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God of the Burning Bush

Photo by: Mark H Anbinder

As a fugitive from the Egyptian Pharaoh who had raised him, Moses’ life slowed to a crawl.

Once he had been an adopted member of the Egyptian royal family. Now, on the back side of the desert, at the foot of Mount Sinai, he was watching over his father-in-law’s sheep. His life as a shepherd seemed to be going in slow motion– until he saw what looked like a bush on fire.

As he drew closer to take a look, he saw that it was a bush, and it was burning. But it wasn’t being consumed (Exodus 3:1-6).

As Moses tried to make sense of what he was seeing, he heard a voice come out of the bush. The voice called out Moses’ name and told him to take off his sandals… because he was on holy ground.

Fast forward 1500 years.

A voice crying in the wilderness announces that one is coming whose sandals he is not worthy to stoop and unloose (Luke 3:16).

The God who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush appears in the common flesh of a man.

This time, however, no one takes off their sandals in the awareness that they are standing on holy ground. This time the God of the burning bush gets down on his knees, and washes the feet of his disciples, including one who is about to betray him (John 13:1-16).

Two distant stories of shepherds, sandals, and so much more that we can barely begin to understand…  Are they meant to come together, on the threshold of the most momentous expression of judgment that the world will ever see (Matt 27:46)? If so, what do they tell us about the grace and truth of our God (John 1:14-18)?

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48 Responses to “God of the Burning Bush”

  1. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… they seem to tell me that the Old and the New are seemlessly connectd, as if it is written in the book of all books, and by One Great Mind! Gary

  2. remarutho says:

    How good to hear from you Mart!
    What a great question!

    Further along in the passage you quote, John Baptist says, “The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” (John 1:17-18)

    The Father proclaims through the prophet Isaiah that (Isaiah 52:6, paraphrase) Isaiah composes that beautiful poem which we sing: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’” (Isaiah 52:7) God gave Isaiah eyes to see this beautiful anointed one who would astound all who heard him proclaim – and who saw in his human presence –
    the character and power of Creator God.

    Ultimately, only the Son can both bear the Name of God and stand upon the earth with beautiful feet.
    Isaiah is prophesying against Egypt and Assyria – and by extension – Babylon. Isaiah is pointing to Messiah when he says further, “The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10) This is still coming to pass. — Maru

  3. remarutho says:

    My paraphrase of the Isaiah prophecy reads:

    The Father proclaims through the prophet Isaiah that “Because the unclean have despised the name of the Lord, therefore the Lord will reveal his name to his people – and they will know that it is the Lord who speaks.” (Isaiah 52:6) (It would seem the BTA protocol does not recognize my formatting!) Maru : – )

  4. SFDBWV says:

    For me to attempt to enter the thoughts of God seem ridiculous, yet From Genesis through Revelation God not only reveals His thoughts but in the person of Jesus of Nazareth we see Him as a man.

    A burning bush; why a flame, why a bush?

    Why is it required to take off ones sandals, or shoes? Jesus never required such from any He met or at every occasion when the Disciples and He were together.

    Mart asks if the washing of the feet of the Disciples and Moses’ being required to remove his sandals on Holy Ground were connected, now that we are on the threshold of *tribulation*.

    I am wondering if I can attempt to propose answers to the questions from a view of the physical world or a peek into the spiritual.

    We read many times that God is a consuming fire. Yet in the story of Moses, the bush is not consumed.

    When Jesus walked the earth as a man, he was Holy but the ground He walked on was not, When God appeared to Moses, Moses’ soiled and sin filled nature was standing on ground that God had made clean by His fire. Removing the man made covering from his feet could not change the sin in Moses, yet that old covering had to be removed in order to for Moses to be clean enough to stand on Holy ground.

    Any of this sound familiar to our own conversion from sin soiled to being cleansed by the blood of the Lamb? Our old nature has to be removed, in order for us to stand on Holy Ground.

    Fire that cleanses, but not consumes…..There is great revelation here.

    We read in Revelation of a coming time when God sends fire upon the earth, where sin is cast into a lake of fire….followed by a new clean existence in both heaven and earth with man and God together as He always intended.

    God said His name was “I AM” from the burning bush, Jesus said “I AM” and sinful men tried to silence Him for it, We say “HE IS” and we are given an eternal promise of sharing that new clean existence with Him forever.

    Yet we all still must walk through a fire that cleanses but not consumes.

    More thoughts later.


  5. remarutho says:

    Hello Steve —

    I hear you. I agree that we stand mute before the Word which is the Name of God. There is always, for me, a paradox. I keep a little sign I made on the shelf near my work-table: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)

    The working of God is not explained nor fully comprehended by any human mind except that of Jesus…


  6. Toml5169 says:

    You took the analogy right out of my mind. The same thoughts were flowing through my mind with about putting off our old nature because we are Holy Ground. What made the ground Holy at the burning bush was the presence of God. We have His presence in us in the form of the Spirit, which came at Pentecost with visible tongues of fire. When Jesus cried out “my God, my God why have You forsaken Me?” He experienced just how unholy this ground is and despite His pain and isolation the presence of God was there, in the person of the Son. We today are Holy Ground, clay pots with the presence of God in us. Thus Paul cries over and over to put off our old nature so others can see and witness Holy Ground.
    Be Holy today by living what you are; the Holy presence of God!

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Maru, I too keep scripture in sight all around me, framed and hanging on our walls. Though these matters remain in my heart and on my mind, I just like the reminders they bring.

    Tom, I too love it when we have common thoughts miles apart with no physical contact…One Spirit that connects all believers together, a common thread more dazzling then the finest web; known, sensed, felt yet unseen.

    Light rain this morning, fall is coming soon to the mountains.


  8. poohpity says:

    It think they tell us about the truth of the Lord by giving Moses how it is that God would have us live and then the grace of providing the punishment for our inability to follow all the laws given to Moses by fulfilling them. Jesus suffered two deaths a physical death and separation from the Father when all our sins were heaped on His beaten, bruised and cursed back.

    Jesus knowing what fate was before Him and exactly what each disciple would do in the next few hours still wrapped a towel around His body and knelt to wash their feet as an example of how we are to treat others. The God of all creation laid down His Deity to become a servant, a humble servant, to pay the price for us such an undeserving lot.

    Moses also came from the kings palace and became a servant to be humbled under the mighty hand of God. No longer holding an exalted position but was stripped of all the royal fanfare. The same God approached Moses and asked Him to take off his shoes before a Holy God, took off His clothes and deity to give His life as a ransom for the whole world even those who would deny and betray Him. JESUS LIVED THE TRUTH WHILE SHOWING US GRACE!!

  9. poohpity says:

    Mart, the flier in ODB about “What Is Biblical” was outrageous as usual. My life has been convicted and blessed my this ministry. Thank you all for what you give.

  10. SFDBWV says:

    Prior to the encounter between God and Moses, God had interacted with man on several occasions. He walked with in the cool of the evening in the Garden. After Adams sin, he and Eve hid from the presence of God amongst the trees (Genesis 3: 8) Even after the fall of man, Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5: 21-24) as well as Noah (Genesis 6: 9).

    One can make the argument that Enoch and Noah’s walk with God is a metaphor for being righteous and following God’s perfect will (since there is no given law yet). However, it was a physical manifestation of God that shut the door of the Ark (Genesis 7: 16).

    In Genesis 12: 1 God tells Abraham to leave his country, but in Genesis12: 7 God appears to Abraham. Genesis 15:1 God appears to Abraham in a vision, not physically as at this time the Word makes a distinction between appearing in person and in a vision. Again in Genesis 16: 17 God not only appears to Abraham but Abraham falls on his face before Him as God talks with him and even names Isaac Genesis 17: 21.

    Then there is the very familiar story of when God appeared before Abraham with two angels (Genesis 18: 1).

    God also appears before Isaac (Genesis 26: 2) and (Genesis 26: 24).

    God appears to Jacob first in a vision (Genesis 28: 12), but in genesis 32: 24 is the famous night in which Jacob wrestled with God, not a vision or dream but a man.

    I have said all of this because God’s appearances seem to be divided in a purpose for Him to reveal to us His plans and nature.

    In the beginning, God walked with Adam in innocence and fellowship. Afterward God appeared in the pursuit of His will to be accomplished through the people He chose to do so.

    God had been forgotten by wayward man, so God like the good husbandman bred Himself a people to reveal Himself through. So why now a burning bush to Moses?

    Moses the law giver….(Reciever)

    I shall return…….


  11. davids says:

    I think that if we lived in Jesus’ day, we wouldn’t need to look for the connection between these passages. Our shoes are so clean, some of us don’t even bother to take them off before we enter a house.

    In ancient times even public walkways were covered with amimal and human waste. Walking meant getting your sandals and your feet filthy. Even today in the Mid-East, throwing your shoe at someone is a great insult and showing someone the soles of your feet is rude.

    Before you entered a house or temple, you would remove your sandals. If you or your host had a slave, they might have to remove your sandals for you and wash your feet. It was the one of the lowliest jobs for the lowliest slaves.

    So Jesus’ act of washing the feet of the disciples was not just a nice thing to do. It turned completely upside down their understanding of master and servant. This is why Peter takes such offence. If Jesus had only offered to serve them food that would not have put him in such a demeaning role.

  12. davids says:


    The references you bring up are interesting. Adam Clarke and other biblical commentators associate the “Angel of Jehovah” and the “Angel of the Covenant” with Jesus.

    I’ll be interested to see where you take this…

  13. Kroger says:

    Hello, my name is Scott Kroger, and I love ODB, but sometimes it’s frustrating because it is difficult to comment or reply to the things we’re given and read about. I just wanted to say somewhere that the September 2, 2011 Our Daily Bread devotional was particularly good — really a special treat. It was written by Dave Branon, and I wanted to say thank you to Dave. Thank you very much.

  14. SFDBWV says:

    What sort of man was Moses? If we read about him from Josephus we get a view of an educated accomplished man and heir to Pharaoh. Oddly the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Hesston did a somewhat more accurate job of depicting Moses than the latter renditions of a poor bumbling coward, depicted by Ben Kingsly.

    If we look at the false worship of the world we see gods coming to earth in many forms, men, women, various animals and even combinations of them. The homeland and education base of Moses (Egypt) was full of them and their stories.

    Whatever was going to get the attention of Moses had to be something extraordinary, just as gaining the attention of Paul took extraordinary measures from Jesus Himself.

    Paul seen a blinding light that left him blind, but from his blindness his eyes were opened to the truth.

    Here on this mountain Moses came face to face with nothing his education had ever prepared him for, and was contrary to all experience and understanding. A bush that burned and yet was not consumed by the fire. A fire that was bright, but not blinding.

    Today we all understand what is meant by a family tree. We are just a little branch of a much larger living organism, and if we want we can trace our selves backward to our *roots*.

    God’s multiple purposes of what He does and how He presents His plans to man is almost exclusively only understood when we look backward and inward at the events. All the while being an act of itself at the time.

    God had been silent for four hundred years, allowing for this special people to multiply and grow into the numbers he wanted; now it was time for Him (God) to make Himself known once again.

    The generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remembered God from the tales of creation and the accounts Noah’s descendants has ascribed to Him. They quickly recognized the Lord and His angels. People had forgotten the one true God.

    God’s plans and man’s salvation had entered a new phase.

    God was about to set mankind on fire, but a fire that cleansed not consumed them, that portion of the flame is reserved for another time. A flame to guide mankind out of the darkness as it was time to present it to the world, through these chosen people led on by Moses.

    Fire that in a coming time would separate the wheat from the chaff. It all began here shown as a bush that burned and yet was not consumed.

    Jesus of Nazareth is the embodiment of the law and of all that scripture tells, here from the burning bush God tells Moses to tell the people His name is I AM, when the religious leaders ask Jesus if He is the Messiah he simply says I AM.

    As much as the burning bush encounter with Moses is a phase of God’s plan for man’s salvation, it all comes together with the *phase* of the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

    The voice from the burning bush and the man nailed to the cross, one and the same God.

    The deliverer of the Hebrew and the deliverer of all of mankind, one and the same God.

    The character of the God of the OT and the Character of the NT, one and the same God.

    “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:” (Deuteronomy 6: 4)

    The dimmer light of the burning bush seen as the blinding light of Jesus with the Father, the small bush a symbol of mankind with God but not consumed by the fire of God yet made holy by it.

    These are only my thoughts I do not have a burning bush in my back yard, but I do have the rising of the sun to remind me of the rising of the SON.


  15. Toml5169 says:

    I very much appreciate this last post; a very good thread of how certain aspects weave together through the entire Bible. When you mentioned sunrises it prompted me to share a picture or analogy we often miss. When the nation of Israel was camped and traveling in the wilderness God gave specific directions of who was to camp to the East, toward tbe rising of the sun. From the tabernacle East there was first the alter (Christ crucified) then the tribes of Moses and Aaron (the priests of God) and beyond them the tribe of Judah (Praise). So in every sunrise God would look out from the tabernacle and see through the sacrifice of Jesus the Holy Prieshood of God encompassed by praise. In every sunrise today we should realize that is how God sees us; the holy priesthood of praise! Let the Sonlight be seen by God and those you touch today all of you who are praising priests camped to the East towards the rising of the sun.

  16. bill34sl says:

    To many countries it is customary for someboby to take his or her shoes off before entering a house as a gesture of respect to the household. Either because it has religious connotation or just plain culture. Long time ago God through a burning bush appeared to Moses and asked him to take his shoes off from before Him to show respect because the place has become holy thru His majestic presence. Several years later, Joshua came face to face with a similar situation, this time in Jericho. But instead of a burning bush, a warrior holding a sword was in front of him (Joshua 5:15). This warrior also represented the Majesty of God and rendered the place holy.

    When Jesus came to this world we know that He is God in the form of a man (John 1:14). But at that time He required no one to take his or her shoes off right before His presence. He didn’t need to because He became just like any one of us. He divested Himself of His glory and became humble like a servant. He came not to be served but to serve. God reached out to us in this way, the only way, so we can all be saved and not suffer the judgement spoken of in the book of Revelation. This unselfish act eventually brought us to a Period of Grace up until Jesus comes back for us. (We know what a “grace period” does to our advantage in our work, financial dealings or any other business we do).
    Now it’s all up to us to do our part in His great plan. Let’s all be grateful of His blessings.

  17. poohpity says:

    Love and justice are both aspects of God’s nature that He uses in dealing with us. Moses emphasizes God’s Law and Justice, while Jesus Christ came to highlight God’s mercy, love and forgiveness. Moses could only be a vehicle of the Law, while Christ came to fulfill it. The nature and will of God were revealed in the Law; now the nature and will of God were revealed in Jesus Christ. Rather than coming in cold stone tablets, God’s revelation now comes from the life of a person. (footnote on John 1:17 LAB)

    Yes, Mart, I believe they were meant to come together because God has always had a plan. Done in such a way so that those who care to understand will see and know that we have a God who wants a relationship with them. In the OT, God spoke through prophets like Moses which more often than not were scorned and rejected so in God’s infinite wisdom decided to lay down His deity and come in the form of a man completely human and completely divine (Col 2:8-10) who was also scorned and rejected. How could we have understood any better than to be taught directly from the originator of The Word and all we needed to do was to trust Him to save us. John 1:1-12 The only way to understand the truth and grace of our God is directly from Him alone in word and deed.

  18. dodi says:

    hi friends
    these are not my words, but I would like to share them, they are so very awesome, ……..

    Dr. J.V.McGee gives three reasons why he believes the burning bush wasn’t consumed:

    The indestructibility of the Jewish people: Many years ago a German Emperor asked a Chaplain… what’s the greatest proof that the Bible is the word of God? Without hesitation the Chaplain said “the Jew sir” many nations have come and gone but the Jew still remains,(& is not consumed) Israel has been in the fire of persecution from Egypt until this present hour. Pharoah has enslaved them,, Rome scattered them to the far ends of the earth, Spain imprisoned them, Hitler burned them in ovens, today the Muslim extremist hates them and burns their synagogues. Hitler is no more, but the Jew remains and God told Israel (Isaiah 48:10) I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction, the bush burned with fire and wasn’t consumed.

    The unconsumed bush signifies the indestructibility of the BIBLE because unto the Jew was given the oracles of God, (Romans 3:2) the Bible has been torn in 1000’s of pieces and burned, men have died; been sawed unsunder, but the Bible has never been consumed. Not one jot or tittle will ever pass away. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

    The bush was not consumed because of the indestructibility of the “Lord Jesus Christ”
    For when the fullness of time had come God sent his son made of a woman, made under the law,so he may redeem those who were under the law, that we would become the adoption of sons. (Galations 4:4,5)

    The bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed, as we receive and come to Christ we too will not be consumed for God has given us through the gift of His son everlasting life.
    God so graciously and lovingly sent to us the unconsumed everlasting nation(Israel) to give to us (the unconsumed) everlasting Book that we may have unconsumed everlasting life.

    “When through firey trials my pathway shall lie,
    My grace all sufficient He shall supply;
    Thy flame shall not hurt thee, as by his design,
    Thy dross to be consumed, as gold I shall be refined.

    For he knoweth the way that I take and when he has tried thee, I shall come forth as gold (Job 23:10,11)

    (Jesus..His soul was not left in sheol, (grave) neither did his flesh see corruption, not even his flesh was consumed) (Acts 2:27)

  19. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends —

    Moses bowed down, humbled and barefoot before the fiery manifestation of God in the burning bush. God spoke to this shephers out of the fire. The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews shows us again and again the surpassing greatness of Christ: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Hebrews 1:3-4)

    Mart, you write:

    “Two distant stories of shepherds, sandals, and so much more that we can barely begin to understand… ”

    It seems to me the frailty of our human understanding is overwhelmed by the power of our Creator God. Through Moses, God moved and shaped a group of Egyptian slaves into his own nation of Israel.

    But, Messiah is the Son of God — and , as Hebrews reveals: “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses — as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself…” (Hebrews 3:3) Moses was a faithful house-servant, Christ is faithful over God’s house as a Son.

    The great wonder of this overwhelming power of God is that Christ, who “will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire,” (Matthew 3:12) is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Isaiah only gave us a hint about this mighty Savior: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

    I am in awe of the ways of God — that Christ, the mightiest of all human beings, bears the sin of the world, and restores the entire creation to right relationship to God. We have not begun to fathom the work of the Good Shepherd.


  20. SFDBWV says:

    Tom/5169, I thought what you wrote is so poetic and a beautiful word picture of the Tabernacle encampment story of scripture.

    Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus are rich with living symbolism of Christ. God is the expert at telling a story while exposing a story while living a story.

    We are given sight to see it clearly now, but only special prophets were allowed a peek into the deeper truths that were being acted out in life by the Hebrew nation in the wilderness.

    While they walked through the wilderness forced into obedience they could never have understood the significance of their actions only cognizant of life around them.

    Isn’t it still true today? How we limit ourselves to paying attention only to the matters of right now and how we are affected right now.

    Moses saw a bush that burned and yet was not consumed, this was all he could comprehend those two facts, yet God hid deeper facts and truths in what Moses saw.

    I pray that God open our eyes so that we can see the deeper truths hidden in the things we see and the life around us today; only by drawing closer to Christ can we see the light, have the scales removed and begin the journey of filling our hearts with God’s hidden truths….Then maybe God will allow for us to shine His light on others and lead them to that same light.


  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I believe that every Follower of Christ has a God-given flame inside them, a Holy Spirit driven flame, and when we choose with our free will to make it shine for others, We then burn for Him with a fire that consumes our self-centered will but does not consume our fleshly bodies. We become like that burning bush, having the voice of God coming out of us, with many hidden things beyond just our spoken words. If we claim to have that Spirit, and we deny that Spirit, we then walk in our own created darkness. Gary

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Gary that is a good way to look at the matter, “That little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” a little tune most of us are familiar with.

    Mart tells me he likes the little stories I sometimes tell, so I am going to share an experience I had only a week or so ago.

    Our cemetery sets high up on a hill up out of town about a half mile. At noon a friend of mine called me to tell me her grand daughter had driven up into the cemetery in order to get a better cell phone signal and had discovered a man laying beside his car and looked as if he might be dead and was bloody.

    She called 911 then her grandmother who called me.

    When I went up to the cemetery the young lady was about 30 yards from the man’s body as she did not want to get any closer. I parked nearer to his car and looked over the matter. He had shot himself and was quite dead.

    I turned my attention to calming the young lady down and getting the proper authorities called in order to move along with what would be a long afternoon.

    As I turned my attention back to the body, every detail began to come into place; I looked into his car and got a name. Apparently the grave that he had stood in front of were those of his parents, I had only this spring buried the cremated remains of his mother.

    I did not know him but do his sister and her girls.

    Once the firemen and ambulance showed up I covered him up with a blanket as now this was a crime scene and nothing more was to be touched until the State police and Coroner could get there.

    I do not know the circumstances that brought this man to such a dark and lonely place in his life that he came to stand there at his parent’s graves and kill himself, but I found myself wishing I had known him, been able to talk with him perhaps even been friends.

    This is the third suicide I have had to attend to in the past year or so, and have had more of them to deal with these past 40 years then I would ever have imagined possible in my little world.

    While we talk of spiritual things and the connection of Old Testament and New, I am reminded that for some the only hope of peace is what they believe to be the unconscious unawareness and endless sleep of death.

    I am reminded how serious it is for me to shine light in a dark world and show that there is always hope. Especially when all hope seems lost. How important it is to smile at strangers and offer a hand to any and all. How important kind words are and to remember that what I say may be the last words some ever hear from me.


  23. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… a tragic tale of the reality of the lost, dark world we live in. I wept as I read about another soul lost forever, do to his own actions and his belief, that his life would be better off if he snuffed out his own flame. It is the ultimate tragedy to hear of a soul so dark and grieved, when there is an alternative that we here have chosen, and is available to all who would just believe. It makes me wonder why they don’t get it, and yet we, being also once empty, guilty, lonely, broken, and just as faulty and human, have been chosen to recieve this life everlasting. Only God knows!

  24. saled says:

    As I read Steve’s story, I pictured it as if it had happened in the cemetery that my husband and I used to be caretakers of. Our cemetery is also set on a hill, and people drive in there for cell service. Ninety-nine percent of the graves are on the left as you drive in, and near the top of the far right hand side, you notice an old tombstone set off by itself. The 39 year old man buried there died in 1883. A story told down through the years says that he died a pauper, and that was the reason that the town officials would not let him be buried in the usual part of the cemetery. I’m not so sure that is the reason he was buried off by himself.

    This man once worked and tried to make a living on land that I now own. The well-laid foundation of the house that he lived in is still there, and along with hundreds of feet of stone walls attests to his work ethic. A look in town records told me that in 1880, he was living there with his wife and five children ranging in age from infancy to 10 years old. Imagine trying to make a living for a family of this size from the poor soil near the coast of Maine. I will never know the details of his death, but I know how rugged this piece of land is, and I wonder if it eventually caused him to just give up.

    Are our religious beliefs on suicide correct? True, it’s never the right answer. However, maybe we are limiting God by assuming that they are lost forever. I know of some that I will not stop hoping for. Yes, lets shine our light of hope. There is always hope.

  25. SFDBWV says:

    I love your story Saled; When I walk through the cemetery or drive past old abandoned houses or foundations I am reminded of the people. They once laughed, loved cried, held hope endured tragedy and was just like any of us.

    I am always saddened by suicide because here is a person who lost all hope of overcoming their pain….I for one don’t believe this to be an unforgivable sin nor do I believe God abandons them in their broken state.

    The tragedy of suicide is shared mostly by the loved ones left behind, always wondering what they could have done to prevent the act or what they may have done wrong.

    I see suicide as an act of futility from a wounded or broken mind, I am saddened for their pain I do not judge them for their inability to cope.

    When the story of God from the burning bush continues on God gives Moses 10 commandments and the phase of law begins. We discussed this a bit in our last topic.

    Thou shalt not kill; the 13th commandment is somewhat confusing in that as an addendum to the 10 commandments God orders the killing of people as judgment for different offences, and orders the men of Israel not only to war against the people of Canaan but utterly kill all living things within their borders. Even at one point ordering Israel to cleanse itself by killing all who had brought sin upon Israel.

    No I am of the belief that the proper understanding of the 13th commandment is that murder is a sin. Murder being different then that of warfare or capital punishment.

    I also believe that the interpretation of suicide being unforgivable is an attempt of wayward misguided men to make human sense out of the matter and look upon it only from the eyes of worldly wisdom not from the eyes of God, through whom the judging of the matter is given.

    Was Peter left unforgiven because he denied Christ? Which of the 10 Commandments are unforgivable? Who can live out their entire lives and not violate one single law?

    Forgiveness begins with the God of the burning bush and should be offered by we to whom God has forgiven.

    No, a walk through a cemetery or seeing old ruins of houses should never be so casual as to not stop and remember those who once lived; held hope in their hearts, cried, laughed, had desire and yes, died. God has not forgotten them nor their life stories and neither should we.


  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… we can never know *conclusively* if God honors our self-killing or not. Because you choose to believe in the Once Saved Always Saved position, you and others who believe the same, really “must” support the only logic that position can take on this issue.
    Even though the biblical stance on sin, is that it does separate us from God, and because God always allows us our freewil to Sin, He also allows us to Repent and be Restored. Or, is that also not really needed?
    But, this is “one act of sin,” can never be repented for. It’s treaspass seems to trump God’s Word…
    So,that particular sin, God must treat differently then all the others. Or does He now treat them all the same for the OSAS, who freely sin without any lasting consequences?
    Freewill Sinning… may be a great concept, but, I say,”No thanks!”
    There is no word that says, sin all you want. Just as the Word never says, (everyone) gets to go to Heaven Forever.
    But it is a grandiose way of thinking. Unfortunately, it goes against the teaching that says, Narrow is the gate and few will ever find it.”
    Perhaps some twisted, or higher thinking ones, can conclude that taking one’s life is the “ultimate sin ending way” to asure their ticket to Eternity.
    But, I see only a huge gap where Satan’s well grafted False teachers and their false doctine, are allowed to thrive.
    Deception has many levels, and Satan is a most grandiose thinker who makes us “feel right” about opposing even the Commandments of God.
    We small minded, and God Fearing, had better be Right with God then to be separated from him intentionally, by our freewill sinning, or through taking our own life. Determining for ourselves, if you will, when the very life and light He Created in us, and in His Own Image,should be snuffed out..
    It is to me, a trap of the Mind of Satan to think this way. It is like believing,that God said…Suicide is okay for you!
    Is there no end to this “great deceptive allowance” for our chosing even this sin, so His Grace abounds?
    This says to me, that the Saved need not be careful of what they also choose to believe, either!
    It never ends, once you open the door to freewill sinning… that’s where Satan then controls you, and your mind!
    My favorite saying once I realise I’m dooped and sinnig, “Get behind me Satan”, or, “Get Under my Feet!” “I choose to serve a much Higher Authority, Almighty God.”
    This is why my Pastor will not debate this issue, but it is also why I will!! Gary

  27. Toml5169 says:

    I once believed as you do and attended a church that applauded outward obedience but had no place for unrepentant sin. However the truth is that is not saved by faith and the substitution of Christ in my place. I sin daily, and when sin is revealed I ask God by His grace to forgive me. Many of my sins however are not realized by me, so if I haven’t asked for forgiveness am I lost? Can I divide sin into 2 categories and say if it was willful I am unforgiven but if it was unwillful then I am forgiven? I cannot today believe I ever thought about God and what Christ did for me in that way. It took a period of 10 years that I now call the black and lost years to fully embrace God’s grace. During those years which were after I had served as a part time and full time minister, I considered very strongly and came very close twice to deciding to take my own life. Was I any more or less saved during those years than previous years of service? The answer is no. I was depressed, in the desert wilderness of my walk with God but the key is I was still with Him. If lusting after a woman is the same as committing adultery with her how is wanting with all my being to take my life any different than having done so? And yet God who set me apart before I was ever borne and formed me in the womb still called me to faith. That relationship is not one I lose by my ability to walk without sin but based solely on faith and a God who loved me and revealed His Son in me. I love you Gary as a brother in Christ but along with Steve and many others I cannot judge in any way a persons salvation based on a choice to sin, especially one made during such a dark time in their life.

  28. bubbles says:

    We do not need to wonder about our salvation. We CAN conclusively KNOW for certain because God’s Himself says so in His inspired Word:
    Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall BE ALBE TO SEPARATE us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    John 10: 28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall ANY MAN pluck them out of my Father’s hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    Eph. 1:13b . . . ye were SEALED with that Holy Spirit of promise.

    another verse says we are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD. . .
    not by what WE DO or DON’T DO.

    So, Gary, because of these verses, I don’t need to doubt what happens to one who dies naturally, by the hand of another or by their own hand. The above verses and other verses say that once we are saved and always saved. I don’t need to ‘assume’ or lean on my own understanding, because God tells us what we need to know.

    He does say it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. But then we have verses that tell us God is merciful and forgiving. His mercy endures forever. He knows we are dust. He knows our hearts like no one else. “To be absent from the body is to be PRESENT with the Lord.”

  29. poohpity says:

    Jesus + nothing = Salvation

    Grace can not be earned it is freely given. Romans 10:9-10

  30. dodi says:

    For many years I struggled with the assurance of my salvation, but I prayed and prayed for God to please give me The Blessed Assurance of salvation, because if I don’t have this assurance, then how can I lead and share with others this wonderful promise (and so God thru the Holy Spirit ) & the assurance of His word grants us the precious promise of eternal life.

    (1 John 2:1) I write these things unto little children, that you may KNOW you have eternal life.
    (Ephesians 1:11-14) You are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.

    Sucide….. Samson took his own life, and God allowed him to do so and even as he was committing sucide slaying the Philistines, God blessed him.
    Even Christians may be oppressed by the devil, even sadly to say…. as to take their own life, but never possessed. Sins in our life break our fellowship with Christ, but never our relationship.
    Jesus even…. gave his life, no one took it from him.
    (was this sucide?)

    I sincerely believe with all of my heart if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, he promises to fill us, with the blessed assurance of eternal life……

    Eternal security for the child of God is not a prideful, boastful-vain doctrine, but a most blessed comforting doctrine.

    (nothing in my hand I bring
    only to thy cross I cling)

    I sincerely believe that if we could be saved today and lost tomorrow, then what was the need of Christ dying? It was all in vain, My merits are absolutely zero (0) and nothing I can or ever could do, would ever give me eternal life. Jesus said ” those whom the Father has given me, I lose none”

    We are engraven in the palms of his hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

    And in closing….. the most beautiful words from the heart of (Jude) and now unto to him who is able to KEEP you from falling and present you faultless before the Father in Heaven. (Jude 1:24)

    2+2=4………do I feel like 2+2=4…….no….. it is a FACT, it is something I know, not something I feel, it is merely a fact, not based on a feeling or human reasoning or human merit.

    If thou can’st believe ALL things are possible and yes even unto eternal life.

  31. dodi says:

    (1 John 5:13) I write these things unto you little children that you may know you have eternal life.

    May God Bless ____ L/dodi

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    This one issue, like too many others, has split the Church of God right down the middle. We can not solve it by quoting a few verses. I too have verses that support my view, in fact, many more than those few.
    I do not doubt my Salvation, or yours, but only how we look at our sin from the moment of salvation to our physical death. One gives free reign to sin, the other brings it under more control, through Obedience to the Commandments of God. Neither absolves us from doing our sin, for our nature keeps us sinnig, but God Word also demands we repent. It follows the same command, that everyone of us who is saved “must follow,” Repent and Be Saved!
    Beleive me, we both fully enjoy our blessed freedom found in none other than Our Faith in Christ.
    Only one can condemn us, only one can convict us, and only one can forgive us. In my chosen doctrinal stance,
    Condemantion, Conviction, and Forgiveness, are current daily exercised events, just like my current sinning self, sin continues its sinning nature.
    I do not put Christ back up on the Cross daily, I only bend to His Commandments as I know, that I know, they still apply.
    Otherwise, there would be no need for the Commandments of God after salvation, so no more bible teaching of Repentance. No more meeting together with the Saints,
    no need to consider our committed sin. All those things are served, by just believing in the OSAS doctrine.
    Which trumps God’s ability to even punish his children,
    for the recieving of Grace, would be the only real Commandment ever needed. I’m not saying He can’t do it,I’m saying He has much to say about how we should live our lives, to just sit back holding onto our free ticket. Your doctrine allows for that, and mine doesn’t.
    There is a huge gap somewhere, and I believe it was created by Satan just for man, who can so easily be deceieved!
    Paul, the greatest teacher of Grace, also teaches much about our needed involvement, and our need for Obedience to the Word of God.
    He didn’t confuse his words, they are very clear,
    Submit and Obey, Repent and be Forgiven, return to your first love, Christ, not just this by Grace alone doctrine. Gary

  33. dodi says:

    p.s…….. a final thought……….

    Knowledge is the greatest gift in the world and to KNOW something is just a fact, not a hope so, or a maybe or a… it could be, but the thought of I KNOW.


    I KNOW in whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. ETERNAL LIFE ____ God Bless…L/dodi

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    dodi… I do not remember it happening that way, that Christ being crucified, was an act of suicide. But, If that helps you drive home you point…
    I find it pointless, unless Christ drove those spikes into himself.
    I have “set well,” the table of suicide for myself, which is what suicide really requires. But, I made one mistake and failed in my attempt, I called upon the name of the Lord, just before I was to taste the false victory of what I had set before me. He answered my call, He came, He upset the table befor me, and I’ve never had one moment of its ever returning to my now tested and believing mind. Praise God, that His Word is truth.
    I found one verse that I could wrap my, “I’m unable to resist my sinnig,” mind around. It is, 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is the, “I’m about to committ a sin,” verse. But…
    When, I tested it, and found that I could believe that verse to be truth, it empowered me into a freedom, I had never previously known.
    But, it is useless to help those who may choose to believe otherwise. Claiming for themselves victory over sin through Grace alone, as if Grace is given by default, where that empowering verse, needs no testing, or understanding. Gary
    I liken it to the Commandments of God, if tested and believed, they will produce in you, a freedom you have never known. But, it takes the being Obedient to them, for them to work… otherwise they are useless for you.

  35. bubbles says:

    In my life, Gary, I have not seen or heard of any church being split down the middle over this issue.

    We must rely on what the Word and the Word alone says. Otherwise, we could take any issue and put in our own thoughts. We must trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding.

    When God gave the 10 Commandments, He knew we would not be able to keep them. He who offends in one point is guilty of all. . . He gave them to us as a 1. a standard to live by, 2. He gave them to us to SHOW we are in need of someone much greater than ourselves. The law acts like a mirror and shows we need a Saviour.

    If we could keep the whole law and used deeds to “help” save us, we would brag about our own selves–prIde.
    “For by GRACE are ye saved, through faith. . . not of WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST”. How can any one on earth argue with this? If anyone tries to “work” their way to Heaven, they are indeed believing a lie from Satan. It’s is stroking their own ego and pride. Thank God once I believed on Him I never need to worry about working my way to Heaven, because I could never ever be good enough or do enough to get there. God says He sees our “righteousness” (efforts) as filthy rags.
    Thank God for his mercy! Thank God that when I don’t pray or read His Word like I should, He still loves me anyway. Jesus bought me with His precious blood. I am His, and He is mine.

    If quoting verses is not enough for you, Gary, then I am done speaking with you. God has the final word on everything. Not us. I was hesitant to even address you, but felt strongly about what you were saying.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Gary hold tightly to what you believe and understand, for it is what you are able to accept.

    I believe you would agree with me that all knowledge and all understanding do not end with you. Just as I believe the same about me.

    However I do and must examine all spirits that come into my hand and as much as your stoic attitude and your beliefs are admirable they can also cripple your ability to grow farther with God.

    May I suggest never to say never, and may I also suggest that as you judge others you yourself will be judged.

    Whereas I agree that Satan wants life without consequence, I also know that life produces consequences whether Satan likes it or not.

    It hurts me to hear you suggest that we who disagree with you are misled by Satan, as Satan has no hold on us any longer.

    Your argument sounds as similar as the same arguments Paul heard in every Synagogue where he preached the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth, and grace over the law.

    Gary, can you measure eternity? God can.

    We are given 70 years here on earth it is said, though some get a little longer and some less. Compared to eternity how long is 70 years?

    Of those 70 years the first 12 are said to be a time of learning to be an adult. So if we are not held accountable to God for our formative years then we now have 57 years to absorb all of what the scripture teaches and apply it to our life.

    Are any of us able to do this? If we were able to accomplish such a goal, it would seem that at the very end of our life here in this world, is when we only first are able to know how to live.

    There is no doubt that we are all held to two separate judgments, one from Christ for the believer and one from God for the unbeliever.

    The God of the burning bush can measure eternity, it is He who will judge, let our judgments be based on the eternal hope of salvation and forgiveness, for others as well as for ourselves.


  37. poohpity says:

    It is just so totally awesome to me that the same God who asked Moses to take off his shoes while standing on Holy Ground would take off His clothes and wash the feet of those who would betray and deny Him John 13:1-16. Loving them so much and knowing what was in their hearts still loved them enough to go to the Cross. I have often thought if I would have walked with Jesus like the disciples did would it have been any different for me and I would have to honestly admit even with the Spirit of Christ living within me there are times when I take my own road rather God’s. I am so glad that the Lord realizes that this relationship is one that grows over time and each day there will be less of me and more of the Lord shinning through.

    When I listen to others explanations of things we may not fully understand just like satan used some truths to make what he was saying seem like reality we have to be very careful and compare things against scripture and ask the Lord for a better understanding. Only Christ knows what our motivation is so we must be very careful when we assert things we know nothing about like what is in a person heart when they do anything even if it may not seem harmful it maybe to someone listening. In church today the pastor said, “Who you are speaks so loudly I can not hear what you are saying”.

  38. davids says:

    This has been a very interesting discussion. Thanks to all who made their case without offending those that have held different views. I think that Gary is correct when he says this is an issue that has split the church, and we see it here. But that does not mean that we need to dishonor those that disagree with us.

  39. dodi says:

    hey friends…….
    please forgive me, if there was an implication I implied Christ commited sucide…….what I was trying to get across and/or imply was that he knowingly let himself be killed at the hands of sinful men and I asked “was this sucide?”
    All I know is that His grace is so much greater than my sin.
    In the book of the John when the crowds left Jesus and were with him no more, Jesus turned and looked to his disciples and said “will you also leave me too?” and Peter said “LORD unto whom shall we go, for you have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) Friends there is no where else to go, there is no where else to look for Christ is eternal life, he who has the Son has life, he who has not the Son has not life. ____again God Bless / w/love ____dodi

  40. 1inhim says:

    1. Once Saved Always Saved.
    2. Salvation kept only by Obedience (works).
    3. Suicide … I can take myself out of God’s hand by my choice.

    I have worked thru many difficult issues in my life and I have good Christian friends on both sides of issue 1 & 2. Romans chapter 14 is a good starting point but also Acts 24:16; Rom 7:15; Rom 7:24; 2 Cor 1:12; 1 John 3:21; but for me Rom 14:4 & 14:22 is the answer to all of us.

    What I have found and have slowly come to realize, is in Phil 2:12. Our salvation is a very personal issue between me and my creator. Jesus clearly addresses this personal issue with Peter in John 21:20-22.

    Issue 3: Because I have been blessed with a developmentally challenged son who is now 47 years old and still is under our care. No one in their “right mind” would commit suicide is the normal argument. Help me understand this … is your mind the standard for the “right mind”? What about Alzheimer patients as their mind slips away; are they still accountable for their actions? Who can know this except Him who created us and numbered our days? Ps 139:1-16

    All I can do is fall at HIS feet and ask for Mercy, even for this post.

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    To all those I have offended here, who believe in their own legalistic form of salvation, the Doctrine of Eternal Salvation, or the OSAS, because of the verses that support your view, I say you are correct in your thinking, about those verses.
    Just as correct, as I am in my thinking of verses that support my legalistic, or to the Letter of the Law view.
    *All Saved are Saved Forever* I have won your point, you have turned my thinking around, because of your Faith in Christ, we must come together for Him.
    So, All are Saved in Heaven with God Almighty because they are His Creation, they are ultimately His, to do whatever He decides to do, with their Eternity.
    So, on that well founded issue, I stand corrected and on your side. No contest within me anymore. All go to Heaven, “PERIOD.”
    But, for what purpose, and what rewards are we Saved? Only God can decide that!
    BUT, none of those who are Once Saved Always Saved have been to the White Throne of Judgement, and multitudes of those who are with God, have through their own actions, or inactions because of strongly held false beliefs, have continued sinnig freely abusing His Grace. Thus, I believe, they have Separated themselves from Him for Eternity. God’s Grace and its Forgiveness is a way “out of sin,” not a license to bask in it, or continue in it.
    No matter what you want to believe,,, there is a Lake of Fire awaiting many, or this Christ who you and I claim to Follow, has lied to us all. All may be Saved by God, but, Wide is the Road to His Destruction, and Narrow the Gate to “not being” separated from God for Eternity. In that Light, the White Throne which is in Heaven, with all those who were Once Saved, Awaits us All!
    We are all “Saved for that Judgement Day,” and none Escape the Hand of God! It is Written!
    So, like my very wise Pastor, I will no longer argue this relentless point about His Savaltion, because, Our Eternity is still awaiting us. To all those who choose to believe what we choose to believe, until God changes that belief in me, my Faith is both Christ Centered, and God Fearing. In that Grace, and that Forgiveness, by the Help of the Holy Spirit, do I continually “try” to my utmost, to Obey all His Commands. As He allows and Leads me. One thought… Blessed are those who walk in the Paths of Rightiousness. Gary

  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Claudia… 9-4 4:04 I thank God for your testimony,
    is also your witness. Gary

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… words are only a comfort to those who understand them. We do not hear what we do not understand. (NIV) Romans 10:17 “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
    (MESSAGE) Romans 10:17 “Before you trust, you have to listen. But, unless Christ’s word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.”
    Here is what I’ve heard my whole life, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” They are all good words, and given for us to grow our faith in Him!
    “I hear you Brother, loud and clear!” Gary

  44. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…9-4 4:00 Your post speaks loudly, boldly, and from your heart, it is all for Him. You’ve touched on a very valid point about false teachers and their False Teaching, as it presents itself well, by being amoung many God-given truths, where it then hides unnoticed!
    Just like best counterfit must look like the real thing to be passed on unnoticed! We must go back to the known standard, God’s Word, to find its truth and hold that truth, against all new doctrine, and new comers! Gary

  45. foreverblessed says:

    september 4 2011, 2:57 pm Gary wrote:
    One gives free reign to sin, the other brings it under more control, through Obedience to the Commandments of God.

    3:29 pm: I liken it to the Commandments of God, if tested and believed, they will produce in you, a freedom you have never known.

    Gary, I would like to express my concern that you may be using the wrong method in following Christ.
    What do you mean, the 10 commandments, do they give us love, grace, patience?
    The Law is there to show us what sin is, Romans 3;20.
    Although we do not break the Law Romans 6:15, 16
    Was the Law there to lead us to Christ, Galatians 3: 23,24, 25
    Or do you mean living in faith in Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, in other words: through our union with Christ in the Holy Spirit.
    Galatians 5:16,17,18
    The morning devotion of CH. Spurgeon of today, september 8, is encouraging:
    Hosea 14:8 From Me is thy fruit found.

  46. foreverblessed says:

    I would not like to appear as if I know it all, but living as a christian being more busy in keeping the law, all the commandments, then really giving up my own life in the hands of Jesus, is what I have been like, before falling flat on my face, because whatever I did it was never enough. I need new Life, the bread from Heaven, that is Jesus.
    And the effort that is mine, is continually looking for His face, being attached to Him, becoming quiet before Him.

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