Justice Served in the Wrong Way

Due to what we are seeing in America today, I am republishing (with some edits) a post I wrote over 11 years ago. Almost 70 million babies have been murdered since 1973. These are just the numbers reported. This is equivalent to the population of Thailand or France or the United Kingdom!

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A little over eleven years ago, George Tiller was murdered in cold blood. Here are a few thoughts from a biblical perspective and a reflection on the devastation that I have seen stemming from abortion on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

George Tiller was the abortionist who bragged about being willing and having practiced even late-term (3rd trimester) abortions more than 60,000 times in his blood-filled career. 

Who is wrong and who is right in the current battle?

Is it the pro-choice or the pro-life camp? Each claim to have God on their side (especially the liberal religious pro-choice groups) even as evidenced by Tiller’s hypocritical service on Sundays as an usher in a Lutheran Church. On the other hand, even evangelicals in the pro-life camp do not always see the big picture and get sucked into the philosophy of the world in attempt to justify certain actions.

However, what does God say in His Holy Word? The principle in no uncertain terms is this - two wrongs never make a right! 

What and who was wrong? Let’s look at a few points to consider.

1. The Old Testament law made it clear that those who shed blood by man would their blood be shed. Yes, we recognize that this was given under a theocracy and referred to the matter of capital punishment.

2. This law was not given to individuals to take justice into their own hands. Vengeance belongs to God alone.

3. God instituted human government so that the sword might not be carried in vain. However, human government is often corrupted and does not seek to gain their wisdom from the Almighty God, maker of heaven and earth.

4. True believers are commanded to give honor to the government but only as far as it does not supercede the law of God for we ought to obey God rather than man.

5. To kill another and take their life in premeditated murder is contrary to the moral law of God which proclaims, “Thou shalt not kill.” Thus taking the life of Tiller belonged to nobody but God.

6. The government must take part of the blame for the murder of this doctor for it was they who allowed him to practice the murder of innocent babies including those who would have been viable had he delivered them alive at the moment he was murdering them.

7. The government is to blame in that they have openly and willfully defied the commands of God in regards to God being the giver of life and that life begins at conception. They have stated that in the depths of their human wisdom they are nothing but fools when compared to the wisdom of the Most High. Our justices and judges are to blame as they flaunt their foolishness over and over despite the will of the people and more importantly despite the law of God.

8. The church and leadership of where Tiller was a member must take their part of the blame for they allowed a mass murderer in their midst each Sunday while proclaiming that what they were doing was worship to God. Yet, all they were doing was thumbing their noses at God and daring Him to bring judgment.

9. The church was to blame for allowing one to call himself a “Christian” when what he did was diametrically opposed to the Word of God and for not bringing church discipline into the equation many years ago. Instead, they catered to many other factors probably to include the financial benefits that a rich man like Tiller brought into their coffers thus showing their the god they worshipped was the mammon of the world.

10. The man who pulled the trigger was to blame because it was a premeditated murder calculated to take the life of the man who had killed so many thousands. He probably justified in his head that he was to be the instrument of death.

11. America at large must take their part of the blame as well for her citizens have forgotten the principles upon which this great country was founded. They have forgotten that government is to be by the people and for the people. They have failed to use their votes to remove those who thumb their noses at God and flaunt His holy commands.

12. America is to blame for allowing the murder of millions to take place for the sake of a small vocal group of feminists who have been allowed to push their agenda on a gullible public.

13. America is to blame for the gross immorality and lack of morals which allow for men and women to have intimate relationships being driven by nothing but lust and hatred for the thought of commitment.

14. Many evangelicals are to blame because they think they have had the right to introduce situational ethics into the clear express teaching of Scripture. Many have decided that it is ok to punish the infant because of the sins of the father; therefore, abortion is murder UNLESS it is for the sake of rape or incest!

15. Evangelicals are to blame because they have not had a united front because many of them years ago decided that catering to man instead of preaching the infallible Word of God through faithful exposition of the Word is more favorable to large offerings. They took the passages they liked and left the ones they didn’t thus producing large congregations who have theology miles wide but 1/2 inch deep!!

16. Evangelicals are to blame because we have been a much larger moral voice than any other fringe group in America and yet we have not used our voices to take a stand for what is right. We have not expressed our disgust and rage at the senseless murder of millions! We have not followed in the footsteps of Nehemiah and fallen to our knees crying to God for forgiveness for our own sin, the sins of our families and the sins of our nation!

17. Many pastors are to blame because many fear man instead of God. They have become babysitters not shepherds. They fail to study the Scriptures and proclaim loudly, “THUS SAYS THE LORD.” Instead they choose to proclaim, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. This is your best life now. You can live anyway you wish to do so with no discipline from the church. You can do what you want to with your body and disregard the Scripture that says if you are a believer then your body belongs to God NOT TO YOU!”

Many are to blame for the events that led up to the killing of Tiller. Even though only one pulled the trigger, many more were just as wrong before God for their complacency or complicity in the occupation which Tiller chose to engage. God is and always will be the Sovereign of the universe. He will not be mocked and whatsoever a man sows that will he reap. While God is not the author of sin, He does control what He allows to happen and He obviously has allowed the life of this murderer to be taken. Judgment for Tiller will now commence for all of eternity at the hands of the Giver of Life.

To conclude, I did not mourn for the killing of a murderer. However, I did and still rejoice that the lives of thousands of infants were spared his weapons of mass destruction. 
However, I must have a sense of compassion though for his family who must grieve although they enjoyed the fruits of not allowing others to grieve and enjoyed the fruits of blatant murder on a weekly basis. 

As a true believer, I must grieve that America has come to the dismal state she has and that millions like Tiller are dying every day with no hope of eternal life, and no hope of anything but eternal judgment and condemnation from the righteous Lord of glory.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Mark Escalera

Do We Disobey?

We live in turbulent times. To say that life is “no longer normal” would probably be a gross understatement. This would be especially true for the overwhelming majority of those of us who live in the west.

Yet, for those who are true believers, we find ourselves in a quandary. Government officials give mandates but many wonder if we are called to obey God first or follow ALL the dictates of human government.

Romans 13 is often used as a blanket statement to make the decree that any and all opposition to government is ultimately a sin against God. If we stand for what is right, then some would seek to condemn such behavior as being ungodly. I have heard from more than one individual that “no matter what the government decrees, we are to obey with the exception of sharing the gospel.”

Recently, Todd Friel of Wretched Radio broadcasted a video in which he made his position very clear and that he believed there were no exceptions.

For the record, “Truth in Grace” does NOT agree with Friel. I do not agree with Friel. More importantly, the Bible does not line up with Friel’s interpretation.

Yes, this is about much more than the wearing of a facemask.

But, what is right? At what point do we take a stand against forms of tyranny?

Down through the centuries of church history, persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ has always been a part of the church. During times of intense persecution, the Church has always grown stronger.

However, the Church (even in the New Testament) never simply stood at the door of their houses and waiting for the soldiers of Caesar to take them to the Coliseum. Husbands NEVER just stood by while their wives and daughters were ravaged. They had a higher command from Christ to protect their families.

Believers around the world are constantly in violation of government mandates when they 1) refuse to accept an abortion under a one-child mandate, 2) continue to teach children of the Bible when the government says those under 18 are not permitted in worship services, 3) when they seek to protect the lives of others (think Christians protecting Jews under the Nazi regime), and 4) when they still meet for worship although the government mandates they cannot meet.

These are but a very small collection of times when we ought to obey God rather than man. Yes, we recognize that this world is not our home, but even the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded saying, in at least three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), that persecution is coming and that those who understand are to FLEE!

Some may have you believe that if the government becomes tyrannical and orders all Christians to show up for extermination in an interment camp that we are to willing, obediently, and without reservation simply turn ourselves in for the grand event.

This is NOT Biblical!! And absolutely no part of true church history shows such a thing taking place. Yes, Peter gives advice for when we go through suffering, but there is NOT one single mandate in Scripture that commands true believers to simply give up for the government to kill us.

All our brothers and sisters who have suffered persecution are suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ. They are living their lives in such a way as to bring honor and glory to the Lamb who was slain. If they live, they live as to the Lord. If they die, they die as to the Lord.

As an example, the wearing of a mask is not the real issue. The real issue is how far the government goes in taking away freedoms to worship and obey God.

What do we obey and what do we disobey?

The simple answer is found in Dr. John MacArthur’s message shared below.

“We disobey the government when the government tells you to do what God forbids you to do, or mandates that you stop doing what God commands you to do.”

If believers are commanded not to sing, praise, and worship – we disobey!

If pastors are told what they can and cannot preach – we disobey!

If believers are told that we cannot meet – we disobey!

If we are to undergo persecution, let it be for the sake of Jesus Christ and not for mere issues that do not matter in the light of eternity.

Firm Foundations – Lessons 6 & 7

The Lord has been gracious to allow me the privilege of teaching at Yellowstone Baptist Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. While I have taught through Firm Foundations before, my intent of going through it this time is to do so in conjunction with the truth of the New Testament. Each time I teach, I have been encouraged to see how people respond to things that they maybe have never heard before in their Christian walk.

These two lessons cover God creating woman as well as touching on the institution of marriage which was created by God.

Final Justice – Part 1

Many within evangelicalism have gone after the Baals of the world. The church has been seduced by the world. — These are some of the thoughts from Dr. John MacArthur’s first message on the subject of “Final Justice – The Return of Christ.”

When Christ Our Life Appears

Another beautiful hymn put out by Sovereign Grace Music and Bob Kauflin. In a day when the world is falling down around us, look up dear brothers and sisters to He who will one day appear and establish righteousness, justice, and His eternal kingdom.

Through Broken Vessels

“It has been well-said that before God uses a man greatly He must first break him breakly. God works best through broken vessels who have been crushed by the hammer blows of the devil. The more we desire to be used by God the greater must be our willingness to suffer for Him. There are no easy paths in ministry. Every assignment is a killing place.

This quote and brief sermon jam comes from Dr. Steve Lawson’s ministry during the 2010 Shepherds’ Conference in California at Dr. John MacArthur’s church.

During this time of trial and troubles, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I struggle with fears of my own. I fear for family, for friends, and for churches. Yet, down through the ages of church history, persecution has always given the church wings to grow and be refined as the Bride of Christ.

If you also have fears, look to Jesus and be a broken vessel fit for the Master’s use.

Christ Exalted is Our Song

The news today will not exalt Christ. It will not promote the kingdom of heaven. The news is only intent on reporting on the vile depravity that oozes out of the hearts of men and women around this world.

Today, I encourage you to turn off the news and focus on Jesus Christ. Do not keep your eyes on that which will not edify your soul and make you more like the Savior.

Missionary in Need

One of our contributors, Sony Elise, knows this missionary family (Mike and Pam Richardson) down in Mexico. Please click the picture below to go to a funding page that has been set up for them by their daughter, Misty Marr.

Pray for these folks, and if you are able to help with their financial need — I am sure that they would be very grateful.

If you would like to read more about their ministry, down in Mexico, you can CLICK HERE.

Seeing Jesus Only

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. — Matthew 17:1-8

We live in troubled times – very troubled times. As Christians, we should heed the words of the Messiah to His disciples in John 14:1. He told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

As the disciples walked the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee, I wonder how much time they wasted pondering the times of trouble. They lived in a difficult time and were even under the heavy-handed rule of Rome. The disciples lived under a time of occupation by enemy forces.

Yet, at no time, did Jesus act the part of a revolutionary as some fraudulently claim. Not only did He submit to the will of His Father, but He also obeyed the laws that were in force both from the perspective of Jewish and Roman law.

In many ways, the Jewish people served as slaves to Rome, yet not one single verse ever encouraged true believers to revolt, start a revolution, or to try and overthrow the government. Instead, the Scriptures commanded slaves to be obedient to their masters as unto the Lord, and masters were to be honorable in their dealings with those who served them again as unto the Lord.

While walking those roads, I am sure there must have been many times that hushed voices from men like Simon the Zealot pondered aloud what needed to be done to get rid of Rome. But, not once did Christ encourage this. On the contrary, He reminded them and others who listened that this world is not where His kingdom was to be found. It was not a physical kingdom and He never had any plans to become a new and improved rebel leader who would do finally accomplish what the Maccabees could not.

Despite all the talks and parables used, the disciples held a skewed perspective about how they saw Jesus. Even in the event known as “The Transfiguration”, we can see that the wrong focus brought the inner-most circle of disciples to a point where they spoke from their emotions instead of being led by the renewing of their mind.

The reality is that they were not focused on Jesus only.

It is an intimate setting as Jesus and only three disciples go for a walk. Away from the other disciples and the crowds that always clamored for the Messiah’s attention, He leads them up to the top of a mountain. It has been just six days since the conversation where Peter gives his startling admission that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of the living God.

The Lord Jesus Christ shares that He would build His Church and that He would soon have to suffer. Peter then rebukes the Rabbi, but in turn is called to account as Jesus tells the impetuous disciple that he is only savoring the things of man, and not the things of God.

Jesus then gives a short discourse on the importance of dying to self, and that to fulfill the will of God that each person who is a true believer must take up their own cross and deny themselves.

Now, six days later, they have climbed a mountain and Jesus is transfigured before their very eyes. The word used is where we get our word metamorphosis. He changes and they see His divine glory. His face becomes like the sun and His garments are white as the light.

As they watch, Moses and Elijah appear. Moses represents the law and the commandments, while Elijah represents the prophets. Peter, always the spokesman, announces that it is good to be in the presence of the law and the prophets and the Messiah. He then states that maybe they should honor these three men by building a tent or a tabernacle. This would have been a skin-covered dwelling place such as the Ark of God rested during the years when there was no Temple in Jerusalem.

A cloud comes down upon them and they hear a voice from heaven. The voice does not address the presence of the law and the prophets. Moses and Elijah were only forerunners to point to the One Who stood glowing in their midst. They were present for a time, but now a New Covenant was about to be brought into place.

This is my beloved Son, HEAR HIM!

The voice spoke out of the bright, glowing cloud and forced them to do what any person would do when they come into contact with the divine glory of Christ and are in the presence of a Holy God.

They fall to the ground with their faces in the lowest place they can find. They know they are in the very presence of God. The disciples know the accounts of what took place when God showed up and they are afraid. This is not a mere phobia. The two words indicate they were violently or vehemently afraid. These grown men are scared to death and shaking.

“But Jesus…”

The Master comes up to them, touches them, soothes their troubled thoughts, tells them not to fear, and raises them to their feet.

Their quaking subsides and as they stand to their feet again, their eyes see Jesus only. The law and the prophets held people captive until the Son of God came and took on human flesh. As they see Jesus, it will be a few days yet before He is delivered to death. But, after His death and resurrection, they will understand the words that He said to them. The disciples will know the significance of what occurred on top of that high mountain.

All the rules, words of the prophets, laws, statutes, and commandments could never restore full fellowship with God. These things were meant to show how wide the gap was between a holy, righteous God and depraved humanity.

The hearts of the disciples were troubled and instead of focusing just on the Lord Jesus Christ, they were concerned about building a tent or tabernacle in order to give continued honor to the law and the prophets. But Jesus Christ shares His glory with no other.

The Transfiguration would forever be engrained in the hearts and minds of these disciples. They had been given a privilege that the other disciples were not provided. Yet, years later, the same disciple who tried to rebuke Jesus and then denied Him three times would write the following:

2 Peter 1:16-18 — For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

When Jesus took the three men up to the top of the high mountain, He removed them from all of the distractions of the world. Once He was transfigured, He also removed from their hearts and minds the distraction of what He came to fulfill in its entirety. Christ did not discount the law or the prophets, but He wanted them to understand that ALL the glory belongs to Him. He was sent by the Father to do the will of the Father so that we might have eternal life.

Despite his miserable failings and his sins, Peter and his two fellow disciples never forgot that they had seen the majesty of Jesus Christ.

Friends, in today’s world, we live in a time of trouble and it will only get worse. Whatever your position may be in the area of eschatology (study of end times), there is no true believer who can look at the current state of the world and believe that it is getting better and better.

For all who are true believers by placing their faith in Christ alone for their salvation, it would be a blessing if we could catch such a glimpse of the majesty of God. However, after His resurrection, Christ told Thomas that those who believe and have not seen are blessed.

One day, these Shadowlands will disappear. We shall behold Him in all of His splendor, in all of His glory, in all of His power, and in all of His majesty.

Today, I beg you to put aside earthly affections and once again set your affections on things above. Focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him ENDURED the cross.

Are we better than our own Master? God forbid!

No matter what we may face, our God is greater. No matter the trials or tribulations, in the light of eternity, they will be but light afflictions.

Firm Foundations – Lesson 5

This particular lesson is one of my favorites to teach as it deals with the creation of man. Man is the crowning achievement and the pinnacle of all that God created.

Man is not an animal and is vastly different from the animals. The animals were created with body and spirit as they were spoken into existence by God. Man was personally formed out of the dust of the ground, his spirit was breathed into him personally by God, and then was given a soul that made him immortal for the soul never dies.

Racial Reconciliation

The lives of many evangelicals no longer revolve around the Word of God, but around things which are completely antithetical to God’s plan and purposes for mankind. Too often, churches are jumping on the world’s bandwagons instead of saying, “Wait, we need to see what God has to say in His Word about these issues that we are facing.”

Dr. Voddie Baucham addresses the issue of racial reconciliation from Ephesians 2 and hits it out of the park. For those who are true believers, our identity is NOT found in the color of our skin, our background, or our culture. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ.

The Glorious Christ

Today, June 14th is Flag Day in America. Many are celebrating with flags being waved, displayed on their cars, or being flown in front of their homes.

For millennium, flags or banners have been waved for many different reasons. But this beautiful hymn from Sovereign Grace reminds me that the banner of Jesus Christ will always wave across His kingdom. As Solomon wrote, “His banner over me is love.”

Truly, our Lord, our King, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Messiah, our Prince of Peace is worthy of praise. He is glorious above all things.

Glorious
Lord, You are glorious
Shepherd and King, forever You’ll be glorious
Holy and here with us
Let every heart declare that You are glorious

Kneel to God Alone

As true believers, we kneel before God alone. He alone is worthy of our worship, our honor, and the One we seek when we need to ask forgiveness.

The world can demand all they want, but our allegiance is to the King of Kings.

In case, you have forgotten today with all that is happening, then Behold Our God!

Built on Nothing Less

In this day of turmoil, upheaval, and outright blatant disregard for God-appointed government, I wanted to encourage our hearts with the beautiful reminder that the true AND only hope for a sin-cursed, totally depraved world is built on nothing less than the blood of Jesus Christ.

Dear believers, no matter what happens, we stand secure on the Solid Rock which is Jesus Christ. ALL other ground is sinking sand.

The Gospel and Black Lives Matter

John MacArthur gives a brief synopsis of the work of the church as it relates to culture and society. In this short video, he shares part of his life story and where he was when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

In the second video, Dr. MacArthur answers some questions as it pertains to social justice and the role of the church in society.