Tuesday, July 29, 2014

His Truth Is Always There For You

The truth of the Bible has always been in ourhands. The truth also remains that everyone of us is dead in Adam and needs to be made alive in Christ. We cannot blame our initial parents, but the blame starts with Adam, and even then we have no excuse for being bitter, because Jesus has brought us something much better which we do not have to work for at all:

"15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 15-17)

If we are blaming someone else for our setbacks and problems, we are basing these arrogant assertions on two things:

1. They did something to prevent us from being saved.

2. We can do something to save ourselves.

Both assertions are completely wrong.

Bitterness comes from a lack of grace in our lives, and grace is not something that we can earn at all.

God warned his people Israel against worshipping other gods, which would breed bitterness:

"Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;" (Deuteronomy 29: 18)

and then

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" (Hebrews 12: 15)

How do we fall from grace? Not when we sin, but when we try to justify ourselves:

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatian 5: 4)

In other words -- dead works, and these dead works are put away in Christ.

Why should I be bitter? Christ Jesus makes all things better.

Believe me, though, this lesson has taken me longer than I would like to learn. The truth of the Gospel is there for us. Do not fear that anyone can take it away from you.

Monday, July 28, 2014

He Paid for All Sins, Not Just Yours


Now, part of recognizing the blessed wonder of His grace is that He covers not just my sins but the sins of the entire world:

"1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2: 1-2)
We may get angry at certain people, and sometimes the anger rises up from time to time.

If they had taught me the Truth who sets free, if they really believed in the Truth of the Gospel, then all of those terrible things would not have happened to me. . .

The fact is, that none of us come to God in our own efforts to begin with:

"I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name." (Isaiah 65:1)

and

"And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6: 65)

and

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15: 16)

Now, in case you may think that this grace is only for some, and that God has figured out who would believe, and who would not (a faulty understanding of predestination), consider this verse:

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2: 11-14)

Grace is for all of us, and whether other people receive it or not, we have no reason to begrudge anyone their sins, since they have been paid for already.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Repent From Dead Works, Not Sin

"For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins." (Hebrews 10: 2)

We cannot keep working steps or doing religious duties in order to purge from us a sense of guilt and shame.

Because of all that Jesus did at the Cross, we are called no longer to repent from sin, but rather from dead works:

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God" (Hebrews 6: 1)

and then

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9: 14)

Sin is not going away as long as we walk around in these bodies.

"21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." (Romans 7: 21-23)

We will get new bodies when we are resurrected, but in the mean time, we are called to rest in the grace of God, and recognize that Jesus died for all our sins and condemned sin in the flesh, as well:

"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8: 1-4)

Take another look at Hebrews 10: 2.

Because of what Jesus did at the Cross, there is no more conscience of sins:

"14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10: 14)

We have  a perfected standing in His righteousness before God the Father because of His Son, so repent from dead works, like confessing sins or improving your mood to make you right before God. He has taken care of all things in His Son.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jesus: The Something Better

"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." (Hebrews 11: 16)

There are many people in the Body of Christ, as well the vast majority of people in the world, who hold onto their traditions, perversions, and addictions for one reason: "Is there anything better?"

That is a good point, and the answer is Yes!

Yes: the Blood of Jesus Christ, Our High Priest, who enacts the New Covenant:
We have something better in Christ:

"How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119: 103)

and now

"But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak." (Hebrew 6: 9)

and

"For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." (Hebrews 7: 19)

and also

"By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." (Hebrews 7: 22)

and next

 "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises." (Hebrews 8: 6)

and finally

"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12: 24)

 There is a better way: through Christ and His Finished Work at the Cross.


"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10: 19-22)

The blood of Jesus has granted us a new and living way, the New Covenant (Hebrews 8: 10-12)
 
Nothing could be better than Christ Jesus, the "something better" that everyone of us is looking for.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Righteous -- Established, Even When You Fall

"For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." (Proverbs 24: 16)

When I read this passage, I had to rest on this truth: righteous people fall.

Consider the example of Abraham:

"And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15: 6)

Even though he had lied about his wife, twice, and fathered a child with a servant girl instead of trusting the grace of God to bless him with a son through his wife Sarah.

Consider the example of Lot:

"19Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither." (Genesis 19: 19-22)

If Lot had understood that He was righteousness, he could have stayed in Sodom and Gomorrah.

The verse above from Proverbs states "rises again", yet the original Hebrew is better rendered:

"The righteous man falls seven times, yet is established; but the wicked stumble into mischief [even when trying to flee from it.

Righteousness is not about what we do, but what God has done.

Righteousness is about believing what Jesus has done, not believe in what we can do:

"16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1: 16-17)

and then

"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)

How do we fall from grace, anyway? Not when we sin, as borne out in Proverbs 24: 16,  but through our efforts:

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Galatians 5: 4)

You have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 21) You cannot fall away, even when you fail (Romans 8: 37-39).

Let this grace establish your heart today (Hebrews 13: 9), and walk with God in confidence!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

He Perfects Us

"The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands." (Psalm 138: 8)

Take another look at this verse.

We do not perfect ourselves.

We do not make ourselves better.

Yet man-centered cults and religion has taught people that they make themselves  better by keeping certain rules, by attending religious services, that we can improve our standing before God.

Excuse me?!

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 14:1-3)
 
and
 
"Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psalm 53: 3)
 
Solomon, the wisest man in the world, had to acknowledge in his time:
 
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7: 20)

Let us not forget, however, that Solomon wrote these words before Jesus,  the righteousness of God, had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5: 21).

Paul repeated this distressing reality about man (on his own, in himself):

"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3: 12)

We cannot perfect ourselves, nor can we be received in ourselves, but only by the blood of Jesus are we accepted before the Father:

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2: 13)

and

"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 6)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

He Has Perfected Us

God has perfected us in our conscience before God. Before explaining this perfect standing through Christ's blood, the writer of the Book of Hebrew elaborates on the imperfection of animal sacrifices:

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." (Hebrews 10: 1-4)

With the sacrifice of animals, there was a remembrance of sins. Ouch!

Then the writer of Hebrews continues:

"11And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10: 11-14)

Look at that last verse again: "perfected forever."

As far as God is concerned, as we stand before Him in Christ, we are perfect. In our conscience, the deepest part of us, we need never have a sense of guilt or wrongdoing ever again.

I had to meditate on that part a second time. If we have been perfected forever in Christ, then there is no reason for us to feel guilty about anything ever again. 

We should have no sense of guilt, because He has Finished the work.

Now, if we still feel bad, if we still do bad things, we must recognize that we have been forgiven of all things, but most importantly justified from all things, too:

"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)

We have been justified forever, and now we can allow His Spirit to transform us, rather than our trying to fix ourselves:

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 18)44

He perfects us, not we ourselves.