This is Kawage, one of the COC guys who comes to our Bible Study. He lives close by, but is part of the Kuman Tribe which I visited just after we arrived in PNG the first time. In the picture above, he is using the leaves of the tangat bush as decoration–this is not uncommon. Many times, when I raise my camera, people grab a flower or something to “decorate” themselves.
Today, in our Bible Study, every guy showed up. This was an answer to prayer and very exciting because it was a big day in which we confronted one of the most common points of confusion among PNG nationals who are church-goers. We reviewed some of the things introduced last week about the Law and then discussed the sacrifices God delineated in Leviticus. This discussion enabled me to challenge the belief (held by most of the guys) that they can get to heaven by following the Law. After exposing the fact that none of us have actually lived up to the standard of the Law, I then explained that even Israel did not. However, God provided a way for them to “become clean in His eyes” through offering sacrifices. (Additionally, I pointed out that the sacrifices were an outworking of faith and simply going through the motions wouldn’t accomplish anything.) I asked the guys the following questions and got the following answers:
- Have you broken God’s Law? Yes
- What do you deserve for breaking His Law? Death
- Have you made the right sacrifices in the Tabernacle? No
- Where will you go when you die? Hell
After this, I told them to hang on because good news is coming eventually.
When I finished, this was the reaction:
Malon: “We are so happy that you are teaching us because before we have heard some stories from the Bible, but we always hear the end and never the beginning. We don’t know the start so we don’t understand the end.”
Thompson: “I heard before that we were created in God’s image and thought we were like God. Now I understand that Adam and Eve were created in His image and they corrupted it. Now we have the corruption.”
James: “I heard before that Jesus took our sin, so I thought I didn’t have sin. Now I see that I sin.”
Kawage: “While you were talking about these sacrifices that the Israelites were supposed to make I started thinking this: in their time they had to believe in God and bring a sheep to die on the altar to pay for their sins. But now I think Jesus is like that in our time. He hung on the cross and died to take our sins so we have to believe in Him.” Me: “Kawage, did you hear that somewhere before.” Kawage: “No, I just thought that in my head just now for the first time.”
Any one of those four responses would have really thrilled me, but God has blessed us with all four. We still have a ways to go, but today was very encouraging. Thank you to all of you who have been praying for us and to all of you who have partnered with us so that, together, we have this opportunity to help Malon, Thompson, James, Kawage, Alex, Wanpis, Benjamin, Dixon and Balux understand God’s word.