Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Still another mistaken idea: You will reap what you sow

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV

In our last study, we examined our view of God. Asking the question if we have a positive expectation of mercy and goodness or a fearful expectation of God's anger and wrath and judgment. If we have a fearful expectation then we have to ask why that is?

 The negative traditions of man corrupt our view of God. Religion skews our image of our Good Father, into that of the harsh taskmaster. The despot on the throne poised to strike the moment, the exact instant we foul up or miss it. At the precise moment of sin, judgment falls and we suffer the due punishment for our actions. 

 Of course, this image conjured up by traditional religious-minded men is false. Does this even come close to describing Jesus? Of course not. These traditions of men rooted in our thinking are why we have a fearful expectation of judgment and wrath.

 We have already begun allaying these wrong thoughts in our previous study. Today, we need to see the last two religious concepts that bring fear and torment. The first is this idea of generational curses. 

 There is an entire study disproving this myth here. This mistaken idea uprooted brings us peace and a positive expectation of good. Recall, Jesus took the sour wine on the cross. He took the sour grapes if you will so there are no more generational curses.

 Finally, let's uproot this idea of reaping what we sow. You may be thinking, how is this a mistaken idea when it clearly states in the Word that we will reap what we sow? It is a mistaken idea because, as with many truths, man has distorted it and added to it and created a burdensome belief that brings bondage and not freedom.

 This passage must be seen and understood in its full context. What Paul is teaching is the support of ministry that has fed someone the Word of truth. The seed Paul refers to here is financial. 

Those who are taught the Word of God should help their teachers by paying them. Galatians 6:6 TLB

 Though the truth of giving money to support the work of God has been widely misused and abused and taken to extremes doesn't negate the foundational truth. The work of ministering the Gospel does require funding. In essence, that is all Paul is speaking of.

 That may be so, but why does Paul say he who sows to the flesh will reap corruption? That's not speaking of money or supporting ministry. Glad you asked, I also used to think this. The problem is we are taking the thought out of its context and setting.

 Paul was speaking of supporting ministry. He didn't stop and preach a whole new thought. He was saying if you don't support the ministry you are sowing your own works and performance and will reap corruption, the corrupting influence of man-made religion. 

 Think of it, if there are no ministers teaching the truth, then all you rely on is your own views, and that is how tradition is created. If we support the ministry we are sowing into the kingdom. We are reaping growth. To be clear, Paul isn't teaching if you give money you will get even more money. The harvest reaped is more lives transformed, and God's blessing on you to grant you the favor to be able to keep supporting God's work. 

 I said all that because what tradition has taught is that this passage is sharing with us what happens whenever we mess up or sin. That we will reap the negative consequences of our negative actions. In essence, do good get good, do bad and get bad.

 That mindset produces a fearful expectation of judgment and not a loving expectation of His mercy and goodness. We are under the New Covenant, not the Law. We who believed are now Righteous and redeemed. 

 The New Covenant doesn't teach a "Christian" form of karma. We aren't doing good simply so good things will come our way. We aren't avoiding wrongdoing just so we won't receive bad things coming our way. Because of Christ within us, we do good because we desire to be a blessing because Christ has loved us and blessed us already. We shun the bad simply because Christ is within us and leads us into all truth. We avoid the bad because He shows us its wrong. 

 This idea of reaping what we sow brings us to a place of expectancy of judgment and condemnation. This concept negates God's Love. It ignores His great mercy. It diminishes His Grace. In the Finished Work Christ reaped everything we've ever sowed negatively. He became a curse for us to redeem us from the curse.

 In summation, we who believe should have a positive expecation of goodness and mercy. Certainly, there are consequences in this life for choices. However, that is not reaping what you sow. That is not God punishing us for our sins, Jesus already paid for all our sins.

 Kicking over sacred cows, bringing religious thoughts captive to Christ, casting down the strongholds of man mad tradition in our thinking will cause us to have a positive expectation of mercy. Understanding God's blessings aren't a reward for good works, knowing we are forgiven of all our sins and isn't counting them against us, rejecting the concepts of generational curses, and the contrary view of Christian "karma" reaping what we sowed, will shatter the wrong images of God and bring with it the expectation of goodness from God not cursing or calamity. God is Good and loving and merciful.  

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A fearful expectation of judgment or a Loving expectation of mercy?

 1And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 
1 John 4:17-18 NLT

 When you think of God what comes to mind? When you reflect on who He is and what He does, what is your impression of Him? Do images of a loving Father with open arms prevail in your thinking? Or does the concept of a harsh taskmaster eagerly awaiting to punish you for your failures dominate your view of God?

 If your perception of God is that of a loving Father, then you have received the Love of God in its fullness. You have tasted and seen that the Lord is Good. You have partaken of His great Grace and know He is for you and never against you. 

 If your impression of God is that of the harsh taskmaster then you have not received the Love of God in its fullness. You have not fully understood His Grace. You haven't fully received of the Gift of Righteousness. You still see Him charging you and accounting your sins against you. 

 What happens when we haven't received this Love in its fullness? The Word is clear. We will have a fearful expectation of judgment. We still fear punishment for our sins and missteps. 

 There are many reasons why some have not received His Love in its fullness, producing this fearful expectation of bad, and payback and punishment. All of them are rooted in religious tradition. Traditions of men apart from the Word and the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 Let's uncover and expose and answer these traditions so people can come to the truth and receive His Love in its fullness. The first reason people aren't receiving His Love is that tradition teaches all the blessings and Goodness of God are rewards. Rewards are granted because of achievements and good works. They are earned, they are not gifts. 

 God is a rewarder, Hebrews 11 tells us this. This passage though doesn't teach that His Love, His Goodness, His blessings, and healing power are rewards. When we see the hand of God in blessings as only rewarding good work, then we move into a performance-based faith. We won't trust God to help us or heal us, but work to achieve His help and healing. 

 God is a Good Father. He blesses us because He is Good not because we are Good. He blesses us because He is a Loving Father who wants our best. He doesn't bless us because we have achieved enough, or performed well enough. The blessing was bestowed because Christ purchased it for us in the Finished Work, not because of our works. 

Another reason for not receiving His Love in its fullness is the tradition of men that God has not forgiven you of all your sins, past present, and future. That He is remembering your sins. Religious tradition concerning sin sounds something like this:

 "Your sins hinder your prayers!"
 "Your sins are a wedge between you and God!"

 God has forgiven you once for all time at the Cross. These statements and sentiments simply are untrue. Jesus has forgiven all our sins past and present and future. Because of Jesus, God has said He would not remember our sins. The Blood washed us and cleanses us from our sins once for all time. Let's honor Jesus' work and not our work or performance.

14 who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins Colossians 1:14 TLB

Clearly, we are forgiven of all our sins. This includes future sins. This is Good News.

then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 NKJV

 If God is not remembering our sins then why are we? We are forgiven and our sins are forgotten.

 God has forgiven us eternally, once for all time. God isn't holding our sins against us. God has said He will remember our sins no more. If we are forgiven and made Righteous we then never need fear judgment or punishment. We can walk in and fully receive His great Love for us. His Love received casts out all fear, fear of punishment, payback, and retaliation. 

 In summation, we can walk in confidence with God when we receive His great Love. We can walk free of torment when we know how much He Loves us. We can trample on fear and cast down wrong images of God the more we know and understand His Love for us. We will continue uprooting these wrong concepts as we discover more and more just how much He Loves us and is for us and not against us. 

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Two kinds of Righteousness: Understanding self righteousness

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:3-4 NKJV

 Did you know there are two kinds of Righteousness? There is the Gift of Righteousness that I have spoken of continually throughout many studies on this blog site. There is, however, another kind of righteousness and I want to define it and detail it so you can be sure what kind of righteousness you're walking in.

 The Gift of Righteousness is what the prophets of old and even the Patriarchs and saints of the Old Testament longed for. Receiving the Gift of God's Righteousness sets one apart and brings favor and blessing in all areas of life. How do we define this Righteousness?

 Righteousness is that Gift that gives the believer permanent right standing before God. It's that gift whereby one has everlasting acceptance and approval with God. It's that gift where we are always welcomed in God's presence. It's that gift where we can stand before our Father without any sense of guilt, shame, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. It's that gift that causes one's sins never again to be imputed to their account. 

 This is such good news. Knowing we are accepted and approved and walk without condemnation because of Christ causes us to rejoice in the Father's Love and kindness. We don't shrink back from God, and when we sin we run to our Father not away from Him. Because of our permanent acceptance and favor, we can sing of our Father's Love forever!

 That is the Gift of Righteousness, now what is the other kind of righteousness? The other kind of righteousness is self-righteousness. The righteousness of self and personal sacrifice.

 Self-righteousness is that righteousness inspired by human zeal and effort. It's actively pursued to receive the accolades and applause of men. Its boast is in its work, its doing, its discipline, and sacrifices made.

 How can one tell then whether they are in self-righteousness or walking in the Gift of Righteousness? Glad you asked. To find the answer a simple examination of your words, and what your boasting in is all that's needed. 

 When one speaks of all their personal disciplines and personal achievements as a result, without honoring God's ability in them and His hand moving on their behalf, be aware that is self-righteousness talking. It's Grace and His goodness that enabled any believer to walk in victory in any area.

 When one continually looks to their own sacrifices and all they have given and done for God to ascertain their worth and value in the kingdom, know that is self-righteousness motivating them. It is self-righteousness driving them to keep performing. To keep trying to earn what is only freely given.

 How can we contrast the Gift of Righteousness and self-righteousness? Here is the most simplistic way possible:

 The Gift of Righteousness says: Look at what the Lord has done!
 Self-righteousness says: Look at what I've done for you, Lord!

 Relinquish all self-righteousness. All the achievements any personal performance, or spiritual disciplines, or principles of Faith acted on have attained are all rooted in His Finished Work of redemption first and foremost. It was His procuring our salvation, and giving us His life and nature within that caused the desire for any principle or discipline to be acted on. Where is boasting then?

 In summation, walk in God's Gift of Righteousness, and remain thankful and humble because it was all of Christ and none of us that brought success in any area of our walk with God. Never boast of your work, your doing, or your success in walking out principles of Faith, Healing, and Holy Spirit power. Boast in Christ's once for all sacrifice and His great Love for you and nothing else and walk in peace. 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Another Mistaken idea: Generational curses

keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7 NKJV

Are you struggling with sin? Are you not walking in victory in some area of your life? Are you experiencing setbacks and discouragement over and over? Are you suffering through a tragic loss? Then you may have a generational curse that needs to be broken. 

 What exactly is a generational curse? I am not really 100% sure myself but apparently if your great grandparents sinned, then you are also suffering for their deeds. Also apparently receiving the free gift of Grace, trusting in Christ alone, is not enough to be free.

 Although I am being a little tongue in cheek, this idea of curses is a serious one that has held many Christians in bondage. Is the reason they are experiencing hard times because of a generational curse? Sadly, some teach this and some believe it. 

 Some Christian ministries are teaching the concept of generational curses. Teaching things like, the reason you haven't received healing is because of a generational curse. Unanswered prayer? That's a generational curse. Preachers are peddling this notion of generational curses to sell books and are profiting off the misery of the saints. It's not right and it's not edifying the Body of Christ.

 Several years ago, my family experienced a tragic loss, my child was lost in the womb. When I went to church, a sincere and well-meaning but highly misinformed woman came to me and said perhaps the baby was lost because there was a generational curse involved. Not the most encouraging thing to hear, but I responded with Grace and walked away. This is the fruit of this teaching.

 Let me be clear, the concept of generational curses is a mistaken idea that has no basis in the New Covenant. Our text reveals what people call a generational curse. Yet they fail to keep it in context and to who the audience addressed was. 

 This concept was introduced during the exodus from Egypt to the promised land. This was to be the punishment for the sin of idolatry. This of course was before Christ came and paid the price for mankind. What is most interesting is the proponents of this mistaken idea also exclude God's clear words to the nation of Israel by the Prophet Ezekial

 God already ceased from the generational cursing business before the cross. He clearly says God holds the person accountable for their sins, not their children. God is a personal God, not a distant deity. He is not unjust.

 The real issue with the notion of "generational curses" is that it diminishes the work of Christ on the Cross. This concept says Jesus' Finished Work is insufficient. That Christ's shed blood is weak and not powerful enough to cleanse us from all sin and its effects. That Jesus' redemptive work at Calvary was unable to completely redeem us from any and all curses. That the New Creation is an incomplete work and we need something additional to be completely free.

 Some would say, ok maybe for Christians but come on, sinners, those without Christ surely have curses in their life. Have you not read where John says Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world? Even the lost are not punished with curses. Of course, the lost experience consequences for sins and don't have peace in their life until they receive Jesus' free gift but these aren't curses from God.

 The reason Christians can accept notions like "generational curses" is because they are uninformed and misinformed about the cross. They really don't understand what transpired on that tree. At the cross, Christ exchanged our old sinful nature with His perfect nature, we are partakers of His divine nature. Christ exchanged our unrighteousness for His perfect Righteousness. Christ perfectly redeemed us from the curse. He became something He never was, so we could become something we've never been. 

 He cleansed us, healed us, redeemed us, forgave us, and made it possible for whosoever will to become a child of God. The reality of the New Creation destroys the concept of generational curses. In Christ, all things are made new and all of the old is passed. Not just a part but all.

 In summation, reject any teaching or doctrine that tries to diminish the work of Jesus. That teaches there are additional steps you must take after accepting Jesus in order to find freedom and victory. The Cross was enough!