Tuesday, January 7, 2020

He Is My Life, and Now I Am Dead to Sin

This is so exciting.

This is so, so exciting!

Jesus is my life. He is alive. He is taking care of me every day of the week, every week of the year.

It's not about controlling my flesh anymore. The flesh is not me.

I can't believe it has taken me this long to understand that Jesus is my life.

I do not have to correct my "feelings" or thoughts.

They are not me.

This is not a life of trying to be good, trying to be bad, trying to be anything.

This is Jesus, my life!

Wow!

For the longest time, I wrote about this

Whenever I had fears, worries, hurts, I kept thinking that I had to do something about them. I would focus on ignoring bad thoughts and feelings, but then I would get focused on "What do I do now?"

Today, Oh Happy Day, Today!

Thank God for Pastor Joseph Prince!

Thank you, Jesus, for Pastors who have the resolute courage to announce who we are in Christ Jesus!

Check out these revelations, right from God's Word:

"Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6: 8-11)



We are dead to sin.

It's not who we are. There is still flesh, but it is not us.

I have received Himself, I have received His Life.

I am part of Jesus!

"For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." (Ephesians 5:29-30)

This is no joke. This is not a game, this is not a mind-bending trick.

I am in Christ, and Christ is in me. We are inseparable.

I am part of His body. This part helps to explain:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

The thing that he has really caused all of this to come to such wonderful fruition is that I was so busy looking at my thoughts, my feelings.

I kept thinking that those feelings of fear, angry, resentment, lust, etc. -- those were "my feelings" that I had to do something about.

Today, Oh Happy Day! I realize now what has been preached to me all this time.

Of course I can declare "Don't be bullied by your body." We have a body, but the body is not who we are in full. I am a spirit, I possess a soul, and I live in a body, a body which will one day be fully redeemed. AMEN!

Why has it taken me so long to get this?

Because I kept trying to be the righteousness of God in Christ, when I already was the righteousness of God in Christ.

Paul writes this powerful revelation clearly in the past tense:

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

He--God the Father--made (past tense) Jesus sin for us -- that we might be made (not "become", not "will become" but past tense "be made"--the righteousness of God in Christ.

I am not trying to be righteous, and when I declare that I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ, I am declaring a fact. I am renewing my mind to the truth of God's Word (Romans 12:1-2).



As long as we refuse to reckon ourselves dead to sin, as long as we continue to believe that the sin in our flesh is still something that we have to deal with, then we are declaring that Jesus somehow did not complete a perfect work at the Cross.

But that is simply not true!

Now, what was happening in my life, and what happens in the lives of many Christians, that they end up in the Romans 7 experience?

They keep trying to fix their flesh, not reckoning themselves dead to sin. They still try to keep the law, thinking that the Ten Commandments are a standard to live by, when in fact they are a standard which no one can keep, showing us our dead-in-trespasses state, and thus our need for the Savior!

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

and

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

Paul could not have been clearly:

"23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-25)

Jesus is our Life, and it is a life of walking in the Spirit, not the Flesh:

"3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:3-4)



and also

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

So, when there are feelings of wrath, rage, lust (works of the flesh), we are to reckon ourselves dead to those sins (Romans 6:11), and to the sin in our flesh.

It's not something we have to do anything about it!

HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

God Transforms Evil for Our Good Masterfuly



"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

That word "meant" is chasab, and it means "reckon" or think.

It's first mention occurs in Genesis 15:6

God took Abraham's faith, and reckoned him as righteous!

This word chasab also appears here in Exodus:

Exodus 26:1 
HEB: כְּרֻבִ֛ים מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵׁ֖ב תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָֽם׃
NAS: the work of a skillful workman.
KJV: [with] cherubims of cunning work
INT: cherubim the work of a skillful shall make
Exodus 26:31 
HEB: מָשְׁזָ֑ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵׁ֛ב יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה אֹתָ֖הּ
NAS: the work of a skillful workman.
KJV: linen of cunning work:
INT: twisted the work of a skillful shall be made cherubim
Exodus 28:6 
HEB: מָשְׁזָ֖ר מַעֲשֵׂ֥ה חֹשֵֽׁב׃ 
NAS: the work of the skillful workman.
KJV: linen, with cunning work.
INT: twisted the work of the skillful
Exodus 28:15 
HEB: מִשְׁפָּט֙ מַעֲשֵׂ֣ה חֹשֵׁ֔ב כְּמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה אֵפֹ֖ד
NAS: the work of a skillful workman; like the work
KJV: of judgment with cunning work;
INT: of judgment the work of a skillful the work of the ephod


It speaks of the skillful work invested in the creation of  the Ark of the Covenant.

So, going back to Joseph, when his brothers feared that he would wreak vengeance on them because they had betrayed him and sold him into slavery, Joseph told his brothers:

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."

That word "meant" is chasab, that God masterfully, skillfully turned the evil intended against him for his good.

We have this promise today because of Christ Jesus!

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Jesus took all the sins of the world, and gave us His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God will take whatever bad the world throws at you, and make it work for your good.

Believe it!

Monday, December 9, 2019

He Is A God to Me, Because He Has Forgiven Me of All of My Sins

I used to wonder if God was on my side.

I wondered, not sure if God was going to come through for me or not.

This lack of faith was quite disconcerting for me, I must say.

For the longest time, I used to believe that God was present to me only if I was thinking about Him.

But that is not how it works.

He is a God to me because of what His Son accomplished at the Cross.

God is for us not because of anything that we have done, but because of everything that He has accomplished at the Cross.

Consider the elements of the New Covenant:

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)



WHhy is God a God for us?

It's all in verse 12?

"I will be merciful (more accurately, propitious) to your unrighteousness, and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more."

God has put away all our sins, and He did this through Christ Jesus!

For the longest time, I was convinced that God's presence in my life depended on my feelings, depended on my thoughts.

I had to feel a certain way, or I had to make sure that I was thinking about God all the time. It's insane that I had such overwhelming destructive thought processes, but that's the torture and pain that I went through.

Today, I recognize, I see Jesus, alive and full of love for me. I see God my Father, alive and full of love for me. I recognize today that He has been actively caring for me, caring about me all this time.

I so limited God. I did not see how rich, how good, how wonderful He is.

Jesus, thank you for the love that you have for me. Thank you, Father, that You are a God to me! Thank you that you have always been there for me, no matter what is happening. I cannot thank you enough.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31)

This "if" is not a conditional "if" based on something that we must do. It's a statement from one logical affirmation to the next.

God is for us! Therefore, who can be against us? Who indeed? Exactly,

Friday, November 22, 2019

Perfect Peace Based on the Gift of Righteousness

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)



I was very troubled in my mind today. Very troubled.

I had all this knowledge of God's Word. I knew that He had made me righteous. I knew that He was working behind the scenes.

And yet, this sense of unrest simply would not leave me.

Then I remembered the above verse: Isaiah 26:3.

For the longest time, I used to believe that that verse meant that I had to make that I was always thinking about God. If I lost my focus in some way, then God would not keep me in "perfect peace".

Well, first I had to learn to recognize that God is everywhere, and that I cannot be separated from Him:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

So, He will never leave me. He is not going away when I sin or fail. After all, God made it very clear: "I will never leave you ..."

So, what does it mean to have our "mind stayed" on him?

The word "stayed" in the original Hebrew will give us a clue: "samak".

The first mention of "samak"?

"And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him ..." (Genesis 27:37)

Corn and wine speaks of the Holy Communion, and with the communion we celebrate Jesus' death on the Cross.

The second mention of "samak"?

"And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. "(Exodus 29:10)

The placing of hands on a sacrificial animal is a type of Christ Jesus taking our sins.

To have our mind stayed on Him, then, speaks of being established fully in His righteousness (Isaiah 54:14, 17), that Jesus completed a perfect work in taking away all our sins at the Cross, and that there is nothing more that we must do to be in Him.

This perfect peace is based on the Gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), righteousness which comes from the perfect work that Jesus did at the Cross:

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



We have perfect peace because Jesus did a perfect work in washing away all our sins and granting us His righteousness! There is no longer any need for me to do, be, or think a certain way so that God will be OK with me.

I will never be punished for my sins. God will never be angry with me nor rebuke me ever again! (Isaiah 54:9)

I can have perfect peace with Him, because Jesus did a perfect work!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Through Christ Jesus, We Receive Our Life as More Than a Prey

"And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest." (Isaiah 45:5)



I have read this passage a number of times in different devotionals.

There is always one thing that is left out, that is missing in many of the discussions on this verse:

This event took place under the Old Covenant, under the blood of bulls and goats which could never cleanse sin, but which could atone for sin until the fullness of time would come (Galatians 4:47).

Jesus is the Perfect Sacrifice, the propitiation for all the sins of the world (1 John 2:1-2)

We are not under an Old Covenant, but under the New Covenant.

He is our God, and we are His people. We do not seek great things for ourselves, that is certainly true, because ... He is already blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:6)

The name of the scribe whom Jeremiah is speaking to, Baruch, is taking down a prophecy for Jeremiah.

Baruch was really hard up at this point in the history of the nation of Israel:

"Thou didst say, Woe is me now! for the LORD hath added grief to my sorrow; I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest." (Jeremiah 45:3)

Baruch had every reason to feel down. Israel was beseiged by the Babylonians. Those who were still alive were going to be taken captive to Babylon very soon. The city of Jerusalem was going to be burned to the ground, and the Temple was going to be destroyed.

Yet God promised Baruch that his life would given to him as "spoils" wherever he went.

Today, in Christ Jesus,  we are  more than mere spoils.

We have been redeemed from sin and death!

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:" (Galatians 3:13)

And in Christ Jesus, we are not just barely getting by!

"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things." (Romans 8:31-32)

In fact, we are called to reign in life with Him (Romans 5:17)

Let us also never forget the promises which Christ Jesus has fulfilled for us through the Cross:

"14In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54:14)

We have His righteousness today. In fact, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Baruch received comfort that he would receive his life as "a prey." In Christ Jesus, we receive life and that more abundantly (John 10:10) and eternal life (John 3:16).



Indeed, we receive our life as more than a prey, because of Jesus!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Noah Was Perfect and Protected; Job Was Perfect, Yet Persecuted -- Why?

"These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:9)



"1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." (Job 1:1)



I have placed these two verses next to each other for a reason.

We have two clear figures, men of God, who are revered in the Old Testament and even mentioned in the New.

Noah was spared the great suffering of the world, and God used him to build an ark, save mankind and the animal kingdom.

Job, on the other hand, suffered greatly. God allowed Satan to trouble Job. He lost everything, everyone, until the very end.

What's going on? Why was Noah protected and Job persecuted?

They were both "perfect", or "tamim" in God's eyes, were they not?

"Noah was perfect ..." This does not speak to moral perfection, but physical perfection, in that he was fully human, not adulterated with the genetics of the "sons of God" aka "Bene Elohim" (Genesis 6:1-4)

That same word "perfect" describes Job. He was fully human, too. God could interact with them as His creation.

But then differences clearly emerge.

Noah was "just", righteous.

He had found grace in God's eyes:

"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8)

In contrast, what do we read about Job?

"He was upright."

In the original Hebrew, "upright" translates the word "yashar", which speaks of good conduct on the outside. In fact, Job even feared God and avoided evil.

And yet ...

Job did not find favor in God's eyes. He was not righteous.

Job had not found grace. Noah did. Noah depended on God, believed in Him, i.e. "walked with God."

Noah was righteous. He believed in God.

Job was merely upright. He trusted in his own efforts, and spent much of his efforts covering for his children:

"5And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually." (Job 1:5)

Good works do not save us. Good behavior does not protect us.

Only God's grace protects us, His goodness secures us.

God does not want us depending on our efforts, but resting in His word.

That was God's plan from the beginning:

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."(Genesis 2:15)

God provided everything. He wanted to bless man, and allow man to just receive His goodness:

"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men." (Psalm 115:16)

God wants us to believe on Him and receive from Him, not achieve on our own, grieving His heart. In fact, we cannot live apart from Him, for God Himself brought us to life with His own breath!

Noah walked with God, believed on Him, depended on Him.

Because Noah believed, He was righteous!

And because Noah believed, God formed a covenant with him, a covenant of peace and protection.

"But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." (Genesis 6:18)

and also

"And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;" (Genesis 9:9)

God did not establish a covenant with Job,, and He could not because Job did not believe in Him. He was afraid of God, sure, but Job did not trust in Him, did not see Him as a good God from whom he could draw all things. 

In fact, Job did not start walking by faith until the very end, after he had suffered greatly, reduced to the end of himself, where he could do nothing more but ... believe and receive:

"1Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

2I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

3Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

4Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

5I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

6Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (John 42:1-6)

And let's not forget that when Job "repented", or rather rested, felt sorry for his wrong beliefs, but more importantly he "rested", he stopped striving, and started believing in Him!

And with that, God turned Job's captivity!

"10And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:10)

So, what does it all come down to? Why was Noah perfect and spared, while Job was perfect yet persecuted?

Noah believed in the LORD, that He is good, and he received God's grace (cf. Genesis 15:6)

And with that, Noah was righteous!

And righteousness opens up manifold blessings to us!

"Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked." (Proverbs 10:6)

and

"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54:14)



Note that in Isaiah 54:10, God speaks of "my covenant of peace", which will not be removed from us--a covenant just like the one which God made with Noah, with Abraham (Genesis 15, 17). This covenant is enacted because of righteousness!

And this righteousness is not our righteousness, but His!

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 54:17)



No tyranny, no terror can afflict us because we are established in His righteousness

In fact, today, we can rest in God's favor, in God's grace, because we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Beloved, you do not have to fear or wonder why Noah was protected and Job was persecuted. Today, when you believe in Christ Jesus, you receive His righteousness--and keep receiving it! (Romans 5:17), which in turn causes you to reign in Life and be freed from sin, destruction, and death!

You need not fear enduring the troubles of Job, but can rest in the gracious protection and favor of Noah--because of His righteousness!




Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Bread and the Wine: Holy Communion

"5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5)


I have been taking the Holy Communion on a greater basis. Sometimes, I remember what Jesus did for me more than once a day.

With the Bread, I say:

Jesus was:

  • Broken

  • Beaten

  • Bruised

  • Bloodied

  • Bashed

For my Blessing.

With the Wine, or the Cup that I drink, I say:

This is Your Blood.

The Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant.

The Blood that speaks better things than the blood of Abel.

The Blood that cleanses me from all sin and all unrighteousness.

There is such joy, such pleasure when I take communion. Jesus truly is the Bread of Life!

The Communion is indeed the way of escape for every trial!

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)