Viewing entries tagged
Holy Spirit

Comment

Yielded to Holy Spirit

There is a real interpersonal mystery in the Holy Spirit. He relates to each of God's elect on an intimate basis. Even so while maintaining his eternal relation to the Father and the Son in the triune mystery. As we read in 2 Corinthians 13:14, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"; herein we see there is fellowship and intimacy with God through the Spirit. (Notice also the triune persons of God represented again) There has been much talk about the Holy Spirit and his power being revealed among us as much in the charismatic movement has been a forced exercise of trying to use God the Spirit for our own human desires or feelings.   But God; He is not one who we can use. He uses us. Intimacy with God begins by surrendering daily to the Spirit and allowing him to lead you. We don't conjure Him up in some emotionalized worship service like some form of pagan spiritist or medium. Worship and power of the Spirit is much more than outward manifestations seen among worshippers in a gathering of Believers, which many times emotionalism and forced jibberish is confused with the Spirit's power and presence. But rather a life of obedience to God is evidence of the Spirit in you. Romans 8:5b says "...those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." The Spirit is sent in power to encourage us yes, but even more so to empower us to boldly do the works of the Gospel.

image

Do you live according to the Spirit? How does this reveal itself in you?  Since the Spirit inspired all of the Bible, wouldn't you likewise assume to see a deeper hunger for those who are true children of God for his Word, and to walk in the ways of Jesus to whom the Spirit leads us to be like? Yet the vast majority of those who call themselves Christian rarely spend time with God listening to him through reading and meditation and obedient application of their Bibles to their lives. Scripture exhorts us to be doers and not hearers only. (James 1:22)

If a regular hunger and making time with God through prayer and reading his Word and seeking his voice to lead is not part of your life, then something is seriously wrong.

Make the change you must to reorder your life. Today is the day of repentance  from known sins that hold you back, and getting your life right with God. Don't delay, because every day missed from this glorious relationship with Christ and the Father through the Spirit is a day others cannot be made new through you.    God does have plans for you, to give you a future and a glorious hope. Yet you must seek him in love and listen to the Spirit and yield to him. The promise is; you will find.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.- Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

Comment

Comment

God is triune in persons, One in nature.

Less anyone lead you astray from the true Gospel of Christ.  Know this:

Jesus Christ is God (Titus 2:13).  But is called the Son of God, by God the Father and the Spirit(Mat 3:17). Meaning while he is completely God, and all the fullness of God dwells in him (Col 2:9-10), those who saw him in human form did not necessarily see all of God. Even though all that God is in essence in Jesus Christ.  I hope this makes sense to you. Jesus said God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth. (Jhn 4:24)He is one person of God, you must not think totally in human terms here. He is God revealed to us in human flesh as the person of God called the Son. When Jesus said, he who sees me sees the Father (Jhn 14:9), I and the Father are one (Jhn 10:30), this does not mean that when one of his disciples looked on him they saw all of God (even though all that God is existed in him, yet veiled. Remember for the time he set aside all his infinite powers as God. Phi 2:6-11). That would be impossible, God is everywhere(Jer 23:24), Omnipresent as we say, and infinite (Isa 40:28) in relation to time and space, which means multidimensional many more times than you and I. Also as sinful man, to look onto the raw and unfiltered face of Holy God, would consume us! (Ex 33:20) Too see all of God you would have to be God himself. You cannot nor will you ever. Eternity will be spent plumbing the depths of Christ to know God more completely! (Rom 11:33) This is an impossibility of a limited created four dimensional being. (Job 38:1-4, 40:1-2) All you can see of God is what he reveals to you for a time and place. In these last days God has chosen to reveal himself through his Son (Heb 1:2). Who are we to even question anything He does? We are but dust (Gen 3:19). God sees what is going on now and what is going on 10 billion years ago and 10 billion years from today. He sees and controls it all. He is outside of time and space (Job 37:16, Isaiah 46:9). Yet he also fills every corner of time and space, because He is that awesome and big (Jer 23:24, Gen 1:1) . So when you see Jesus, you are seeing God (Heb 1:3) as revealed in human form through the person of God called the Son (Luke 1:32). Jesus is God's Word proceeding out from the Father (Jhn 1:1-4,14, Jhn 16:28), and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (Jhn 16:7, 14:26) . Jesus is not one "face of God" as in God appearing in various forms, nor is he all of God as in being just a differing name of same person of God, nor is he one of 3 gods.  We do not worship 3 gods. We worship one God and Creator Yahweh, God who is "I AM". Jesus, the Son is "I AM" (Jhn :58), the Holy Spirit is "I AM" (Acts 5:3-4), and the Father is "I AM" (Ex 3:14), but the Son is not the Father, nor the Father the Spirit, nor the Spirit the Son. Jesus commanded us to baptize in the singular "Name" of the Father, Son and Spirit (Mat 28:19), because our Creator God is triune in personhood, but one in essence.

We should not twist the Scriptures to create for us a God that is more comprehensible, this is the greatest source or idolatry known to man, and the basis for many false religions like Islam and Jehovah's witness and many "Apostolic vision based" false teachings.

God exists as One (Isaiah 44:6). There is only one Creator God, there are no other gods besides him... and HE has revealed himself as a much more complex being than the human mind can completely understand. He is the one who has to reveal himself and has (Heb 1:2) . This should be expected (Isa 40:13). How can a computer program fully know all about the nature of its programmer? The created things will always have limited ability to grasp their creators. How can clay really know the potter (Isa 64:8)?  Only as much as the potter makes the clay able. Same with a robot run on computer code..even if you had the ability to give that code some ability of autonomy and thinking it is still going to be limited, and of less dimensions of reality than you the creator. I want to stay away from using analogies at to how to grasp in your mind the trinity nature of God, because nothing really compares and they all lead to a form of heretical thinking. Some things we cannot know and must simply accept. A God you can completely contain in your own mental box, is not the God who made you, but your own idol version of him.

He is infinite.  He has no beginning and no ending (Isa 40:28, Rev 22:13). He was never alone. Since he always existed in community and fellowship. Father, Son and Spirit . He even speaks of himself in the plural as community in his creating man in his own image (man was made as Spirit, Mind and body. triune in nature in reflection of him) (Gen 1:26). Within his own nature God eternally was in perfect community and joyful fellowship, even before anything was created outside himself.  He has never had need of anything! (Acts 17:25) How do we know this. Because Jesus said so. "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48  

God is perfect and this means perfect in every way. 

Think on these things, know that Jesus is our means to know God and his eternal life and joy. (Jhn 17:3)  

    Trust in him, know him and begin your eternity knowing God your creator! He is our one and only Savior!  He is the Rock of Ages that followed the people of Israel trough the wilderness sustaining them with miraculous water for life (1 Cor 10:4), revealing that from him alone flows rivers of living water, the Holy Spirit of God. 

John 7:38 Jesus said,  "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."

Comment

Comment

LGBT people who repent can have the forgiveness of God.

AMNESTY! AMNESTY! God's loving offer of amnesty through Jesus Christ the Son is available to all. No matter how "minor" or "horrible" a sinner you are! All sin will banish you from the holiness of God forever and make you face his eternal wrath. God patiently waits to allows people to come to see his love and truth. Homosexuality is clearly one of the most hideous sins listed in the Word of God.  But as always has been and always will be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with REPENTANCE. Jesus Christ preached, "Repent and Believe the Good News" (Mk 1:15) This means we must agree with God what is sin and turn from it. Once we agree and turn to Christ from the sin, Jesus Saves. Only then.I am not here to gay bash, I love all people from all races, but I refuse to condone any sin as acceptable before man or God... but to clarify in the most loving way possible the truth so you too can be FREE and no longer a slave to sin!   All behaviors are controllable, you are not an animal, but made in the image of God. God will provide the way for those who really seek him. You cannot both have God and your sins. The two are opposites. You cannot redefine what is sin and what is not sin, try as you may, that too is sin. All throughout God's teachings sodomy is called sin and one that the Israelites were even told to punish with the death penalty in the old testament Levitical law. New testament teachings are likewise revealing that it is a perversion of God-given sexuality between husband and wife male and female.  All sex outside of this God ordained marriage covenant is sinful and a perversion and likewise is an offense to the holiness of God. Yes all sex outside of marriage is a perversion of God also. It is sin. So is uncontrolled lust of the mind.

The LBGT community of homosexuals must repent from the sins of sodomy just like I had to repent from the sins of being a womanizer with sexual lusts and perversions in order to find peace with God.  I was born with the natural desire to lust, and to commit all sorts of wickedness! But being born with that desire does not make it good or right!  So please do not try to excuse your sin by saying you were born that way. Serial killers say the same thing, claiming it is just the way they are!

This is true of every human being because like the prophet and king David spoke under Holy Spirit inspiration, in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” and as Scripture declares,  "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom 3:10) And we all will die and face God on judgment day to give account of our actions and lives. No one person escapes or will have their friends to cheer them on in their old tired excuses. For is is appointed unto man once to die and after that Judgement. (Heb 9:27)

There is no room for pride and smugness on anyone's part here!  If you are human you are likewise a sinner in need of repentance and salvation.  We all are but by the grace of God one moment away from judgment and hell if we have not chosen to submit to God and follow Christ. Christ followers are not sin free, but saved by grace and struggling to overcome their sin natures  because they have chosen to agree with God what is right and good and to follow him... ( no matter what your vice may be).  God wants to free us from the power of our sin nature and he can do that with anything he calls sin, even homosexuality or wanton lust of the mind by "straight" people. Jesus came to set us free and in him we gain exactly that. But you must choose to accept him on God's terms, not your own.

repentance

To clarify, Repentance, or turning from a sin does not mean you do not struggle with it and fight the temptations to do it, nor that you will be perfect in keeping from it always, but it means you in your heart  and actions agree God is right and that you must follow him and not your own fleshly urges. God then gives the power to overcome and leave the life of sin. But power from God comes through his Holy Spirit to those who repent and receive Christ as "Lord God", Master of your life.... not as some good luck life insurance genie who magically waves a wand over your sins and allows you to keep on sinning.

Salvation comes through really accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, believing that his bloody death on the cross was payment for your sins before God's holy righteous requirement and that his resurrection from death to bodily alive to the throne of God was evidence of new life and power available to you. Jesus says we must agree with God, turn from our sins and follow him. If you are willing and say " Yes Lord Jesus" then you will be set free by this truth also.

Jesus said "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

If you stop fighting God and surrender to Christ you can find real rest and peace. Come to Jesus. Find life.

Comment

Comment

Love is missional.

Enslaved are not set free by  ambivalence, but by loving intervention. True love purposes to rescue those in need. If you are aware of some injustice or hurting person, or someone trapped in some horrible or dangerous situation, and you have the means to help them, even at some risk to yourself, would not human compassion within you move you to intervene on their behalf?Sure it would, you would at least try to help if there is even an ounce of goodness in you. Something more horrifying than a person in distress is someone who sees them and passes them by without rendering aid, either out of selfish ambivalence, hateful pride, or unwillingness to get their hands dirty, or fear, even when they had means to render aid. God hates cowardliness in people. That is one of the most despicable things I see and often hear about in humanity, and yet it happens all the time. It's abuse or murder by neglect. We live by what we really believe, not by what we say. Our character is determined by our actions not our words.  So we must honestly examine our actions. We need to ask ourselves, "Do I  really care about my fellow man, or is life all about me and my comfort?".  Yet even the most vile of humans will do nice things for those who will do nice things in return, or good things when it's convenient.  But true goodness will force you to leave your comfort zone and go confront people who even otherwise think they are in no danger.  If a dam broke upstream and you saw a home full of people who you knew were in the floods path, a decent person would do what they could to warn and help that family. An evil person would do nothing. Do you ever warn people of God's impending justice if they don't turn from sin and to Christ?

image

Jesus Christ sent us out to warn people of God's impending judgment and that his wrath is about to be poured out and could happen any moment on anyone. Do you remember some of his first words of his preaching? "Repent and Believe for the kingdom of God is at hand." The tower of Siloam in ancient Jerusalem fell on many people and killed them, and Jesus was asked if those people were being punished for their sins against God because they were greater sinners than them, do you remember his reply? (Luke 13:4-5) He said, "unless you repent, you too shall likewise perish". You see, he was telling us that every man is in danger of hell fire and deserves to die. As Scripture says, "It is appointed unto man once to die,  but after that judgment". (Heb 9:27) We who are saved by Grace are so enamored by God's love we forget at times that the lost do not live under God's favor and Grace, but under his condemnation and wrath. Yes all humanity experiences some of God's providence for a time, but they are still enemies of God, given just opportunity to seek him. Jesus did not come to earth the first time to condemn us, we already were in condemnation,  but he came to save. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The lost is everyone separated from God's divine Spirit because of imperfections of sin and on path to eternal destruction. That includes everyone born since Adam. For all have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory. (Romans 3:23). Our standard to meet is perfection; God is our standard. We must not just speak of Gods love as though it is a take it or leave it thing with no consequences of rejecting it, because Jesus will return again not as Savior, but Judge and conquering Lord to all who live in rebellion to God. Revelation 19:13-16 gives us a glimpse of his awesome return. "He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." This King Jesus will come and call his people to his side but for prideful, it will be a dark day. Do you really believe this? If so let your actions prove it.

But are we people who really believe what the Bible reveals about God and our crimes and unholiness before him? Jesus came as a Rescuer, he is the God who Saves. This is the meaning of the Hebrew name Yeshua, Jesus in Greek. His time of human intervention was a great sacrifice on his part. He came as God, humbled in the limited form of a man, he faced ridicule and shame to help us relate to God and identify with us becoming intimate with our sufferings, and most importantly to rescue some of us who would take his saving hand by faith, trusting his offer of salvation as God among man; our Emmanuel. Jesus being perfect God and perfect man, took upon himself willingly God's wrath over our sins and shed his blood becoming cursed for us hanging on a wooden cross. He being God rose from the grave proving his power over life and death, leading the way for humanity to see how imperishable life with God will one day be for all who trust in him. Today Christ Jesus offers life to all who are under Gods curse, by freely applying his blood payment for their sins and rescuing them from death and the enslavement of Satan and certain hell fire. All we must do is repent from sin and turn to him to save us. That is it. For it is by God's grace we are saved through faith, that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, so no one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9) ....But while many of us have made claim to this salvation and claim we are Christian, which means a Christ follower, our actions say otherwise. Many people seem to "buy into" Christ as some life insurance add-on. They do this by trying to say a sinners prayer or go through certain motions to have "salvation"  but don't really turn to Jesus as king of their life, nor forsake and fight sin. They sort of want to follow Jesus, but not really. They lack saving faith that cries out from their heart "Jesus Son of David, Save Me!" You know a Christ follower by their follow through.  Saving faith radically changes you from the inside out as the Holy Spirit births God's life in your once dead spirit. To enter the kingdom of God, Jesus said it clearly, "you must be born again". So if you do love God and you follow Jesus you will have also a love for your neighbors and you will lovingly share truth and warn them of their danger before God apart from Christ as Lord. You will work hard and smart to rescue the perishing. In Luke 10:1-12 Jesus gives us the model of how to reach those perishing apart from God. He sent 72 disciples out into the villages to share the Gospel of peace and for us to intentionally invade their world with God's love, doing acts of kindness, and healing and blessing people showing God's  amnesty offer, looking for the ones whom the Holy Spirit is drawing to Jesus. Then once finding them stay and disciple them and teaching them to obey everything he has commanded. Yet also he prepares us for the certain rejection that also will happen. Take back your blessings and leave them in the hands of God warning them that God came near and they rejected him. So as to leave them with clear knowledge of the severity of their disbelief. Truly Jesus said later in Rev 21, the unbelieving and cowardly are the first mentioned that are destined to be cast into the Lake of Fire where the pain never ends.

So, as you go about your days, is your life consumed with your work, fun and entertainment or one of many other earthly pursuits? Or does your love for Jesus drive you to think and act daily about how to help more lost people find life in Christ? Do you pray for hearts to be softened for Christ, and do you work to tell others about God's holiness, sin, hell, heaven and salvation in Jesus .  You can and should be doing this personally to those you are able, and also helping his people, his Church, to corporately do this kind of mission work around you and all over the world. You were created, saved and left here on earth to be missional in intervening in peoples lives and waking them up to the truth. No matter how happy they may seem in their life or the risk of upsetting them and them not liking you. No, I'll tell you what, what a shameful day it will be for you and me when they walk off the cliff of life into hell and we didn't say anything before it was too late.

This is your mission and mine. Let's do more intentionally today. Don't wait for them to come to you asking how to be saved, that rarely happens. Go to them. Rock their world.  Some will hear and be saved. God has put this responsibility in your and my hands. If you think I'm nuts. Listen to what God says in Ezk 3:18

"If I declare that the wicked will die but you don’t warn them, if you say nothing to warn them from their wicked ways so that they might live, they will die because of their guilt, but I will hold you accountable for their deaths."

Comment

1 Comment

When is a person truly saved? What does saved really mean?

At what point does a person cross over from death to life? Salvation can be defined biblically in many ways, but in it's simplest terms reduces down to one thing, no longer being an object of God's wrath but now an object of his eternal love and filled with his very own life forever.While many people want to be right with God, many are not sure God is 100% for them. As Holy Scripture tells us, we are all born into sin, inheriting our parents sin nature and are all under God's wrath and the curse of sin and death from the start.  So when can you and I know we are no longer subject to God's Holy justice for our sins past, present and future?

image

According to Christ Jesus it happens at some point in this life, never after we physically die. Hebrews 9:27 says,"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." So there is no choice to be made after death, it is too late. In John 5:24-25 he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." The dead? Well certainly he was not talking about the physically dead. In the parable Christ told about the rich man and Lazurus the beggar, he illustrates that the dead have no visibility or connection to the physically alive, just memories, as they await their time of final judgment, or resurrection as in the case of the saved. So who are these  "dead" Jesus is speaking about. In context of Jesus speaking, he is addressing this message to the disciples and crowds listening to him teach. He says when someone referring to those listening hear his words of Truth and by faith, believe he is from God the Father at that point they cross over from death to life. So the dead he is referring to is people alive right then, people alive right now; all who can possibly hear his message salvation in him from your dead in your sins judgment, not the physically dead. Their destiny is sealed. So if I share the glorious Gospel message with a person and ask them to bow their head and pray to Christ by saying a simple prayer or repentance and faith in him, are they saved at that moment?

Well for some yes, and some no. Why you ask? Simple.  We are not saved by knowledge of the truth, nor are we saved by saying a confession of faith or voicing a particular prayer.  No, we are saved at the moment we truly see and Believe in our heart we are worthless apart from Christ and we need need him to save us. The moment our heart cries out to Christ, "Jesus, Son of God, save me!"... And when your heart cries out that vision of trust in him, so too does your outward action and lips. This is why in Romans 10:9 it says, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". Notice the confession with mouth must include the faith, the belief. So when is God seen as 100%for you and you are saved and given his Spirit for eternity? At the moment of true humble  Faith. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, so too with the Gospel message. It takes the Holy Spirit to give them an thirst for the living water of God that only Christ can give. This is why prayer is so very important. We must pray for supernatural thirst for God to draw people to Jesus the Life.

I like how John Piper describes this moment of saving faith, Even though a new Believer may not be able to eloquently say it in such words, this described well saving faith.

" What the Bible teaches is that God becomes 100% irrevocably for us at the moment of justification, that is, the moment when we see Christ as a beautiful Savior and receive him as our substitute punishment and our substitute perfection. All of God's wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God's demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure and receive him in this way his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant."

At the moment of justification we are saved, which happens at the moment we receive him as our atoning sacrifice by faith through the grace of God filling our dead souls with his eye opening Spirit of Life.

Some still doubt if they really have that kind of saving faith or ever did. They just are not sure. Well ask yourself these questions. Do I really love Jesus as he really is; how he is revealed in the Bible? Do I see him as hating my sin so much and loving me so much that he was willing to do the unthinkable for me, spilling his own life-blood for my soul? Does it bring a tear to my eye to think of how my sins are an unholy shameful thing before his glory as Holy God? Does it drive me to my knees to cry to him often to rescue me and wash me and hold me up, as I stumble and fall? Do I really see him as my daily life and reason for living? If yes, then you are saved, you have the Holy Spirit living in you.... and not some phoney emotional hyped up human attempt to emulate the Holy Spirit yet not be willing to die to sin and self daily. There is a deceiving spirit in this world that dresses up as an angel of light and loves to delude people with drummed up sensationalism. It happens in Churches and many pagan faiths, but is demonic.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in you draws you to your knees in humble adoration to Jesus the Holy One. Yes he is our seal of redemption and he always leads us to daily struggle to take up our cross and to die to sin and self as as we seek to obey our Lord in passionate love.

Then you are truly born again, crossed over at that point from death to life. And keep your hope in this,  that which God starts he finishes, and he will complete you in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

1 Comment

Comment

Pleasing God living our destiny

So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through Jesus, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices. -Hebrews 13:15-16

5748399944103688546.jpg
5748399944103688546.jpg

No matter the pain and suffering you face in this life, we know in Christ it is all temporary. In the midst of it we can still find much joy serving God, giving to others. Fulfilling our purpose, even in a broken world and broken life is the only way to deep joy and peace.  As prior verses revealed in Hebrews 13, we can hold on with hope and joy because we know God is not forsaking us, just because we have trouble and difficulty.  Our Lord suffered for righteousness sake, and so should we expect to suffer for doing good. There is a sacrifice we must pay because the current ruler of this world is not good. Satan who has limited rule is yet still under God's control but he fights against It and seeks to destroy all God's glorious ones here on earth. So we are encouraged to praise God in Christ through it all. In praising him our hearts are set upon Christ and this focuses us on the joy of living in the hope we have for our greater glory and forever home with God. Yes but even among our personal struggles and times of worship, God's word reminds us here that we need to focus on sharing with the needy and doing good to others, and this pleases him, because it reveals his glory that we are over-comers in this life. After all we are royalty, bride of King Jesus! So let us live in such a manner and keep doing good and sharing with others at any cost. This is our created destiny. You have the power of his Spirit to enable you. Use is wisely and see the smile of God in your life.

Comment

1 Comment

Justification, Sanctification and the Law

God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do…For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  – Romans 8:3,7-9 ESV This passage is spoken in context of the famous memory verse of many Christians over the centuries Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus   The law was given to illuminate the depravity of our sin nature and impossibility to be pleasing to God in the flesh.

Indeed it is by Grace we are saved and by Grace that we stand. The commands of God never made anyone good, only faith in his provision has ever made anyone good and right before God.

In regards to the law and the New Testament commands, I think where our confusion lies at times is in the difference in keeping the law for salvation (Justification) or following and obeying the commands of Christ and the principles of the law out of pure love and desire to be like God (Sanctification). These are quite opposite, one is outer self-preservation motivation and one is inner spirit motivation.  If you are in Christ you will strive to follow and obey, but if you are not, you will continue in sin avoiding following him. Keeping New Testament "commands" are not our means to purity, but a result of it...evidence of it.  I understand people’s desire to preach holiness and greater commitment to follow Christ and his commands, because so many people who call themselves Christians do not seem to be concerned at living in sin. So audience and context is important.  It may be that these people are the “goats” or the “tares” that Jesus warned us about among the “sheep” or the “wheat” (Matthew 25:31-46, Matthew 13:24-30).  As well we should preach and teach and encourage fellow Christ followers to walk in the light of obedience, for Christ himself said whoever keeps my commands, he it is who loves me (John 14:21). But we must remember this is the result of the Gospel not a way to salvation. Loving God and Jesus as Lord, our master and leader is fruit of the Spirit in us, not the other way around.

For instance murder was and still is wrong.  Under the Law it brings me death and condemnation because evil hateful, careless, or reckless thoughts violate its principle of loving your fellow man, so that sin of that must be dealt with. But since Christ paid the price for my crimes of those thoughts and deeds, through faith in him, I am now justified as clean and pure.  But yet even under grace, God still wants me to love my fellow man and not think or do hateful things towards him, so Christ has emphasized the greater underpinning command to love neighbor as yourself. The holiness of God and his plan for us to be like him has not changed. Once justified and accepted into the family of God, (not acceptance of our sins, but our souls) we have Holy Spirit inner motivation to be more like our Holy Father God. This is what sanctification is all about, in the setting of us apart for God as a holy people. It is a process in this life. This is our new desire. Before salvation, we just “tried” to not get caught and punished. We really were in hiding from God and tried to avoid his ominous Holiness. Now in Christ we are drawn to it.  So we still have rules of living and for holiness in practical life, but these are not for our justification, but for our sanctification.

John Murry said it well… “Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it.”

The "Law" is fulfilled in Christ so its demands for making us holy are no longer needed for our purification and legal righteousness before God.  As the Bible says it’s a school master to show us the need for the Savior. When we as born-again children of God fail and sin, which we all do more often than we realize, we are never condemned by God or by the law of sin and death, but are now free from that curse. Yet we as God's beloved will face difficult chastisement and correction if we don't repent from known sin that the Holy Spirit reveals to us, which many times come to us from other godly Believers in accordance with his Word.

These commands of the New Testament are unlike the Law fulfilled by Christ. These were not given by Christ for making us righteous; we have that imputed into us without anything we have done to earn it. But the commands of Christ are our "marching orders" as in military terms for war, on to how to live for Christ as we were redeemed and created to do. We are at war with the lies of Satan and his darkness.  We don't preach the commands of Christ to the unsaved, but to the saved to help them follow their Master.  We don’t do it in a condemning way, but soberly and with all seriousness because our God is our Father and he does demand of us to walk in his light and will bring correction to us if we do not, but never is the true Christian under condemnation (Rom 8:1) . Just like when one of my children does wrong, I am displeased, but never will I forsake them or abandon them, but I will bring correction and do what must to help draw them towards goodness in their heart. They never need worry that I will cast them out from  my love or family, as neither does a child of God never need to worry about being cast out into the utter darkness from which they came. No we are forever his.  After all his Spirit birthed in us new life and God will not kill that new life, any more than I will kill my baby.  The thought is absurd. But I will demand that my children live upright and do everything to ensure they do.

The Gospel is about salvation and bringing one across from death and condemnation into life, the commands of Christ are unlike the Law of old, they are simply instructions on how to follow him now that we have ability with His Spirit living in us. For those who refuse to obey Christ and live in sin, after loving exhortation to turn from sin(not condemning),  we are told to treat them as outsiders.  But only God knows really if they are a one of his sheep or a goat. They too should know, if they really have the Spirit in them. Yet wallowing in sin will blind them to even God and their security of salvation. This is why we see so much tension in Scripture, even the New Testament warning that our God is a consuming fire.  Sometimes even a wayward backslidden Christian, like I once was,  needs a little fear of the Lord restored back into their heart. Truly the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, but perfect love, that of walking in his light, casts out all fear as we cry out Abba, Daddy, Father and climb into his holy loving arms to feel the warm hugs of his love! For years as a child of God I walked in sin, I was a prodigal, never climbing in his arms of love, feeling so distant and ashamed of my life before him, but always knowing I had to do something and repent before his strong arm of correction destroyed my life totally. God will even take the life of a wayward child if that is necessary to keep us from polluting his people, but never ever will he forsake us. Never! For he has spoken, “Never will I leave you, nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5, Duet 31:6)  And by the grace of God, I am here today restored, because he finally got through to me by reminding me that he is a consuming fire and will bring serious correction, so never again will I return to that vileness of living unrepentant in sin.  He has given me a second chance at living for Jesus, and I plan on using every day to proclaim the amazing grace and love of God in Christ!  Truly this is what keeps me wanting to follow every single command of God and making progress towards that.

1 Comment

Comment

Children of Tulumba

Children of Tulumba Here the youth minister at Kennedy's Tulumba village Church was a time of much excitement among the children. AFM's first group mission to Kenya, Africa last year in May seems like a thousand years ago, but was just last year. As I think and plan more intently on God's will for myself and our AFM mission to Uganda and Kenya coming up in November, I am a bit anxious to have this trip all settled down as to God's purpose and desire for us when we arrive. I guess that is the human nature side of me to feel always in control, but I know following the Holy Spirit is more about trusting God and allowing him to work through us simply by being obedient to his call, even when I cannot see clearly the paths set before me. Pray with me that the Lord will help me take one day at a time as I desire for my life to be useful in the hands of Jesus my Savior. May God bless my Kenya friends!

Comment