a requirement to provide two or more of the three factors (i.e. categories) of (i) something you know, (ii) something you have, and (iii) something you are. Even though Jacob had already provided some evidence of (i) something you know and (ii) something you have, there was still concern since there was contradictory evidence on (iii) something you are. As a result Isaac asked if the person claiming to be Esau really was Esau, and of course the impostor affirmed prior identity claims, leading to authorizing Jacob for full access to Esau’s blessings.

In hindsight, knowing that despite all the authentication methods Isaac employed to ensure the proper son Esau was blessed, and with detailed knowledge on how the identity spoofing was conducted, let’s speculate on how else Isaac could have validated / authenticated who it was.

III. Something You Are Revisited:

One the physical attribute checks, recognize that common biometrics today include technologies like fingerprints / finger scans, iris/retina scans, hand/facial geometry/features, signatures, keyboard / signature dynamics, and voice recognition. Of those technologies, if Isaac previously observed the two brothers hands or face were sufficiently distinctive in geometric size/shape rather than just texture, then that would have provided another opportunity to validate / authenticate. As they were twin brothers (likely fraternal twins), it is very possible significant similarities existed. While Isaac could have requested his wife Rebekah as a trusted identity authentication provider to assist, it is reasonable to conclude Rebekah would have confirmed the falsified identity claims.

II. Something You Have Revisited: 

It is unknown whether there was something distinctive that Esau would have carried around all the time, that Jacob might not have had, and might not have easily gotten.

I. Something You Know Revisited:

The hypothesis to be tested is whether it Esau or Jacob was present, based upon voice recognition results. Many movies show authentication of an individual identity claim leveraging a broader set of historical knowledge like distinctive events shared together.  Isaac would need to inquire about something only Esau knew, and that Jacob did not know. Likely it’d also need to be something Rebekah did not know either, to eliminate further identify spoofing tricks due to their collusion. Basically, a set of distinctive cognitive questions needed to be posed to further establish the identity claims validity.

What if the evidence continued to remain inconclusive? How else could the identity claims have been assessed?

Time-Based Access Controls:

In security, sometimes subjects are authorized to gain access only during specific times. In hindsight, one technique Isaac could have done was allow more than ample time for the “real” Esau to show up, if indeed it was Jacob who was there, as some evidence suggested.

Capability Assessments:

Just like high speed phone & telecommunications network claims are assessed with speed tests in various locations, so too Isaac might have tested which son was there based upon unique skills / capabilities each one had. Was Esau good at whistling or some other skill, while Jacob was poor?

Subtle Communication Differences:

Were there certain types of phrases / words that each brother preferred, that could have been observed via further banter asking about one thing, while listening for these hints? Was their humor different? Their laughs different?

State the Blessing is for Esau:

Another approach would have been to explicitly state the blessing is for his son Esau when bestowing the blessing, so that even if the person there was not Esau, the blessing only applied for Esau. Since God knows who is Esau and who is Jacob, even if their own father was uncertain, God would properly administer the blessings.

Ask God:

As this situation was beyond the ability for Isaac to determine for certain whether the it was Jacob or Esau, taking time to pray to God for guidance / assistance is another technique worth pursuing. God knew in detail what was taking place, and that both Jacob and Rebekah were behind the identity spoofing scheme.

Jacob’s Future:

God’s Word revealed in the Bible through numerous witnesses over thousands of years is very clear about who will enter the Kingdom of God. Liars will be excluded, of which Jacob was clearly a liar at that time in his life. God would honor the blessing of Isaac for Jacob and work to turn Jacob around towards greater integrity.

Revelation 17:6-8 (ESV): 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

God’s Patience:

Why does God allow certain people who are presently doing evil to remain in the world? Surely some people are like Pharaoh, who are allowed to remain as an illustration about what happens to those who wish prefer to be stubborn in the face of God’s power & grace. Yet, God allows certain people who are presently doing evil to persist in the world, since God is working towards several choosing to repent and turn to righteousness.

2 Peter 3:9 (ESV): 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Luke 13:5 (ESV): I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Personal Blessings:

After all this effort by Jacob to acquire access to God’s blessings, is this expected from you? Are these blessings only limited to some people and some family members? The answer: Jesus, the Savior of the World, came for all people and died for each person’s sins. Each person is to seek our Jesus the Son of God and his righteousness to come to have faith & believe & repent from (be sorry & turn away from) their sin with God’s assistance to secure God’s blessings. When in pursuit, seek to Imitate Jesus’ & his followers righteousness. Only mimic the determination of Jacob & Rebekah, yet not their immoral conduct.

John 3:14-16 (ESV): 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 6:31-34 (ESV): 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Seeking God’s Blessing while Imperfect:
Just like Jacob’s conduct & character was flawed when seeking God’s blessing, so too those seeking God have characters that God will need to transform. Jesus came to seek all people, so the lost & sick have a place to turn. Seek out that transformation through pursuing & understanding God’s righteousness lived out by Jesus the Redeemer of the World.

John 3:2-8 (ESV): 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Personal Repentance:

Is there any area of your life where you need to come to Jesus? Curious to know more? Learn about the Parable of the Sower and the Reapers Roadmap & your responsibility at https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/invitation-to-delve-deeply-into-the-parable-of-the-sower/ .


(1) Read the Bible in Genesis Chapter 27 with Security in mind as watch Isaac’s plan to bless his Son at http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+27&version=ESV

(2) Wikipedia article on Multifactor Authentication at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-factor_authentication and an article on Cognitive Passwords at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_password

(3) CISSP: All in One, 5th Edition,by Shon Harris, http://www.logicalsecurity.com/education/education_books.html

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