Friday, April 19, 2019

An Empty Tomb

Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.  And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the watchers did quake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus, who hath been crucified.  He is not here; for he is risen, even as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples, He is risen from the dead; and lo, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. - Matthew 28:1-7

Almost all Christians would agree that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most significant event in history.  The reason for the significance of Christ's death are fairly obvious.  He took upon himself the punishment for our sins, so that we might be reconciled to God the Father.  The significance of Jesus' resurrection, however, are sometimes not quite so apparent.  That is what I would like to look at today.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is significant because it is proof of a number of very important things.

1. First and foremost, Christ's resurrection is our proof that he is who he claims to be, that being the unique Son of God, God taking on human flesh, the second person of the Trinity.

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead - Romans 1:3-4

2.  The resurrection is proof that Jesus is the righteous judge who will judge us all. In Athens, a city which the Bible describes as being completely given over to idolatry at that particular point in time, Paul preached these words regarding that idolatry:

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter. - Acts 17:30-32

I think it’s worth noting that our country today would likely rival, if not surpass 1st century Athens for idolatry, and one will also receive the same response to a declaration of the resurrection; namely mockery from some, but also some who are willing to hear more.  But what this scripture tells us about the resurrection is that it is proof that judgment is coming, that Jesus is the Judge, and of the righteousness with which he will judge. We also see this in 2 Corinthians 5:10 -  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

3.  The resurrection of Jesus is proof of our justification before God.  We find this in the 3rd verse of chapter 4 of Paul's letter to the Romans:  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 

And a few verses further on he adds this:

And therefore [still speaking of faith] it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. - Romans 4:22-25

In other words, the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that the payment he made for sins was accepted by God the Father.

4.  The resurrection is also proof of victory over death. 

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. - Romans 6:8-9

Likewise, if we are in Christ, then in him we have won the victory over death as we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

5.  Jesus resurrection is proof that we will also be resurrected;

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. - 1 Corinthians 15:19-23

6. Finally the resurrection of Jesus provides us with the eager expectation that we have a place reserved for us in heaven that will last through eternity.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you - 1 Peter 1:3-4

Did you catch that?  According to his abundant mercy God has begotten us again, or as some translations put it, caused us to be born again to a living hope.   Do you have that living hope? 

Jesus' resurrection from the dead is the proof that all these things are true.  That you can have an eternal inheritance in heaven.  Proof that if you belong to Christ you too will be resurrected from the dead.  That you can have the victory over death.  Christ's resurrection is proof that his payment for sinners on the cross was accepted by the Father and stamped "Paid In Full."  But his resurrection is also proof that Jesus is the Son of God who is the righteous Judge.  And that brings us back to the death which Christ was raised from.  He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.  Do you believe that? 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. - John 3:16-18

There we have two different groups of people, and everyone belongs to one of these two groups.  Either you are one who believes and has the promise of an eternal inheritance, or you are one who does not believe and is condemned.  But God, by his grace, has made it possible for a person to leave the group who are condemned simply by turning from sin and to Jesus, believing on Him. 


And why should you believe? Because of proof.  By his resurrection from the dead Jesus proved that he is the Son of God and that he is the one who will judge all men. By his resurrection from the dead Jesus proved that his followers are justified before God, that he has won the victory over death, and that they too will be resurrected. We have certainly been given enough proof.  If you believe, then you already have the victory through Christ.  If not, won’t you ask God to give you faith? Won't you submit to his love?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Motorcycle Drag Races Return to Humbolt Iowa, July 6, 2019

The 4th of July weekend motorcycle drag races are making a return to Humboldt in 2019.  The one day event will take place on Saturday July 6, and is being held in conjunction with the annual A.B.A.T.E. Freedom rally in nearby Algona.  Since this venue and holiday cannot help but bring back memories of Tator Gilmore's legendary Iowa Hog Drags of the 1980s and '90s, I thought it appropriate to post some of my pictures from the 1985 event, where I, and probably some others, got our feet wet in actual legal, sanctioned drag racing.

The tank shell on this fuel bike tells me this must be Jamie Morocco, "Mr Big"

Kevin Cleary on "Hell Bound Train"

Not 100% sure on this one, but I think it might be Tony Drexler's fueler.  Note a sizable portion of the front cylinder has left the immediate vicinity!

Staging Lanes

The young whipper snapper kneeling behind his Sportster is none other than Doug Vancil.  As I recall he was 16 years old at the time, and not only won his street bike class, he won the shoot out between the other street class winners.

The return road  (My understanding is that it is now paved)

The joint effort Bobby and I brought to the race next to the single rail open trailer it arrived on, settled in the lush pit area

Bobby about to line up for a pass

Nothing like success to "set the hook" for a lifelong passion

And then, as daylight began to fade, we were "photo bombed" by this guy who didn't even have a drag bike.  I think they called him "Willie G something-or-other.

So, since the question will probably come up ... Yes, God willing, "The Knuckledragger" will very likely put in an appearance at the 2019 version of this event.  After all, if you look close at the flyer you may notice a couple shots of my bike as part of the background.  One last thing.  Props to Jay Rogers for putting a lot of work into making this "new" event happen and especially for his efforts to get a field of fuel Harleys together.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Righteous Lot

Many of you may recall the Old Testament narrative about Lot, who with his family fled from Sodom and Gomorrah just as those cities were about to be destroyed by God. Recently I read a post by someone intent on proving that Lot was a righteous man.  Well, I cannot argue with that sentiment since it is clearly stated in 2 Peter 2:6-8.

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)  

Okay, so what’s the problem, you might ask.  Well, its just here.  Recalling the events as recorded in Genesis 19, God sent two angels to warn Abraham’s nephew Lot that the city of his abode would shortly be destroyed.  When they, as men in appearance, entered Lot’s house the men of the city came and demanded that Lot turn them over to them:

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. (Genesis 19:5-8)

The problem, of course, is how to reconcile Lot’s action in offering up his daughters to be gang raped in place of his house guests and still be called righteous by the apostle Peter.  Now, I can do it rather easily, (and I will in a moment) as can many Christians who have a firm grasp of scripture, or are willing to take a moment to consider the case.  However, the author of the aforementioned post was forced to read all sorts of missing details into the narrative to square it with his theology, particularly his soteriology. (Soteriology is a 12-dollar word for the doctrine of how one receives salvation)

You see, when your religion teaches that it is your own actual righteousness that saves you, rather than the righteousness of Christ Jesus being counted as yours, then you will have to find a way to excuse or explain away the sin of those who the Bible calls righteous.  But for the true believer, it is quite simple. Lot was called righteous in the inspired word of God for exactly the same reason that his uncle Abraham was called righteous.  For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:3)   and again,Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Galatians 3:6)

But of course, once again, if your religion teaches that it is your own righteousness that saves you rather than the imputed righteousness of Christ, then you will also find yourself looking for a “work around” for the rather clear teachings given through the apostle Paul mentioned above.  In fact, you may need to find a way to explain away his entire letter to the Galatians.

However, by God’s providence, just as I started to write this article I came to this Old Testament admonition during my daily Bible reading which further clarifies the matter:  When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.  (Ezekiel 33:13)

So, while those of us who put our trust in Christ’s righteousness and not our own self-righteousness can ponder whether Lot’s actions in offering his daughters to the mob was morally reprehensible or acceptable given the circumstances, we don’t have to make him out to be someone more than what we are; sinners saved by grace!