Showing posts with label New Birth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Birth. Show all posts

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Pre-qualified and Approved!

12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossian 1:12-14 NASB 

 How often have you received offers in your mailbox, or other phone informing you that you are pre-qualified for a line of credit or pre-approved for a lower rate? Usually, we throw these letters out with the other junk mail. Did you know God has an even better offer than any "savings and loan" type business can offer? 

 Man's offer of loans and better interest rates are based on achievement, personal assets, and credit ratings. In other words, based on the performance and proven ability to earn on the part of the client the preapproved offers are made. If you have a missed payment, if you have a blemish on your credit rating then no such offers will be made available. 

 When it comes to God He is not looking at man's performance before He offers them anything. If He did, none of us would personally qualify. No matter how disciplined, how self-controlled, or how much one has trained their human spirit, there is no one who can truly qualify to receive what only God can provide. 

 Even if we are seeing manifest blessings in our life, we must know and understand that is God's Love and great mercy being bestowed upon us. Am I saying we can't lay hold of God's promises by Faith? No, of course not. 

 I am saying that none of us in and of ourselves can earn or deserve what God provides. This is why an understanding of Grace is an essential aspect of the successful Christian life. Grace brings us all to an end of ourselves. 

 Grace brings an end to our efforts, our doings, our strivings, our disciplines, and our attempts to earn and achieve what God has promised and provided through Redemption. Grace reminds us that nothing we have achieved or attained is because of ourselves. It was all God's favor, His mercy, and His Love working for us, through us, and sometimes in spite of us. 

 This doesn't mean we live a passive life. This doesn't mean we lead a shiftless, lazy, lethargic, and idle life. This doesn't translate into a "do-nothing" life. What it does mean is we lead a "do-nothing-in order to-to receive-to inherit" all God has provided through Christ kind of life.

 When we accept Christ's free gift of new life and Righteousness we now have free access to all God's stuff. He has made available all things that pertain to life and godliness through Christ. What does through Christ or by Christ or in Christ even mean?

 It means whenever you need something or desire something, or ask for something it's as if Christ is asking. Therefore we are assured we have what we need or desire. We are in Him and When we pray in Jesus' name we are declaring that it is by Jesus we are coming and not in our own strength or performance.

 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ.  Romans 16:10a MEV

In Christ, we have been approved. We have free access to all God has provided for us. In fact, because of Christ we are actually pre-qualified and approved.

to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He did make us accepted in the beloved, Ephesians 1:6 YLT 

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherewith he hath made us freely accepted in his beloved. Ephesians 1:6 GNV

 to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has highly favored us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6 MOUNCE

 We are pre-qualified and approved to receive all God has promised and provided in this New Covenant. Because of the Finished Work of Redemption, all the qualifications to receive have already been met in Christ Jesus. All because of Jesus' work we are fully qualified to receive.

 The tradition of man declares we have to do something to earn or deserve or achieve the blessings and goodness of God. If you do enough good works, then God will bless you. If you abstain from sin and live uprightly at all times then you will qualify. 

If we could attain God's love and blessings through our works why did we need Jesus to die for us? If we can qualify for the blessings of the Lord based on our behavior and actions why do we need to ask in Jesus' name or even pray and believe? 

 When we realize we are already qualified and approved of God then we will lose all sense of the fear of punishment. We will lose all sense of fear and inferiority. We won't allow the enemy or religion to hold our faults and failures over our heads disqualifying ourselves from receiving from our Good Father.

In summation knowing we are prequalified and approved of God means we can come boldly to the throne of Grace and freely receive all God has procured and provided. It means we no longer need to feel like our misdeeds automatically disqualify us from receiving. It means we will be bolder in His presence and rejoice in His Finished work and celebrate perfect redemption. 


Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: What does it mean to be Saved?

  For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) Romans 5:17 AMPC

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV 

 We've been a new series, examining the practical aspects of the Christian life lived with a Grace and Finished Work perspective. We are locating ourselves in our walk with God in the form of a question. Are we actually abiding under Grace, or foolishness, or legalism? 

 We've already looked at many aspects of the Christian life under Grace, such as what about the Law or differing personal convictions. Today, it seems good to look at salvation in Christ. What does it mean to be saved, what are we actually saved from?

  Grace has been revealed to all mankind in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul informs us in Titus that Grace has appeared to all mankind offering salvation to whosoever will receive it. Grace finds us where we are offering the free gift of New Life in Christ. Upon acceptance, no cleanup on our part is required. Grace sees us where we are in all our sins, depravity, brokenness, and spiritual death and stoops down and brings us out and lifts us up, translating us from death to life.

 What does it mean to be saved? What is a Christian?

16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 MEV

 24 “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 MEV

 A Christian is simply one who believes and trusts in Christ alone, believing He is arisen and is seated at God's right hand. What does it mean to be saved? It is simply this, one who trusts in Christ alone and therefore has been delivered from spiritual death and now possesses eternal life. 

 Now the foolish cannot answer this question. For they believe that all humanity is already "saved" or righteous apart from any belief, any trust, or any conscious decision to willfully trust Christ alone. Love to them is a divine invasion of the will of all humanity. God knows what's best for all and therefore He forces all to abide with Him regardless if they choose to or not.

 They also can't answer the question of what it means to be saved because they deny that anyone was ever actually lost. Spiritual death or separation is a made-up concept that legalists push on humanity they claim. If no one was ever lost, no human was ever born with the lost Adamic sinful nature, what is there to be saved from? In essence, Jesus didn't even need to die. 

 The foolish's view of mankind's spiritual condition is clearly contradictory to Jesus' words and the words of Paul. So what about the legalist's view of what it means to be saved? How would they outline what it means to be saved?

 Legalists will claim Grace is great. Grace is amazing for it finds lost sinners and offers them salvation. Yet in the grand scheme of things Grace is insufficient in and of itself to save you. 

 Legalism tells the lost to come just as they are, Christ will receive them. Yet, with the passage of a little time, their salvation is unassured. The legalists will claim what it means to be saved is that you have begun living a life that is completely opposite to your old one. In other words, being saved means your performance, your behavior, and your actions are completely morally perfect and flawless. 

 Legalism points to our lives and how we lead them to prove one is saved. They don't to point Jesus' perfect obedience, they point to ours. If we fail to measure up, they will claim it is highly unlikely we were saved to begin with. For if we truly repented when we came to Christ we would be living like Jesus in the here and now. 

 Repentance isn't a change of mind to the legalist. Repentance is a change of lifestyle. A complete change. If we aren't living 100% morally upright it proves we were never made right with God. 

 Grace is so much better than foolishness and legalism. We received new life in Christ by freely trusting in Christ alone. We have been delivered from spiritual death and now possess eternal life. Once we possess this gift of eternal life it is ours forever and cannot be lost. This is what it means to be saved.

 In summation, follow Grace in its fullness and relinquish foolish pseudo-grace and legalism. Don't allow these false ideas of man to take root in your thinking. Instead, stay with the Word, with the Gospel of Grace and the Finished Work of Christ. Grace is amazing and needs no mixture or additives. 

Image by Shaarc from Pixabay 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Grace, Foolishness, or Legalism: Grace and Law?

 For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) Romans 5:17 AMPC

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...2 Corinthians 8:9a MEV 

 We've begun a series examining the practical aspects of living the Christian life under Grace. The premise of this study is in the form of a question. We are asking if we are walking in true Grace or foolishness or legalism in the practical areas of the Christian life. 

 We have looked at the areas of our understanding of the Christian Faith. We have looked at not throwing stones at others for their convictions. We have looked at what makes Grace so amazing and what diminishes it. 

 Today, it seems good to examine the Law and its place in the life of the Christian. Because the Gospel of Grace is misunderstood sometimes, the Church, the Body of Christ, sadly likes to incorporate aspects of the Law in their lives and ministries. Legalism, therefore, becomes a stronghold rooted in the minds of many.

 What's truly sad is how so many are oblivious to the amount of legalism in their thinking and approach to God. You may ask what about the foolish-minded and Law? The foolish understanding of Law and Grace can quickly be remedied by allowing the Scripture to have the final say.

 What I mean is, the foolish understand the stronghold of Law mixture, so basically they just dismiss any and all commands or any discipleship, or spiritual growth principles. If they ignore it all they won't have any stronghold of legalism. We have the commandment of Love in the New Covenant. We have principles of growth Paul laid out for us. These are not legalistic or burdensome. 

 Loving God and others is a blessing because we first know and understand God loves us and has poured out His Love upon us and within us. This answers the foolish-minded response to Law. Again the legalistic approach being such a stronghold needs much teaching so believers would gain a clear and unobstructed and uncorrupted understanding of the Gospel.  

 One mistaken concept the legalists embrace is that they see every single teaching of Jesus as a New Covenant principle. Not rightly dividing Jesus' words, they mistake the messages for the Nation of Israel, the messages to the lost, this world system, and His expounding and explaining the Law as commands addressed to us, the Church. Christ did speak New Covenant truths. Christ did speak to the Children of Israel. Christ did give warnings to the lost. Christ did preach the fullness of the Law. Which is why we must rightly divide His teachings.

 So when Jesus gives us the total weight of the Law, proving to all mankind our lost condition and need for a Savior, legalism draws the wrong conclusion. They claim Grace has a higher standard of conduct than Law. More clearly stated, they are saying under Grace there are stricter moral commandments than even the 613 commands of the Mosaic Law. 

 When Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, expounded on the Ten Commandments, He was showing Israelites and future peoples, both Jew and Gentile alike that God's standard is absolute perfection. He was revealing to whosoever has ears to hear, that here is the end of your proverbial rope. This is the end of your performance. Jesus was saying, Guess what! Your goodness, your conduct, your behavior, and your performance will never be enough!

 Grace brings us to a place where we truly see our broken and faulty condition before a thrice Holy God. No, not to judge, not to condemn, not to castigate, but to bring us to a place where we can fully receive Grace. As experts tell us, you can't save a drowning man who is still fighting. God gives Grace to the humble, those who have come to an end of themselves, that is, their efforts attempting to appease and please God in their own strength.

Throughout the Scripture we see God rejecting the proud but giving Grace to the humble. God accepted Abel's offering but rejected Cain's. Abel offered it in Faith, which means he was humble before God whereas Cain was not.  

 Another mistaken concept legalism embraces, which in turn strengthens the rooted stronghold in their thinking, is their misunderstanding of the place the Law has today. Countless times I have encountered the legalists who respond to the proclamation of the Gospel of Grace claiming we as the Church are still under the Law because Jesus said He came not to abolish the Law. Therefore, they conclude the Gospel of Grace is a false gospel. Failing to rightly divide Jesus' words and actually ignoring the full passage, they cling to one phrase and ignore the complete text.

17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one dot or one mark will pass from the law until all be fulfilled.  Matthew 5:17-18 MEV

 Jesus truly stated He hadn't come to abolish the Law. However, let's actually read what He said. He said He didn't come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill. Jesus was foreshadowing His coming work of Grace on the Cross. 

 Grace doesn't say the Law has been abolished. Grace doesn't say because we aren't under Law we can now freely steal from our neighbors, lie, covet their possessions, and commit adultery. Jesus fulfilled the Law on our behalf, pouring out His Love upon us and within us. We don't need a list of do's and don'ts to walk in love with others. 

 By fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, Jesus met every requirement justice demanded. Jesus completed the work on our behalf. We can freely receive His Righteousness because Jesus' performance was perfect and provides us all the benefits of right standing, acceptance, and approval with a Loving Father. 

 Legalism produces the confusing and corrupted cocktail of Law and Grace mixture. Legalism says yes receive what Jesus did, but it's still insufficient to find perfect acceptance and approval with the Father. You are still required to meet the standards of the Law, of course, picking and choosing which of the 613 are relevant to keep and observe. 

  Grace says Jesus' work was enough. Grace says When He said it was Finished, He didn't say to be continued, to be perfected, to be completed by our works, our actions, our behavior, or our observance of aspects of the Mosaic Law. Grace says Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law on our behalf, therefore we are perpetual right standing and acceptance and approval before God our Father.

 In summation, let's stay with Grace. Let's fully embrace the Gospel and allow the truth of Grace to uproot any strongholds of legalistic thinking. It is done, Jesus is enough!

Image by succo from Pixabay 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Redeemed from the Curse: Redeemed from Spiritual Death


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 series studying our Redemption from the Curse of the Law. We have seen just what this curse entails. The curse is threefold; poverty, sickness, and spiritual death. 

 We've seen that we have been redeemed from poverty and lack. God's great Love for us includes increase, provision, supply, and sufficiency. Tradition has forgotten that God is the Almighty, the All-Sufficient One. They have fought for so long to exclude any provision for this life from the Gospel presentation and benefits of salvation. 

 I acknowledge that there have been excesses surrounding prosperity. Sadly, it's our default setting as people to gravitate towards extremes on either side of truth. Brother Kenneth E. Hagin did a masterful job in his book The Midas Touch of addressing these excesses while still upholding Biblical truth concerning prosperity. 

 Balancing truth doesn't mean we look to opposite extremes. We don't balance Faith with unbelief, we don't balance healing with sickness, and we don't balance Grace with Law. In addressing prosperity and provision, we also don't create a new gospel, the "suffering gospel", where agony, anguish, and affliction bring better acceptance with God. A Gospel where trauma and tragedy are what prove our true devotion, our worth, our value, and our sincere commitment to God. That is a works gospel, our worth and value and acceptance come from Jesus' suffering not our own. 

 Redemption is the Good News. It's the glad tidings of all Jesus died for and arose to ensure we'd receive. Sure, there are excesses but don't throw the truth away because of error. Look at how David saw our Good God. Look at how Moses saw God. Look at Jesus in His earthly ministry. He fed the multitudes, He paid off debts through miraculous means, He brought financial increase to Peter through a boat sinking catch. God is a God of abundance, don't allow unbelieving believers to rob this aspect of redemption from you. 

 Let's look at the next aspect of Redemption. Jesus has redeemed us from spiritual death. What is spiritual death? Death in our minds means to cease to exist. That is man's definition of death, that is not God's. 

 Death in the Bible simply means separation. What about physical death then? When we don't understand man is a tri-part being we don't understand spiritual truths. When a person dies their spirit separates from the natural body. They don't cease to exist. They are still in existence in one of two places. If they rejected Grace they are in Hell. If they received Christ they are in Heaven.

 Let's see this curse in Scripture;

but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17 MEV

 We know from Scripture that when Adam and Eve ate of the tree they continued living for many many years. Did God miss it? Was He mistaken? No, when they ate they tasted and partook of spiritual death. Mankind from that point on are born spiritually separated from God. 

 What people misunderstand about redemption is that they only see God forgiving our sins because of the Cross. Yet if all God did was forgive sins we'd still be lost and on our way to eternity in Hell. We needed to be regenerated. To be made a new creation. 

 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 MEV

 Through God's great work of Redemption Christ paid the price whereby all can receive new life spiritually. Christ bought us back from death, separation, and the kingdom of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of light. The moment one simply believes, they are instantly given new life, a recreated spirit, forgiven forever, and placed in the Family of God, the kingdom of light never to be lost again.

 Because of the redemption from spiritual death, the believer in Christ shall never be separated from God. Religion teaches that when we sin or blow it we are out of fellowship with God. That somehow our sin has made us distant from our Heavenly Father. Thanks be to God that is an untruth, and this precious work of redemption ensures we will never be apart from God, no matter what. 

 If we are redeemed from something we never need to fear that something again. We are redeemed from spiritual death. Therefore we who have believed are secure forever. How can the redeemed partake of spiritual death again? To say we can be lost again after believing is to say this redemptive work was insufficient and faulty and didn't fully pay the price for all eternity. In Christ, we are forever secure because of this powerful and precious gift of redemption.

 In summation, rejoice we have a Good God who is bigger than our situation and circumstance. He is greater than anything we are facing and will always be there for us, He will never let us down. God has perfectly purchased our redemption because of His great Love and Grace. We are redeemed. We shall never be lost or separated from God again. He is with us always. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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, January 4, 2022

How Faith Works: Faith Receives


Now the just shall live by faith... Hebrews 10:38a MEV

 We've been in a series examining how Faith works. An important distinction must be made as we conclude this study. We are exploring Faith and how it works in light of the Grace of God and His Finished Work. Faith and Grace go hand in hand in order to walk in the complete victory Christ procured for whosoever will believe. 

 In studying how Faith works we've seen that Faith sees. Faith when continually fed the Word produces an image inwardly of all the promises of God. This Faith image not only inwardly illustrates the promise it also brings about an image of us actually possessing and walking in those promises of God. 

 We've seen that Faith believes. Faith believes what God has declared true concerning us. Faith believes because God said it and because His Goodness proves He is Faithful to His Word. 

 We've seen that Faith speaks. Faith agrees with God. Faith speaks out what the Grace of God and Finished Work have made available. Faith speaks out and agrees with what God has spoken. God said we are Righteous when we believed. Faith agrees and speaks declaring I am the Righteousness of God in Christ. God said the believer is forgiven of all their sins forever. Faith agrees and speaks forth saying I am forgiven. God said by Jesus' stripes we are healed. Faith agrees and declares boldly I am healed. God said we are blessed and provided for. Faith agrees and speaks out saying I am blessed.

 Today, we want to conclude by looking at the last aspect of how Faith works. Faith receives. Faith is not passive or nonparticipative. Faith reaches out and lays hold on what Christ made available.

 Not to bring shame or make light of someone but simply ask an average person what it means to receive. Many will conclude receiving simply means having a positive expectation of something good coming their way. That sounds nice but as we saw last week this is only hope in operation. This isn't how Faith functions. 

 Faith isn't passive or unresponsive. Faith is active and assertive. Faith lays hold of the purchased promises and provision the Finished Work of Grace and Redemption purchased for us. Faith receives it as its own. Faith lays claim to what Grace provided and refuses to be denied.

 What does it mean to receive? To receive means one can't be passive or uncommitted. To receive means to lay hold of, to take, to seize, to make your own. Going deeper, to receive means to take possession of, to claim for one's self. To receive also means of that which is taken, none is let go, it means to not refuse what's been offered. 

 Name it and Claim it?

This phrase was created by detractors of Faith and propagators of unbelief and a powerless Christian experience as some sort of pejorative. It's used to describe anyone who believes Faith can change circumstances. That Faith can create a better life in the here and now and not just in the afterlife.

 Thus said Jehovah, The Holy One of Israel, and his Former: Ask Me of the things coming concerning My sons, Yea, concerning the work of My hands, ye command Me.' Isaiah 45:11 YLT

 God invites us to partake and freely receive from His kingdom. God welcomes us to take our place at the King's table. To freely partake of the King's feast and pull up a chair next to the King at His banqueting table. 

 Name it and claim it? The truth is God "named it" through His Finished Work. He already "named it" by His Grace and His Word agrees with and confirms it. We who walk by Faith are simply claiming what His Grace has already purchased, procured, and provided.

 God purchased our Righteousness. We lay claim to that Righteousness by receiving it. God purchased our forgiveness and freedom from guilt, shame, and condemnation. We lay claim to that by receiving it freely. We don't reject it whenever we miss it or blow it. We receive it as ours now and forever. God provided for our every need. We lay claim to this by fully receiving it and not being moved by contradictory circumstances. God's Grace named it and we who believed claim it!

 In summation, Faith works. Faith sees. Faith believes. Faith speaks. Faith receives. Take God at His Word. Believe Him and trust Him. He is a Good Father who loves us unconditionally. Lay claim freely to all that's yours because of Him. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

More Good News: All your sins have been forgiven

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 MEV

In our last study, we began sharing some Good News truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a fallen, fractured creation we all need to feed on Good News not bad news or sad news. We need to shift our focus on the good things God has done through Jesus and is doing each and every day of our lives, and not on the schemes of the enemy or the lies of tradition, or the fallen world system.

 Last week, we shared the Good News that our salvation is fully secure in Christ. That Jesus is more than enough. Today, I want to continue sharing how secure we are in Him by proclaiming the Good News that in Christ all our sins are forever forgiven.

 Admittedly, I once struggled some with this notion. It wasn't that I didn't believe it in my heart. I had heard this truth when God captured my heart with the truth of the Gospel of Grace. My spirit immediately received this. My head was a little hesitant. I wanted to see more Scripture on this.

 In one sense, that is commendable. We must establish and confirm the truth with the Word of God. God is so Good and is THE Truth so He quickly took me on a journey through the New Covenant. Upon searching the Scriptures, my heart and mind were even more refreshed. The Word established over and over that all our sins were forgiven once for all time by Jesus.

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

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. Colossians 2:13 NLT

12 I am writing to you, little children (believers, dear ones), because your sins have been forgiven for His name’s sake [you have been pardoned and released from spiritual debt through His name because you have confessed His name, believing in Him as Savior]. 1 John 2:12 AMP

He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s. 1 John 2:2 TLB 

32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NLT

13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. Colossians 3:13 AMP 

 Through Christ, God has forgiven us of all our sins. God is not keeping scores or tabs on how often we screw up or fail. Our Father has accepted the Work of Jesus. His precious blood was enough.

 These powerful passages reveal the heart of God and the Love of our Savior. It displays plainly the clear truth that God in Christ has in fact forgiven us of all our sins. These passages exhibit the fullness of the work of Jesus on becoming a curse for us. He has forgiven us of all our sins.

 One may say yea but for how long are we forgiven? How much are we forgiven of? Don't these passages simply state we are forgiven only of our past sins? Are we forgiven of our sin if we continue committing the same sin?

14 For by one offering He has forever perfected those who are sanctified... 17 then He adds, “Their sins and lawless deed will I remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Hebrews 10:14,17-18 MEV

This passage answers these questions. Couple this with the ones we just shared and it eliminates all doubt and settles any disputes. God has through Christ and His precious perfect blood forgiven us of all our sins once for all time.

 We are forgiven of all our sins for all time and eternity. God has accepted the work of His Son. We are forgiven of all our sins, past present, and future. The Word clearly declared we are forgiven of all our sins. All means all. All of our past has been wiped clean and all our future sins have already been paid for and forgiven. There is no more judgment and condemnation and punishment for our sins the moment we believed. 

 This is the Good News. We are forgiven forever. What about those sins we commit and sometimes keep committing? The Finished Work of Christ, the once for all sacrifice and payment for sin is not some vessel that runs out eventually. This work of Grace is an endless well of love and mercy and forgiveness that never runs dry. Rejoice that your failings and foul-ups will never exhaust His supply of mercy and Grace and forgiveness.

 In summation, we can rejoice in the Good News. It is good news that we are forgiven of all our sins. We are forgiven and have perfect acceptance before the Father. We can approach God with boldness. We can have a bold, and loving expectation of mercy and relinquish a fearful expectation of judgment and condemnation. Focus on the Good News of Grace. Turn away from the bad news and lies of the enemy, the world system, and the religious tradition of men. The Blood has cleansed you of all your sins and shortcomings. You are accepted and loved and forever forgiven in Christ Jesus. 

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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Good News: Once you're Saved, you're Saved eternally


How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings good news of happiness, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 MEV

In a fallen and fractured creation it's refreshing to hear some good news. What better news than the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Gospel, free from man made religious tradition brings peace, comfort and joy to the hurting and downcast and the outcast. 

 Many suffer from depression, discontentment, and feel so downtrodden because of the insecurity religion and a lost world produce. The world offers hope with no substance. Religion offers conditional hope. The Gospel is the hope for all mankind.

 Many churches and ministries believe they are in fact in the service of God when they strip the security of the believer away each Sunday morning. I have listened to messages from a church that had literal thousands in attendance and after the minster preached a message that salvation is not eternally secure, sincerely believed 3/4ths of those in attendance should be at the altar in "repentance" ensuring they are still saved. 

 The world system offers no real hope or goodness. Surely the church is where we should find hope and peace and Good News. Yet through religious tradition we have only offered partial hope. Let's bring the full Gospel of Christ to a lost world and bring the real hope and change they long for.

 Wait brother, you're inferring that salvation is eternally secure. That once one is saved, they are always saved. That can't be true, look at what Jesus said in Revelation. 

 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5 MEV

The beauty of the Gospel is that we can see God's Goodness and Love and Grace in the Word. Traditional religion, on the other hand can only see doom, gloom and condemning judgment throughout the Word. Even passages that are meant to comfort are twisted into a condemning statement by the religious minded.

 Before Christ, we were alone and apart from God. We had no method, no principle, no formula, and no performance that would ever warrant us receiving eternal life. We could never earn it, could never do enough, could never achieve or attain any form of spirituality that would make us worthy of eternal life. 

 It was only trusting in Christ alone that caused us to receive eternal life. How could we ever think after receiving Him, there is something we could do that could undo what only He could do? How could we ever think that we could reverse what Jesus did in us? Grace is greater!

 In addressing this passage that seems to contradict eternal security, look at what Jesus actually said in context. Jesus begins to speak of those who haven't soiled their proverbial garments with the lies of the enemy and religious tradition. Then He makes this statement that tradition has misunderstood and misapplied. 

 Jesus said He who overcomes will be clothed in white and their names will not be blotted out of the book of life. In reality, this passage isn't some dire warning of an unsettled and unsteady foundation of an eternally insecure salvation. This passage is a promise not a warning. He is reminding those who follow Him that their salvation is secure and eternal.

 What about the overcoming part? He wouldn't say that if there aren't things to overcome. Salvation then is based upon us overcoming something? What is it we specifically need to overcome in order to be saved? Or in order to stay saved? Jesus didn't create some list of obstacles we need to overcome in order to be saved and to remain saved. Here is a passage that explains what Jesus meant. 

 for whoever is born of God overcomes the world, and the victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-3 MEV

 When you believed, you are the overcomer and have overcome the lies of the enemy and the traditions of men. This passage then doesn't reveal we can lose our salvation. The passage is a promise not a warning.

 When some say Revelation 3 shows Jesus rejecting eternal security they are forgetting Jesus' own words. How could Jesus the author and originator of eternal security contradict and counter His own words and His own Finished Work at the Cross? In John's Gospel Jesus declared three times our salvation is secure. He said we would never again be condemned for our sins. He said those who come to Him will never be lost. He stated that when we received Him we are forever in His Father's hands and will never perish. Jesus wouldn't contradict His own words! 

 In summation, the full Gospel is the Good News we all need. We may not see much hope in this fallen world. We can however find hope and healing and happiness in the Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus and His Grace is for us and never against us. In Christ, we are eternally secure and saved.

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease: Paul's thorn, are sickness and disease God's method of instruction for the believer?


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

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 Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

God is a Good Father, He's a good Daddy. He is so loving and compassionate. He is merciful and His kindness exceeds all expectations and surpasses all of our understanding. He is so gracious especially when we don't deserve it. 

 This is an area we must never compromise in. We must stand firm and stand strong in this truth. God is a Good God all the time. If He is Good all the time, then we must also understand that He isn't the author of any evil or affliction.

 Mankind through personal experience, through the motivation of control, because of unbelief and a stagnant faith, form, and fashion traditions. These traditions of men seek to explain their situation, circumstance, or experience. They also seek ways to interpret their apparent lack of power to change the situation, by placing all the blame on God's shoulders. Things like He wasn't willing, the age of miracles has passed, God never promised any victory this side of Heaven.
 These traditions are utilized often when one experiences sickness and disease. The theology of sickness and disease declares God is glorified when Christians are sick. It declares that God punishes or disciplines believers with sickness. It declares that God sends sickness to show His power. It declares God also sends sickness to teach us or instruct us.

 These are the traditions of men. My Bible tells me God is Love. The Word also tells me Love doesn't take pleasure in evil. God's Word also reveals Jesus' attitude about sickness and disease. He saw it as a curse, as something evil. God is Love, and love delights not in evil, and sickness is evil, therefore we must conclude rightly that God has nothing whatsoever to do with sickness and disease. 

 The only relation God has with sickness and disease is healing those who are afflicted. God removes sickness any opportunity He gets. Jesus bore mankind's sickness and disease on that tree. He became a curse to redeem us from the curse. 

 Speaking of these traditions, this concept that God instructs us with sickness cuts cross-grain of what we know of Jesus. Yet why do some accept this as truth? Many have a misunderstood view of Paul and the thorn in his flesh. You can see this entire account Paul recounts here

 From this passage in 2 Corinthians, many traditions have come forth. To see a detailed study of this entire account in Paul's life that lists all the traditions associated with Paul's thorn and provides answers to each of them that will bring clarity and a further understanding look here. One of the traditions I will briefly address is the idea that Paul was made sick to teach him.

 Religious tradition declares this thorn in the flesh is sickness. They will say Galatians prove this. He told them to look at such a large letter he wrote them. They take that as literally as possible. That Paul was so blind that He wrote in giant block letters. That is an absurd interpretation. Nowhere does Paul state he was blind or had to be carried around because of poor vision.

 Look at what Paul states again. Let the Word interpret itself.
...a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me...2 Corinthians 12:7a

 Paul tells us what the thorn is right here. Yet so often, many omit what Paul states and only focus on the phrase a thorn in the flesh. They don't recognize this as a Biblical idiom. We've all used idioms at some point. It's raining cats and dogs, we literally know cats and dogs are not falling from the sky.

 We've also used idioms to explain an uncomfortable or stressful experience in dealing with a person or situation. Ever heard someone say, "that guy is a real pain in the neck"? Does that mean the one speaking has a literal pain in his neck region because of this person? Of course not. 

 God's Word also uses idioms. If we follow the Scripture you can see these types of idioms/expressions used. Here are just a few examples, here. Another place here. One more here. Proving again, this phrase is merely an idiom used to describe a situation facing Paul. 

 Again let the Word interpret itself. Paul said what this thorn was. He called it the messenger of satan. This was a demonic influence sent to disrupt Paul. This word buffet means to strike with a fist. This was not a sickness or a disease afflicting Paul. This was demonic opposition to the ministering and preaching of the Gospel of Grace. 

 Look at Paul's life, the Jewish leaders and believers would stir up opposition because Paul was teaching the multitudes Righteousness by Faith and not by works of the Law. They were resisting Grace. They were pushing self-righteousness by works. God wanted the Church to take their place as the Righteous sons of God, not keep them in bondage to the Old Covenant ministry of death.

 In light of this understanding, we can conclude that God isn't using sickness to teach us anything. Now, can we learn something while we are attacked with sickness or disease? Of course, but the sickness or disease in and of themselves are not the instruction method God has ordained.

 God is a Good God. He is a Good Daddy. God is not the author of any sickness or disease. He is not sending sickness, symptoms, plagues, or pandemics to test us, to teach us, or to train us. He has given us His Spirit within and the Word of God written to us to train and instruct us, not tragedy, trial, or tormenting illnesses.

But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority. But He will speak whatever He hears, and He will tell you things that are to come. John 16:13 MEV

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV
It's spelled out clearly for us by Jesus Himself and Paul. We have the Spirit to lead and guide us into truth. We have the Word of God given to us to instruct us, to equip us, to train us, and correct us. conspicuously absent in the list Paul annotates of what actually trains us, instructs us, and perfects or matures us is sickness and disease.
 In summation, we have clear passages that reveal how God instructs us. Sickness and disease are not the instruction tools of our God. Sickness and disease must be resisted. We must stand against it. Use every means supernatural and natural to see people free from it. As the Church, we represent God to this lost world. Let's show them the compassion of our God, and reveal His heart is to mend, to heal, and to make whole, always. God is a Good Father.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Monday, April 19, 2021

Receiving of the Gift of Righteousness

For he hath made him be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

 We've begun a study of Righteousness. What Righteousness means and how we receive it. We've seen that those who believe are the Righteousness of God in Christ.
 What is Righteousness? Righteousness is perfect right standing with God Almighty. It's the gift to be able to stand in the presence of God without any sense of shame, guilt, insecurity, condemnation or inferiority. It's the gift of complete acceptance and approval with God our Father. 

Some Righteousness facts

 We cannot earn Righteousness. There are no charitable deeds we could do enough of to obtain Righteousness. We can't practice enough spiritual disciplines to gain Righteousness. We can't abstain from sin enough to achieve Righteousness. Righteousness is a gift. It is a gift we receive not a work we acheive. 

 We cannot grow in Righteousness. We can't become more Righteous. Either you are completely Righteous or you're not. We may grow in our understanding of Righteousness and how it affects each and every aspect of the Christian life but we can't grow in Righteousness. We do grow from Faith to Faith and glory to glory but never from Righteousness to Righteousness.

 As we have seen that we who have believed are Righteous and this is our irrevocable position in Christ, now is the time we grow in our understanding of this amazing gift Jesus paid so highly for us to receive. The more we see how powerful and complete this gift is we will see more and more victory in our lives. Paul reveals this to us in Romans.

 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

 What a powerful promise the Holy Ghost made through the Apostle Paul. We will reign in this life because we receive His Grace and of the gift of Righteousness. The Greek word here to reign is βασιλεύω. It means to possess regal authority. That is kingly rule and reign. It connotes the idea of one who predominates and prevails. 

 This reigning in life means we predominate and prevail against the lies and schemes of the enemy. That we aren't held back by religious tradition. That we dare take our place as the accepted and approved sons and daughters of the King of Kings. This Righteousness means we exercise kingly authority in all areas of our Christian life. It goes without saying that this isn't about domineering and running over people. The Kingdom of God is about Love not ego and being conceited. 
  It is glorious good news that this Righteosness means we rule and reign in this life. However, in order to do this we must first receive of this gift of Righteousness. Paul declared only those who receive of this gift of Righteousness reign in life. What am I saying?

 For instance, an extravagently wealthy person could write you a check for $100 million, but guess what? If you never deposit that check and actually use the funds, it is a useless piece of paper. It's like a child being excited that they got a bicycle for Christmas, but we know if they never ride it, it they will never gain any benefit from the gift.

 We who believed have been given the greatest gifts of all. We have Eternal life. That is the God kind of life. It's not just life never ending, those who die without Christ will live forever just not in Heaven, it's a quality of life that comes from God.

 We've received the precious Holy Spirit. God Himself lives within us. When we believed He came to abide within. He baptized us into the Body of Christ the moment we received Jesus. When we desire, ask in Faith believing, we receive the fullness of the Spirit as Jesus fully immerses us into the Spirit and we walk in the supernatural power of God with the ability to pray in a beautiful heavenly love language. 

 We have received the Grace of God. The unearned, undeserved and unmerited favor of Almighty God. Grace produces empowerment when fully received. It's full assurance we are forever His and nothing will change that, not even ourselves.

 We have received the perfect gift of Righteousness. Again, this great gift gives us the ability to stand before God without any sense of guilt or shame or condemnation. Yet if we don't fully receive of this gift, we won't walk in all God has for us. We must receive of this gift.

 We must not merely receive this gift of Righteousness but actually open it, partake of it and walk in it. We see believers who battle with guilt and shame. We see believers who listen to traditional religious nonsense that tells them that God is angry with them and this world and that they are so unworthy. That is not reigning and ruling in this life. 

 In summation, it's time we fully receive this amazing gift of Righteousness. It's time to receive of the gift of Righteousness so we can reign as kings in this life. Over the next few studies, we will open and unpack this gift of Righteousness and see how we can receive of it in all aspects of our walk with God. 

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