Monday, February 21, 2022

Redeemed from Poverty and Lack


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13 BSB

We've begun a new study looking at our redemption purchased for us by Christ Jesus. Many Christian denominations and ministries will rightly agree that Jesus has redeemed us from sin, but that's as far as their theology will go. In any other area of life, we are apparently offered no promise or guarantee. 

 Is this what the Bible actually teaches? Is this really the full scope of Jesus' redemptive work? Does God offer redemption only for sins and nothing more? If we honestly study Scripture and see Jesus' work of redemption in its fullness we can see just what His death and burial and resurrection purchased and procured for us. 

  In this curse of the Law, we see poverty and lack overtaking those who fall under it. Recall the curse of the Law is threefold; spiritual death, poverty, and sickness. Jesus gave His life for us, thus purchasing our full redemption. We are redeemed from the curse of poverty and lack because of Jesus. 

 Now when the subject of blessings instead of lack is mentioned much controversy rises up. When ministering and proclaiming the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ I always endeavor to bring Biblical balance to this topic. Biblical balance, not man's so-called balance. I have addressed the excesses and the balance before. You can see the answer to excess in this post here, you can see the balance in these studies here and here.  

 With this foundation laid let's explore our redemption further. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Poverty and Lack are part and parcel of the curse we have been redeemed from. Deuteronomy 28 clearly details this curse

 What has Jesus done for us in the New? What has His perfect work of redemption procured for us concerning blessings and abundance?

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 MOUNCE

 This is Jesus' work of redemption. This aspect of the Cross has been long neglected in most circles of the Body of Christ. Paul revealed to us that Jesus bore our poverty and lack on the Cross. This is His Grace in action. His Grace took our poverty and insufficiency and gave us freely His abundance, His fullness, His supply, and His access to all of Heaven's blessings and riches in glory. 

 I know the word rich in this passage causes some religious traditional ruled minds to seemingly lose their minds. In others, it may trigger concerns about some of the abuses and excesses they experienced concerning prosperity. Let's allow God, His Word, and His Grace to settle the issue.

 Strongs defines this word rich here as to be increased with goods, Mounce defines this word as to abound in, be abundantly furnished with. This is reminiscent of something Jesus said in John 10. 

The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 MEV

 Jesus redeemed us so we can possess, walk in, and have abundant life. Abundant life in this life and in the hereafter is ours through Him. Abundant life is a life that is superabundant in quantity and superior in quality. This is the God kind of life. A life that is enjoyed, a life that is so full it overflows. This life is ours now procured by Jesus on our behalf.

 This doesn't mean, of course, that all believers will become millionaires. It doesn't mean there won't be any challenge in life. It does mean that God desires His riches and best be ours because of Jesus.

 What we must herald and proclaim is that God's Love for us is all-encompassing. Jesus loved us enough that He bore the punishment for all our sins. God loves us enough to have forgiven us of all our sins past and present and future. This is such good news, but child of God there is more. There is much more redemption in Christ Jesus. God also loved us enough that He bore our poverty and lack, and exchanged it with His supply and increase and sufficiency.  

 Where the excess prosperity misses it by teaching that our behavior, our performance, and faithfulness and giving are what causes us to be blessed and not Jesus' Faithfulness and goodness alone, religious tradition also cling to an additive to the Gospel. They reject any message that includes provision and blessing in this life. Just as the prosperity extreme morphed unwittingly into works, likewise religious tradition's "suffering gospel" creates a new standard of what makes someone a real "committed" and "sincere" and "mature" Christian.

 These religious-minded believers when presented with any message that proclaims the good news of blessing in this life quickly point to the early church. They only see early Christians as paupers, who lived in squalor and were tortured and murdered at all times and everywhere. This view is an overstatement of the lives of early Christians.

 We don't want to understate the persecution of the early church but let's not overstate it either. The early Church truly suffered persecution, but they were also victorious. The Church grew and grew despite the efforts against them. 

 Tradition actually teaches the Church grows stronger through the blood of the martyrs. They exalt suffering and death. This is an affront to Grace and the Finished Work. Jesus' Blood is the only blood that makes the Church strong and brings growth. The blood of imperfect men is not the sacrifice God looks for.

Religious tradition in an effort to come against prosperity has created a new gospel where suffering is what makes one a real Christian. Instead of Jesus' words declaring I have come that you might have abundant life, they reject and renounce this as false teaching and instead proclaim God came to give you needy, wanting, and insufficient life. 

Whereas the Good News reveals we can have our best lives here and in the next, religious tradition objects teaching God demands we live our worst lives now. If we want to be counted as God's real committed saints, we must experience some form of suffering. The God kind of life is a meager, depleted and lacking life. 

 Receive the fullness of God's Goodness and Grace. Receive freely the perfect redemption He purchased for us. Yes, this is a fallen and fractured creation. Yes, the enemy is on the loose. In spite of the attacks from the enemy, and the effects of the fall, we can still live victoriously in this life. We can trust God in the midst of circumstances. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but thanks be to God He delivers us from them all.

 In summation, Christ has purchased a perfect redemption for us. Not only does He give us new life in Christ and forgive our sins, but He also redeemed us from poverty and made Heaven's blessings available to us. Again religious tradition has more faith that afflictions are many but reject the faith for God to deliver them. Our performance or behavior isn't what causes God to accept us more, and hear this, how much we suffer doesn't either. We are redeemed and accepted and approved because of Jesus. He procured for us abundant life, so freely receive it and gladly walk in it. 

Image by Herbert Bieser from Pixabay 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Redeemed from the Curse of the Law


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13 BSB

God is for us and not against us. God is for us, think of it. The Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth is for us, desires relationship and fellowship with us.  

 In truth, all humanity had been spiritually dead or separated from God. We were all rebellious, going our own way, enemies of God. Yet this God who is so loving sent His Son and made a way out of this death and sinfulness. All one needs to do is receive this gift. 

 Jesus' death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God did much more than simply forgive our sins. As wonderful as the forgiveness of our sins is, this gift alone was not enough. We were spiritually dead and needed to be made alive not just forgiven of all our many trespasses. 

 We needed to be redeemed from all that the enemy, and the fall, and the curse brought. Jesus offered Himself and perfectly purchased redemption for whosoever will freely receive. Because of Jesus' work of redemption we have been made alive, made Righteous and forever forgiven.

 We who believe are not just saved sinners. We aren't sinners saved by Grace. We were sinners, and because we believed we received this perfect work of redemption. So what exactly were we redeemed from?

 Christ's work redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Some read the passage in Galatians that heralds our redemption as merely we as believers need no longer observe the rituals and ceremonies and the offering of sacrifices the nation of Israel were required to. While that is true, redemption from the curse of the Law is much more than that.

 Throughout the Scripture, God painted a picture of what redemption from the curse of the Law actually is. Christ put the pieces together when He was speaking to Nicodemus;

 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:14-15 NKJV

 Jesus pointed to the serpent in the wilderness being lifted up as a type and shadow of redemption. If you're unfamiliar with this account, see it here in Numbers 21. The serpent on a pole represents Jesus at the Cross? Why not a lamb on a pole? Isn't Jesus seen as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the World?

 This is why studying the Word is so essential. Jesus is the perfect lamb. He was sinless and able to pay the price. The serpent on the pole represents Jesus becoming a curse for us. The picture of the serpent was only on the pole. On the Cross the perfect lamb became a curse for us, redeeming us from the curse. The work of the Cross is multifaceted. 

 Seeing Jesus as the serpent on the Cross helps us see the greatest type and shadow of what this redemption entails. We find it in Exodus;

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD had commanded. Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. But Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers and magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same things by their magic arts. Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up the other staffs. Exodus 7:10-12 BSB

 Here we see how Aaron's staff was turned into a serpent. Then the Egyptian's rods turned into serpents as well. Some have only seen this incident as proof that the enemy counterfeits what God does. They stop there but miss the greater truth.

 Aaron's staff swallowed up all the others. This serpent swallowing up all others is a type and shadow of Jesus' work of redemption "swallowing up" all of the curse. Jesus became a curse to redeem us from the curse. 

 Take note of this powerful type and shadow. The Egyptians are listed as three different groups. The wise men, the sorcerers, and the magicians. This illustrates something so powerful. The curse of the Law is threefold, and Aaron's rod swallowed all of it!

 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. So what exactly is this curse? When we speak of the Law, sometimes it refers to the first five books of the Word, the five books of Moses called the Pentateuch. What is the curse that has been incurred because of the broken law?

 Just as the type and shadow illustrated, the curse of the Law is threefold. The curse is manifested in spiritual death, poverty and lack, and sickness and disease. Again the curse is threefold, poverty, sickness, and spiritual death.

 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Jesus became a curse to redeem us from all the curse. The fall, the broken law, and the enemy brought death, disease, and desolation to all mankind. Jesus' perfect work of redemption translated us from darkness to light. Poverty, sickness, and death no longer have a claim on our lives because of Jesus!

 We can look at the curse and see what we've been redeemed from. we are free from the curse of spiritual death, or separation from God. We are free from the curse of poverty and lack. We are free from the curse of sickness and disease

 God is for us and not against us. These curses came as a result of the fall. They were not there because God was mean and scary and wanted to hurt people. The sin, the rebellion, the alignment with the enemy brings with it destruction and death. So what must we do to partake of this redemption?

 Tradition places requirements, rules, and stipulations on receiving this redemption. What we must remember is what Paul revealed by the Spirit. Jesus was made a curse to redeem us from the curse. That's the only way possible we could receive. It's not our doing but Christ's. 

 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being made a curse. What is the curse again? It is Poverty and lack, it is sickness and disease, it is spiritual death. If Christ redeemed us from the curse by being made a curse then that means we are completely redeemed from all the curse. If we are redeemed from the curse, that means we are redeemed from poverty, lack, insufficiency, want, debt, borrowing, sickness, disease, pain, weakness, infirmity, and all spiritual death! Hallelujah!

In summation, we know God is for us because Jesus redeemed us. He redeemed us from the curse not because we were good but because He is Good! Boldly resist what you've been redeemed from. Dare to take your place as the redeemed! Let the Redeemed say so.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Jesus: Grace and Truth or Religion and Tradition?

Dear friend,  I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 MOUNCE

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

 As always, proclaiming the Goodness of God is at the heart of all these teachings. In studying Luke's Gospel concerning healing and God's role in it, it seemed good to conclude by focusing on the truth that Jesus alone is our qualification to receive anything from God. However, it seemed better by the Lord to revisit this passage one more time.

Through this focus on the 13th chapter of Luke's Gospel, we've seen some powerful truths expounded on. We've seen that religious tradition sees healing as some work, that it must be earned. We've seen that healing is a New Covenant right of the believer because of Jesus' Finished Work of Redemption. We've seen who the author of sickness and disease is, the enemy, satan, never God. We have seen that Jesus is our qualification to receive healing, not our behavior or anything we do.

 In concluding this study of the healing of the woman in the Synagogue, the Lord highlighted the words the religious leader spoke here;

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”  Luke 13:14 NKJV

 Take note, look closely at the words here. See the reaction of this leader. A woman with a crippling infirmity, a painful condition that had her hunched over for eighteen years was instantly healed and made whole. Was the leader's words something like this?

 "Oh God of Israel, in your hand is to make great and give strength unto all. In your hand comes blessings and wholeness. We thank Thee O' God for in your hand is healing. We thank Thee for removing this crippling condition in our midst!"

 No, they weren't. No praises to the Most High for such a miracle was offered. Instead, we see that this leader answered this healing not with thankfulness and praise but with indignation! He was highly displeased, angry and vexed. 

 Traditional religion cared more for their tradition than this woman's healing and wholeness. Religion cares not how much suffering they allow only that their rules, regulations, and statutes are seen and observed. Religion and tradition are always in opposition to God's Love, Goodness, and Grace.

  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

 There is no difference today. We still see pain and suffering, sickness and disease, and poverty and lack in this fallen world. God raises up men and women of God who reveal God's heart for Goodness and blessings and wholeness and religion raises up angrily. They call anyone who dares teach that God willingly heals, makes whole, and blesses today a heretic and false teacher. 

 Religion and tradition teach the age of miracles has ceased. They say healing and miracles were only for the beginning of the Church. Once we have the Bible we no longer need healing and miracles. What does God say?

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NKJV  

 Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and always for all time. Jesus has never changed. Jesus healed the sick, made the lame walk, made the blind see, made the deaf hear, and brought deliverance to any captive. Here's the Good News, Jesus is still doing this today! Jesus isn't looking for you to earn or deserve wholeness, He only asks for you to simply believe. Disregard religion and tradition, it's already yours in Christ.

 Religion and tradition teach that God is the author or allower of sickness and disease and disaster and death. That He willingly afflicts for some mysterious purpose. Jesus' life and ministry disprove this unquestionably. Jesus is God manifest in flesh. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the enemy. Jesus is God's perfect will in action. God is for us not against us. He is a Good God always and at all times!

 Religion and tradition have no answer for tragedy, turmoil, and trauma. They insist God is sovereign, and controlling all things therefore He must have allowed or ordained the tragic event. 

 This world is a fallen and fractured creation. There is also an outlaw defeated devil running loose. Mankind has free will and the right to choose good or evil. This is why we see such suffering on this planet. This has never been God's best nor has it ever been His perfect will. 

 The Word gives us hope in this world;

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19 NKJV

 This is such good news in a fallen and fractured creation. Even though affliction exists God is there bringing deliverance and restoration. We can trust God in this fallen world.

 Religion and tradition only have faith in the many afflictions of the righteous. They see it all around them. They only speak death, disease, and defeat with their mouths. They have no Faith in His deliverance. They actually fight the notion that the Lord delivers us out of these afflictions. 

 In order to overcome these traditions, we must stay grounded in the Word of God, the Word of Christ our Lord. We must feed on the Word and see Jesus and His Goodness from Genesis to Revelation. We rightly divide the Word by the Old and New Covenant and see Jesus as our anchor and guide to walk in all truth and to grow up and mature in Him.

 We must also not give attention to these religious traditions of men. This doesn't mean we separate from other believers. This doesn't mean we judge and accuse others. This doesn't mean we count other believers as our enemy.

Grace vs Nihilism 

 In not giving attention to the traditions of men, we must not come to a place where we embrace a diluted form of nihilism. What am I referring to? Let's look at the Merriam-Webster definition of nihilism;

a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless

a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

summed up-the belief that traditional morals, ideas, beliefs, etc., have no worth or value

 In the circles that have embraced Grace as the Gospel there exist individuals, ministers, and laypeople alike, who because of feeding on erroneous sources have concluded all they ever heard is of no value. Going to church is of no value. Giving is of no value. Being a part of a fellowship is of no value. Listening to the Word preached or personal Bible study is of no value. Finally, living morally is of no value.

 Let's be clear embracing Grace, receiving the truth of His all the time Goodness, rejecting religious tradition, is not an embrace of a diluted nihilistic world view. Embracing Grace doesn't mean all that was ever taught us has no value. Just filter out any performance-rooted mindsets and rejoice in all the truths of the Word.

 In summation, let God be true and every man a liar. God's a Good Father and wants our best. The world is a fallen creation. There are bad things as a result. That doesn't mean God created it or ordained it. Let's stay in the center, and relinquish any lies of the world, the enemy, religious tradition, and the flesh. Stay with Grace and truth and not with religion.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Must we qualify for God to bless us or to receive healing?


Dear friend,  I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 MOUNCE

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

Healing is a subject with much controversy and many questions. In detailing the redemptive work of healing in Jesus' ministry Luke's Gospel reveals much concerning God's will and heart concerning healing. Jesus makes known His heart toward the afflicted and properly identifies who is responsible for the affliction.

 In Luke's Gospel the 13th chapter we see the kindness and compassion of our Father at work through Jesus. Amongst the crowd in the Synagogue, Jesus finds the one afflicted and brings His healing Grace and removes the crippling infirmity. Just like this woman here, God sees you. He sees you in your circumstance and situation and He is there ministering life, healing, and wholeness to you, simply because He loves you. 

 This passage reveals much about God's will concerning wholeness. It reveals that religious tradition sees healing as a work. Something that must be earned. It reveals Jesus declaring the woman ought to be made whole. He saw healing as a Covenant right. It also revealed Jesus identifying the one responsible for affliction and torment as satan and not God. In concluding this look at Luke 13 look once again at Jesus' words to the religious leaders; 

So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”  Luke 13:16 NKJV

 Jesus declared this woman ought to be healed? Why? Because she was a daughter of Abraham. Of course, there are Covenant rights at work but looking closer Jesus is also speaking of her identity. 

 By revealing her identity, Jesus also revealed her qualifications to receive. The Abrahamic Covenant is a shadow of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is a Covenant cut between Jesus and the Father. Those who simply believe become the benefactors of a beautiful Covenant that reveals just how much God our Daddy loves us. 

 Building on the concept that traditional religion espouses that healing is a work, it is even more clear that they view all of the goodness of God as received by only those who qualify. Sadly many ministries, even those who believe in God's willingness to heal or bring blessings, have also embraced this concept. So much so their teachings have become mere instructions on how to qualify and not on how to receive.

 What are the qualifications to receive healing or blessings from God? To qualify to receive one must be completely sinless, without fault or errors, perfect in all their dealings in business, and with family. One must be faithful in all things, in essence, 100% perfection, 100% of the time. Who then qualifies? Only Jesus!

 This is why this New Covenant is based solely on the work and faithfulness of Jesus. Because Jesus is the only one that qualifies, He is the only one, who based on His work and performance, could ask with complete confidence and boldly receive. Therefore, we who believe in Him should base our receiving on His performance alone.

 Traditional-minded ministers and believers, and those still convinced that they play some part in their receiving of blessings, look to, and lean on Old Covenant qualifiers to receive from God; 

 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today...Deuteronomy 28:1a NKJV

 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes...Exodus 15:26a NKJV

I have heard whole messages based upon the beginning qualifiers of these passages. Note the qualifications. If you do, if you observe, if you heed. These are all based upon your obedience, your performance, your behavior.

 Can you imagine a gospel message that began this way? You will be saved eternally only if you diligently obey. You will be eternally saved only if you do what is right in God's sight. Who then would be saved?

 The Old Covenant was a covenant made between God and man. Its fault was found in man's inability to keep it. That was the whole point of it, to reveal man's need for a Savior. To show us we can't ever earn or achieve His blessings or His healing. 

 Yet in light of His Grace, His Finished Work of Redemption, and the Father's great Love, ministers still insist we play a part in receiving the blessings and Goodness of God. They stand by these Old Covenant qualifiers and put them on New Covenant children of God. 

 They claim we need to do more to receive. We need to do it exactly right and it must be done long enough to achieve healing, wholeness, and blessings. It's no longer about Jesus alone, but our added works, performance, faithfulness, and behavior. 

 Think of it. How much do we need to do to qualify to receive His Goodness, His Love, His blessings, His benefits, and the Healing He procured for us? Is it spending enough time in personal Bible study? Is it spending hours a day in prayer? Is it abstaining from all sinful habits and deeds? Just how much is enough? How will we know when we've done enough to qualify? 

 The fact we pray in Jesus' name eliminates all these erroneous concepts about trying to qualify to receive. When we ask in Jesus' name we are coming to the Father and basing our receiving on Jesus' Goodness, faithfulness, and performance alone not our own. We come to God based solely on Jesus' track record never ours.

 We need to abide in the New Covenant and stop trying to live under the illusion of dual covenants. God didn't institute the New, ratified by Jesus' blood, only to require us to still observe the statutes, regulations, and requirements of the Old. Jesus has triumphantly given us a new and living way in relating to our Father and how we receive from Him. 

 Jesus has made the Old obsolete and it, therefore, has passed away. Behold the New has come. We must stop resurrecting it so we can keep giving believers qualifiers to receive. 

In summation, let's cease from placing believers under the Law and Old Covenant every time they come to God in prayer to receive from Him. Jesus is our qualification to receive all God has for us. Jesus alone is why we can receive healing and wholeness and blessing. Let's put our Faith and complete trust in Jesus' Faith and Finished Work and receive all God has procured for us based upon Jesus' faithfulness and performance and not our own.