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Ye Must Be Born Again April 25, 2015

Posted by regan222 in Philosophy, Religion.
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Salvation by Grace

Sunday, April 19, 2015

11:35 AM

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It has been said that the Preacher’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  If you didn’t come tonight to hear about everlasting life through the grace of Jesus Christ then you are exactly who I came to speak with.  I hope by the end of the evening you will be able to take comfort in what I say rather than be made uncomfortable by it.

We will be studying tonight in the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  The letter to the church of Ephesus was, along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, one of the epistles that Paul wrote while a captive.  Most scholars believe it was during his time in Rome, although some argue that it was during his captivity in Caesarea.  What matters is that in this letter the Apostle Paul, under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit, pens one of the most doctrinally powerful statements in the entire Bible.  He outlines the path whereby men may be saved from the curse of sin they are living under.

First and most importantly, the Grace of Jesus is Exclusive.  There is not alternative salvation plan.  God doesn’t offer door #2.  The Bible tells us that there is only one name with the power to open the gates of Heaven for you.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus himself was very specific in describing the pathway to salvation.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Greek text here has the same absoluteness that God used when He told Joseph to address Pharaoh.  The “I am” of the bible is a very emphatic way of speaking about one’ self.  It is like saying I and only I am.  In this we find what is commonly referred to as the offence of the cross.  This is the aspect of salvation message that the carnal world despises.  Salvation is open to all but it is exclusive in the method.  There is only one way.  Fortunately for us, it’s an easy way.

The Grace of Jesus Christ is not only Exclusive, but finding that grace is Easy.  Sometimes I think that is why it is often rejected.  The prophet told Naaman to wash in the river of Jordan and he would be healed.  Naaman got angry.  He was expecting Herculean tasks and thunder from heaven.

2 Kings 5: 13  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?

We want it to be hard.  We want the glory of the struggle but the glory belongs to God.  The struggle ended on Calvary.  We just have to accept the gift.  Maybe it offends our pride in our sinful nature.  Surely it can’t be that easy after all that we have done, and yet, the grace of Jesus is just that Easy and just that Effective.

The grace of Jesus, the sacrifice of his blood, is the only thing that will wash away the stain of Adam’s fall.

Joke about Don Knotts in the movie (“And they used Bon Ami!!”)

It is completely effective  and effectively complete.  When Jesus cried out “It is Finished” on the cross, he was not talking about his earthly life or his ministry.  He was declaring the work of salvation to be complete for all time.  It is done.  Nothing more needs to be added.  When the regeneration of a lost soul is begun, it is complete within that same instant.  The sins of the lost man are taken so far away that not even God can remember them.

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be propitious to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins I shall by no means remember anymore.”

He will BY NO MEANS remember our sin or hold it against us.

So, the grace of Jesus is Exclusive; it’s Easy, and it’s Effective, and finally, the need for that Grace is Emphatic.

The Bible is very specific about who needs the grace of Jesus.  Ye MUST be born again.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

All men are born into Adam’s race and all men suffer Adam’s disgrace.

Ye Must be born again.

All men have sinned and all need a savior.  There is only one who is qualified but Praise God His salvation is enough for all.  And Praise God His salvation is free.  Free for the asking.  One thief on a cross mocked and scoffed and died in his sin but the other was justified; set free from a life of wickedness and sin, just.by.asking.

And now it’s your turn.  Remember what I said earlier about afflicting the comfortable.  This is it.  The gospel demands a response.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus told his disciples that whoever wasn’t for him was against him.

Matthew 12:20 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

If you have never cried out, like the thief on the cross, for mercy, then, when you stand before God, as all men must.  You will not receive it.

Revelations 20:11

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

This is what awaits those who would deny the Grace of Jesus.  For those who accept it, like the Thief on the cross, they will spend eternity with the one who died that they might live.

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Won’t you join us?

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One in Every Crowd March 10, 2014

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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sheepMatthew 18:12 – How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

How great the Father’s love for us that He would send His only son to die.  This verse gives us a hint, or as much of one as our limited minds can conceive, of how much God loves each of us individually.  Had there been only one sheep gone astray, still the Shepherd would still have come to Earth seeking to save it.  A wise man wrote, “If I had been the only reason…he still would have died for only me.”  No Christian should ever become discouraged or think that God does not care.  God is actively interested in each of His servants, individually as well as collectively.  Do not become jealous of someone who seems to be constantly involved in serving God and winning battle after battle while you feel like you are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing of value.  This is far from the truth.  Each of God’s servants, if they are doing God’s will, is exactly where the Father expects them to be and each has the Father’s complete attention.  Anytime we feel separated from God or beneath His notice, it is only a short coming on our part.  Pray without ceasing.  Stay in the Word and seek the Will of God.  Separation from God is all one-sided.  He does not withdraw from us, we withdraw from Him.  If you cry out to Him he will find you, as a shepherd seeking a single sheep.  The wise Christian, however, will stay close to the shepherd and not be the one in every crowd that wanders astray.

Opposites Attract; – Well, Yeah but not always. September 27, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Picture if you will…You’re at the lake, floating on an inflatable raft in the cool azure blue. A light breeze tickles your wet skin as you look up to the spotless blue perfection above. As you look down you notice a tiny invader in your serenity. A small insect purposefully striding across the surface of the water toward you. How can this be? Has the insect messiah come to deliver his people to the promised land? I’m gonna say “pro’lly not”.

gerris02The picture to the left is a common Water Strider.  This little miracle operates by Physics and Chemistry rather than by supernatural support, however, they all come from the same source and were created by the same designer so it really doesn’t matter.  What’s important is how the chemistry works in the natural and how the analogy can apply to the supernatural.

Notice in the picture that the insect’s legs do NOT displace any water at all.  If you look closely at the tips of the legs in contact with the surface of the water you will see that the water surface appears to distort where the legs touch, almost as if the insect were walking on a thin film of plastic wrap.  A boat, floating on the water, would sit lower and actually displace a portion of the water.  That is, after all, the definition of floating.

An object floats only if it is buoyant in the substance in which it rests.  Buoyancy is defined as…
“the upward force on a body immersed or partly immersed in a fluid” (http://www.askdefine.com)

The object is supported by the amount of water it displaces because the water produces an upward force as the object sinks in.  If the mass of the object is less than the mass of the volume of water displaced, the object will float.  All of this is not relevant, however, because the object in question, the insect, does NOT float.

Just as on that long ago Sea of Galilee, this little insect is actually walking ON and not floating IN the water.  His mass is very small and the long legs spread the weight out over a large enough surface area that he is able to walk on the surface of the water just as on solid ground.  He does not sink in or displace any water.  He does not depend on buoyancy.  He does depend, however, on the unique chemistry and physics of the water molecule.

Water is composed of one Oxygen atom in a covalent bond with two Hydrogen atoms.  The Hydrogen atoms are composed of a single proton and a single electron.  A covalent bond is one in which the atoms SHARE the electrons.  As you may know,  electrons orbit the nuclei of atoms. The outer set of electrons, called the valence electrons, are used by the atom to bond with other atoms to form molecules.  A covalent bond occurs when the outer electrons orbiting a nucleus begin to spend time orbiting the nucleus of another nearby atom.  When that occurs, a new compound is formed and the chemical properties of the original molecules are changed.  In our case, two gasses bind together to form a liquid with some pretty amazing properties.

The Oxygen atom has many more electrons orbiting its nucleus than do the Hydrogen atoms.  The two electrons from the Hydrogen atoms begin to orbit, sharing time between the Hydrogen atoms and the Oxygen atom.  At any given time there are more electrons around the Oxygen end of the molecule than there are at the Hydrogen end.  This gives the Oxygen end a tendency towards a negative charge.  This results in the Hydrogen end (composed of basically two protons) a tendency towards a positive charge.  When a molecule has a partial positive charge at one end and a partial negative charge at the other, we say that the molecule is “polar”.  It has poles like a magnet.  This condition is the source of all of water’s peculiar properties and it is what gives our little friend the ability to duplicate what only one man has ever accomplished.  (Well actually two managed it but only one was really successful.  The other…well lets just say that he walked further on water than either you or I are ever likely to.)

The arrangement of water as a polar molecule has exactly the effect that you would suspect.  The positive and negative areas are attracted to the corresponding negative and positive regions of the water molecules surrounding it.  Water molecules act like tiny magnets.  This albeit weak, attraction between polar molecules is called Hydrogen Bonding.  It does some very strange things to water.  One of the most unusual is the property of cohesion.  Water molecules tend to stick to each other.

If you have ever waxed a car and then driven into a rain storm you have seen water “bead up” on the hood.  Water forms droplets of considerable size because the molecules are attracted to and hold onto each other with surprising tenacity.  An excellent way to see this for yourself is the following experiment…

You will need a penny, an eyedropper, a bottle of water, and a bottle of some organic solvent (acetone – nail polish remover, or alcohol (90% isopropyl, not that cheap Wal-Mart mix) will work.  Start with the water and see how many drops you can drop on the penny before the puddle you are creating breaks and runs off.  Now try the same with the NON-POLAR solvent.  Having done this experiment many times over with my students from year to year I can verify that it is possible to drop over 100 drops of water onto the surface of a penny before it runs off.  With alcohol you might get 30 or 40 and with acetone, even less.  The non-polar liquids lack cohesion.  The molecules are neutral and not attracted to each other.  In short, those liquids have no SURFACE TENSION.  If you waxed a car and then ran off into an alcohol shower you would find that the liquid would not form beads.  Also the miraculous little creature above would sink helplessly beneath the waves of a lake of acetone, never to rise again.  The liquid would not support him, not because he was too heavy but because he did not have a surface of molecules holding on to each other, to support him.  The boiling point of water, its ability to gather and hold heat, the fact that liquid water is more dense than frozen water, as well as this little guy’s ability to stand on the surface supported only by surface tension; all these unusual behaviors are properties of water’s unique chemical and physical makeup.

“Why”, you ask, “do we REALLY need a lesson in the chemistry of water?”  Perhaps not, but we MIGHT be able to draw some insight from an analogy on the way water behaves.  It is said that opposites attract and indeed, the positive and negative parts of each water molecule do attract each other, but the result is that every water molecule, and each is identical to the others, is attracted to its neighbor.  They have the same nature and so they are attracted to each other; not what you might expect.  As Christians, we have indwelling each of us, the same nature.

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)

The nature of Jesus Christ is in each and every Christian.  Something in all Christians resonates at the same frequency and THIS force or effect is what pulls us together in His service.

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46)

Like the early disciples, we, if we allow Christ to indwell us fully, are held together by His nature.  Because of this attraction we can be more than the sum of our parts.  Just as water boils at a much higher temperature than it should, the Christian can show incredible patience through the most trying of times.  As a thin stream of water will bend away from an oppositely charged object, so the committed Christian can overcome a temptation or obstacle that he or she would, in their own strength, be destroyed by.

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, opposites repel and similar things attract.  However, in order to experience this power you must partake of the nature of the source.  Allow Christ free rein in your life and you will find an incredible source of strength.  You might even walk on water.

 

 

A Parable is NOT Two Male Cows August 19, 2012

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Tonight is just a short scripture study on a passage that caught my attention. I had always had trouble with the parable of the householder who sent servants and then his son to receive the fruits of the vineyard. It dawned upon me tonight just how clearly this parable demonstrates the Father’s plan for the son.

Matthew 21
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

For those who think God unjust or unkind in His treatment of the unsaved, I offer this interpretation. The owner of the vineyard may do as he pleases with his property. He builds and develops it into a useful and profitable venture for his own pleasure. He then hired others, sharing his wealth with them, again out of kindness, to work the vineyard and gain profit from it.
When the time of harvest arrived and the landowner sends servants to collect his share, the workers kill the servants and refused to give the landowner his due. How would YOU feel? Instead of bringing grief and misery down upon their heads, the landowner gives them another chance. In SPITE of the fact that they killed his servants, the landowner was willing to allow them to stay employed. Would any of us be that merciful? When the landowner sent his son and the workers killed him, Jesus asked the pharisees and scribes what THEY would do. They said “Kill the workers.” Even here, the landowner is merciful. He gives the workers a VERY long time to repent and apologize before he brings justice upon them.

The story is a very accurate depiction of the interaction between God and man over the last 2000 years. God built and prepared a paradise for man and shared it with him. He allowed man to profit from essentially no labor. Mankind rebelled. God sent prophets and servants to woo humanity back into the fold. The servants were killed or ignored. Others were belittled and scoffed at. Sounds remarkably like the treatment most Christians get when they declare themselves believers. God sent His son to bring mankind into the kingdom, not by force, but by offering them everything they needed. Humanity treated the son even worse than the servants that were sent before. Even now, after ridiculing and killing God’s servants, humanity is allowed room to repent.

2 Peter 3
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

God is not ignoring the things that don’t please Him. He just does not want to punish and destroy people. The time is at hand. Today is the the day of salvation. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow and yet people live like they are going to live forever. News Flash: Death will NOT be cured before it comes for YOU. Be sure you are ready.

Ephesians 2
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Acts 16
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Grace is free but any gift requires acceptance. You must be willing to believe. Belief is an act of will. Choose to believe and be saved. It’s as simple as that. If you have questions, comment below but remember…a sincere seeker will never be turned away but mockers will have no place in God’s heaven.

Let a Man Examine Himself August 10, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, General Ranting, Religion.
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Watch the video and then watch the sermon

But Let a Man Examine Himself

1 Corinthians 11:27-29

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Taken in context, these verses encourage anyone partaking of the Lord’s Supper to examine their own hearts and make sure they are approaching the Lord with the right motives before they sit down at His table.  It may be inferred that self examination is profitable at any time.  I made the majority of that video a reflection in a mirror for a reason.  We need to pause and reflect upon our own reflections for a moment and take stock of our growth and progress.  Hopefully what you have just watched will offer up some things to look at as you examine yourself.

I. Examine your Methods.

Right away we should be aware that God is not so nearly interested in what we do as He is in why we do it.  Each of us has been given talents and gifts to make us uniquely suited for the role God would have us play in the world.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We have no right to glory or boast in our abilities because God is the source of the talents and abilities we have received.  God, in His wisdom, knew that the church would need many different kinds of workers, just as the body needs many different kinds of organs.  Some He called to preach or to teach or to give, or to encourage, but we all have in common the source of our abilities and what we are to use them for.  Of ourselves, we are nothing.  If you are a great singer, a powerful speaker, a wise businessman, beware of pride.  What exactly did you get outside of God who sovereignly gives and takes away?  Look at the person who has nothing and think for a moment, there but for the grace of God go I.

As this is the case, we are held responsible for very little.  In the work of salvation, Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  We only accept or decline.  As a witness we are called upon to spread the gospel.  We are not held accountable for its results.  I don’t hold James responsible for carrying out the trash or washing the car yet.  There is very little that we are held responsible for because we are capable of very little.  God does, however, expect at least two things from us.  We must be faithful in our service if we want to serve and we must do our best.  If we have the faith of a mustard seed we can do much, but we must have that faith.

  Numbers 19:2
This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
  Numbers 28:3
And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.

  Numbers 28:9
And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
  Numbers 28:11
And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;
  Numbers 29:17
And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:
  Numbers 29:26
And on the fifth day nine bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:

When we do give something to God, be it sacrifice or service, He only wants our best efforts.   We need to examine ourselves and see if we are truly giving our best.

II. Examine your motives

To a Christian, motives are the most important factor in their actions.  The unsaved man’s motivation comes from worldly things.  They are focused on self and what pleases self.  Even their good deeds are motivated by selfish motives.  They give to causes and charity because it makes them feel good.  All actions from the lost man are motivated by self and the world.

The early Southern Baptists held that “The scriptural doctrine of depravity is not that every man is a bad as he possibly can be, for there may be indefinite progression in guilt:–nor that one man is necessarily as wicked as another,–for there may be as many shades of depravity as there are sinners in the universe. But it teaches us that man, by nature, is destitute of all holy principles and desires; that there is nothing in his character which is pleasing in the sight of God; that being alienated in his heart from God, corrupt in the very fountain of action, in the temper and spirit of his mind, all the actions that he performs, even those which are in themselves excellent and lovely, are still the service of an alien and a rebel, and consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”  The lost man, even in the act of caring for his child or providing for his family, is in the service of “an alien and a rebel” and is “consequently an abomination in the sight of heaven.”

The Christian, on the other hand, is commanded to put self last on the priority list.  We are motivated by God’s will.  He asks and we act in disregard for self or worldly gain or anything else that would motivate a worldly person.  History is filled with examples of Christians who would prefer to live in poverty or die in pain rather than act out of God’s will.

Matthew 6: 1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

The lost soul does good to receive a reward.  They operate under the law.  When the Pharisee prays on the street corner and in the market place he gets his reward from the people who are impressed when they see him.  The Christian is commanded to do alms, or to give, in secret.  No one should know.  We are not motivated by worldly recognition.  We only seek God’s well done.  We need to examine ourselves and see if we are acting out of love for God or for ourselves.

III. Examine your Future

You’d think we should examine the past first rather than the future, but as you will see, the past determines the future.  For the saved church member, we stand at a critical junction.  Like Gideon’s army at the river

Judges 7:4 And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

Look around for a moment.  There are seats empty that were once filled.  The people who sat there have, for one reason or another, fallen by the way.  We have a place being prepared for us just as the Israelites of the Old Testament but not everyone who set out with us on this journey will arrive.  In order to have a future we must be faithful in the present.  They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until none of that original generation of adults was left alive because of their lack of faith.  The group future was preserved just as God promised but a lot of individual futures fell by the side of the road getting there.

Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

The church has been described as a vine.  I am not so familiar with grapes but I have an acute awareness of blackberry vines.  The best way to get more fruit from the vine is to cut away the dead wood during the winter.  The time for pruning is when the vine is not actively producing fruit.  The wise gardener knows this and when he sees the vine with no fruit he cuts away the dead wood.  In the spring, the remaining wood produces more fruit.  No vine ever died from careful pruning and in fact, they produce more fruit for the gardener.  We need to examine our future.  Don’t be part of the pruned.  Hold fast and remain faithful and receive the reward.

IV. Examine Your Past

Contrary to what you might think, the past is more important than the future in this case.  The past writes the future.  If you believe and receive the gospel in the past, then in the future, your reward is assured.  If you have no past relationship with Jesus Christ, you have no future.  You cannot sneak into heaven.  Some people have the mistaken idea that if they hang around the church long enough, attend enough services, give enough, even get baptized or become a member of the church, then they will somehow establish a relationship with Jesus by proxy or by just being around long enough.  You need to examine your past right now and see if there is a moment in time when you definitively responded to the call of the gospel and accepted Jesus Christ as savior.  Somewhere at sometime in your life you said yes to the Lord and your life was changed.  This is the only way in to heaven.

The past is past.  It’s gone.  The wonderful thing about the present is that you have a chance to change the future.  Today is your opportunity.  It’s the only chance you are absolutely guaranteed.  The future is very uncertain.  You might not have one outside of this door.  Don’t take that chance.  Examine your past and write your future here in the present and for all time.  Accept the Lord Jesus in faith.  Choose to believe the gospel that he died for you and rose again and you will rise as well.

I’m Not Lost, This is the Scenic Route August 2, 2012

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion.
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To all my loyal readers, sorry I have not posted in a couple of weeks.  Between trying to finish up a movie and get ready for school to start back up, not to mention trying to cut wood with my cousin in 110 degree heat, I have been remiss in my duties as a writer and minister.  To you who are interested, I heartily apologize.  I WOULD apologise like they do in Europe but the word press spell checker insists that it is misspelled.

To make matters worse, my family has been on vacation at the family reunion, which I did not attend, and that has me completely out of sorts.  Enough excuses, I promise to turn out some Pulitzer Prize winning material just as soon as I can copy some from a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  Meanwhile, God Bless and Keep You and Make His Face to Shine Upon You.  For those of you who were put off by my reference to the Deity, please see my entry under “Live Forever, Ask Me How” tab immediately.  You can thank me later after we have both passed away.

The Truth Shall Set You Free July 5, 2012

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Just a short entry tonight.  This was my sermon from the 4th of July celebration at “The Place”.  Hope everyone had a great time.  I know I did.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We celebrate today because 236 years ago, 56 representatives from the original 13 colonies came together to declare their liberty from tyranny.  They gathered in Philadelphia to ratify the document that officially severed ties with Great Britain and paved the way for the United States to become and independent nation.  The document they signed, our declaration of independence, is essentially a list of grievances which led to the separation of the US and Great Britain.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.

 

 

In that same light, over 2000 years ago, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, urged them to declare their independence from the tyranny of sin and wickedness.

Gal. 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The remainder of the passage is essentially a list of the things that enslave us and keep us from finding liberty.

Gal. 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

If you would be truly free then declare yourself.  Pledge your allegiance to the only Son of God and accept the free gift of salvation he offers and you can finally escape the tyranny of the world and sin.

John 8:32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Gravity…What’s The Attraction?? June 11, 2012

Posted by regan222 in General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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3 comments

In Physics we acknowledge four fundamental forces in the universe.  This does not mean there are not many more, it just means we can’t identify them.  These forces include Gravitational force, Electromagnetic force, Weak Nuclear Force, and Strong Nuclear Force.  Most people don’t realize the electricity and magnetism are considered to be the same type of force.  The nuclear forces are what hold atoms, and consequently, all matter, together.  Electromagnetic force is the movement of electrons through matter, and Gravity is what keeps us from leaving the planet unexpectedly.

Gravity is defined in Physics as the tendency for objects with mass to accelerate towards one another.  We will break that definition down in detail momentarily, but the important thing for right now is to know that two objects, not acted upon by any other outside force, will tend to move towards each other.  If we could empty the universe, except for two tiny molecules, given enough time, they would come together.  All physical objects have gravity.  It is a property of matter.  Gravity and mass are directly proportional.  As mass goes up, the attractive force of the object increases.   And I’ll bet you thought it was little skinny people who were attractive.

Sir Isaac Newton quantified and defined gravity for us.  The story goes that he was resting one day under an apple tree when one of the fruits of that tree’s labor fell off and clocked him on the head.  The resultant shock brought about a flash of inspiration (and likely pain) which led Sir Isaac to the conclusion that all things accelerate towards one another and that the larger an object is, the more attractive force it has, and finally, the distance between two objects affects the strength of the pull between them.  It also probably introduced him to the benefits of ice when applied to a bump on the head.

“But Preacher”, you ask, “What does this have to do with God or religion?”  To which I reply, “Everything.”  John 6:44 tells us that God has an attractive quality just like gravity or magnetism or any other fundamental force.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

We are drawn by the Father to the Son, and indeed that is the only way we can approach the Son.  The Father’s attraction, we will find, shares many of the same properties as that of gravity.  While gravity is a property of, and works only on, matter, the allegory is still valuable as a teaching tool.

Firstly, God’s attraction is constant.  Just as gravity is a fundamental property of matter than can not be removed or modified, God’s pulling power never changes.  It springs from His divine nature, and as such, is a constant as He is constant.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Secondly, God’s attractive power is complete.  Anyone who responds will be drawn into his presence.  Of course the only path into the presence of God is through His son Jesus Christ, but the pull is the same and it is sufficient for all.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Jesus Christ was lifted up at his crucifixion and now can draw any and all who wish to be drawn.  That is the only limit to the attractive power of God.

Just as importantly, God’s attractive force is dependent on distance.  In the case of gravity, the attraction is strong over a short distance but falls off the further away the two objects are.  Even so, as we move further away from God in our relationship with Him, we begin to lose His influence in our lives.  Oddly enough, even though the pull weakens as we get further from God,  it never completely fails.  Objects in space separated by relatively small distances exert a great pull on each other.  The power of the Sun to hold the entire Solar System with all its incalculable mass in orbit, even distant planets like Pluto, gives us some idea of the attractive force of gravity and the mass of the Sun.  Objects, on the other hand,  at great distances, separated by entire galaxies even, still exert some degree of pull on each other.  Compared to close objects the pull is tiny, but it is there and can be measured.  Should the objects begin to move towards once another, the pull will grow.  In the same way a Christian who has fallen away from the faith and become carnal never completely falls away from God and can be started back on to the path of reconciliation with the slightest nudge in the right direction.

Finally God’s attractive power grows over time.  An object falling under the influence of gravity does not fall at a constant rate.  Gravity, on Earth at any rate, causes a falling object to accelerate at 9.8 meters per second per second.  This means that the object, at the end of one second of falling, is traveling 9.8 meters per second.  At the end of the second second of falling the velocity has doubled.  The object falls at 19.6 meters per second. This acceleration continues and the speed increases until the object’s wind resistance equals for the force of gravity.  At this point in a fall, acceleration stops.  This condition is called Terminal Velocity and is the maximum speed at which an object can fall through air.  Without atmosphere, the acceleration of gravity is constant and continual.  In a vacuum the speed at which an object falls will continue to increase until the object strikes the ground.  In this same vein, the longer a believer stands in God’s presence with nothing to interfere, the longer that believer is under the influence of God’s attractive power, the stronger the attraction becomes.  The believer grows in faith, as it were.

Of course this allegory only applies to those who accept the pull of God’s drawing power.  In order to experience the power one must first accept the connection.  The only acceptable route to God’s presence is through Jesus Christ, the Son.

<Invitation>

Momentum…Get Carried Away June 4, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, Educational Ranting, General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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4 comments

The largest moving object on the Earth is the Jahre Viking (also called the Knok Knevis or Happy Giant).  This ultra-large crude carrier weighs an amazing 260,941 tons and is so big it can’t navigate through the English Channel; it carries a cargo close to its own weight when fully loaded with crude oil.  Amazingly, when steaming full ahead an emergency stop requires 5.5 MILES of ocean.  That is an unbelievable amount of momentum in one object.

Momentum is defined as matter in motion.  Anything that is made of matter has the property of momentum.  This includes every physical object in the universe that is moving.  The amount of momentum an object contains is dependent on two things; how massive the object is and how fast the object is moving.  Mass, for our purposes, is the amount of “stuff” an object contains.  It is often confused with weight but the latter is a measure of how gravity acts on mass and not the mass itself.  Velocity is simply how fast something is moving in a given frame of reference.  Frame of reference is important but beyond the scope of my sermon.  We’ll get into that when we talk about special relativity later.  Meanwhile, just remember that momentum is mass in motion.

How can we apply these principles to the Christian experience?  While salvation is spiritual and not physical, it is possible to find allegorical similarities.  Momentum generated by a moving object can be transferred to other objects as it comes into contact with them.  Transferred momentum can cause an object to start moving, if it is stationary, or change direction if it is already moving.  When we as Christians come into contact with worldly things our spiritual momentum is affected.   We find ourselves being influenced or moved in other directions, away from the direction we are traveling, away from the destination that God has in mind for us.

Exodus 23:2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

It is easy to get caught up in the momentum of the world because it is so pervasive.  It surrounds us.  It moves past us in the opposite direction.  Overcoming this sort of momentum requires a constant energy output.  If we once relax we are caught up and we begin to change direction.  A small fish swimming upstream against a powerful current must continue to move forward because if he stops, or even slows, the current will drag him back and erase all the progress he has made.

The Devil uses this sort of weapon to great effect.  We are designed to care about what others think of us.  The world expects us to behave as they do.  When we try to swim upstream or oppose the world’s momentum we are viewed as aberrant or abnormal.  No one, especially a young person, wishes to be viewed as different.  This is what makes peer pressure an effective way to elicit or modify behaviors in teens.  During the formative years it is important for people to feel secure in their place in the world, especially because during the teen years everything is changing so fast.  They desire a sense of stability.  To oppose the direction or momentum of the group is to sacrifice stability.

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

Proverbs 1:11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the             innocent without cause:

Proverbs 1:12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into                the pit:

Proverbs 1:13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:

Proverbs 1:14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:

Proverbs 1:15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:

Proverbs 1:16  For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

We are commanded in scripture to flee this sort of trap.  The best way to avoid peer pressure and all the dangers it entails are to make sure your peers are going the same way as you.  Momentum can work for good in this case.  If you associate with a Christian peer group you will find it much easier and more comfortable to move in the right direction.  Accountability within the group and stability when you are on uncertain ground will help you rather than hinder.  The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians…

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

While most interpret this to mean married, it applies in every relationship a person can enter into with another person.  While it is important to witness to the lost, it is highly likely that if you surround yourself with a worldly peer group you will find yourself more affected by their influence than they will be by you alone.  The group has the greater momentum than the individual.

How should the Christian travel through this world?  How should we respond to the opposite flow?  The scripture is very plain in its response.

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Remember that in Christ we are new creatures.  Our minds and spirits are renewed by the process of sanctification.  As we travel the Christian path, as we study God’s word and seek His will in prayer we are changed.  We receive both mass (more faith from the study of God’s word)…

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As well as velocity (more speed because any moving object, as it gets closer to the source of attraction/gravity affecting it, picks up speed.  Gravity is all about acceleration, not constant velocity.)  The closer we get to God, the faster we move toward Him.  As spiritual mass and velocity increase, so our spiritual momentum, the ability to resist changes in our spiritual direction, increases.  It requires much greater force to slow or turn us away.

The principle only works if you are already moving in the right direction.  In order to resist the all-pervasive flow of the world’s momentum you must have the renewing that Paul talked about in his letter to Romans.  In order to escape being conformed to the world you must first be transformed by the blood of Christ, shed on the cross of Calvary for your sins.  Without that you are trapped like a tiny minnow in a mighty river.  Now is the time to be free of the flood.

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What d’ya mean I Can’t Marry Cousin Ethel?? May 28, 2012

Posted by regan222 in Books, Educational Ranting, General Ranting, Religion, Science and Technology.
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1 comment so far

If anything I write ever stirs up controversy then it will be this missive.  We have been taught from infancy that it is bad to marry within the family.  Each and every rural population has its jokes about inbreeding and mental and physical deformity.  One of the first things we have to explain to any toddler is why they can’t marry Mommy or Daddy.  Here is an interesting question…Why not?

Genesis 5:4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight-hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

Genesis 5:6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years and begat Enos;

How?  No other people were created  by God.  Seth did not  beget all by himself.  A woman was involved.  I propose to you that Seth begat Enos of his own sister.  There are simply no other choices.  How then can it be that the human race, being born of incest and inbreeding, is not so riddled with genetic flaws as to be rendered unviable?  See, I told you it was going to get controversial.

In the late 19th century, an obscure Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel discovered the keys to reproduction and the prediction of traits passed on from one generation to the next.  He is considered to be the “Father of Modern Genetics”.  While the discovery of the chromosome and gene were still a long way in the future, Mendel developed a methodology to determine what traits might be passed on from one generation to the next as well as being able to predict the results of mixing various traits.  His experiments crossing various garden pea plants with different physical characteristics led to the discovery that traits were not simply an average mixture of the parent’s characteristics, as had been previously believed.  He discovered an orderly and predictable scientific process at work.  Genetics is the study of heredity and how traits are passed from parent to offspring.  It is through the use of genetics that we will find the answer to our initial question, but it is through scripture that we will find the true justification for the answer.

We need some vocabulary to begin with.  There are, for our purposes, two kinds of physical traits: dominant and recessive.  They both spring from genes which we receive at fertilization from our parents.   We each receive two genes for every trait we possess.  Our eye color, height, hair texture…everything about us is a trait controlled by genes.  We get one from our Mother and one from our Father for each trait.  It is the interaction between these two genes that tells us if we got Dad’s nose or our Mother’s eyes. This is a VERY simplified version of genetics that does not take into account incomplete dominance or traits based on the effects of multiple genes.   It will, however, serve for comparison and is completely correct scientifically.

Dominant traits always express themselves.  They always show up if they are present.  If black hair is dominant over blond and one parent provides the genes for black hair then it does not matter what the other parent offers.  The child’s hair will be black without fail.  The other gene is considered recessive.  It does NOT express unless both parents provide the same recessive genes.  For example, if blond hair is recessive then the only way a child can have blond hair is if both parents provide a gene that codes for blond hair.  Ah ha, you say…My hair is blond and one of my parents has dark hair.  How can that be?  Your dark-haired parent is, what we call, heterozygous.  They have the genes for dark and light hair.  The dark hair manifests in them but they have the ability to pass on blond genes because they still carry the recessive they got from THEIR mom and dad.  If you have genes that are the same from both parents, both your hair color genes are black OR blond then you are considered homozygous.  If you have one black and one blond gene then you are called a heterozygote.  I hope the vocabulary does not get too intimidating.  Remember, “homo” means “the same” and “hetero” means “different”.  Dominant shows up always but recessive only shows up when dominant is not around.  Now we have the basic understanding to carry on our investigation into all matters matrimonial.

Genetic flaws tend to be recessive in nature.  This is fortunate for us or we would have a great many more birth defects than we do today.  Genetic flaws or birth defects can only happen when both parents provide genes for some trait that are flawed in some way.  They must have the same genes with the same flaws.  In other words they must be homozygous for the recessive trait.  Remember that…same gene from both parents with the same recessive characteristics in order to create a birth defect.  Now, where are we most likely to find someone with the exact same genetic flaws as ourselves?  Hmmm, I wonder where such a person would most likely be?  Is it logical that someone in our immediate family would have the same genes, and if so, then the same flaws as us?  You and your siblings each got your genes from the same source, your parents.  Different combinations each time kept you and your siblings from being identical twins or clones but you can see enough physical similarities in each other to know that this is so.  Ah ha!  Is THIS why you can’t marry Cousin Ethel?  The same genetics at work within you were at work in Seth and his sister.  What is different?

Inbreeding or line breeding has a valuable place in animal husbandry.  We line breed horses and other livestock in order to increase the odds of getting a particular trait or characteristic.  Usually these traits are recessive.  If we breed outside the family then the odds of losing the trait go up.  Inside the family line the odds of getting those genes to fall together in a foal, while still not 100%, are much higher.  Along with this discovery we find that blood lines which are heavily line bred also tend to have a lot more genetic flaws and faults.  Often we get the combination we want but also often we get some tragic birth defect that results in a still-born or unviable offspring.  Line breeding or inbreeding does nothing more than increase the incidence of homozygous recessive genes by making the available gene pool smaller.  It does this by limiting the gene pool to relatives who already have many of the same gene combinations.  Remember, homozygous recessive means two copies of the same gene for a recessive trait.  The trait can either be one we want or a defect that we don’t want.  Does it seem like I am making an argument AGAINST marrying Cousin Ethel?  Would having offspring with a close relative increase the odds of a genetic flaw or birth defect?  Yes and No.

Inbreeding, as we know, does nothing more than increase the odds of getting a recessive trait to manifest.  That is not necessarily a bad thing unless the trait is bad.  Here is our problem.  We ALL have bad genes.  Every one of Adam’s children carries one or more genetic defects.  If we attempt to procreate with someone in our close family we greatly increase the odds of combining the same bad genes from each parent and getting a recessive flaw to manifest.  If we marry outside the bloodline then, while both lines are still flawed, it is likely that each parent will bring DIFFERENT recessive flaws to the mix and none of them will manifest.  Remember, they both have to be the same trait with the same flaw for a recessive to show up. It is still possible to have a genetic flaw because occasionally more than one family will carry the same flaws.  The odds, however, are greatly reduced..

Genesis 1:6 And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

Genesis 1:7 And God made the firmament and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Genesis 1:8(a)  And God called the firmament Heaven.

Dwell on that scripture for a moment and try to visualize it.  I used to think that firmament somehow divided different bodies of water on the land like shore between two oceans.  However, the Bible tells us that there is water below the sky, or heavens, and water above.  Most Bible scholars believe that at one time the earth was surrounded by an atmospheric layer of water.  According to these verses, there were waters above the air and water below.  This extra layer of moisture, whether it be liquid water somehow, or more likely a thick layer of water vapor, would have changed the composure of our atmosphere and also provided a great deal of extra protection from the UV rays of the sun.  Remember, when this existed, the Earth was still a paradise.  The environment would have been very different.  Also remember at this time, the only possible means of reproduction was through inbreeding.

Now, fast forward a few generations to the time of Noah.  God has seen the wickedness of man and decided to destroy the Earth.

Genesis 6:4  There were giants in the Earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Though man has been driven from the Garden of Eden, the overall creation has not really changed.  The Earth is still, baring the things set forth in God’s curse, a paradise.  No one has ever heard of DDT or Mercury or PCBs.  Any natural water source is good to drink.  The environment is pure and free of toxins and poisons that we today take for granted.  While the race of man is multiplying, it is still a small enough population that all procreation is carried out between relatives.  These people, while infected with sin from Adam’s fall, have wonderful genetics, thanks to their proximity to the original, God created genes, as well as their environment which has nothing in it to harm them and, in fact, still has many features in place, like the excess layer of atmospheric moisture, to protect them.  One of the leading causes of genetic damage is UV rays from the sun.

What changed?  If we read the biblical account of the flood we get a clue.

Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the Earth.

Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up and the windows of heaven were opened.

The last verse tells us that something unusual happened.  This was not just rain.  We lost a fundamental protection during the flood.  The world was change in other ways than just being covered with water.  The layer of moisture circling the atmosphere that had provided an extra layer of protection against harmful solar radiation fell to Earth and was no longer available to us.  I suspect that prior to the flood there had never been a sun burn and afterwards they began to appear.  Noah and his family, safe within the ark, still carried near perfect genes, but now he and his descendents were exposed to environment that no longer protected and nurtured them.  Damage began to accrue.

Now fast forward a final time to the present day.  Our streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds are too toxic to drink from.  Our air is very nearly unbreathable on many days.  We put the worst kinds of chemicals into our bodies in the foods we eat and we are almost all obsessed with the idea of tanning.  Are our genetics different from those people of Noah’s time?  You better believe it.  The human genome went from being a near perfect collection of information to a library filled with holes and errors.  Closely related people have the same errors.  Closely related people should not have offspring, NOT because inbreeding itself causes problems, but because inbreeding brings together parents with the same types of bad genes.  God knew exactly what was happening to the human genome.  That is why He prohibited inbreeding in Leviticus after having approved it in Genesis.

Leviticus 18:9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

Once again, God is protecting His children.  He knows that even by THIS time, the human genetic code is so riddled with damage that inbreeding greatly increases the odds of a birth defect.  The inbreeding itself is not the problem, it is the genes that it combines.

Surely you have to be wondering “What is the point to all this?”  Am I in favor of incest?  Heaven forbid.  We can, however, draw a spiritual lesson from this physical discussion.  Before the fall of man, our genes were perfect as was our environment and our spiritual condition.  When Adam sinned, damage was done, not only to our spiritual DNA but to our environment as well.  Each birth following the fall produced a new organism but each new organism contained the same old damaged DNA, just recombined into new traits.  We, at least our genetics, were present with Adam when he fell.  The same genes in his cells are still floating around today in ours.  We suffer from the same malady, both physically and spiritually.  The only way to fix the problem is to find some new, undamaged material to work with.  Jesus is often referred to as the second Adam.  Just as God created Adam from the dust, so He prepared a body within Mary for the Lord Jesus to inhabit.  Regardless of what you might think, NO PART of Mary or Joseph’s DNA was found in Jesus.

Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

The author is speaking as Jesus here.  He acknowledges that God prepared the body that Jesus inhabits.  There was not combination of human DNA here.  Had there been, Jesus would not be who he was.  He would have been physically, if not spiritually flawed, and could not have been the sacrificial lamb which, the law required be flawless.

Here is our source of flawless material.  Without Christ we are damaged goods.  We can never be perfect because we are just taking the same old flaws and recombining them into new combinations of mistakes.  Only through Christ can we become the new creatures we need to be.