Wednesday, February 28, 2018
We've been in an extended study contrasting the Good News of Jesus Christ and the fake news of religious tradition. As always, we must keep in mind that we are not fighting people. When we expose the error of tradition by shining the light of the New Covenant, we aren't attacking anyone. People aren't our enemy. Even religious traditional leaders who count us as their enemy, labeling us a preaching a false doctrine.
So far we've seen God isn't cursing us for not tithing. We saw His answer to sin. He isn't holding it against us. We've seen just how forgiven we actually are. Today, I want to address the issue of God being an angry God.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
We are forgiven of all our sins. Not some but all. We received it at the point of salvation.
who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins. Colossians 1:14 TLB
Allow me to illustrate this perfect forgiveness. When I was a youth I went to a local Veteran's Parade. To get a better view, we went to the top floor of a parking garage. From this view, I could see the beginning to the end of the parade. When I received Christ, He saw my life from start to finish. He washed me in that precious blood and declared my life forgiven.
We stand inside of time, God isn't constricted by time. He has already seen our whole life, and when we receive His free gift He declares us forgiven once for all time. Apologies, confessions and turning away will not make us receive more forgiveness. I will concede that acknowledging our errors or poor choices and plain sins to our Father is healthy and helps us mature. However, it should never be done to receive forgiveness or because we think God is mad and holding something against us.
Grace isn't a half measure. Salvation and redemption don't come with stipulations. Forgiveness isn't borrowed on an installment plan. Our relationship with God has no strings attached.
Salvation and our walk with God aren't like a game show prize. Winning a new car sounds great. It's free. However, once you partake of the prize, you're now responsible for the insurance, which can be pricey depending on the vehicle. You also are put under a tax burden for the price of the car. God's goodness comes with no strings attached and adds no sorrow.
Religious grace offers a free gift with many strings attached. Forgiveness is for your past sins only and must be received again and again or you will be under bondage of sin and unforgiveness. Your salvation once freely received now has maintenance requirements that if you don't meet means you forfeit it. This isn't the Good News!
In summation, in Christ, we are forgiven and made righteous and set apart by faith once for all time when we receive His free gift. We are forever forgiven. In Him, we are forgiven of all our sins. Our past is cleansed and done away with in Christ.
Our present mess ups are already dealt with and He holds our future in His hands. We have hope because He has already cleansed us, made us righteous and forgiven us and set us apart once for all time. This is the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Reject and relinquish the fake news of tradition concerning your once for all total forgiveness in Christ.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Why the Spirit Can't Convict You of Your Sins.
The Spirit is not the "convicter". There are three major reasons for the Spirit not convicting you. The number one reason is the role of the Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. To glorify Jesus would be to lift high His name and His Finished Work. For the Spirit to diminish the Finished Work would be to diminish Jesus not glorify Him. The Finished Work dealt with the sin problem.
Secondly, Jesus in His Finished Work purchased our complete forgiveness. Jesus has forgiven us of all our sins. Past, present and even future sins were forgiven once for all time on that Cross. For the Spirit to convict you for something that's already been forgiven is to make light of the Finished Work. The Spirit would be denying the finality of the work of the Cross, and He will never do that.
Finally, God our Father said our sins and Lawless deeds He'd remember no more. To convict you and to remind you of your sins would be dishonoring the Words and promise of our Good Father. God isn't dishonoring Himself. He said He wouldn't remember our sins. Our Father is faithful and true, He never lies. He said He wouldn't ever remember our sin and He hasn't.
What is Convicting You?
Though the Spirit is not convicting you when you sin, something else surely is.
but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors James 2:9 NKJV
The Law is what convicts, not the Spirit. Now understand, we as Gentiles were never given the Law. However, Paul stated in 1 Timothy that the Law is still valid to show the lost their need for a Savior. This doesn't mean we walk up to people quoting the Big Ten. What it means is that God's standard is 100% perfection, 100% of the time. Whenever we fall short there is a spiritual awareness. This is why we need Grace and the Finished Work.
No one has it all together at all times. As born-again believers with God dwelling inside us, we will be aware when we miss it. This isn't God convicting us. This is simply spiritual awareness of right and wrong. Our new nature knows right from wrong. Living out of that new nature matures us over time to more often than not to choose the right and shun the wrong.
Is it because if we choose the wrong God will be mad at us? Will God expose our sin? Will God break fellowship from us? Will He not answer our prayers? No! We shun the wrong because we know it's not profitable living outside of our New Creation.
Correction not Conviction
God's Spirit will never convict you of your sins. This doesn't mean He won't ever bring correction. Correction is simply God guiding us to be who we already are. The Spirit corrects by reminding us of whose we are and what He already made us.
When you know you are already acceptable to God, you will not strive or struggle. When you know you're perfectly righteous and made holy you don't have to embrace religious activity to try and manufacture some form of holiness or piety. When you know who you are you will begin to mature into that.
In summation, know God isn't mad at you or keeping score. He isn't looking to punish you for your sins. He isn't holding your sin against you. His Spirit isn't convicting you of your sin. Conviction means to expose, with the idea of bringing shame. Father finds you acceptable and is pleased with you as a child of God. Cling to the Scripture and its truth and relinquish the traditions of men, especially with this subject of sin. In the Scriptures, we find peace and comfort, in the tradition of men, we only find uncertainty and discomfort.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
In our last study, we began dealing with the issue of sin. We began addressing the areas of tradition surrounding the subject of sin. So far we've seen that God isn't punishing us when we sin. Today, I want to look at another aspect of this subject of sin.
Is God holding our sins against us?
When we sin is God holding that against us? Is God charging it to our account? In more simpler terms, is God keeping score? Is He tallying up each and every time we blow it? Is He tracking our "good" days and "bad" days?
Does God see our sin and then tell the angels, to step away from us? Does He tell the Spirit to depart from us temporarily? Does God withhold His presence and power and provision?
The answer depends on who gives it. Tradition would say absolutely. Tradition may say "ok, God isn't literally punishing you for sin, but prayers and provision are hindered until you repent and confess." Grace says otherwise. God isn't accounting our sins against us.
A lack of fully understanding the New Covenant and the Finished Work of Christ is why there seems to be some confusion among many Christians. Any rational believer will agree and conclude sin isn't fulfilling and takes us further than we want to go and often ends up costing us more in the long term. Grace isn't about celebrating sin. It's about victory over sin, freedom from addictions, and mercy and goodness extended to those still struggling.
Think about it. When we are in a hurry, and cut someone off in traffic or don't let somebody merge into our lane, later on, we realize that wasn't very kind of us and not very loving to another. When we allow anger to dictate our reaction, lust to overtake us, or bitterness to alter our mood we wish we could take back our words or actions. Now in these moments, where is God? Is God saying I wanted to lead you and guide you but you've failed? I wanted to bless you but now my hands are tied?
Tradition would say God's hands are tied. He can't help or heal until you repent and confess. Why? Because of not rightly dividing the New and Old Covenant. There is a passage that trips them up.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT
He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s 1 John 2:2 TLB
And then he adds, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” Hebrews 10:17 TLB
Is God holding your sins against you? How could He? How could our God charge your sins to your account when He said your sins I will remember no more? How can He keep track of your failures when He declared He is no longer counting people's sin against them? Did Jesus tell a lie? Was Father God fibbing? Tradition seems to think so.
Traditional religion has yet to grasp the fullness of the goodness and greatness of God's New Covenant. They seek to pepper this New Covenant with a pinch works. A dash of self effort. A sprinkle of performance and achievement. In traditional religion, His presence, power, provision are mere rewards for good behavior. So bad behavior means He can't respond otherwise God is rewarding bad behavior. Thank God the New Covenant is so much better than religious tradition.
God's provision isn't a reward for good deeds. God's presence, blessings, favor, and salvation are demonstrated in our lives because of His goodness and love, not ours. It's because of the Father's faithfulness and kindness, not our good works. Jesus Finished Work purchased our complete redemption, not our achievements or sustained goodness.
Thank God for this New Covenant. If God did account our sins we all would be in trouble. Because no one has it all together, (not saying we can't find triumph over temptations and addictions, but reminding us that God's standard is absolute perfection.) Grace has it all together and in this New Covenant, He is the mediator between God and man. He is the covering and cleansing of all our misdeeds and sins. We are complete in Him, lacking nothing.
In summation, disregard tradition. God is not keeping track of our sins. He isn't tallying up our good days and bad days. He isn't holding our sins against us and withholding answers to prayers until we get things right. In this New Covenant, we've already been made right. We have a mediator, the person of Grace Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. Receiving anything from God comes by Grace through faith, not our behavior. When in prayer don't look within yourself to see if you measure up and end up disqualifying yourself and shrinking back. Look to Jesus, He is your completion and He Finished the Work and His blood already purchased the provision.
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net