I love listening to good preaching, the Word which reveals more of Jesus, and how much He - not we - has accomplished in our lives.
There I go again, talking about "my life" when He is our life! (Colossians 3: 1-4)
This morning, this Thanksgiving morning, I learned about Jesus and what He was preaching about in the Sermon on the Mount.
Prince was talking about the folly of worrying, which cannot add to our height one cubit.
I then remember the turmoils I faced about seven years ago, when I learned about the gift of righteousness, and how we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Joyce Meyer had talked about all the gifts and inheritance brought to us through the gift of righteousness. I remember listing all the blessings which come with righteousness, and all of them started to manifest in my life.
I was making more money than I could ever have hoped. I was well taken care of in every aspect of my life.
Then I got confused by this passage:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6: 33)
If I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ, why do I have to seek it?
The confusion grew more complex when I read this passage in the Gospel of Luke:
"But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12: 31-32)
So, I am supposed to seek the Kingdom of God, yet this kingdom God gives to us?
Then it got really interesting:
"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17: 21)
So, the Kingdom of Heaven is something that we seek, but is something which God gives us, and yet the Kingdom is within us . . .already?
Questions like these made my peaceful rest in God's goodness hard to do.
Then I would take one passage, like this verse, and torture it into a set of works:
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)
This passage is about trust, not feelings, or anything else. I can feel mad, bad, sad, even fearful, yet that does not mean I do not trust God.
All these emotions are put aside to the truth of God's Word.
The corrupt ribbon which wrapped up all these distorted nonsense? Alcoholics Anonymous, the cult which despises the blood of Jesus, and makes nothing of His splendid, necessary sacrifice at the Cross, and beyond that diminishes Him to an ephemeral standard which no one can keep.
All of these thoughts and premonitions came running through my mind.
Then I watched Charles Capps during the next half hour.
He expounded on the Word of God, and he talked about the necessity of rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2: 15).
If something in Scripture seems to contradict something else, then it's all a matter of recognizing who said it, when and to whom. Context really is key. Inadvertently, people lock up the full understanding of Scripture with "Well, the Bible says . .". Where, and to what degree? What is the message which we need to draw?
Two hours later, I was talking with a man about the Bible. He shared with me the Bible as Literature class he took in college. Taught by a Baptist Minister, the class focused on how to read the Bible. He had learned that the whole book is about JESUS!
It's not Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The Bible is basically about. . .Jesus!
This issue of context is crucial - Crux - Cross.
So, let us consider the context of the above passages:
Matthew 6:33 depicts Jesus restoring the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant, to its pristine, unassailable fullness. Jesus was clearly addressing disciples at the time.
Today, we are not disciples, but sons:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1: 12)
"And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever." (John 8: 35)
Jesus also calls us friends!
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15: 15)
Today, when God the Father looks at us, He does not see us in ourselves, but in Christ Jesus:
"But 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 of course:
"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)
I was confused for so long. I did not understand what it meant to simply trust Him.
Why was this so hard?
I did not have the fullest revelation of the CROSS.
It's all about what Jesus has done, not what I am still supposed to do.
As for the passages in the Bible which seemed to confuse me, I recognize today that those comments were to different people during a previous dispensation, the Old Covenant.
The Bible is not about us. It is about Him.
John did not identify the fathers in his midst based on what they did, but on whom they saw and knew:
"I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. . . .I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known himthat is from the beginning." (1 John 2: 13-14)
Today, I understand that I have His righteousness as a gift, and I keep receiving it!
"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)
Thank you Jesus for Joseph Prince, Walter Capps, and Kenneth Hagin, godly man who loved the Word, and allowed Him to abide them!