Friday, August 20, 2010

Original Sin - Romans 5:13-14 - Part 3 of 3

Romans 5:12-14 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—  13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Mary inherited the sinful seed because she had a human father. The son nature is inherited to children born of men. That's why Jesus had to be born of a virgin and not of Joseph so that He didn't inherit a sin nature. Again. Romans 5:12-21. Through one MAN sin entered the world... If ever a human were to be born like Christ, w/o a male. They wouldn't inherit a sin nature. But they can't be born that way. Only Jesus could. Thus the miracle of His birth

Christ had to be born of a virgin so as not to inherit a sin nature by being a direct descendant of Adam.  So, sin entered the world through Adam… next part… v12c - and death through sin – Now, church, after having dealt with the issue of suffering in the early part of Romans 5 and now the issue of sin, we ought to be adequately equipped to explain both and understand both… Why do people die?  Why does ANYONE die?  Because, death entered into this world through sin.  There is a fact about sin in that… Sin brings nothing but death and destruction… that’s all.  It brings nothing positive.

Sin never intends to bring anything good in and of itself and even though God uses sinful acts to sometimes accomplish His purposes, still, in their root.  Sin is equal to death.  It always causes some type of death.  Death of a person’s innocence… death of us in the spiritual sense as we see in Genesis 3, and ultimately physical death.

Genesis 2:16-17 - The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

God said, if you eat of this tree… you will surely die… In Hebrew it means, dieing you shall die.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Adam began to age from that moment forward and his body began to wear out.  His heart began its countdown to its final beat.  And when he reached that age of 930, die is exactly what he did do.

The only restriction that God gave to Adam.  Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He had such freedom and yet it wasn’t enough.  He coveted more.  And before you get too angry at Adam, please know that none of us would have reacted any differently.  We act on our sin nature even now.  We covet the things and positions that others have…

God promised him he would die, and die he did.  Spiritually that day and eventually physically… just like all of humanity.  Now let’s pause for a moment… I’ve told you before that it is not possible to call yourself a Bible believing Christian and also hold to any sort of belief in evolution.  Let me explain that from this passage.

If you believe in some sort of evolution or millions of years as our origin of life… then you have to scratch out Romans 5:12 from your Bible that explains how death entered into the world.  If you do that then you don’t truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and sufficient so you may as well turn over, among other places, to John 14:6 and 2 Timothy 3:16 and scratch them out as well.  Both those texts reveal Jesus to be the Word of truth and not only that but the perfect and sufficient Word of truth that brings eternal life!

If you’ve gone that far then you’re believing that your own knowledge of truth supercedes God’s knowledge of truth, which is known as Gnosticism… If that’s the case then you are left with only your belief in evolution and in fact you don’t believe on Christ at all…

You see, when you believe in millions of years you have to accept the idea that death was in the world, millions of years of it, before Adam. If that was true, then death didn’t enter through sin as Scripture says and the Bible is wrong.  Do you see the problem and why we cannot compromise the truth?  It isn’t just a matter of holding different opinions or theological nitpicking.  It has far reaching implications on the totality of Scripture.

Next part of verse 12… [Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin,] and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— - Before the fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed unity with God.  But after the fall the spiritual death occurred and man was left spiritually dead from birth.

Ezekiel 36:26 – says that without Christ we have a heart of stone.  Uncaring about the truths of God and the true love that only God can demonstrate to us through Christ.

Let’s be clear… death is an enemy… an enemy to us all.  We will all die.  No one is exempt and God, in His Sovereignty, has prescribed the time and way of all our deaths.  Death is an enemy.  It’s not romantic or glamorous as Hollywood so often tries to portray it… it is simply a reality.

We were not created by God to die.  Death is a curse.  Death, which has been defeated by Christ.  We can’t defeat it or cheat it.  Lazarus was raised from the dead and given a little more life, but eventually he died and his physical body stayed dead.

So that’s the results of sin… that’s how destructive it was then and is now.  If anyone was ever able to live a life completely perfect and sin free, then they wouldn’t die… but in fact they’d be eternal in the human form. 

Now, the questions usually arises... ‘Isn’t that unfair of God?’  Isn’t that unfair of God to punish all of humanity because of Adam?  Isn’t that cruel?  Far from it, it is actually the most fair and kind ways of dealing with sin.  As we will see next week, God deals with justification in the same way… In Adam all sinned, but in Christ all can live.  No one complains that everyone is saved solely by Christ’s merits alone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Original Sin - Romans 5:12 - Part 2 of 3

Romans 5:12-14 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—  13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

Mary inherited the sinful seed because she had a human father. The son nature is inherited to children born of men. That's why Jesus had to be born of a virgin and not of Joseph so that He didn't inherit a sin nature.  Through one MAN sin entered the world... If ever a human were to be born like Christ, w/o a male. They wouldn't inherit a sin nature. But they can't be born that way. Only Jesus could. Thus the miracle of His birth.

Christ had to be born of a virgin so as not to inherit a sin nature by being a direct descendant of Adam.  So, sin entered the world through Adam… next part… v12c - and death through sin – Now, church, after having dealt with the issue of suffering in the early part of Romans 5 and now the issue of sin, we ought to be adequately equipped to explain both and understand both… Why do people die?  Why does ANYONE die?  Because, death entered into this world through sin.  There is a fact about sin in that… Sin brings nothing but death and destruction… that’s all.  It brings nothing positive.

Sin never intends to bring anything good in and of itself and even though God uses sinful acts to sometimes accomplish His purposes, still, in their root.  Sin is equal to death.  It always causes some type of death.  Death of a person’s innocence… death of us in the spiritual sense as we see in Genesis 3, and ultimately physical death.

Genesis 2:16-17 - The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

God said, if you eat of this tree… you will surely die… In Hebrew it means, dieing you shall die.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Adam began to age from that moment forward and his body began to wear out.  His heart began its countdown to its final beat.  And when he reached that age of 930, die is exactly what he did do.

The only restriction that God gave to Adam.  Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He had such freedom and yet it wasn’t enough.  He coveted more.  And before you get too angry at Adam, please know that none of us would have reacted any differently.  We act on our sin nature even now.  We covet the things and positions that others have…

God promised him he would die, and die he did.  Spiritually that day and eventually physically… just like all of humanity.  Now let’s pause for a moment… I’ve told you before that it is not possible to call yourself a Bible believing Christian and also hold to any sort of belief in evolution.  Let me explain that from this passage.

If you believe in some sort of evolution or millions of years as our origin of life… then you have to scratch out Romans 5:12 from your Bible that explains how death entered into the world.  If you do that then you don’t truly believe that the Bible is inerrant and sufficient so you may as well turn over, among other places, to John 14:6 and 2 Timothy 3:16 and scratch them out as well.  Both those texts reveal Jesus to be the Word of truth and not only that but the perfect and sufficient Word of truth that brings eternal life!

If you’ve gone that far then you’re believing that your own knowledge of truth supercedes God’s knowledge of truth, which is known as Gnosticism… If that’s the case then you are left with only your belief in evolution and in fact you don’t believe on Christ at all…

You see, when you believe in millions of years you have to accept the idea that death was in the world, millions of years of it, before Adam. If that was true, then death didn’t enter through sin as Scripture says and the Bible is wrong.  Do you see the problem and why we cannot compromise the truth?  It isn’t just a matter of holding different opinions or theological nitpicking.  It has far reaching implications on the totality of Scripture.

Next part of verse 12… [Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin,] and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— - Before the fall, Adam and Eve enjoyed unity with God.  But after the fall the spiritual death occurred and man was left spiritually dead from birth.

Ezekiel 36:26 – says that without Christ we have a heart of stone.  Uncaring about the truths of God and the true love that only God can demonstrate to us through Christ.

Let’s be clear… death is an enemy… an enemy to us all.  We will all die.  No one is exempt and God, in His Sovereignty, has prescribed the time and way of all our deaths.  Death is an enemy.  It’s not romantic or glamorous as Hollywood so often tries to portray it… it is simply a reality.

We were not created by God to die.  Death is a curse.  Death, which has been defeated by Christ.  We can’t defeat it or cheat it.  Lazarus was raised from the dead and given a little more life, but eventually he died and his physical body stayed dead.

So that’s the results of sin… that’s how destructive it was then and is now.  If anyone was ever able to live a life completely perfect and sin free, then they wouldn’t die… but in fact they’d be eternal in the human form. 

Now, the questions usually arises... ‘Isn’t that unfair of God?’  Isn’t that unfair of God to punish all of humanity because of Adam?  Isn’t that cruel?  Far from it, it is actually the most fair and kind ways of dealing with sin.  As we will see next week, God deals with justification in the same way… In Adam all sinned, but in Christ all can live.  No one complains that everyone is saved solely by Christ’s merits alone  do we?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Original Sin - Romans 5:12 - Part 1 of 3

Romans 5:12-14 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—  13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
How is it that we are born sinful?  How did sin enter the world and cause the curse and all the problems that came as a result.

v12a - Therefore, just as through one man – Here we do get the origins of sin.  Through one man.  The focus here though is not merely on the origin of sin, or even Adam… even though that is a prevalent issue Paul is dealing with.  The larger issue is here though is to show a contrast.  To set up how it is through one man all die… but that is only important because of the contrast Paul will make in beginning in verse 15.  Though that through one man, all mankind die… through Christ, salvation has been provided.

Adam… he is our federal father.  Representative of the whole human race.  Genesis 3:16-19 - To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”  17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.  18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;  19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

From that point, the whole human race has been thrown into sin.  Why?  Are we being punished by God for what Adam did?  No… what does our text this morning explain?

[Therefore, just as through one man] v12b - sin entered into the world – Sin entered into the world… as a result of Adam’s rebellion.  Entered into the world.  That’s global.  We get so used to hearing the word sin and we know nothing of what the world was like before sin and so to just read that it almost doesn’t do justice to the horrendous turn of events that take place at the fall of man. 

Sin enters the world, God’s sin free creation, marred by this act of disobedience and the entrance of deception, and lies, and hate, and hurt, and suffering, and death… There is a universality to sin meaning that all people who have ever and will ever be born, will be affected by sin and they themselves are born with a sinful nature that inclines them to sin.

Sin is not a religious concept.  Sin is a universal reality… a global truth.  Even the atheist, the agnostic, the moral relativist who says that there is no such thing as absolute truth, on some level they have to admit to the existence of wicked things in this world.  But not about themselves of course…

Even some of us would be quick to throw a stone at someone else for a wicked act but we refuse to see our own sin.  But the global reality of it is that each one of us has sinned and the roots of it trace back to Adam.  Which is what Paul aims to show.

Now we need to note, before we move on that Paul very specifically says that sin ‘entered’ the world through Adam.  It entered the world.  Implying that sin already existed but not in the human realm.  Sin was not something God created when Adam disobeyed.  It already existed.  It must have already existed for Satan to rebel against God and be thrown out of Heaven.

1 John 3:8 tells us that Satan has sinned from the beginning.  “…the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

So where did sin originate?  With Satan.  What is sin?  Anything that’s against God.  So at some point before Creation of the world, Satan rebelled.  That’s the origin of sin and then in Genesis 3 when Adam sinned and gave in to Satan’s temptation sin entered into the world through that act of disobedience.

That’s important because what we tend to do is blame God for sin.  ‘Well, God cursed us and that’s where sin comes from…’ and that folks just isn’t true.  Sin originated with Satan and entered when Adam, who represents the human race as the first human, sinned.

Sin entered the world.  Singular, not sins plural… we aren’t dealing with a specific sin here but rather the understanding that all sin of any kind is rebellion against God.

What enters the world is a sin nature.  The inherent propensity for unrighteousness.  Just as Adam passed on his physical nature to all mankind… all his descendants essentially… he also passed on his spiritual nature.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Does God hate sin but love the sinner?

Because God is separate from sin, He cannot take pleasure in sin either.  He is not neutral or passive about sin either.  To Him, all sin is an abomination to Him.  Deuteronomy 25:16 - “For everyone who does these things, everyone who acts unjustly is an abomination to the Lord your God.

Abomination means that something is repugnant, disgusting, and obscene.

Psalm 88:8 - You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out.

The word abomination is rendered here as ‘object of loathing’.  You hear the popular evangelical catch phrase.  ‘God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.’  Is that true?  Before looking to that we must keep in our minds the understanding that human hatred is not the same as God's hate.  Human hatred is evil and covetous because we desire to make ourselves greater.  God is the Almighty Creator and the Giver of Life, Sustainer of all things... therefore He can get angry or hate what He chooses because it is a Holy Hatred.  Just as we are called, as Christians, to have a Holy Hatred of all sin.

Psalm 5:4-5 - For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You.  5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.

God hates not just the sin, but the one who is doing the sinning.  Now we as humans are not perfect.  So we are called to love all and hate and fight sin.  If we hated sinners, we’d have to hate ourselves.  But God is perfect.

So how do we reconcile that, God’s hatred towards sin and sinners, with God’s love?  Though God’s wrath is revealed against sinners.  John 3:36 - “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

God has demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for the very people who deserve wrath.  Romans 5:8-10 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Lamentations says that God does not afflict willingly… does not pour out His wrath willingly.  Lamentations 3:33 - For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men.  Not as though someone is making God do it.  But the word willingly there in Hebrew is made up of two words.  ‘min’ meaning from and ‘labe’ meaning the heart.

God does not afflict from the heart… meaning it is not His chief joy to punish or afflict or pour out wrath.  He’s Glorified in it, make no mistake there and He will do it… that is sure, but His joy comes in pouring out His love.

If wrath or affliction was His ultimate joy then we’d have no Savior because God’s ultimate joy and glory would be our destruction.

Ezekiel 18:23 - “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

He doesn’t afflict or pour out wrath for His pleasure, He does it because of His Holiness.  His Holiness demands it.  Now, what is our response to the Holiness of God?

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Biblical Understanding of Suffering - Part 5 of 5

Suffering for the sake of Christ.  We briefly touched on this last week as well.  Matthew 5:11-12 - “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Walking with Christ, following Jesus, means that you will be at some time or another, persecuted for your stance.  Satan hates that Christians, true Christians, live for God.  He hates every righteous step and sign of growth in us.  Like he did with Job, Satan is always trying to get God to revoke your salvation.  Guilt of sin is the one rope that Satan has with which God allows Him to pull us to hell.  When Christ saves you, the cord is severed.  Satan has no more grasp on you and so he will unleash with all his might on you to tempt you.  He was not afraid to tempt Christ Himself.  Who are we to escape a similar trial?

Our suffering, no matter how great, cannot compare to the suffering of our Savior on the cross.  Turn with me if you would to Revelation 5:1-14 - Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,  12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”  14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Verse 6 there says… ‘as if slain’.  Implying that the wounds are still visible yet He stands there alive.  The death brought by the wounds of our iniquities has no hold on Him any longer because He has risen!  He stands, He is worthy to take up the Book of Life!

The greatest suffering ever in the entire universe was the death of Jesus Christ.  And it is that suffering that is the center piece of the Grace of God.  It will be the theme of our unending praises in Heaven.  It will be the wonder of us for all eternity.  The cross was God’s plan before the foundation of the world and everything else is the mean’s He has used to demonstrate His Grace.

Jesus was slain… it’s the peak of God’s Grace.  John Piper says it like this, “The ultimate reason that suffering exists was so that Jesus could suffer and die for sinners.”  Jesus’ death on the cross was the highest demonstration of the Grace of God.  It brought Him the maximum amount of Glory.  He saves us through Christ and since He does it that way then it must have been the best and only way because if it weren’t He would have chosen some other way.  Let that sink in for a moment.

The word slain, more accurately rendered, is slaughter.  It’s not what you do to kill a human, it’s what you do to kill a lamb.  It’s a violent word.  The suffering of Christ was the worst suffering ever.  And in Him we can expect suffering as well, but Jesus said, “Rejoice” in suffering for His sake, for your reward in Heaven is Great.

The Cross of Christ is the central theme of the entire world and the entire universe.  The purpose of the Cross was that Christ would die to redeem a people.  Whose names have been written and sealed in the Lamb’s Book of Life long before the world began.  He accomplished that and now in all sufferings of any kind for any reason, Christians have hope because of Jesus Christ!

A question that typically arises out of this is, ‘Well, how do we know the difference between the types of suffering?’  Answer, there is no secret formula to it.  Each case of suffering, regardless of the type, should drive us to the Word of God and to prayer and God will strengthen us in that act of obedience.  He will renew our hope in Him.  If He do desires, He will make it clear to you why you are suffering… if not, you’ll understand it in eternity.  He saw no reason to explain to Job.  He didn’t see a reason to explain to Paul why the thorn was there, He merely said, ‘My grace is sufficient.’. 

If you are not in Christ.  If you’ve never repented (that is turned) from your sin and placed your trust in the sufficient saving power of Jesus Christ.  I plead with you.  Cry out to the Lord today to save you and do not stop until you feel Him assuring you that He has done just that.

Cry out to the only One who can wash your sins away and justify you before a Holy and Righteous God!

As always, if you are in need of me, I’ll be down front.  But I cannot save you any more than a prayer can.  But God can save you.  Cry out to Him.  He will save you.


Monday, August 2, 2010

A Biblical Understanding of Suffering - Part 4 of 5

Suffering for the Glory of God – You will also see this referred to in Scripture as suffering for the sake of Christ.  Grace does not always express itself in ways that are particularly joyous to us from an earthly standpoint, but are nonetheless joy packed.  At least not on the surface.

In John 9 we find an account of a man Jesus encountered who was blind.

John 9:1 - As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And then look at the first reaction of the disciples… John 9:2 - And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  They looked upon his blindness as some form of punishment for sin.  They were assuming that God was chastening the blind man, the type of suffering we said was number two.  But look at what Jesus reveals.  John 9:3-5 - Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  4 “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 

This man had been permitted to be born blind so that the works of God could be made manifest in his life at this moment by Jesus Christ.  He was born blind for the Glory of God.  Born blind so that the grace of God could be displayed in his life.

John 9:6-7 - When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes,  7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

Jesus healed him.  He brought sight to the man.  Why?  For the demonstration of His Grace and Glory.  Because HE is the Light.  And where the Light is present, you can see and there is no darkness.

There is a suffering, like this… and cancer… and other physical ailments like the Cerebral Palsy that Justin Peters has that are not a result of specific sin but is there to display the grace and glory of God.

This man spent years of his life in darkness so that at this moment, Jesus would heal him and bring God glory for it.  Now it may be that God even allows some sickness or blindness and does not heal from it… and for the Christian in this suffering… I know this is hard to hear… but that too brings God glory.  Now we certainly don’t run around thanking God for allowing someone to have cancer.  We aren’t cold and calloused.  That wouldn’t be loving of us. 

However, if that person who has it, I’m talking about the one that God doesn’t heal for whatever reason.  How amazing of a testimony is it for that person to leave behind that of their life we can say that they never let go of their faith and trust in God?
We all have testimonies of Christians we know who have suffered and died from cancer or lived with something like blindness or something who has persevered and never wavered in their hope and faith in God.  Not hoping that God would definitely heal them on earth, even though that is a rational and logical prayer request for them to make.  But they hold on to their hope that one day this will all be over for them and they would be in glory with God.  Worshipping forever, perfected and pain free… no more suffering.

It isn’t as an obvious reason for rejoicing as when God heals, but it is a way in which someone can glorify God nonetheless.  In the healings God performs, and I firmly believe that God does still heal, He is glorified obviously.  But He’s also glorified when a Christian holds fast to their hope, to their confession of faith… all the way to the end when God calls them home and says to them.  You’re suffering is over, come home.

What a testimony… what a legacy… I write our and record all these sermons and make notes in my Bible as I study … and I do that because it helps me to study and comprehend and learn more easily, but I really also do it so that if something were to ever happen to me before my children are grown, they can pick up these notebooks or put in a CD of my preaching one day and hear and read and remember… this was who my father was… Shortcomings and passions… this was who he was and I hope that they can say, he finished well.  He never lost sight of the Living Hope to which he’d been called.

I know this can be hard for us to deal with.  Especially non-Christians. But not so difficult if we set aside our emotions momentarily and remember that life is short… so short when measured by the span of eternity and that we were created to Glorify God… by whatever means He chooses to have us do it.

We can’t say that God is unfair… unfairness is unrighteous and there is no unrighteousness in God.  Psalm 92:15 - To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

This understanding of suffering also enables Christians to hold fast to their hope in God even when being put to death.  Which sets us up for our fifth and final type of suffering, in a few days.
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