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!

Another reason why I hate the AA cult -- a program which creates a remembrance of sins rather than permitting the final Work of Jesus to put away all sins forever. (Take that, Steps Eight, Nine, and Ten!)

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.

Except, of course, if you have been raised in a household with the AA cult or where the Ten Commandments were prominently placed on the wall, as if the Servant deserved more preeminence than the Son.

As if!

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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Justified to Receive All Things by Grace

Yesterday, you read about the justification we have received in Christ -- from all things.

This justification spreads into our receiving all things too:

"What 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)

We will not be able to receive all things from Him until we believe that He has justified us from all things:

"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)

This announcement of the Gospel is crucial, because Paul makes it clear that we have been justified from all things -- all -- which the Law of Moses cannot grant to us.

When Jesus died on the Cross, He not only carried all our sins, but He fulfilled the law for us, too:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matthew 5: 17)

Jesus declared on the Cross:

"It is Finished" (John 19: 30)

He wasn't just talking about all our sins, but the law which revealed our sin, too:

"Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3: 31)

and then

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;" (Colossians 2: 13)

What happens when we receive this grace, which has freed us from the law?

"For 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: 17)

In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes:

"4I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;" (1 Corinthians 1: 4-5)

When we accept that we have been justified from all things, we will not spend our time trying to make ourselves feel better or justify ourselves in what we do, but we can receive all things freely from Him as gifts, because every good and perfect gift comes from above by His grace (James 1: 17)

Monday, July 21, 2014

We Are Justified from All Things -- All!

"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." (1 Corinthians 9: 14)

We live by the Gospel, because the Gospel is the gift of righteousness bought and paid for us because of what Jesus did at the Cross, and what He does for us at the right hand of God the Father:

"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)

Notice that the law is displaced by the grace of God, which justifies us from all things.

All things:

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;" (Colossians 2: 13)

and then

"[Jesus] 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: 14)

and also

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1: 7)

All. All. All.

This total gift grants us His righteousness:

"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)

and also

"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 are forgiven from all our sins -- all of them!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Inquire of the Lord to Receive More of His Grace

"22And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.

23And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25: 22-23)
 
In this verse, we learn what we need to inquire of the Lord when we struggle in our lives.
 
The LORD explained to Rebekah that there were two manner of people.
 
Esau represents people who live in the flesh, who live under law:
 
Jacob represents those how live by the Spirit, under grace, under the New Covenant.
 
For this reason, we learn that the elder we serve the younger, just as Moses is the servant (Hebrews 3: 5), yet Jesus the Son abides forever (Hebrews 7: 3):
 
"(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9: 11-13)
 
Most people have read this passage, and assume that God arbitrarily calls certain people while others are certain to be damned.
 
That is not true. We are not saved by our efforts, but by His grace. We do not earn it, but rather we receive it as a gift:
 
"4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2: 4-9)
 
With Ephesians (and the harmony of Scriptures) in mind, we then understand that election, grace, stands not on works (us) but on Him who calls (grace and truth in Christ -- John 1: 17)
 
When we struggle in our lives, there is still an element of the law, or ourselves, which remains. He invites us to come to Him boldly in time of need for His grace:
 
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)
 
and then
 
"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (2 Peter 3: 18)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Everything We Need in the Cross

Why does God not remember our sins anymore? Because He remembered all of them in His Son at the Cross:
 
"38Be 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)
 
And also
 
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;" (Colossians 2: 13)
 
and
 
"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)
 
God condemned sin in the flesh, and thus the righteousness of the law was fulfilled for us and in us.
 
All through the Cross!
 
Noah constructed the ark, a picture of Jesus our Savior, from the tree:
 
"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." (Genesis 6: 14)
 
When the Israelites complained about the bitter waters, Moses threw in the tree, which healed the waters:
 
"24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." (Exodus 15: 24-26)
 
When the Israelites were bitten by the snakes, they looked to a bronze serpent on a tree:
 
"And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." (Numbers 21: 9)
 
When David's son rebelled against him, a tree stopped him and made him an easy target:
 
"9And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away. 10And a certain man saw it, and told Joab, and said, Behold, I saw Absalom hanged in an oak." (2 Samuel 18: 9-10)
 
The Cross is the answer to every problem you face, the signal, the standard under which you can rest, just as Abraham did when he ate with the Holy Trinity in his tent. (Genesis 18)
 
The Cross speaks of full justification before God, and for that reason we are more than conquerors (Romans 8: 37)!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Righteousness is the Key

Many times in our lives, there is great frustration and hurt in our lives.

The periods of pain and suffering, much of the time, flowed from a lack of understanding about the righteousness of God.

Fear was a big problem in my life:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41: 10)

The key element for overcoming fear, or anything else, is righteousness.

That one word escaped my attention time and again.

Yet Jesus made His righteousness the preeminent element for all other gifts:

"33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

"34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6: 33-34)
 
The Cross is God's forever signal to us, the testimony that He is our God and sees us through all our hurts and upsets:
 
"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)
 
"I am a God to You." Wow!
 
"All shall know me" - instead of us trying to know Him, He will cause us to know Him. Wow!
 
Why?
 
"Because I will be merciful (i.e. will pay for) their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities I will remember no more."
 
 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weight Loss Through the Gospel

I was surprised when I heard Richard Simmons talk about the most important thing that people have to do before they lose weight:

"You have to love yourself. You have to be OK with yourself before you start losing weight."

In other words:

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

If men and women try to lose weight in their own efforts, then in their own efforts they will have to maintain this weight loss, and such efforts are a crap-shoot at best.

How many people out there have lost weight, only to gain it back, or worse to gain more than they had to begin with? Most people end up weighing more because on top of having failed to keep the weight off, they feel more shame because they could not in their own effort keep off what they had put off in their own efforts.

Man has to deal with the inside first. Forget about focusing on what you are eating. What's eating you? A man's soul cannot prosper if within himself he has no peace.

Man can do nothing in his own effort:

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26: 41)

God has not left us without power, though:

"For 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." (Romans 8: 3)

We do not need strength for any endeavor in or life, We need life, and that more abundantly:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)

then

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 4)

In any thing that we struggle, let us rather rest in the righteousness which Christ has made us to be (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Righteousness is the status of "perfected", "justified", "fully accepted" in Christ. Because He first loved us, then we can love ourselves (1 John 4: 19), and this love has been perfected for us as follows:
"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)

"Weight gain" or "Overweight" are some of many judgments which we face in this world, yet we can face even these minuscule problems by resting in the righteousness that we are. Then God's grace flows in our lives, and the Holy Spirit leads us in what we are to do, to eat, and how to walk in Him.

Let Him bear the weight of all your cares, even your weight, and His peace will rule in you as to what do, first by convicting you of your righteous standing in Him.