November 27, 2012

Untrained Cattle

Every day we see prominent Christians that have visibly sinful hearts and worldly lifestyles. Clearly their affections and lusts have not been "crucified with Christ".

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Hosea the prophet says of Ephraim in Hosea 10:11-12 that:

 “Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground. Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”

In other words Israel has been likened to a trained heifer or a healthy draft animal eager to plow the ground and do its proper duty. The picture in view here is that Yahweh is yoking Israel with the goal of a proper relationship with Him and the expected ethical and moral conduct one would expect being in a close relationship with God. In return the believer would reap the benefits of God’s unfailing love. The same is true for us today. True believers are like trained cattle that are in good relation to the Farmer or in the case of this analogy, believers and God. In short, apostates, unbelievers or sinful people are untrained cattle. The word “cattle" interestingly was borrowed from old French word “catel” which originated from the Latin word “caput” which literally means “head” and was used to refer to movable personal property, especially livestock of any kind. Sinful people therefore are God’s movable property in human vernacular. This was too ironic not to mention even though it was not from the Bible.

We also see ancient shadows of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11:29… “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Again we see God calling man to a relationship with God within God’s will.

So it should be with Christians, yet often is the case that this couldn’t be farther from the truth hence my original statement about prominent Christians. People are not crucified in Christ but instead married to the world and all of its deadly trappings. It is hardly the becoming behavior of a Christian. God is telling us through Hosea that an investment in that which is righteous (God) will bring the person benefit but devoting oneself to rebellion which is clinging to the world system is a sure fire way to punishment and eventual destruction…just like Israel.

So…sin commonly evaluates grace into a "pardon", making one assume mercy is always available to sin more. This is an abuse of grace and it deceives the mind and opens the will and conscience to open consent or sin. It therefore removes the sense of evil from evilness. Believers then become willful abusers of grace and willingly sinful.

If a believer is willingly sinful they cannot then be repentant in their hearts. If a believer is unrepentant in their hearts then it stands to reason that…they cannot be a true believer.

Think about that for a little bit. Meditate on it and find your way back to the Lord if you have strayed.

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