Monday, November 11, 2019

Lies Religious Tradition taught us: God is the Author of Sickness and Disease.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV


 We're beginning a new series of study, unraveling and exposing the lies religious tradition taught us. Lies we've been subjected to while sitting under the teaching of those who've also been captured and indoctrinated by religious traditional ideas. Lies we've heard for so long it almost appears blasphemous to even entertain the idea that they're wrong. 

 Lies such as God wants you poor and poverty-stricken. Or that God kills people. Lies religious tradition has perpetuated for years and years and have become strongholds in the minds of so many. 

 How do we find freedom from these lies? How do we bring down these strongholds? The answer is simple. God's Word, rightly divided and understood in context. 

 I want to begin this study dispelling one of the biggest lies religious tradition pushes on the Church. The concept that God is the author of sickness and disease. Let's look at the life of Jesus to see if this concept has any truth.

 Jesus is God. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh. Jesus said of Himself that He only came to do the will of God. Jesus said He only does what He sees the Father do. So we can clearly see Jesus is only doing God's will. Jesus then is the will of God in action

 Look then at Peter's words summarizing Christ's work.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

 Look at what Peter just said. Jesus only went about doing good and healing. Jesus testified of Himself He only did what God wanted. I don't see spreading sickness or sending disease as part of this work.

 What we do see is Peter outlining God's work through Jesus. This passage reveals what Jesus went about doing, only good. It reveals how many God wants to heal, all. It reveals who the oppressor is, the enemy, the devil. Take note of how the New Covenant defines oppression.

 The New Covenant tells us one major expression of oppression is sickness and disease. This is important to note for the purpose of this study. Look at Isaiah in the Old Testament and what he prophesied. 
14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Isaiah 54:14-15 KJV

 Isaiah reveals that God declares oppression may come but not from God. Peter tells us oppression is sickness and disease. We see it clearly God telling us sickness and disease are never from Him. To say otherwise is to defame God's character. 

 Yea but what about the Old Covenant? We see people sick and afflicted and it said God did it. To respond to these objections, we must rightly divide the Word of God by Covenant and the timing of the Finished Work.

 You see to religion, it seems the Cross didn't change anything. The way they pray to God is the same way the children of Israel prayed. If they miss it, they ask for God to give them a clean heart, something He already did by virtue of the new birth. They see God's judgment falling in the Old and say so it is today. No, my friend, the Cross changed everything.

 Let's also explain the judgment of God. I know under Grace, judgment seems counter to who God is. The problem is we haven't read the entire Bible. Or rather we haven't paid much attention to it. All throughout the Old, we catch glimpses of the heart of God.

 He doesn't ever want to send judgment. Yet because the Finished Work hasn't happened He had no choice in order to deal with the sins and wickedness of the people. This doesn't change who God is or always has been. He has always been Good and merciful and kind and loving.

 We must understand the condition of the Earth because of the fall of mankind. Everything negative has its roots in this event. You'll find satan and Adam's transgression at the heart of all bad things on Earth. What do I mean?

 When Adam fell, this creation became fractured and fallen. Viruses and bacteria entered in that cause sickness and disease. The enemy also came to bring destruction at every opportunity. This is key. So when you see God speaking of curses and destruction that accompany disobedience or breaking the Old Covenant Law, what God was doing was not bringing or ordaining or authoring the destruction. 

 What God was doing was revealing the consequences of actions taken. What He was doing was revealing what was already out there because of the original fall and when you align with that disobedience you experience destruction. God was more like a weather forecaster, not the one making the conditions. 

 It's like the weatherman telling you if you go outside today you will get wet. You decide to go outside and then get wet. Do you blame the forecaster or yourself? Tradition has blamed the forecaster, so to speak,  not realizing all He did was reveal what was already out there.

 Look at Miriam, Moses' sister. What happened to her? Tradition says God made her sick with leprosy. Is that right? No! She chose to reject Moses' wife and question Moses' position, that is she chose discord.  God was angry at this and it says He departed. There is your answer.

 The "rain" was always out there. She chose to ignore the forecaster and went outside. Results? She got wet if you will. The key here was the phrase He departed, God didn't make her leperous. He departed, that is His protecting hand was temporaily moved, God didn't put leprosy on her, or even allow it. He allowed what Miriam allowed by her choices. Thankfully, this was temporary and she repented and she was delivered. Now under the New Covenant, we have something better. 

 Under Grace, Jesus bore the curse. He took upon Himself all the wrath, punishment for sins and transgressions, and bore all sickness and disease in His own body on the tree. Now we are made whole because of the Finished Work. Because of the Cross, He gave us authority over sin, sickness, disease and poverty and any curse. The enemy was defeated and he is under our feet!

 The true Good News is that God is always Good. The simple truth is the enemy is always bad. God is not the afflicter, not the oppressor, not the One bringing evil, destruction, tragedy, tribulation or trials. He isn't the author of harm, hurt or torment or trauma. He is the healer and the One who makes whole. Jesus bore all our sickness and disease and it's His great pleasure to bring healing and wholeness to all who simply believe it and receive it.

 In summation, allow the Word to wash away the lies of religion. Let the Love of God and His truth pull down strongholds in your mind. God is Good and not the author of bad. Embrace this radically Gracious and Good Father. 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Eternal Security: What about Judas Iscariot?

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:30 NLT









Whenever the truth of eternal security begins to be explored you will find many objections raised. It's always this way when the Good News is espoused. Tradition can't grasp the concept that God is a Good God. They can't wrap their minds around the truth that God is a loving, and merciful Father, who is always good. 

 When the eternal security of the believer is taught, one objection that many bring up is what about Judas? Judas was a follower of Jesus. Did he not work signs and wonders in Christ's name as the other's had? Wasn't he separated unto ministry as the other disciples? Yet he betrayed Jesus. 

 So the objection goes, Judas was a Christian and minister of the Gospel and yet he fell away, sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. He surely is proof enough a believer can fall away. A believer can renounce Christ, and be lost. Judas is all the proof we need.

 The first problem with this objection is it is not coming from a place of understanding the New Covenant. When Jesus walked the Earth, He was still abiding in the Old Covenant. Jesus' death and resurrection and ascension and coming Holy Spirit ushered in the New Covenant in its fullness. My point? Judas, nor any of the other disciples and followers of Christ were born again. 

 To understand what I am saying, we need to look again at what it means to be born again. When one receives Jesus, they become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). They are now the Righteousness of God in Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:21). The Spirit of God comes and dwells within them (1 Corinthians 3:16). They are accepted by God (Ephesians 1:6). They are sealed with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). They are forgiven of all their sins forever (Ephesians 1:7). They are now the children of God (1 John 3:1). All of this occurs at the New Birth.

 So here is the million-dollar question, was all this possible under the Old Covenant? Any reasonable, honest minded person can clearly see no this was not possible under the Old. First, how was forgiveness of sins obtained under the Old? Truth is the sins of the people weren't forgiven once for all time under the Old. They were merely covered or atoned for once a year by the high priest. 

 The once for all forgiveness Christ's death purchased is exclusive to the New Covenant. Secondly, the Spirit never dwelled within those under the Old Covenant. The Spirit would fall on individuals for works of service to God. 

 If there was no Spirit of God given to indwell those under the Old how could they be born again? Scripture affirms that the Holy Spirit would only come after Christ was glorified. 
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39 NKJV

 So it stands clear to the reasonable minded, that before the Cross and resurrection there was no way possible for anyone to be born again. So the concept of saying Judas was a born again believer who then lost his salvation is false. Judas was a Jew abiding under the Old Covenant and not a New Covenant born again child of God. 

 Under the Old, the children of Israel were known as God servants. In the New Covenant, those who've received Jesus are the Children of God. There is a major difference between a servant and a son. This difference is enough to show there is a distinction between Old and New. Yet with all these truths some still try to use Judas as the one person they claim lost his salvation.

 That's just disingenuous and more so coming from a place of Biblical ignorance and not the truth. However, some may concede that Judas wasn't born again in the strictest New Testament sense. However, they cite Judas as proof of how someone who has walked with Jesus can walk away later.

 Again a poor example to try and upend what Jesus fully accomplished on the Cross, that is the eternal security of the believer. Why? Because Judas never had a heart for the ministry of Jesus.

 Judas loved his fellow Israelites, that's not in question. So of course when Jesus commissioned all the disciples to work miracles in His name, it is possible Judas could've been used this way. However, Judas was under pride and not love for the World. 

 What do I mean pride? 
Likewise you younger ones, submit yourselves to the elders. Yes, all of you be submissive one to another and clothe yourselves with humility, because
“God resists the proud,
    but gives grace to the humble.”  1 Peter 5:5 MEV


God declares that He resists the proud but gives Grace to the humble. Why? The prideful want to do things there way and not God's. They don't see their need. They have it all together, it's the rest of us that don't. Judas didn't want the type of kingdom Jesus did. He wanted the yoke of Roman tyranny off the necks of the Israelites. He wanted deliverance for the Nation of Israel not the salvation of the World.

 What always accompanies pride is self-righteousness. After Judas betrayed Jesus what was his response to his sin? Judas went forth and hanged himself. Peter and Judas both sinned greatly that day. Yet we see two distinct and different responses. Peter wept bitterly, and after Jesus arose He sought the Lord. Judas punished his own sin instead of allowing Jesus to deal with the sin. Judas hung for his sins, not accepting the truth that Jesus would hang for all mankind's sins that day. 

 So, back to the objection, is Judas a good objection to the eternal security view? Absolutely not. The truth is we who've received Jesus are secure forever.

 Jesus is for us not against us. Jesus is faithful when we are faithless. When we seem to try and distance ourselves through our actions He is right there with us putting us back on the right path. No matter how many times we fail or falter or fall, Jesus is always there encouraging us, reminding us of who we are, and bringing hope to hopelessness. We are forever secure in His loving hands.

 The eternal security of the believer is part and parcel of the Finished Work of Christ. He forgave us once for all time. He sanctified and set us apart once forever. He sealed us with the Holy Spirit as the guarantee we will be saved forever. His perfect shed blood purchased perfectly our eternal redemption, eternal not temporal, and not conditioned on our conduct or faithfulness. 

 In summation, rejoice in the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You who've received Jesus are forever saved. You who've trusted in Christ are forever secure in His hand. No matter how far you've fallen Jesus is there bringing help, healing, hope, and restoration. Forget the objections tradition ruled Christians form and fashion designed to usher in eternal insecurity and hopelessness to the believer. Embrace His Grace, and rest in this uninterrupted eternally secure salvation. 
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