Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is our fellowship ever broken with our Father? part 3 of 3

 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7-9

 To recap the last two posts. We've been studying this passage. We discovered it was not written to believers. We also saw that 1 John 1:9 was written to a specific type of unbeliever. One who did not even acknowledge sin existed. In order to counter this serious error the Apostle John under the guidance of the Spirit addressed this issue. He did not want this error infiltrating the Church. For if we taught there was no sin then what is the motivation for telling others about the need for Christ? It would be an exercise in futility. 

 Thank the Lord the Gnostic view was untrue. We also began to address the secondary doctrine this passage is used to promote. That is that when we miss it we lose fellowship with God. In answering this idea I first brought out the truth that the Church never walks in darkness. I showed from the Word that we as believers are children of the light. 

  Now because some teach that whenever we sin or miss it we are then walking in darkness, this idea of lost fellowship has taken root in the Church. So how do we uproot this tradition? It begins with looking to the Word as the final authority. With the light of the Word shining these man made philosophies fall by the wayside.

  The word fellowship in the original Greek language is the word koinonia. It literally means partnership, participation, communication, communion and fellowship. So if we sin we can no longer communicate with God? What about those teaching 1 John 1:9 is to believers? How can we even confess our sins if, because of sin, we lose fellowship, or communication with God? We wouldn't even be able to "communicate" with Him to confess our faults. You see how law minded folk and tradition bound saints never see their viewpoint taken to its conclusions? 

  Search your Bible. The word fellowship is only found fourteen times in the entire New Covenant. Nowhere does it even come close to teaching this idea we lose fellowship if we miss it. Consider this truth. We have a better Covenant. It is established on better promises.

But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it 
Hebrews 8:6-7

 We have a better Covenant. That means the promises in this Covenant can do all the old one can do but do it better! If God blessed and favored people in the Old Covenant but not so much in the New it wouldn't be a better Covenant. It would be a less than Covenant. So consider this passage from the Old Covenant.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. Psalm 137:7-9

 Under the Old Covenant if one were to go into the depths of Hell God's presence would be with them. Today, though in the New if we mess up He departs from us? Oh, no brother, we leave Him. Well, again it states here, He is always with His people! We thank God He never leaves us. Well, brother what about Psalm 66? It says if we have sin in our hearts He won't hear us. That's proof we are departed from Him, right? Glad you mentioned it.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.  
Psalm 66:18

 The key to understanding this passage is the what the writer actually states here. He says if I regard iniquity in my heart He won't hear me. He is saying if he focuses on his sin he will lack confidence before God. He is disqualifying himself. Now even today sin can create a sense of being unconfident before God. That's why we don't play in sin's "playground" if you will. Now lets read this passage in context now to see how the writer dealt with this mindset.

I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Psalm 66:17-19

 See even under the Law He knew God was a faithful God. He trusted in his covenant, moving past his sin consciousness and received from The Lord. Surely, we can rest knowing today we have a much better Covenant. 

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto meHebrews 13:5-6

Then disciple them. Form them in the practices and postures that I have taught you, and show them how to follow the commands I have laid down for you. And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20

 We see the New Covenant promise here. He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. He will be with us always. It is not only if you don't mess up. He said always, no matter what. Think of this. Why would He depart from us in our worst state? That is the time He is with us the most urging us to walk out who we already are. He is there in our hearts gently stirring. Gently reminding He has so much better for us. This everlasting love is what produces victory, and change from the inside out. 

  You can rest knowing even in your worst day He is not apart from you. He paid a high price to be in relationship with you. He is not throwing it aside because of your unfaithfulness. This is the good news. I pray these truths set you free to love and celebrate Him more and more. 

 I pray this post has answered any questions you've had. I pray this post blessed your walk with the Lord. If this has blessed you consider leaving a comment. Feel free to share this with others. Again thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I pray peace and blessing over your life. In Him. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Do we lose fellowship when we sin?

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:1-10

  In my last post I answered some concerns about 1 John 1:9. You can read about that here: What about 1 John 1:9, Grace teacher? 
  I answered thoroughly that this passage is not addressed to the Church. I now want to address the other concern about 1 John. What about our fellowship? What happens when we do sin? Does God in fact remove fellowship with us? This is what many have in times past taught. Let us address this issue.

  First thing we need to study is verses five through seven in 1 John. We begin with great news. Not just good news but great news! In God there is no darkness. None! That means God is always good. He has your best in mind when He thinks of you. That is a great thought isn't it? What, you might be asking? The fact that God Almighty thinks about you. The Creator and Master of the entire Universe thinks about you! He is so full of love and wonder. What a gracious and loving Heavenly Father! 

 So God is light and not darkness. This means He is light, He knows the way! He is full of truth. He enlightens us with the truth. He is never holding anything back from us. So how does Him being light affect you? It means if He is in you, you are also in the light. We are one with God through our union with Christ. 

 The sixth verse describes a professor of faith in God not an actual possessor of faith and thus not a possessor of eternal life. When we are born again we are walking in the light. 

 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14 

 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.     John 11:10

to open their eyes,in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), Ephesians 5:8-9

 Proof positive when we are born again we walk in light. As we walk in the light any missteps or failings are continually cleansed by the blood of Jesus. We are abiding under the waterfall of forgiveness. We walk under a continual cleansing. We are clean and stay clean by the blood. Again, you are already forgiven all your sins the moment you are born again. We then abide and walk in the light. It's not according to light. 

We walk in the light. Walking according to the light is manifested in the maturing into who we already are as a result of walking in the light. As I have said in times past knowing we are already cleansed and forever forgiven produces fruitful living.

  Whenever we sin we are not then suddenly walking in darkness. We may be walking as darkness walks momentarily. However, we are still in the light, in right standing with God receiving the continual cleansing of the blood of Jesus. We are cleansed (past tense) and stay cleansed by the blood continually. So am I saying children of God cannot walk in darkness? No, I am not, the Spirit of God is.

 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:9-11

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 1 John 3:14 

 When we are born again we are walking in the light. We have the love of God flooding our heart. This is proof we are in fact in the light. Again, if a believer misses it or stumbles they are still in the light. If every time we failed, it meant we were walking in darkness how could we find our own way out? This idea about being in darkness is why so many believe we lose fellowship with the Lord. He has no fellowship with darkness. So if we sin and thus are in darkness it stands to reason He would have no fellowship with us. This sounds reasonable but the whole of the Word doesn't agree. We are the Children of light not darkness. What about these passages then? 

 These passages about walking in darkness are referring to professors of faith not possessors. Believes have the love of God within. They don't possess a hate filled spirit. If you say you are a believer and actually walk in hate or in darkness then you are deceiving yourself. Come accept the Lord Jesus. Then you will see light, love and peace flood your heart and mind. 

 So we've established believers walk in light and therefore have fellowship with God. Now after study and research I've seen that nowhere in the Word of God does it state God breaks fellowship with us. This is the good news. Obviously I must prove this with the Word. So stay tuned for part three. 

  In this post I've set out to establish we have fellowship with the Lord because we walk in the light. We are continually in fellowship with Him and the Blood continually cleanses us. You are in the light as a believer. You have fellowship with the Lord because of this. Thus, He will never leave you. I pray these truths bring peace and comfort to you. I pray you rest in this relationship with our Father. If this blesses you please feel free to leave any feedback and consider sharing with your loved ones. If you wish you may sign up via email for any future posts. God richly bless you with His loving kindness today. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What about 1 John 1:9, Grace teacher?

     If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

  Whenever one proclaims the good news of the gospel of God's grace and who we already are because of Him, criticisms  immediately arise. Some critics are more abusive with their commentaries and accusations than others. Again, let me emphasize the importance of responding rather than reacting to such criticisms. We respond in love not anger or wrath. 

  Now one major critique of New Covenant grace is the notion that 1 John 1:9 is not to believers but to the unbeliever. Many fight this idea. They truly believe this must be written to Christians. The idea that we are already forgiven is something their minds cannot grasp. Nor will they accept this as truth. This objection should be addressed properly, in love and with the truth of God's Word.

   First, lets say we agree with the grace critics. Let's say 1 John 1:9 is for believers. Ok, now what does our Christian walk look like? One, we must now confess each and every single fault, failure and misstep we make. Now this must include any thoughts our minds wander to. This would include any time are eyes glance at something a second too long. Also, each and every action or deed you know should be engaged in and have not needs to be confessed. 

  So knowing all the spectrum our confession must cover, how should the Christian life be portrayed before others? It is seen in keeping extremely short accounts with our Father. We would need to be truly confessing our faults and failures continually before the throne. Secondly, if 1 John 1:9 is for believers, any lone misstep not confessed; any misdeed, no matter how slight the infraction, unrecalled or lapsed in your mind due to focusing on other mistakes, would equate our sin not being forgiven. Thus, if we were to pass from life to death with unforgiven sin our eternal destination would not be Heaven but Hell. No sin is allowed in Heaven.

  Lastly, If 1 John 1:9 is for believers, then you must believe that each and every time we sin we are immediately unrighteous. If we are unrighteous then if we in the midst of committing a trespass no matter the severity, and we were to instantly pass into death we would be eternally lost. For only the righteous have a place in Heaven.

 Do you see how severe and impossible the Christian life would be if we agree 1 John 1:9 is to believers?  Here is another thought which proves the absurdity of thinking 1 John 1:9 is for the Church. In Mark's gospel what did Jesus state? 

 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26

 Think about this. If we are not already forgiven and a condition of our receiving forgiveness is to forgive others, why does 1 John 1:9 say if we confess we will be forgiven? Which is it? We must forgive to be forgiven or confess to be forgiven? You see how not rightly dividing this Word produces confusion and Law mindsets?

 What is the answer to all of this? It is simple we must rightly divide the Word, and rightly divide the Old and New Covenants. Under the Old in order to be forgiven a stipulation was we must forgive to be forgiven. Under the New Covenant we are already forgiven! Because we are already forgiven we can then forgive others. See how grace supplies something whereas Law demands something?

  As for confession of sins in order to be forgiven we again must rightly divide the Word. Who are we already in Him? We are forgiven. Let the Word prove this. 

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Colossians 2:13
 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood  Revelation 1:5
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32
 I write to you, little children Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1 John 2:12
  I want you to note the word all in these passages. Also notice the past tense indicated of our forgiveness. We are the forgiven. We are forever forgiven. Our past, our present and future sins. We are not just forgiven our past transgression and left to confess each and every sin for our present and future. Yes, it is exciting to know we have a fresh start with God when we accept Him. This doesn't mean God found us, picked us up, cleaned us and placed us on the right path and said stick to this path and if you fall by the wayside it is only by your performance will you gain access back on the path. What it means is God found us, cleansed us and walks with us on the right path. He has forever made a way for us to be in constant fellowship with our Father. 
So who then is 1 John 1:9 addressed to? First, read 1 John 2:12. Here John states equivocally that our sins are already forgiven us. Forgiven already without confession of all our sins. The Word doesn't contradict itself. This is proof enough 1 John 1:9 is to unbelievers not the Church.

 I know that will not satisfy critics so let me elaborate further. In the beginning of the Epistle, John offers no greeting to the Saints. In 1 John 2:1 he does begin with the greeting to the saints. In the first chapter though, he is addressing the unbeliever in the midst of the Church. In case you were unaware unbelievers actually do go to church. In the first 3 verses of 1 John note John details how these unbelievers can have fellowship with the Church. Then he states our fellowship is with Jesus and the Father. 
that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:1-3

 Note John differentiates between "you" and "our". He is addressing a particular group inviting them to fellowship. Salvation and accompanying Christian walk is the understood subject. In other words, to come partake of this fellowship, be born again and walk in the new life Christ offers. 

 This introduction followed by the rest of the first chapter in context shows us John is addressing unbelievers. Here is the key to fully understanding this passage. John was addressing not just unbelievers in general but a specific sect of unbelievers, the Gnostics. 

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:4-10

  The Gnostics didn't even believe sin existed. This is the focal point of this passage. John inspired of the Spirit was teaching the generations to come that sin is real. That the separation between God and man because of Adam's transgression was in fact a real chasm. Before John could show the solution, which is the finished work, the need for it had to be revealed to this specific group of unbelievers.  It is not Law mixing to explain to a specific unbeliever today that there was a separation between God and man. That God removed all the barriers and now new life is possible if one just receive it. 

 The point many miss though is they believe that all unbelievers must confess each and every sin before they get born again. 1 John 1:9 though written to unbelievers, is not teaching that sinners must confess all their faults. How could they recall each and everyone?What it is teaching is acknowledging your sin exists. Confess or agree with God you are lost without receiving what He has accomplished. Acknowledge your spiritual separation exist. You see when we come to God we just receive Him and His finished work. We don't confess Him Lord of our life. We confess Him as Lord, period! Regardless if you "make" Him Lord He is already Lord. (see Romans 10:8-10)

 There is still more about 1 John 1:9 we must uncover. I just wanted to bring it out that this passage is not to the Church but to the Gnostic unbeliever. Oh one more proof to leave you with. Notice this idea of confessing sins to receive forgiveness is only seen once. We don't create doctrine on a single isolated passage.
  I trust this post has blessed and enlightened you and encouraged your walk with the Lord. If this has blessed you please consider sharing this and telling others. I appreciate your feedback.  Blessings. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Who You Already Are in Him.

     Moreover, your own completeness is only realized in him, who is the   authority over all authorities, and the supreme power over all powers.  Colossians 2:10

     In the last few post we have endeavored to answer grace critics. We have already established the proper atmosphere the Church needs to foster. An environment of love and mercy flowing free from all law and condemnation nurtures restoration and wholeness. 

  We have seen how a leader or mentor should address the sin issue. Now what about ourselves? What about when we fall and miss it? Does God abandon us? Is He fuming with anger toward us? I know legalism and tradition has said so. The Word says otherwise.

For this is like the waters of Noah to Me For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. 
                                                                                       Isaiah 54:9

 Jesus and His finished work forever satisfied the need for penalty and wrath for sins. So when we sin or miss it God isn't looking to "punish" us or rebuke us. When we fall the Lord is not making sure you have a flat tire on the way to work. He is not sending infirmity or calamity to your life in order to get you "straightened" out. 

  In my past I used to believe if I sinned or missed it in some way before my work day started I would automatically have a bad day. I had through my sin removed the hand of favor off of my life. We need to let go of these religious traditions. We can never have true confidence in God unless we realize that all our receiving of blessings and favor and "good" days are rooted in His obedience and finished work. 

  Okay Ive removed the fear aspect of God "punishing" us if we blow it or miss it. So what are we to do when we sin? What about those negative behavior patterns? What of those sinful habits we just can't get freedom from? Let me explain the first step in finding lasting freedom.

  The first step into finding full freedom from sin dominating our lives is to know who we are already in Him. Let me expound for a moment who we already are.


This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 1 John 4:10-11

2. WE ARE FOREVER FORGIVEN  (past present and future sins)
  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Col 2:13
 I write to you, little children Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1 John 2:12
 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood  Rev 1:5

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Eh 1:6

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace   Eh 1:7 
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree Galatians 3:13
(We are redeemed from the curse. All sickness, disease, all lack and poverty and spiritual death. We are new in Him)

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation Galatians 6:15

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
(We are in perfect right standing with God. We have His righteousness not our own.) 
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1 JOHN 3:1
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  Galatians 4:6-7


By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.                        Hebrews 10:10-14

  This is who we already are. Living outwardly who we already are on the inside is the progressive maturity we are all growing into. This is the true key to living in complete freedom and total victory.

 You may say, you are dodging the original question. What do you do if you have just sinned? What do you Mr. Grace man? OK I am glad you brought the question back to the forefront. I am showing not just how to deal with one sin but all the sins that seem to beset us.

  If we fall or miss it or through deception "dive" right into sin here is our right response. The Lord in His love gently reminds us who we already are. He doesn't place His hand on your shoulder and express His disappointment in you. No, He reminds us who we already are in Him and we simply repent. Does this mean we hurry to an altar, bawling and crying? Beating ourselves up for missing it? No, It means we simply change our minds. We change our minds about that particular activity. We agree with God and disagree with the thinking that this behavior is fruitful. Then, this is key, we confess our righteousness purchased by Christ! 

  Confessing our righteousness by Christ is what allows our minds to be renewed to who we already are. Even in the midst of committing that sin or wrong, confess you are righteous. This doesn't make the action right suddenly but it reminds you continually of who you already are. Eventually, as you keep confessing who you already have been made, you will awaken to righteousness and sin will lose its appeal and hold on you. 

  Lastly, Christ the Lord Himself helps us in this process. His love is not far from us in the midst of our "mess". When the temptations come or after you fall, even during the act itself He is continually gently whispering His loving Words to you, "I've got better for you." When you rest in His Words and fully realize how true they are you will walk in maturity of who you already are. 

  To sum it up. What do we do if/when we miss it? We remember God is never mad at us. We know to simply yield to the gentle loving reminder Jesus has for us. He has so much better for us. We realize who we already have been made. We continually confess our righteousness. As I have said earlier. Sin will take you further than you want to go. It has unforeseen cost you really don't want to pay. It tries its best to leave your heart lacking confidence. So sin isn't appealing. We grace ministers are not teaching that sin is what we are to pursue. We are abiding in Him, and who we already are in Him. I know I keep repeating this phrase. I want it to "sink" in. I want our minds to be renewed to this glorious truth. 

  I pray this post has blessed you. Too all those who are suffering out there for proclaiming these truths. I pray you be strengthened and never let go of the truth. Walk in love to those without the knowledge of the truth. By your fruits of faithfulness and love you will see hearts changed.  Again thanks for all my friends all over the World, helping in getting this blog out. I never dreamed that sisters in brothers in Asia, and Europe and various parts of the USA would respond and be blessed by this blog. It is all the work of Jesus. It is His name I desire to see renowned. Thank you for taking the time to read. Please pass it on freely if this has blessed you. The Lord bless you with peace. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What about sin 2


 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 NLT

    We have been answering some of the critics of grace as of late. In my last few post I've been addressing the question what about sin? How does a person, who has received the message of the fullness of His grace, respond to sin? 

   First I've answered this issue from the point of view of Christian leadership and mentors and the atmosphere needed to properly deal with sin in our midsts. I felt it imperative that a proper atmosphere must be in place to properly address the sin issue. It is established that condemnation kills. Condemnation causes many to shrink back not come forward and receive the fullness of God's love. So an atmosphere free from condemnation is of necessity. 

   You know many in the Body of Christ have been wounded by leadership who have based their "governing" of the people on legalism, not love.  Too many have been wounded by this approach and now are left fallen by the wayside. Discarded by callous leaders who simply sum it up that they "walked away" from the faith. They have "quit" Jesus. They have "abandoned" the faith. These "casualties" of legalism vs acceptance grace tend to reinforce the claim traditional religion boast that men can lose their salvation after placing faith in Christ and His finished work. They point to them and declare "look these have walked away." 

   The reality is these haven't quit Jesus they have quit tradition. They have refused control. They have let go of legalism. Now let me give a word of encouragement to those on the wayside. God's grace is enough. Grace is the unearned, unmerited favor and love of Almighty God. In this love is complete restoration and healing from all wounds. Complete wholeness! Don't stay on the wayside. Don't allow the enemy to take advantage of your wounds and create a bitterness to the Family of God. Don't allow the enemy to rob you of receiving of God's gifts to the Body of Christ. 

  I would never align myself with a legalistic controlling church body. I get that. However, it doesn't mean I don't align myself with a good church body. I purposely stated a good church body. Notice I didn't state a perfect church body. No one church has it all "figured" out. Don't be a legalist about becoming legalistic! Don't judge every church. It is about healthy relationships. Find a good church based on relationships. Its foundation rooted on the Word of God and Jesus Christ. This will help bring wholeness to your life. Allow God to heal your fragmented past. Don't wallow in the past and say woe to me. Shake that past off through His grace. Be totally free!

  Now lets address one other part of a healthy atmosphere in dealing with sin. Before we actually deal with how to overcome sin in our own life we need to see a proper environment where we all can overcome and walk in the fullness of God. 

  As I have said in my last post in dealing with the sin question the Lord led me in setting the proper atmosphere leaders need to create.    So we have established condemnation will never accomplish anything but succeed in running people off. What we also need is an atmosphere of restoration.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

 Other translations use the word restoration in this passage. I chose this translation because in reality we all desire to be on the right path. When one falls into or even dives into sin a graceful environment will bring full restoration. 

  This idea of "sitting" minister's down for a season sounds noble. In reality the practice over the years has become just a means to make some "pay" for their sin. No one can actually "pay" for their sin. Only the Blood was the price accepted for full payment.

  Am I saying a person in leadership or any fellow believer need not take some time apart to mature in an area they need victory in? It may very well be an option the Lord may lead someone into. Some may require taking some time apart so they can get refocused.  My point is that the motive should never be to just punish the offender. Then we who are "spiritual" have left the place of being ministers of reconciliation to "punishers". 

  Now what about sins that affects others directly? In other words what about those in our midsts who have actually victimized someone? Like the youth Minister who got involved sexually with one of the youth? Or the Church board member who embezzled the funds? We can put our heads in the sand and pretend this never happens but it happens far to often. 

  There may very well be natural consequence for these sins. It could include serving time in a Correctional Facility. What about these sins? Again no matter how wicked the sin, His grace and finished work has paid the full price. The truth is the natural consequences of sin will have to run its course. What our response should be is one of love and restoration. We don't gloss over the transgression and say it isn't sin. We don't water down the standard and say it isn't wrong. We acknowledge it is wrong. We agree with God's Word. The harming of any of the Sheep in our midst is not to be tolerated. What is our response then? 

   What we do is work with the person if they are willing and bring about restoration. How is that possible? By ensuring they are truly born again. Next get them to see who they already are on the inside and walk that out. It takes mentors and accountability in love to help them partake of the victory Christ already purchased!

  I am endeavoring to offer a loving view of how to eradicate sin in our midsts. I know we aren't perfect. Legalist with all their codes, and rules haven't brought about change. I believe when we know how much we are loved, and how much we have been forgiven, we will see Him for who He is and sin will lose all its appeal. I have done my best to paint a picture of the optimal atmosphere in how leaders and mentors should address sin. Now in my next few posts I want to deal with how do we address sin personally. 

  I appreciate you taking the time to read this blog. I pray it is a blessing an encouragement with your walk with the Lord. I appreciate your feedback.

Monday, March 10, 2014

So what about sin?

   In the last post I dealt with the question many receivers of the grace message get asked. Does grace mean you keep on sinning? I really don't like the premise of the question. To me it is not an honest question. How dare I make that statement? Let me explain.

 The reason I believe the question is not honest is because it's more of an accusation than honest curiosity. If one follows the critics of grace teaching you see this charge being brought up frequently. The heart of the matter is that this is in fact a misrepresentation of grace teaching. This misrepresentation is then flaunted out before the entire Body of Christ. Critics afterward proceed to argue against this misrepresentation rather than the actual words of true grace teachers. 

 So, to answer more critics what about sin? What if a believer truly falls into sin? What if a Christian finds themselves in the trappings of a habitual sin? How does a grace teacher respond?  

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.  He awoke early in the morning to return to the temple. When He arrived, the people surrounded Him, so He sat down and began to teach them.  While He was teaching, the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman who was caught in the act of adultery; and they stood her before Jesus.
Pharisees:  Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  Moses says in the law that we are to kill such women by stoning. What do You say about it?
 This was all set up as a test for Jesus; His answers would give them grounds to accuse Him of crimes against Moses’ law. Jesus bent over and wrote something in the dirt with His finger. They persisted in badgering Jesus, so He stood up straight.
Jesus: Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.
 Once again Jesus bent down to the ground and resumed writing with His finger.  The Pharisees who heard Him stood still for a few moments and then began to leave slowly, one by one, beginning with the older men. Eventually only Jesus and the woman remained, and Jesus looked up.
Jesus: Dear woman, where is everyone? Are we alone? Did no one step forward to condemn you?
Woman Caught in Adultery:  Lord, no one has condemned me.
Jesus: Well, I do not condemn you either; all I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you.                                John 8:1-11 voice 

    The first response is the same as The Lord Jesus Christ. We respond without condemnation. Beating the Sheep produces no fruitful change in everyday living. It actually pushes them further away from God and the fellowship with the Saints.

    I recall one time as a young man we had a family dog. It was a pure bred Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Now this dog enjoyed running over to the neighbor's yard on a frequent basis. Once I recall seeing her run off again. So I yelled for her to come home. She immediately ran to me. Once she came to me, expecting love and reward, I scolded her instead. I told her she was gonna get it and continued scolding her for running to the neighbor's yard. While all this was going on my Grandfather looked on. Finally he interjected with some wise words I have never forgotten.  
    He said to me,"Why should she come to you? When she comes you threaten to beat her."
      To be honest, I held my head low in humility. I saw how true his words were. What I had asked her to do she had complied with instantly and yet I still was harsh with her. I learned from that day to this to praise and thank any of my pets when they did what I asked.

     What has this to do with Christians sinning you may wonder? The same advice my Grandfather gave to me should be how we respond to wayward Sheep in the Body.  When Saints of God fall into sin, or even deliberately dive in because of wrong thinking and deception many may not come back because when they do all they get is a "beating". Why should the fallen Saint come back when all they get is harsh words and threats of eternal doom? What do they really get when they come back looking for restoration and wholeness and freedom? 

      We need to be minister's of reconciliation instead of condemnation.  
      Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King.  Romans 8:1 Voice

    We have no more condemnation in the Lord Jesus. Condemnation kills. It causes us to shrink back instead of running to the place of restoration. In fact Paul the Apostle showed us a great truth about helping fallen brothers.

     My spiritual brothers and sisters, if one of our faithful has fallen into a trap and is snared by sin, don’t stand idle and watch his demise. Gently restore him, being careful not to step into your own snare.  Galatians 6:1 Voice

     So the first step we see in dealing with sin is not to bring condemnation to those involved. Now I am NOT teaching that is it no real concern if one falls or dives into a sin. As I have stated already sin will always leave you wanting and wasted. It takes you further than you want to go. It has consequences you can't always foresee. I am though teaching the proper Biblical response to restore a person in sin. 

     So we see the initial response we all need is one of love, restoration and not condemnation. We need to create an atmosphere in our midst where Saints and sinners alike can run to and find the Love and mercy and grace of a loving Savior. Instead of gossiping about "loose Lucy" or "drunk Dave" or some other fallen Saint why not spend the time praying for them? Why not spend some time loving them back to God? We have all been in a place of embarrassment and shame for some action we had committed. Receiving the love from fellow believers and mercy of God is what we truly needed in those desperate times. Let us not forget we've all missed it. We must not judge others by their deeds and ourselves by our intentions. Providing an atmosphere of love will produce lasting fruitful change in the lives of believers. 
      We will continue with some more steps to take in really bring fruitful change in our lives when it comes to dealing with the sin issue. Thanks again for taking the time to read this post. I pray its blessed you and helped you in your walk with the Lord. 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Grace questions...

   When we first receive this wonderful message of God's grace for us we rejoice. We desire to express praise and thanksgiving to such a loving Savior and Father. We celebrate the freedom from the traditions of men. We experience true peace of heart and mind. 

 We also desire to share these wonderful truths with others. Some receive it with gladness. Some, who already posses imbalance and instability within, receive it in foolishness and go about establishing their own righteousness. Still others reject it flat out! They accuse you of desiring to go backwards. They inevitably pose the question that most of us who have received the truth of His grace have already been asked. 

"So, what, you mean you get to keep on sinning?" 

 This question has been posed to many in the grace revolution. Or some variation of it has been asked. Such as;

"You just desire to keep on sinning, right?" 
" So, you no longer have to repent, or acknowledge when you sin?"

 I want to respond to this question. None of the great teachers I've heard have ever promoted the idea that sin is good or ok. In fact grace is the means by which we escape the dominion of sin not find a way back into a sinful lifestyle. 

 How should we respond to all of this? Is it good to persist in a life of sin so that grace may multiply even more? Absolutely not! How can we die to a life where sin ruled over us and then invite sin back into our lives? Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death?  Therefore, we were buried with Him through this baptism into death so that just as God the Father, in all His glory, resurrected the Anointed One, we, too, might walk confidently out of the grave into a new life. To put it another way: if we have been united with Him to share in a death like His, don’t you understand that we will also share in His resurrection? We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power. A dead man, you see, cannot be bound by sin. But if we have died with the Anointed One, we believe that we shall also live together with Him Romans 6:1-8 Voice

  The grace revelation is rooted in the Pauline revelation of our right standing with God and the gospel of reconciliation. Paul expressly states this truth of grace is not intended for us to push backwards and live the life we were rescued from. 

 For sin is no longer a tyrant over you; indeed you are under grace and not the law. So what do we do now? Throw ourselves into lives of sin because we are cloaked in grace and don’t have to answer to the law? Absolutely not! Doesn’t it make sense that if you sign yourself over as a slave, you will have to obey your master? The question before you is, What will be your master? Will it be sin—which will lead to certain death—or obedience—which will lead to a right and reconciled life? Romans 6:14-16

 Take note, Paul expressly states we are NOT under the Law. We are not under the Law, period! The Law is not divided anywhere in the New covenant. It isn't divided into ceremonial, sacrificial and moral. The Law is an all or nothing standard. We are not under any law or rule or code. So does this then mean we live any way we see fit? Of course not!

 Paul here in these two passages reveals to us we have the new life of God within us. Its this already made right and perfect heart within which governs our life and conduct. Our faith in God and purchased right standing guides us in our daily affairs. So truly our standard of living is expressed in a relationship with our Father. It is not expressed in rules and codes and laws.

 The Law and any other traditional code of living does nothing to empower anyone.  It can only demand from you. It can never give you the strength to "perform" what is "required" of you. It can tell you this is the way to conduct your life. It has no power to bring lasting change within. 

 Grace supplies. It imparts within us the desire to follow the Lord. Relationship births the desire to yield to our Heavenly Father. What do I mean by yielding? Doesn't yielding mean to give the right of way? Being in relationship with the Lord translates this way; when temptation or alluring to follow the wrong path presents itself, our loving Father gently reminds us He has so much better for us. That is not law mixing or tradition of men. This is the key to living free.

 If you study Paul's admonition you find what was his biggest concern when addressing sin? Was it that the believer would lose his eternal salvation? Apparently, it was not. What Paul seemed to be concerned about was that the believer would be entangled in the "bondage" or "trapping" of a habitual sin. 

 Paul understood sin will always take you further than you intended to go. It will cost you more than you wanted to pay. It brings misery and leaves you wanting. It also produces within us an unconfident heart. 

 This unintended consequence of an unconfident heart is the worst side effect of sin. It produces a struggle within us to run to God. It seems to push us away from God. In spite of how much revelation of grace we have, an unconfident heart can be a momentarily challenge we must overcome. That's why constantly feeding on the Word about our right standing and His grace is so vital. 

 So in closing to answer the legalist. We are never saying we desire to keep on sinning. We don't "get" to continue in a fallen lifestyle. If we "miss it" or "fail" we simply repent or change our minds about our actions in light of His love and mercy. In fact we have the key to be forever free! Unearned love and favor produces an empowerment to overcome. Receive His grace and overwhelming love and mercy. Receive His complete forgiveness.
He has so much for us. Remember to feed on the Word about grace and righteousness. You won't be sorry.

  Again thanks for taking the time to read the posts. I pray blessings to each one who reads. Leave feedback and share if it's blessing you. Thanks so much.