Motivational Gifts (Rom.12:3-7)

Motivation is the process of being inspired and made enthusiastic to do something.
The person who has a motivational gift is inspired and enthusiastic to do a particular thing for which he is enabled by God.
Motivational gifts help to keep the Body of Christ motivated and lively.

8 Facts regarding the Motivational Gifts:
1. Everyone has at least one motivational gift, apart from the 9 Gifts of the Spirit (Rom.12:3)
2. Motivational gift is grace that a person is given; however, ministry gifts are persons that Christ gives to the church (Rom.12:3)
3. Motivational gifts are not mere natural talents; for example, prophecy is not a natural psychical ability; they are gifts from God that identify our fuctional role in the church (Rom.12:6)
4. Motivational gifts are given according to grace (Rom.12:3)
5. Motivational gifts are given to each according to the measure of faith which God gives to one to operate in the gift (Ro.12:3)
6. We can only operate in the motivational gift in proportion to our faith (Rom.12:6)
7. Motivational gifts can only flow out of self-surrender and humility (Rom.12:1-3)
8. Motivational gifts are action gifts, which must be used in the particular action (or ministry in ministering.. etc)

Foundations of the Motivational Gifts
1. Spiritual Worship - Sacrifice of Body (Rim.12:1)
2. Transformation of Self by Renewing of Mind - Discernment of Good and Evil (Pure Conscience) (Rom.12:2)
3. Right View of Self, God, and the Body of Christ - Relationships (Rom.12:3-5)
4. Operation in the Gifts - The Act of Service

Drivers: Grace, Faith
Qualities: Reverence, Humility, Love, Action

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The Gospel According to Romans

I. The Promise of the Gospel

Given through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures
- It was a Spoken Promise – Communicated
- It was a Written Promise – Encoded, Recorded

Promise of the Gospel: “That God will save…”
Promises of the Gospel. “Salvation, life, adoption….”

Rom.15:8; Gal.3:16, 22

Why the Promise of the Gospel Was Made
1. Because man by his righteousness could not fulfill the righteousness of God.
The Law can’t save. It can only condemn.
Israel is the greatest example.
- Sinned despite of miracles
- Sinned despite of Tabernacle
- Sinned despite of Shekinah
- Sinned despite of prophets, priests… (Jer.5:31)
Education can’t transform
Religion can’t transform
2. Because God loved us and wants us to be saved. (1Jn.4:19)
- Cross: Greatest symbol of human rejection of God and God’s embrace of man
3. Because the Gospel is the only way for man to be saved.
That is why it is the GOSPEL

II. The Person of the Gospel

Not an ordinary man.
Mediator: Real. High Priest.

According to the Flesh: Son of David
According to the Spirit of Holiness: Son of God

Jn.3:16

Gospel of the Son of David
Gospel of the Son of God

a. Humanity and Divinity. Perfect Mediator. (Heb.2)
b. Royal Lineage. King
c. Embodiment of Promise. In Him all promise are “Yes” and “Amen”
Declared: “It is finished”. His Name is “Amen”
He finished the work of righteousness
He sanctified us by His sacrifice.
Holiness: Not in degrees. But, a position. We don’t become holy. We are made holy in Him. New man.

III. The Propagation of the Gospel

Grace and Apostleship
Grace given to all; but Apostleship only to a few

Work of the Ministry- Ministry of the Gospel
Rom.12:6: Everyone gets gifts of grace
1Pet.4:10-11: Stewards of grace

120 saints in the Upper Room. Not all were apostles but all received grace to bear witness (Acts 1:8)

Matt.25:15: Parable of Talents

1. Grace is a Free Gift.
Received freely – freely give (Matt.10:8)
Everything received, nothing to boast (1Cor.4:7)
1Cor.9:18 – Gospel without charge
2Cor.11:7-9
1Tim.6:5 – Not for gain: Don’t be like the man with one talent who: “Why labor for someone else’ profit?” “What do I get?” This attitude is nothing but wickedness

The greatest reward: 1Cor.9:17-18; Phil.4:1

2. Grace is Privilege
1Cor.9:16-17. Woe if I don’t preach..
1Cor.15:10,11. By grace I am what I am…
Grace works… Grace in action.. Effective Grace
You can reach friends that I can’t; likewise, friends reach friends…

SEE THE PRIVILEGE
- 1Pet.1:10-12; Heb.1:1-2. Fathers, Prophets longed for
- Eph. 3:8-10; 1Pet.12. Angels desire to look into
Angels can’t preach the Gospel (e.g. Cornelius’ Story); but you can.

We know Christ. The Fullness of Grace.
New Birth- Spirit
New Law- Love
New Hope – Resurrection
New Ministry – Reconciliation
New Order – All Priests
New Position – Sons
New Relationship – Bride/Bridegroom

Not as OT, New Order

3. Grace is a Responsibility
1Pet.4:10,11. Stewards
Man of one talent – irresponsible, wicked

Esther 4:14. Grace positioned her. Grace demands from her.
Recognize your grace – Rom.12:6
Remember your grace
Witness – Work

Recognize Your Gift
1. Measure of faith. What do you have faith for? (Rom.12:3)
2. Laying on of hands – delegation, authority (2Tim.1:6)
3. Manifestation of Spirit – Gifts (1Cor.12)

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Pursuit of Holiness

Holiness is not a Mount Everest.

To many people today, holiness seems to be as unscalable as Mt. Everest. Not that they haven’t tried; but, each time they attempted the climb, their efforts (successful to a level) soon met with frustrations. Sometimes, it was the roughness of the climb, then sometimes it would just be the weather, the winds of circumstances blowing hard on them. Many times, the pull of comfort from the world below is so strong that they turn back too easily. But, sadly, the higher the climb, the more crushing the fall.

The desire for holiness is nothing but the desire for God. God is the source of holiness (Exo.28:36). He alone is holy (Isa.6:3). The holiness of anything is not inherent in itself; it is holy because of its relation with God. Thus, for humans, holiness is a relationship. We are separated from the world unto God. The phrase “unto God” is central.

Also, the very desire for holiness is a characteristic of being born again. When we were sinful humans, our desires, tastes and preferences were different. A smoker could smoke a pipe and feel proud about it. Men and women would flirt and feel nothing bad about it. But, a born again Christian will never be happy with sin (Rom.6:20-22). Because, the new man cannot sin, anyone born of God will not sin (1Jn.5:18). Not that Christians don’t fall into temptation, but, temptation is a struggle for them – they love holiness and desire holiness. It is their high calling. “We are called unto holiness” (1Thess.4:7; 2Tim.1:9). The Holy Spirit is zealous within us to produce the salvation of God (James 4:5). He lusts for our sanctification while the flesh lusts for sin (Gal.5:17). Holiness is not possible without the Holy Spirit (1Pet.1:2).

Holiness is possible only through Christ. Unless He washes us we have no part in Him (Jn.13:8).

There are various views about sanctification. In some way or the other, they are all speaking the truth. John Wesley said that sanctification means perfection in love; when it is impossible for us to not love, we reflect the holy nature of God (1Jn.5:1-4).

There is a story of Richard Wurmbrand, who was pastor of the underground Church in Romania. He was arrested and put into solitary confinement for many years. One of the police officers was surprised that Wurmbrand didn’t hate his torturers; instead he loved them. He asked him why he did that and Wurmbrand answered that it is impossible for him not to love because he is a child of God and God is love. The officer later accepted Christ and went to prison.

The Keswick theologians said that sanctification can only happen when we stop trying to be holy in our own strength and surrender absolutely to God. The well known phrase was “Let Go, Let God”. Certainly, we cannot sanctify ourselves. It is the altar that sanctifies the gift. Many times we struggle against sin with our own power; but, God never meant us to do that. It is like a man sent by his Company on business; the Company covers all his expenditures, but somehow he believes that he has to spend it from his own pocket because he wants to show that he is not so poor; and so is burdened. There comes a time when his pride has to break. In God’s case, it is much more different. He wants us to surrender our pockets to Him. Unless we surrender, He cannot sanctify us. Remember the young rich man who came to Jesus. He was not willing to surrender everything. That was the only thing that hindered him from entering the Kingdom of God. What is it that you love above God? We can only be purified in total surrender, in total love.

Now, while it is true that we must grow on the foundation of faith; it is important for us to understand that there is nothing like partial holiness in the Kingdom of God. From God’s perspective, we are sanctified by faith in Christ. There is nothing like the division between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The Veil has been torn in the Body of Jesus (Mark 15:38; Heb.10:20). We are called the Most Holy Place of God (1Cor.3:16). We are the Temple of God. And, in Christ we are complete (Col.2:10). There is nothing like partially holy and partially unholy things. Something is either holy or unholy. We must believe that holiness is not something that we do; holiness is what we are in Christ. The new man is spotless and sinless.

However, in our practical life on earth, the struggle remains. We are called to pursue holiness (Heb.12:14). Again, this holiness is not separate from Christ. What is meant is that our conduct must align with God’s calling for our lives. If we fail to produce the fruit, there is the danger of being blotted out (Rom.11:16, 20,21; Rev.3:5). There is another picture that comes in here. It is of the Vine and the branches (Jn.15:1).

A branch grafted into the Vine will produce the fruit of the Vine; however, if it doesn’t abide (and the choice is ours), it is cut off. Therefore, the command is to pursue holiness, to hunger for purity, and to be holy and God is holy.

5 Essentials in the Cleansing Process

There are many pictures that can be chosen, but let’s chose the Biblical picture of cleansing vessels.

1. We Cannot Be Clean without Christ
We are only clean as long as we are in Christ (Col.1:23). Before we were in Christ we were vessels on the street, full of dust and dirt. But Christ brought us in and cleansed us for His service.

2. Cleansing is both External and Internal (the Internal more Important)
Jesus said to the Pharisees that they were clean outside, but dirty inside. Holiness is both internal and external. The Pharisees thought that Jesus was getting polluted because He was associating with sinners, but Jesus said that He came to seek the lost. They judged His disciples as not fasting, not paying tax, not washing hands, doing work on Sabbath. Jesus pointed out that the internal is more important than the external (Matt.23:25,26). He said that all uncleanness proceeds from within (Mark 7:21-23). The within must be cleansed. Secondly, it should be filled with good things; or else, it will turn worse – the evil spirit returns with 7 stronger ones (the latter state is worse than the former, Matt.12:45). David said that God desired truth in the inner being (Psa.51:6). How is your internal state before God?

3. Cleansing is a Daily Responsibility
Does it mean that we get dirty everyday? Or does it mean that we are getting progressively cleansed so that one day we become clean just before we die? I don’t think the latter is true. God wants to use us today; He wants us clean everyday. We grow in maturity; but, holiness is positional and regular. We need to be continuously clean. (2Tim.2:19-22). In order to be useful, we must be clean. Judas failed to be clean and so fell away from the Twelve (Jn.13:10,11). It is important to ensure that we purify ourselves daily from all defilements of flesh and spirit (2Cor.7:1) because we have been separated for the use of God.
Sanctification positionally is ground for cleansing regularly. We are cleansed by His Word (correction, Jn.15:3). We are cleansed by His Blood (forgiveness, Col.1:14).

4. Cleansing always involves a price
You don’t get anything clean without paying something for it. In the OT, it always involved a sacrifice. In NT, Christ paid the price; however, we need to also understand that discipleship is costly (Lk.14:26,27; Heb.12:1-4). Cheaper things will cost our life. The maintenance charges are high; but, the main price is paid by the Lord. He bought us. It is our responsibility to follow Him. You buy a vessel, but you need to use water and detergent to clean it. If you want to be clean you must spend time in the Word of God, fellowship, prayer. Just 120 minutes on Sunday is not enough. It is not automatic. It involves a price.

5. Cleansing is not always a painless process.
Peter says that he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin (1Pet.4:1). The desire for an easy life brings more trouble. David didn’t fall into sin in the battle field; but, when taking a lazy walk. The process does involve struggle against and resistance of sin (Heb.12:4; 1Pet.2:11).

Fire is the purifying agent. Faith-love-works-patience-truth are connected.
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The Cleansing Power of Christ's Blood and God's Call to Holiness

The Bible declares that all men have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom.3:23)

1. We Cannot Cleanse Ourselves; So, God took the Steps to Cleanse Us
In Eden, He provided the skin to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen.3:21)
He provided an Altar. He provided a Temple and ordained the Sin Offering (Exo.29:14)
Then, He became the Sin Offering (Heb.10:8-10)
Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part in me” (Jn.13:8)

2. The Price of our Washing Was Very Great
Something gets spent up for the washing of any dirt. You may use detergents, shampoos, and, of course, a lot of water. But, all these couldn't cleanse us. The price of our cleansing was the Blood of Jesus (1Jn.1:7; Rev.7:14)

3. The Power of Christ’s Blood is Total: The Cleansing is Absolute
“You are clean”, "completely clean" (Jn.13:10) – He alone can clean; He has the authority
He has fully forgiven all our sins – cast them on His back. Remembers our sins no more. He has cleansed us of all sins, past, present, and future (Psa.103:12)

4. He Calls us to Cleanse ourselves
In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. (Pro 16:6 NKJ)
--Atonement is Provided by Christ
--Our Responsibility is to depart from evil
God has called us to holiness. He calls us to cleanse ourselves (1Thess.4:7; James 4:8,9)
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Purity in Living

We are purified by the Blood of Jesus (Heb.9:22,23)
We have been purified by obedient faith in the Blood of Jesus through the Spirit (1Pet.1:22; Rom.3:25)

We Live in Purity

  • By Faith in God's Word(Jn. 15:3)
  • In Confession and Repentance (James 4:8-9; 1Jn.1:7)
  • Towards Sincere Love (1Pet 1:22)
  • Through Testing (1Pet 4:1)
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Perfecting Holiness in the Fear of the Lord (2Cor.7:1)

The word used for cleansing in the Greek is a Levitical, temple word. The priests were very fearful of the Lord.

They knew the fear of the Lord. The New Testament Christians also know this. For instance, they understood what it meant when the Bible said “God is a consuming fire”. They knew it when the Bible said that God will remove the candlestick. God is love but He also put an end to Ananias and Sapphira, as soon as they sinned. It created fear in the people (Acts 5:10,11).

Sadly, today, there is a lack of emphasis on the fear of the Lord. People are afraid that if we speak about a fearful God, people will run away. But, the problem is people are already away; and it makes less difference if we don’t tell them that they must repent from their sins and step into the path of holiness.

The main problem in the world is sin. It is a problem because God is holy.

Holiness is perfected in the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord includes the love of God. It is a reverential fear. It is not being terrified. But, we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling “knowing the terror of the Lord.”
Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Act 9:31 NKJ)
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. (Act 19:16-17 NKJ)
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness (2Pe 3:10-11 NKJ)

Blessings of the Fear of the Lord


1. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him
The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. (Psa 147:11 NKJ)
2. Fear of the Lord is Joyful
Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. (Psa 2:11 NKJ)
3. Fear of the Lord is Clean
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (Psa 19:9 NKJ)
4. Fear of the Lord is Brings Wisdom
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. (Psa 25:14 NKJ)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psa 111:10 NKJ)
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. (Pro 15:33 NKJ)
5. Fear of the Lord Brings Deliverance
Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.
(Psa 33:18-19 NKJ)
The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. (Psa 34:7 NKJ)
6. Fear of the Lord Brings Sufficiency
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. (Psa 34:9-10 NKJ)
By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life. (Pro 22:4 NKJ)
7. Fear of the Lord Ensures Physical Health and Long Life
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.(Pro 3:7-8 NKJ)
The fear of the LORD prolongs days, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. (Pro 10:27 NKJ)
The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. (Pro 19:23 NKJ)
8. Fear of the Lord purifies us
In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. (Pro 16:6 NKJ)
--Atonement Provided by Christ
--We depart from evil
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; (Isa 11:2-3 NKJ)
Fear of the Lord must be Taught
Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD (Psa 34:11 NKJ)
Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name (Psa 86:11 NKJ)
It is not the spirit of worldy fear; but of godly fear.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom 8:15-16 NKJ)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Ti 1:7 NKJ)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. (1Pe 3:15-16 NKJ)
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested." (Rev 15:4 NKJ)
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7 Hebrew Words for PRAISE

1. Towdah
The Sacrifice of Praise as an Offering; Confession, Praise, Thanksgiving (Psa.100:4; 50:14, 23).

The Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice of animals (1Sam.15:22). No praise and worship can be accepted before God unless the heart has first broken on the altar of God. That is the best praise. Towdah flows out of brokenness and self-surrender.

2. Yadah
To Throw, Lift up Hands in Praise, Be Thankful. (Psa.100:4; 134:2; 63:1).

Yadah is praise that flows out of gratitude to God for who He is and His great goodness and mercies.

3. Zamar
To Make Melody to God With Instruments (Psa.33:2; 71:22).

One may not have instruments to play upon and yet make melody in the heart unto the Lord (Eph.5:19). Zamar is praise in the sweetness of music.

4. Tehillah
To Sing Song or Hymn of Praise (Psa.22:3; 33:1; 40:3; Isa.61:3).

Tehillah
 is praise that is expressed in a song or a hymn unto God. It is not a performance or show before men, but is a song in the spirit unto God.

5. Halal
To Praise, To Boast of, To Flash (Shine). Hallelujah! (Psa.22:22).

Halal
 is to lift up and magnify the Lord; to speak highly of God and exalt His name through high praises.

6. Barak
To Bless, Bow Down, Be Quiet (Psa.145:21; 95:6; 34:1).

Barak
is praise that flows out of worship and deep reverence of the Lord. It speaks goodly of God and finds blessedness in blessing God.

7. Shabach
To Commend, Shout in Praise (Psa.63:3; 47:1; 145:4; Isa.12:6).

Shabach
is praise through proclamation and loud exclamation. It is to laud the Lord.
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    Do Not Judge!

    Other than unbelief, perhaps one of the greatest sins among the saints is the attitude and action of judging others. The Bible strictly forbids us against judging anyone because none of us can stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ without the grace of Christ.

    Jesus Commands Us Not To Judge

    The new commandment which Jesus gave us tells us to love one another (John 13:34; 1Jn.2:8-11; 2Jn.1:5).
    Jesus commanded us under the New Covenant not to judge anyone (Matt.7:1).
    He showed us the reasons why we should not judge anyone.
    --All of us have sinned and stand condemned without the mercy and grace of Jesus (Jn.8:7; Rom.2:1)
    --Jesus did not come to judge but to save (Jn.12:47; 3:17)
    --He taught us that anyone who judges others is worthy of hell fire (Matt.5:22)
    --He taught that the one who judges others must not think that he is better (Matt.7:2-5; Luke 13:1-6)
    --He taught that we must focus on correcting ourselves before trying to correct others (Matt.7:2-5)

    New Testament Reasons Not To Judge

    --We all stand or fall by faith, according to the grace of God, not by any merit of ours (Rom.11:20)
    --By judging others we condemn ourselves (Rom.2:1; James 5:9)
    --There is only one Judge and He is coming soon (James 5:9)
    --God justifies the sinner who humbles himself than the Pharisee who condemns others with a self-righteous attitude (Lk.18:10-14).

    Why People Judge Others

    --They lose sight of the imperatives of the grace of God over their own lives (Matt.18:32,3; 2Pet.1:7-9; Eph.4:31,32)
    --They allow the spirit of jealousy (1Sam.8:8-10)
    --They allow the spirit of bitterness over past hurts (Eph.4:26,27, 29-32; Heb.12:15)
    --They allow the spirit of doubt and evil suspicions (1Tim.6:4)

    Receiving Each Other with Brotherly Love

    --Aquinas and Priscilla show us example of how they received Apollos positively and helped him (Acts 18:24,25)
    --We must lovingly and patiently accept the ones who are weak in faith (Rom.15:1; 1Cor.8:1)
    --We must not allow our knowledge to become a stumbling block for others; in other words, there are certain aspects of liberty that we may need to forego in order to win some (1Cor.8:9-13)
    --If anyone is caught in sin, we must be willing to gently restore them (Gal.6:1).
    --If anyone persists in sin, the elders must rebuke with the attitude to save, not to condemn (1Tim.5:20; 2Tim.2:25)
    --We must not listen to gossip and be influenced by slander (Prov.20:19; 26:20)
    --Do not listen to accusations against any spiritual elder without two or three witness (1Tim.5:19)

    What Must We Do?

    --Love all with the love of Christ (Eph.5:2)
    --Do not give in to the spirit of suspicion or negative assumptions; don't listen to feelings (Exo.20:16)
    --Think through their eyes (Job 6:1-3)
    --Speak God's truth in love (Eph.4:15)
    --Be patient with people (Rom.15:1; Eccl.7:8; 1Tim.5:14)
    --Don't get offended (1Cor.13:5)
    --Don't think evil; but, always look at the better side (1Cor.13:5)
    --Consider others as better (Phil.2:3)
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    Few Principles of Financial Prosperity


    The Bible teaches us the true path of prosperity. The Bible is not poverty minded; in fact, it teaches us principles that will help us live successfully in this world. It teaches us the wisdom and skill necessary to use the world without relying on or being attached to it (1Cor.7:31). If anyone thinks that the Bible does not teach us the wisdom of success, then he may have to throw away a great chunk of the Bible. But, we must not forget some basic principles. Again this is not about some prosperity gospel, but about knowing the way of God's kingdom.

    1. Put God First

    God is able to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil 4:19), but we must remember that He only fulfills the desires of those who first delight in Him (Ps.37:4). If our heart has no interest in the things of God and in the work of God, then it proves that we are not delighting in Him. But, to those who love Him He works all things together for good (Rom. 8:28).

    But this also means that we seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matt.6:33). It means to honor God with the best of our possessions (Prov.3:9). It means to love the Lord with all our soul, our strength, our heart, and our mind.

    2. Do Not Let Wealth Be Your Master

    Jesus said that man cannot serve both God and mammon, or money (Matt.6:24).
    --We must not allow the Love of Money (1Tim.6:9,10)
    --We must not allow the Pride of Money (1Tim.6:17)
    --We must not allow the Trust in Money (1Tim.6:17b)

    3. Work Hard

    God prescribed work for humans. He said, "Six days you shall work...." (Exod. 20:9). The Bible warns that the one who doesn't work must not also eat (2Thess.3:10). Check our study on the Lazy for what the Bible says about such. The Bible tells us to never give up or lag behind in diligence (Ro.12:11). He who works hard will eat the fruit of his labors (2Tim.2:6). A man who hardly works will hardly have anything left. But, remember to also separate your sabbaticals for sharpening the ax  (Eccl.10:10).

    4. Owe No One Anything

    In other words, do not become a debtor to people. Debts ruin economies. The Old Testament never allowed debts beyond one's last surety, his cloak. Yet, people often ended up in slavery because of debts. The Bible commands us not to be indebted to anyone in anything except in love (Rom.13:8).

    5. Be Merciful and Generous to the Poor

    The Bible says that he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord and God pays it back (Pro.19:17). The Bible calls us to mercy and generosity in the same way that God has shown mercy and generosity to us (Matt.18:32,33). God blesses the generous hearted (Pro.11:25; 22:9).

    6. Be Careful Who You Associate With

    Do not get into business with winebibbers and gluttons (Prov.23:21). Do not associate with darkness and be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2Cor.6:14). Do not receive gifts for God's work from unbelievers (3Jn.1:7). Do not eat the bread of a miser (Prov.23:6). This doesn't mean we become isolated (1Cor.5:10); however, we must be wise about who we work with and what we do.

    7. Pay All Dues, Taxes

    We must pay what belongs to the government to the government, and what belongs to God to God (Matt.22:21). We must pay all taxes and customs due (Ro.13:7).

    8. Share Your Personal Needs With God Alone

    Prayer must be a moment of intimacy and privacy with God. Don't waste time sharing needs with people. Invest your precious moments with the Father who specifically cares and selflessly loves you (Matt.6:5). He does answer the secret prayer of a heart that trusts solely in God. He cares to give (Matt.7:9-11).
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    God in Graphology: Considerations in Gematria, Theology of the Alphabet (Hebrew, Chinese), and Philosophy of the Word

    Let us call the method of trying to decode the writing system in order to seek proofs for faith as "Graphological Theology".

    Sacred Gematria

    The works of Ivan Panin that discover numeric patterns in the Bible are examples of Textual Gematria. Check the following excerpt from his letter to the New York Sun:
    The first 17 verses of the New Testament contain the genealogy of the Christ. It consists of two main parts: Verses 1-11 cover the period from Abraham, the father of the chosen people, to the Captivity, when they ceased as an independent people. Verses 12-17 cover the period from the Captivity to the promised Deliverer, the Christ.

    Let us examine the first part of this genealogy. Its vocabulary has 49 words, or 7 x 7. This number is itself seven (Feature 1) sevens (Feature 2), and the sum of its factors is 2 sevens (Feature 3). Of these 49 words 28, or 4 sevens, begin with a vowel; and 21, or 3 sevens, begin with a consonant (Feature 4).

    Again: these 49 words of the vocabulary have 266 letters, or 7 x 2 x 19; this number is itself 38 sevens (Feature 5), and the sum of its factors is 28, or 4 sevens (Feature 6), while the sum of its figures is 14, or 2 sevens (Feature 7). Of these 266 letters, moreover, 140, or 20 sevens, are vowels, and 126, or 18 sevens, are consonants (Feature 8).

    That is to say: Just as the number of words in the vocabulary is a multiple of seven, so is the number of its letters a multiple of seven; just as the sum of the factors of the number of the words is a multiple of seven, so is the sum of the factors of the number of their letters a multiple of seven. And just as the number of words is divided between vowel words and consonant words by sevens, so is their number of letters divided between vowels and consonants by sevens. ...Read More

    There has certainly been criticism that Panin was creating the patterns arbitrarily and, if we look for, we can find numerical patterns anywhere (See Ivan Panin and the Gospel of Mark). However, this doesn't diminish the fact that Gematria has been used as an apologetical tool in graphological theology.

    Theology of the Alphabet

    Ha Dabar

    Jewish mystics have maintained that God created the universe from the 22 consonants of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, called the otiyod yesod, the foundational letters [Hebrew4Christians]. A theology of the alphabet would contend for the sacredness of the alphabet's origin in God. An even more intense form of this would lead to the mysticism of the alphabet. Check the following comment on Genesis 1:
    After Bere’shiyt bara ’Elohiym there is a fourth untranslatable word. That fourth word is actually two Hebrew letters: the Aleph and the Tav. The aleph-tav (את) does serve a grammatical purpose in that it points to the direct object of the sentence. These two letters do not actually form a word, but rather they express an understanding. The aleph (א) is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the tav (ת) is the last letter of the alphabet. The placement of these two very significant letters at strategic locations within many sentences of the Hebrew Scriptures express a total completeness. It is equivalent to saying "from alpha to omega, from a to z, from first to last, from beginning to end." So, from the Hebraic point of view, they see that "In the beginning ’Elohiym created the aleph-tav. In other words, they believe that the very first thing ’Elohiym created was the Hebrew alphabet, which is known through ancient writings also as the aleph-tav. They recognize that He created the letters by which all life and all physical things spring forth from. They are divinely ordained building blocks of life. [Brad Scott, "Mysteries and Truths Hidden Within the AlephBeth"]

    However, the Bible doesn't seem to support the prioritizing of any one particular language as such. The Bible was also written in Aramaic and Greek; and Jesus, in the New Testament, actually declares Himself to be the Αlpha (A) and the Omega (Ω), the beginning and the end (Rev.1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13). Alpha is the first and Omega the last letter of the Greek Alphabet.

    Genesis in the Chinese Characters

    But, this may not be limited to just Hebrew or Arabic. Studies in the Chinese characters have been used as proofs for the reliability of the Bible by Chinese scholars. Check the following two excerpts from C.H. Kang's The Discovery of Genesis (1979):



    Again, the validity of such interpretations has been debated. One counter-argument has been that such interpretations are very literalist and do not do justice to the intent of the character composition. It has been argued that though the characters were ultimately derived from pictograms, when they became used for writing, they ceased to be pictographic, and that most of the Chinese characters have both phonetic (establishing sound) and signific (hinting at a semantic category). For instance, "the character 媽, used to mean 'mother', is composed of the elements 女 'woman' and 馬 'horse'. While the component meaning 'woman' hints that the character has something to do with women, the component meaning 'horse' in fact establishes pronunciation - both the 'mother' and 'horse' morphemes are pronounced /ma/, albeit with different tones." [Wiki: Chinese Characters and the Bible]. But, the fact that the contextual apologists were looking at the ultimate derivative beyond the surface usage, is certainly not discounted.

    Philosophy of the Word

    The All-Encompassing Syllable

    Verse 1-2 of the Taittiriya Upanisad's fourth chapter describes the Sacred Syllable Om as "preeminent in the Vedas, that pervades all words, and that emerged from the immortal Vedas as their quintessence..." [Trans. Swami Gambhirananda, Advaita Ashrama]. The Mandukya Upanisad exposes Om as the the Beginning, Middle, and End of all sound; it encompasses all the sounds beginning with the opening of the mouth with the sound (Aa), then closing to middle with U, and closing down with Ma. OM=Aa+U+Ma. The Upanisads encourage the recital of Om before every incantation of prayer (Taittiriya 1.8.1). Check the poetic motif of Om in this beautiful prayer of the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 1.3.28:
    oṁ asato mā sad gamaya (Om Lead me from Truthlessness to Truth)
    tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
    (Lead me from Darkness to Light)
    mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya
    (Lead me from Death to Immortality)
    oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
    (Om Peace, Peace, Peace!)
    The Hindus have long looked at Om as the Beginning and the End of all reality. It has become the religious symbol of Hinduism. Practical Hindu mysticism values incantation and utterance of Om as encompassing all things including all quarters of space and time.

    Interestingly, the Indian concept of Om seems to be a bit parallel to that of the Greek AΩ (See above). However, the philosophical frameworks of meaning in which the terms are used compel difference. Still, the concept of Beginning-Middle-End looks inviting to compare it with the phrase, "who is and who was and who is to come". Also, the idea of the All-Encompassing cannot ignore the Person in whom all things, both in heaven and on earth, will be gathered together (Eph.1:10). Yet, again the Biblical view is Trinitarian and non-pantheistic, and the human soul is a creature of God.
    He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Act 17:25)
    in Him we live and move and have our being, (Act 17:28)

    The All-Governing Word

    Heraclitus taught that the universe was governed by the Logos, which means "word" but may also be interpreted as "law" or "reason". According to Heraclitus,
    • The Logos was fire-like.
    • The Logos was a divine force.
    • The Logos produces the order and pattern discernible in the flux of nature.
    • This divine force is similar to human reason. [Logos, Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta, See Hamartiology Notes]
    Church Father Justin Martyr (c.100-c.165), elaborately made use of the Logos theology as an apologetic approach to Greek philosophy and religion. In Christian Theology, Logos is the Person of Christ. This helped Justin to accept philosophers such as Plato as speaking according according to the Word. According to Justin,
    Even before the coming of Christ, the logos was manifested partially in such Greek philosophers as Socrates and Heraclitus, and in such Hebrews as Abraham, Ananias, Azarias, Misael, and Elijah (1st Apology). Plato’s truth was dependent on Moses (chs.59-60).
    o The seed of God’s logos (logos spermatikos) was disseminated to all men in their God-given capacity to respond to truth. “Whatever things were rightly said among all men are the property of us Christians” (2Apol. 13:4)
    o There were Christians before Christ, such as Socrates and Heraclitus (1Apol. 46:3)
    o All Theophanies in OT were Christophanies “For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither comes to any place… but remains in His own place…” [Dial.127:2, See Justin Martyr]
    Similar line of thinking exists in Sikh theology, in which the Sabad, i.e. the Word, is considered to be the Guru (i.e. the Teacher).

    Conclusion

    Is Graphological Theology biblically justifiable? With regard to Theology of the Text, the Bible does speak about every scripture being inspired and that every jot and tittle having significance in the Bible (2Tim.3:15; Matt.5:18). However, there are dangers in over emphasizing gematriac patterns and disregarding the messsage of the Spirit for the composition of the word. God gives us the tree in order to eat of its fruit; not to count its leaves and spend time analysing its patterns. However, this doesn't mean that the patterns do not exist; for everything that is God-created is God-sealed.

    The same also holds for studies in Chinese characters. It is certainly not very surprising to find bridges and connections to the Bible in local folk stories, rituals, and even graphology. Don Richardson has recorded amazing missionary findings in various cultures all over the world in his very important book Eternity in their Hearts. However, one must be careful to not assume a bridge where a bridge doesn't exist, or else he may have to walk over thin air. The Chinese findings cannot be discounted as accidental; nor does an argument of phonetics rule away the question of finding the sources of the original characters. God is not just the God of the Hebrews or of the Mayans; He has been historically present among us all from the beginning. And, His trails are visible among us. We only need to find them.

    But, what about the inclusion of the extra-biblical themes in the study of Scriptures. Again, one must be careful not to misapply anything to where it doesn't belong. We must remember that the Bible only tells us this about the Scriptures:

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Ti 3:16-17 NKJ)
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    Finding Grace

    The Bible speaks about people who found God's favor in their lives. We know of Noah who found favor in the eyes of God (Gen.6:8); the result, he didn't die in the Great Flood. We also know of Moses who found favor with God (Exo.33:12); for sure, without God's favor he could never lead those teeming multitudes on the way to the Promised Land. Nehemiah was granted divine favor and he led the team that restored the walls of Jerusalem (Neh.1:11).

    When we turn to the New Testament, the English Bibles turn to the word "Grace". Grace is favor that is bestowed without any merit of ours. In fact, none of us can ever merit or work to find grace. We cannot merit it in anyway; by definition, grace is unmerited favor. So, how can we find grace?

    1. The Spring of Grace is Jesus Christ. John tells us that we receive grace upon grace from Christ's fullness (Jn. 1:16). He is the full Spring of Grace from which alone we can draw the life-giving, life-strengthening waters of divine favor and loving kindness. John testifies that Jesus is full of grace and truth (Jn.1:14). Can we submit that His grace is sufficient for us? (2Cor.12:9). The Spring of Christ's Grace never runs dry; only if we are willing to dive into it anytime.

    2. The Condition of Grace is Humility. Yet, the Bible also reminds us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov.3:34; James 4:6; 1Pet.5:5). In fact, He gives more grace, but we need to humble ourselves and submit to God (James 4:7; 1Pet.5:6). Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings in the Old Testament; but, the Bible says that when he sought the favor of God and humbled himself greatly, God was moved by his prayers and listened to him (2Chr.33:12,13). Humility means to empty oneself of all self-seeking, self-opinion, and submit fully to the disposal of God. It means to lay our head at His feet.

    3. The Receiving Hand of Grace is Faith. Grace can only be received by faith. For instance, salvation is a gift of God's grace, but we can only receive it by faith. We submit to Him that we are only unworthy vessels of His surpassing grace. We gain access into the blessings of God's grace by faith (Rom.5:2). The act of faith must be proportionate to the gift of grace; we can only use as much as we have received (Rom.12:6). It is only by faith that we can receive the gift of God's grace (Eph.2:8). When God pours out His grace, He also grants us faith, which is a gift of God (Eph.2:8; 1Tim.1:14). We must approach the Throne of His Grace with the confidence of faith so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb.4:16).

    4. The Confidence of Grace is Expressed in Prayer. The Throne of Grace is approached with the confidence of faith; however, that confidence is not expressed until it is expressed in the moment of prayer (verbal or non-verbal). John tells us: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him" (1Jn.5:14-15 NIV).

    The Grace of God has appeared (Tit.2:11); that is the Good News! There is nothing that God can grant us outside of grace. Whether it is forgiveness, purity, strength, assistance, or a miracle; everything is available in the Spring of Grace, upon the condition of humility, by the receiving hand of faith, stretched out in prayer. May God open our eyes to see the riches of His grace!
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    The Corrosion of Gold in Light of Modern Christian Economics

    Published in The Contemporary Christian, Bangalore, 2013.


    Your gold and silver are corroded…” (James 5:3)

    One of the important assets that Gutenberg’s printing press gifted to modern political economies is the ability to print paper money. The common man usually thinks that paper money is the real money, while in fact it is only a promissory note promising the bearer of the note the payment of the same amount (in coins, if not in gold) by the Reserve Bank.[1] In the past, however, governments did deny such payment in exchange of the notes and one government even made the holding of gold by the citizens as illegal.[2]

    In his 1885 treatise, Principles of Political Economy, the American philosopher John Stuart Mill confidently described gold and silver as historically more fit to be used as money. In his words, “They were among the most imperishable of all substances. They were also portable, and, containing great value in small bulk, were easily hid; a consideration of much importance in an age of insecurity. Jewels are inferior to gold and silver in the quality of divisibility; and are of very various qualities, not to be accurately discriminated without great trouble. Gold and silver are eminently divisible, and, when pure, always of the same quality; and their purity may be ascertained and certified by a public authority.”[3]The footnote on page 292 of the same book, however, observes:

    Since Mr. Mill wrote, two great changes in the production of the precious metals have occurred. The discoveries of gold, briefly referred to by him, have led to an enormous increase of the existing fund of gold… and a fall in the value of gold within twenty years after the discoveries…. Another change took place, a change in the value, of silver, in 1876, which has resulted in a permanent fall of its value since that time … Before that date, silver sold at about 60d. per ounce in the central market of the world, London; and now it remains about 52d. per ounce, although it once fell to 47d., in July, 1876. In spite of Mr. Mill's expressions of confidence in their stability of value—although certainly more stable than other commodities—the events of the last thirty-five years have fully shown that neither gold nor silver—silver far less than gold—can successfully serve as a perfect “standard of value” for any considerable length of time.

    The Indian Rupee, since ancient times, was based on the silver standard. However, after the discovery of vast deposits of silver in South America, the Rupee fell in value with respect to the currencies of countries that were based on the gold standard. This phenomenon is known as the “fall of the rupee”.[4] In modern times, however, both the silver and gold standards have been internationally abandoned by the major economies of the world. While these economies, usually, do hold reserves of gold, the printing of paper money is no longer considered necessarily backed by the amount of gold in reserves. The value of currencies is usually determined by international trade, inflation, interest rates, foreign exchange, and other factors.[5]More export usually strengthens the local currency while more import weakens it.

    Not holding sufficient gold reserves to back the paper money being printed led to the abandonment of the gold standard in many countries. One justification has been that there are other ways to account for the supply of notes; e.g., the future possible returns on the paper money pumped into the economy. This, however, only assists inflation and devalues money. Currency, thus, is floated and money becomes inconvertible, i.e fiat money – it loses intrinsic value. The Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), referred to this as the destruction of money. In his words:

    The problem of money, the practical problem of money today in the whole world is precisely this: The governments believe that in the situation which I have pointed out before, when there is a choice between an unpopular tax and a very popular expenditure, there is a way out for them—the way toward inflation. This illustrates the problem of going away from the gold standard.

    Money is the most important factor in a market economy. Money was created by the market economy, not by the government. It was a product of the fact that people substituted step-by-step a common medium of exchange for direct exchange. If the government destroys the money, it not only destroys something of extreme importance for the system, the savings people have set aside to invest and to take care of themselves in some emergency; it also destroys the very system itself. Monetary policy is the center of economic policy. So all the talk about improving conditions, about making people prosperous by credit expansion, by inflation, is futile![6]

    Many economists understand the importance of gold-backed paper money; though a full restoration of the gold standard doesn’t seem to be immediate – there seems to be a march towards it. S.S Tarapore, a member of the APP Advisory Board on the Gold Standard Project 2012, notes:

    China, Russia, India, Mexico and Thailand have undertaken sizeable increases in their gold holdings in the last three years — this is a prudent policy. China increased its gold holdings from 600 tonnes to 1,050 tonnes and India increased its holdings from a little less than 360 tonnes to 560 tonnes. Gold still accounts for only 7.5 per cent of India's total reserves.

    The major developed countries with a high proportion of gold reserves have reaped a bountiful harvest as much of their gold purchases were at prices as low as $35 per fine ounce. With the structural weakness of the US dollar as a reserve currency, the role of gold will become more important.

    Countries with a low proportion of their reserves in gold would be well advised to gradually step up their proportion of the yellow metal. In recent years, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a brilliant move, was the first country to undertake a large bulk purchase of 200 tonnes from the IMF; India should gradually increase its holdings of gold.[7]

    Arbitrary and unwise printing of paper money, irrespective of the holdings to back in reserves, can cause massive and catastrophic inflations. Germany, during the World War, and Zimbabwe in recent times are two examples of this.

    Germany went to war, the government didn’t realize, and still less did the people realize, that what one needs to fight the war is not paper money but arms and various other things. So they printed paper money. And they printed paper money day and night. The result was that the German paper money from pre-World War I deteriorated in value. The parity with the American dollar in 1914 expressed in German marks was 4.2 as it had been for 60, 80, and 100 years before. You know what the cost of a postage stamp is. The German monetary policy of increasing the quantity of money, printing it continually, until a German postage stamp in the early 20’s of our century cost several million marks. Imagine the situation that developed in 1923 when someone who bought a stamp in order to mail a letter to the next village had to pay several hundred million marks. Twenty million marks was more than the wealth of the richest people in Germany in the earlier period. At the end of this inflation, nine years later, the dollar was 4.2 billion marks, something which is purely fantastic because there are no people who have an idea, a living idea, of what a billion is. This was the outcome of the economic doctrine that money was a creation of the government. The fact that the government had printed money, that the government had increased the quantity of money, did not improve the situation of the German armed forces or the German resistance.[8]

    Zimbabwe is a recent example. It is said that when Zimbabwe was born in 1980, the Zimbabwe dollar was more valuable than the U.S. Dollar. But, as Pritam Hans mentions,

    After the 1990s land reforms in free Zimbabwe, farm production as well as manufacturing declined drastically. However, the government continued to print money for its expenses. Zimbabweans started losing faith in the local currency. As inflation surged drastically, the Zimbabwean dollars were printed in denominations as high as 100 trillion. After the currency lost its value, people started using US dollars. In April 2009, the country put its currency on hold and switched to US dollars.[9]

    According to the Quantity Theory of Money (QTM), which was challenged by John Maynard Keynes (18831-946), more supply of money would only mean more inflation as surplus money incommensurate with available resources lead to hike in prices. Keynes had challenged it with the suggestion that spending money, contrary to hording money, and government expenditures would boost economy. How pragmatic Keynes’ suggestions are in the long run is a matter of debate among economists. With regard to the Zimbabwe crisis, it was reported on October 2008 that a loaf of bread in Zimbabwe, which “cost Z$500 at the beginning of August, now costs between Z$7,000 and Z$10,000, even when it can be found.”[10] CNN reported on December 7, 2008: “After the $100 million note began circulating on Thursday, the price of a loaf of bread soared from 2 million to 35 million Zimbabwean dollars.”[11]The inflation was torpedic and acute. By December 2008, the Zimbabwe dollar had fallen to such extent that $Z500,000 amounted to only around US$0.25. The Zimbabwe Government responded by declaring inflation as illegal. It proceeded to arrest a number of corporate executives for changing prices.[12]

    The largest denomination of a Zimbabwean banknote (100 trillion) (Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia.org)

    Mises observes, in such conditions, that while in the past, the only way to increase government expenditures was by taxing the citizens, in modern times governments that would like to avoid unpopular taxes and also go about spending are easily tempted to print money in excess.[13]

    Indian history reminds of one Indian emperor whose attempt to enforce representative money only ended up in total failure. Muhammad bin Tughlaq (d. 1351), introduced token coinage of brass and copper to augment the silver coinage. However, forgery was easy and the treasury began to suffer loss, also because people were unwilling to trade their gold and silver for the new brass and copper coins. Consequentially, the sultan had to withdraw the lot, “buying back both the real and the counterfeit at great expense until mountains of coins had accumulated within the walls of Tughluqabad.”[14] In modern times, governments take great care to prevent forgery. Perhaps, soon even paper money will not be necessary as electronic transfers gain increasing prominence. In the electronic world, thieves don’t forge currency; they simply hack computers; so the technology to safeguard the digits would be more valuable.  Perhaps soon, there won’t even be paper money; there would only be digits. We are certainly in an age where gold and silver are no longer popular money; though, we can buy gold and silver with money – they are still valuable as metals. Does that mean that the uncorrodable gold and silver have corroded, as far as their monetary use is concerned?

    Christian Responses to Gold Corrosion or Money Debasement
    Christian Reconstructionism is an American Calvinist school of Christian economics that maintains the applicability of the Bible to even the political and economic areas of human life, as well, beyond personal salvation. The school had its most important expositor in the writings of Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001), a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian who is widely credited to be the father of Christian Reconstructionism. Rushdoony’s The Institutes of Biblical Law (Craig Press, 1973) upheld the wisdom of the Mosaic Law as prescribed in the Old Testament and as applicable for global healthy governance. Christian Reconstructionism has been met by much criticism even from Christians who regard it as religion seeking political power, and unworthy of the New Testament spirit. Rushdoony had interpreted the Great Commission of Jesus in also dominion terms, according to which theocracy must continue to grow through regeneration and conversions until the Second Coming of Christ. Thus, Christian Reconstructionism is postmillennial in perspective and believes that “that God's kingdom will advance throughout history, that all authority in “heaven and in earth” has been given to Jesus, that God's kingdom is represented by the stone that is cut without hands and becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:34, 44-45).”[15] Dispensational premillenialists, on the other hand, object to such a viewpoint and believe that the world will continue to grow worse socially, politically, and economically until the Day of the Lord. It is necessary to understand that Daniel’s stone is not cut by human hands. Since Luther, Christian political thought has focused on the separation of the secular from the sacred – the Church is separate from the state; thus, ensuring religious freedom for all.[16] Harvey Cox had argued as early as 1975 that secularization was Biblically inevitable. Cox announced secularization as the legitimate consequence of the impact of biblical faith on history.[17] However, apart from the eschatological concerns, the biblical analysis of modern economics by Christian Reconstructionists cannot be disregarded by theologians – though the issue of whether Biblical laws ought to be contested politically is a matter of theological debate. One should have no loss from studying what the Biblical definitions are and what departure from the Biblical norms constitutes. With regard to this, the words of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, are worth listening:

    May I also say a few words about my personal belief in the relevance of Christianity to public policy – to the things that are Caesar’s? The Old Testament lays down in Exodus the Ten Commandments as given to Moses, the injunction in Leviticus to love our neighbour as ourselves, and generally the importance of observing a strict code of law.

    The New Testament is a record of the Incarnation, the teachings of Christ, and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Again we have the emphasis on loving our neighhour as ourselves and to “Do-as-you-would-be-done-by.”

    I believe that by taking together these key elements from the Old and New Testaments, we gain a view of the universe, a proper attitude to work and principles to shape economic and social life.[18]


    Institute for Christian Economics
    Gary North (b.1942) is the son-in-law to R.J. Rushdoony and founder of the Institute for Christian Economics in Texas which has been publishing books and periodicals related to Christian Economics since the late 70s. In his 1974 book, An Introduction to Christian Economics, he critiqued credit-propelling economic policies as committing nothing less than the crime of turning silver to dross and mixing wine with water (cf. Isaiah 1:22).[19] He states that “currency debasement is the oldest form of monetary inflation”.[20]

    Back in 1974, North saw pumping of paper currencies into the economy without proportionate gold to back them up as encouraging multiple indebtedness, diluting money, and creating inflation.[21] Quoting the Old Testament law regarding lending (Exodus 22:25-27) that didn’t permit a person to borrow more than the collateral of his raiment (which, of course, could be taken back in the evening but returned again in the morning, to prevent him submitting the raiment as collateral elsewhere and incurring multiple debts), he noted that the modern banking system violates this same principle by its policy of perpetual indebtedness. In his words,

    The importance of this law for monetary affairs cannot be overstated. Contemporary society— indeed, society since the Middle Ages —has ignored this restriction on multiple indebtedness with impunity. From an economic standpoint, the chief private violators institutionally are the fractional reserve banking system and the limited liability corporation. The entire public sphere of civil government rests on the violation of the principle. The whole structure of modern credit is based upon the idea that men should never escape from perpetual debt. The public debt of the federal government, already approaching half a trillion dollars (excluding future commitments like Social Security payments, bank insurance, and other “agency” debt ), is steadily eroding the monetary unit, in the process described by the nineteenth century theorist, Charles Holt Carroll, as “the organization of debt into currency,” or the monetization of debt. The central bank of every nation—the Federal Reserve System in the United States—prints up the money to finance the deficits of the central government, and in return for this fiat currency, the government gives an interest-bearing bond to the bank. The Federal Reserve System receives about $4 billion a year in this way at the present time, and it will go higher as time (and unsalable government indebtedness) continues. (The government pays out over $20 billion in interest altogether—to insurance companies and other institutional investors, including local banks, as well as to citizens. The FRS returns most of its interest payments to the Treasury each year, however.) From a biblical standpoint, this is utterly corrupt: “The wicked borroweth and payeth not again” (Ps. 37:21a). The civil authorities do not intend to reduce this debt and repay the principal. They favor perpetual indebtedness. Laws that are transgressed in God’s universe will be found to contain their own built-in punishment. The French Revolution came when the king had to assemble the Estates-General, for only they could raise needed new taxes, and the interest of the bloated French national debt was absorbing half the revenues of the kingdom annually. The British interest payments were about the same in this same period. It had been the attempt of the British government to impose new taxes on the American colonies that had triggered the American Revolution. Massive national indebtedness is highly dangerous.[22]

    According to India’s Government Debt Status Paper of July 2013, the internal debt of the Central Government at end-March 2013 stood at Rs.37.3 trillion and the external debt stood at Rs.3.3 trillion.[23] The report also states that Public Debt had shown a steady decline from 48.1 per cent of GDP in 2002-03 to 37.1 per cent in 2007-08. At end-March 2013, however, it stood at 40.6 per cent of GDP.[24] North’s biblical analysis of the situation as multiple indebtedness and ethical violation (“The wicked borroweth and payeth not again” (Ps. 37:21a)) is not negligible. On May 06, 2013, Tamal Bandhyopadhyay wrote in LiveMint,

    Till 2005, the government’s annual market borrowings—net of redemptions of old bonds—were below Rs.1 trillion. Between 2001 and 2005, the amount varied between Rs.97,588 crore (2003) and Rs.54,201 crore (2005). In 2003, the average 10-year bond yield was 6.15%, and in 2005, it was 6.69%....

    In 2006, the size of the government’s annual borrowing programme crossed Rs.1 trillion (fiscal deficit 3.97%) and remained range-bound at around Rs.1.1 trillion for next three years, soaking up less than one-fourth of bank deposits and the 10-year bond yield veered between 7.55% and 7.96%.

    Since then, the borrowing programme has gone up many times but the bond yield has not gone up proportionately. In other words, the government is borrowing more and more, leaving very little money for the private borrowers, and yet it is not paying the real price for its borrowings as the central bank is artificially keeping the yield low to bring down the cost of government’s borrowing programme. Indeed, it is paying the market price but the market is manipulated by the RBI through liquidity management. The central bank has been following an accommodative monetary policy for the government.

    ... the government borrowing has been rising by leaps and bounds—from Rs.3.65 trillion in 2010 to an estimated Rs.4.67 trillion in 2013, accounting for over half of the banking sector’s deposit mobilization (in 2012, it was 62%) and yet, barring one year, the 10-year bond yield never crossed 8%. In 2012, it rose to 8.54%. In current fiscal, the government plans to borrow Rs.4.84 trillion to bridge an estimated 5.3% fiscal deficit. So, far it has borrowed Rs.60,000 crore. If indeed the deposit portfolio of the banking sector grows at around 14%, as estimated by the RBI, the government will soak up at least 50% of deposits, leaving the remaining to private borrowers.[25]

    Economist S.S. Tarapore notes: “Internal debt, unlike external debt, is a silent, sudden killer. The public debt Ponzi must be stopped before it disrupts government finances.”[26]


    In his book, Baptized Inflation: A Critique of “Christian” Keynesianism (1986), in which he critiques Keynesianism as upheld by Douglas Vickers, a “Christian” who was also a Keynesian, Christian economist Ian Hedge ponders on what we may recognize as the law of conservation. He writes:

    The Keynesian system, as we have seen, is built on the fallacy that “demand creates supply,” i.e., that demand creates economic supplies. If only there could be more monetary demand in the world, then all our employment problems would be solved. More goods would be purchased, industries would grow,   more people would be employed – utopia restored.

    The error here is the failure of Keynesians to distinguish between the desire which people have for goods and services, and their ability to pay for such items with productive assets….

    If we define “demand” as the present existence of desired wealth at market-clearing prices, as J. B. Say and the classical economists did, then of course this Keynesian truism is, well, true enough. Demand indeed “creates” supply, just as supply “creates” demand. Supply and demand are reciprocals. For every buyer there is a seller; in fact, they are both buyers and sellers simultaneously. They are exchangers.

    What the Christian economist ought to  say, however, is  that only  once  in  history did  pure, unadulterated, fiat demand create supply: when God  spoke His   world into existence by  fiat command  during the first five  days. He spoke, “Let there be,” and there was.

    Humans must act re-creatively; only God is originally creative. We do not speak things into existence.  We do not “demand” things into existence.  We restructure the world, just as Adam was to care for the garden, by means of our minds, our bodies, and our earthly possessions.  We recreate.  We think God’s thoughts after him.  We do not create demand by supply, or create supply by demand.  We recreate as best we can on the assumption that other people are doing the same.  We plan our production for a market. We aim production at that expected future market. So do other producers. We forecast the economic future as best we can. We deal with inescapable uncertainty.

    In this sense, and in this sense only, does supply constitute demand, or vice versa.[27]

    In other words, the ability to print money doesn’t make the government financially infinite (or as wealthy as God), as anyone will understand. Someone or the other has to pay for every penny spent. For Mises, it is the middle-class (generally, the fixed-income job holders) who most often pay for it through simple savings as deposits in banks, or by investing money in pension schemes, life insurance policies or bonds, to secure their future. However, because of systematic inflation and reduction of the purchasing power of money, they are stripped of their wealth.[28]Thus, though the taxes might not be heavy, an economic system based on fiat currency system only destroys the middle class. Mises quotes an example (an extreme case) furnished to him by the president of a bank in Vienna. A young man in his twenties had taken out a life insurance policy much too large for his economic condition at the time. He expected that when the policy would mature, it would make him a quite rich, at least up on the middle-class status. However, when he reached his sixtieth birthday, the policy became due. “The insurance, which had been a tremendous sum when he had taken it out thirty five years before, was just sufficient to pay for the taxi ride back to his office after going to collect the insurance in person.”[29]


    Institute for Principle Studies
    The “About us” page of IPS explains: “The Institute for Principle Studies was founded in 2005 as a research and educational organization that provides a Christian alternative to the many well-established secular think-tanks.”[30]

    In his IPS essay, “The Federal Reserve: An Economic and Ethical Disaster”,[31]Dr. Shawn Ritenour, Professor of Economics at Grove City College, Pennsylvania, wrote: “the chief function of the Federal Reserve is to increase the quantity of money in existence,” which, of course, didn’t mean real money as such, but inflation.[32]According to Ritenour, inflation adds no social benefit. He writes:

    Increasing the money supply can never provide a general benefit to the whole of society. …inflation merely results in higher prices. Increasing the money supply does not spontaneously increase the stock of land, labor, or capital goods. Therefore, increasing the money supply does not allow us to produce more consumer goods we can use to satisfy our ends. Rather, inflation merely increases the amount of money being spent on the same quantity of goods. Because more money is spent, the demand for producer and consumer goods increases, so overall prices increase and the purchasing power of the dollar falls. There is, consequently, no general social benefit from inflation.

    However, he continues also to observe that somebody’s loss does mean someone else’ profit.
    Increasing the money supply does, however, benefit some people at the expense of others by redistributing wealth. When the Federal Reserve increases the money supply, not all cash balances increase at the same time. Certain people get the new money first, usually from commercial banks. These early recipients benefit from inflation. Suppose a borrower buys a house with some of the newly created money. This increases the demand for houses. The seller of the house receives the new money second and spends some of it on a new pair of shoes. This increases the demand for shoes. The shoe maker then spends the new money he receives on groceries, thereby increasing the demand for groceries. The early recipients are able to spend the new money on goods before the prices of those goods increase. As the new money percolates through the economy, though, prices of goods begin to rise, so that at some point the increase in cash balances for some people is just enough to offset the general increase in prices. People on fixed incomes, however, do not get any of the new money but still have to pay the higher prices. Wealth is, in essence, taken from them and transferred to those who received the new money first. While monetary inflation does not provide an overall social gain, it does benefit those who receive the money sooner at the expense of those who receive it later or not at all….

    Additionally, as explained earlier, inflation results in a redistribution of wealth. It increases the wealth of those who receive new money sooner and takes it away from those who receive the new money later or not at all. Such redistribution of wealth is not the result of voluntary exchange of private property, but solely due to the state coercively monopolizing money production and using that monopoly to increase the money supply. Inflation generated by the Federal Reserve, our government-created money monopolist, ends up taking wealth from some and forcibly transfers it to others. This is akin to government-sponsored theft, and is a clear violation of the basic biblical principle, “Thou shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15).

    While gold as money seems to get increasingly debased (inflated), people have not lost sense of the value of the yellow metal itself. In the past few years, India has seen a great rise in the demand for gold as people found it better to invest in the yellow metal than keep their money to “rust” in banks or bonds. The Reserve Bank of India was concerned with the rising import of gold as it was putting pressure on the Current Account Deficit (CAD). The Economist reported on July 1:

    Unable to get a decent real return from bank accounts given relatively low interest rates, savers have taken their money out of the formal financial system. Household savings directed into banks and investment products and the like have fallen from 12% of GDP to 8%. Savings in physical assets have risen from 11% to 14%. India’s appetite for gold partly explains this shift. Last year the country imported more than $50 billion of the yellow metal, creating a big hole in the balance of payments.[33]

    So, on May 15, this year, the RBI announced to launch inflation-linked bonds every month, “starting June 4, to attract household savings of up to Rs 15,000 crore this fiscal so as to discourage investments in gold.”[34] It seems that the real gold has already become anathema to the Indian economy, at least for the government.

    Analysis of James’ Indictment (James 5:1-9)

    Gold is known to be rust-free and free from corrosion over prolonged geological time. However, the Bible predicts its corrosion. There are various perspectives from which James 5:1-9 may be interpreted. Some may see the global distress that would descend during the reign of the world dictator, the Antichrist, on all who have wealth; for, “no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Rev 13:17 NKJ) Others may see it as the ultimate worthlessness of the shining metal at the coming of the Day of the Lord; for it’s not gold nor silver, but only the blood of Jesus that can redeem a man from the Great Wrath to come. Space doesn’t permit to dwell on this rich segment of Scripture on the rich in detailed discussion. However, on the basis of the limited overview of modern economic issues above, related especially to currency debasement, we may proceed to make the following observations:

    Treasure Hoarding:You have heaped up treasure in the last days.” (Jam 5:3 NKJ) Saving for the future is not considered as evil in the Bible. Proverbs gives the example of ants who provide supplies in the summer and gather harvest in the winter (Prov.6:6-8). God gave Joseph the wisdom to save food during the 7 years of plenty in order to provide for the 7 years of famine that was about to come. In His parable of Talents, Jesus observed that the man with one talent could have deposited his money in the banks, at least, if he wasn’t willing to put it into use now (while in the bank, it would be useful for someone else in some way or the other, at least). However, God doesn’t approve of those who put their trusts in uncertain riches, who trust in human security systems of life, who think that saving money somehow will secure their future.

    Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  (1Ti 6:17-19 NKJ)

    Withholding Right Wages:Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” (Jam 5:4 NKJ). The Name “Lord of Sabaoth” literally indicates that it is God who rules and gives man the reward of his labor. Therefore, the Christian is also advised to serve their earthly masters as serving the Lord, and not serving men (Eph.6:7). Becoming rich (or assuming income) at the expense of anybody else is a crime that invites divine displeasure, because it is a crime against the economy of the Lord of Sabaoth.

    Materialism:You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.” (Jam 5:5 NKJ) Ethics and economics cannot be separated from each other. The ends do not justify the means. Moral sensibility and moral responsibility must accompany all decisions in life; for, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mar 8:36 NKJ). Economical laws must also be ethical in essence, or else they are fattening only as in a day of slaughter.

    Injustice: “You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you” (Jam 5:6 NKJ). In the olden days, when people fell short of supplies, they raided weaker kingdoms and plundered them; either killing them all or making slaves of them. In the case of King Ahab who coveted Naboth’s vineyard,  Queen Jezebel came up with the vicious plan to eradicate Naboth in order to confiscate his piece of ancestral property (1Kings 21). Armed power has a way of saying, “Either give it to me as I demand, or I will charge you with offense against the of the laws – that’s easy, you know; and you won’t even be able to do anything!” There have been many who became “rich” in that way. Economists don’t consider what happened in Zimbabwe a few years ago as ethically right; for, the government to forcing inflation and at the same time declaring inflation as illegal. Someone has to pay for what is being spent. And, one way of murdering the just is to force the economy into ethical corruption; where it becomes extremely difficult for the just to be just – “(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2Pe 2:8 NKJ); however, “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2Pe 2:9 NKJ).




    [1]Reserve Bank of India FAQs page, “What is the meaning of “I promise to pay” clause?” http://rbi.org.in/commonman/English/Scripts/FAQs.aspx?Id=5#12. Accessed on August 2, 2013
    [2]Bettina B. Greaves (ed), Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation (Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010). pp.13,41. US citizens regained the right to own gold after January 1975.
    [3] John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1885) p.290. Project Gutenberg release date: September 27, 2009 [Ebook #30107]
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_rupee. Accessed on August 2, 2013.
    [5]Pritam Hans, “Solving the Riddle” Business Today, February 2012. http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/rupee-dollar-value-drop-factors-for-fall/1/21881.html
    Accessed on  August 1, 2013
    [6]Bettina B. Greaves (ed), Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation. p.32
    [7]Tarapore, “Drifting back to Gold Standard”, Business Line, The Hindu, May 20, 2011. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/s-s-tarapore/drifting-back-to-gold-standard/article2032360.ece Accessed on August 2, 2013.
    [8]Bettina B. Greaves (ed), Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation, pp.40-41
    [9]Pritam Hans, “Solving the Riddle”.
    [10]Sebastien Berger,  “Zimbabwe inflation hits 231 million per cent”, The Telegraph, 09 Oct, 2008. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/zimbabwe/3167379/Zimbabwe-inflation-hits-231-million-per-cent.html .  Accessed on August 2, 2013
    [11]“Hyperinflation forces Zimbabwe to print $200 million notes,” CNN.com, Dec 7, 2008. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/12/06/zimbabwe.currency/index.html?iref=mpstoryview#cnnSTCText Accessed on August 2, 2013
    [12]“Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe”, Wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_Zimbabwe. Accessed on August 2, 2013
    [13]Bettina B. Greaves (ed), Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation, pp.43-45
    [14]John Keay, India: A History (New Delhi: Harper Perennial, 2000), p.269
    [15]Gary North and Gary DeMar, Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn’t  (Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), p.87. www.garynorth.com
    [16]Rushdoony, however, argued that the idea of separation originated from Pietism which, in his words, “concerned itself only with the soul and surrendered the world to the devil.” According to him, “With Pietism, Protestantism ceased to be the army of God, going forth to conquer in Christ’s name, and the church became instead a kind of new monastery, where men could retreat from the world and its problems and contemplate heaven. R.J. Rushdoony, “The Heresy of the Faithful,” in Gary North’s, Introduction to Christian Economics (Craig Press, 1974), pp.388,389
    [17]Harvey Cox, The Secular City, rev. edn.(New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1975).
    [18]Margaret Thatcher, “Christianity and Wealth” (A speech delivered to the assembly of the Church of Scotland by the British Prime Minister, May 21, 1988), Biblical Economics Today, Vol.XI. No.5, Aug/Sept 1988 (Texas: ICE).
    [19]Gary North, Introduction to Christian Economics (Craig Press, 1974), pp.4-18
    [20]Gary North, Introduction to Christian Economics, p.7
    [21]Gary North, Introduction to Christian Economics, p.15
    [22]Gary North, Introduction to Christian Economics, p.11
    [23]Ministry of Finance, “Government Debt: Status Paper” (New Delhi: Dept. of Economic Affairs, July 2013), pp.4,5
    [24]“Government Debt”, p.7
    [25]Tamal Bandyopadhyay, “BANKER’S TRUST| Why RBI should give up govt debt management,” LiveMint & The Wallstreet Journal, May 06, 2013, www.livemint.com. Accessed on August 6, 2013
    [26]S.S. Tarapore, “Is our public debt a Ponzi?” Business Line, The Hindu, May 30, 2013. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/s-s-tarapore/is-our-public-debt-a-ponzi/article4766367.ece
    [27]Ian Hedge, Baptized Inflation: A Critique of “Christian” Keynesianism (Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1986), pp.238,239
    [28]Bettina B. Greaves (ed), Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation, p.26
    [29]Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation,pp.30,31
    [30]http://principlestudies.org/?id=abo
    [31]Shawn Ritenour, “The Federal Reserve: An Economic and Ethical Disaster,” June 2009 http://principlestudies.org/articles/?id=IPS_Essay4_FederalReserve.html
    [32]Cf. “…inflation is the new money pumped into the market,” Ludwig von Mises on Money and Inflation, p. 22
    [33]“Indian inflation-indexed bonds,” The Economist, Mumbai, July 1, 2013. http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2013/07/indian-inflation-indexed-bonds
    [34]“RBI to issue inflation-indexed bonds from June 4”, Business Today, New Delhi, May 15, 2013. http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/inflation-indexed-bonds-interest-rate-features/1/194972.html
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