Friday, January 30, 2015

Just a Thought "33"

Human wisdom, human reasoning will go to great lengths to deny the truth of God, that God has already reconciled all people to himself through his son where their sins are concerned, that’s not an insurmountable hurtle, to think that God has reconciled all people to himself where their sins are concerned smacks people’s self-righteous pride nature right in the face! If the reality of reconciliation must be believed in order for justification to become a judicial reality in the mind of God for those who believe that good news message, then we can only expect that Satan’s operation in this age of grace will be to attack the reality of reconciliation with all the religious fervor those who adhere to Satan’s false belief systems can muster, they will not just deny it, they will detest it. The fact that Christ died for the sins of the world does not mean that there no longer exists a world of sinners, to have one’s sin slate judicially emptied, because Christ died for those sins does not mean that that one possess the righteousness reckoned on the slate of the one who died for those sins.

If we fail to understand that we are blameless and what being blameless is all about, everything we build from this point on is hay, wood and stubble, God sees us in Christ and Christ was blameless. Total forgiveness for total sin accomplished by the one time death of Christ, and because of Christ’s payment for all sin, there is now no more reason for the believer to ever feel alienated estranged from God. All who will accept reconciliation on the bases of Christ’s death and resurrection are forever reconciled to God, that is grace, all people as a whole was reconciled to God where sin is concerned and that is grace, reconciliation is the link that connects Grace and Peace. The ministry committed to members of the body of Christ, the Word of Reconciliation, then we can be absolutely certain that Satan wants to confuse the message of reconciliation, he wants to confuse the truth of reconciliation and turn it into a lie.

When the curtain drops and this present age comes to an end, it will be a glorious time when our blessed hope is realized. God has more in store for his grace age saints, not only heaven, but an authoritative position, a joint place of authority in the heavenly realm. There is a headship order in the heavenly realm right now, it is invisible to us, but it is there, and God is the rightful head of that headship order. Rejoice, because we can expect for Jesus to come for us in the air, he will call us up in the air to be with him, thus will end the earthly phase of the unsearchable riches of Christ. God wants believers to all think the same way, when it comes to what is happening in this age of grace, what God is doing today and how he is doing it. The last days of this present age of grace, the time prior to God closing the door on the program through which he is accomplishing his heavenly purpose today, what will it be like when God says enough is enough on his program for the heavenlies, so he can pick up where he left off with his program for those who will inherit the earth.

There are pastors out there who have come to the knowledge of Paul’s good news, who refuse to take a stand on the distinctiveness of Paul’s ministry, and Paul’s message, and all because in their minds they have too much to lose if they do, could they only see what they truly have to gain, if they do. Pride will not let us swallow our own pill, some people are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, because they fear learning, knowledge of the truth may cause them to have to change the truth they have been standing on, for who knows how long, and that is a frightening thing for lots of people. It is a fearful thing to think we may have been wrong all along, much easier for many people to avoid learning then change in mid-stream. People who write books must spend their entire lives from those books point on defending what they have written down, pride is a tremendously powerful force. During the last days of this age of grace, the ever increasing tendency of people to focus their thoughts on self, to be self centered, “You do not satisfy my interest, I will go else where.”

One person underlies all the good news messages that have been proclaimed, but there is certainly more than one gospel, and each gospel pertains to a particular thing and some of them pertain to a particular group of people, we are not expecting the kingdom to be set up here on earth for us. Paul could never preach and never preached, even one time in his ministry the Gospel of the Kingdom, because the kingdom was no longer at hand. The good news from God to us today, is that God is not counting anyone’s sins against them, that is not the issue today, the good news is what will we do when it comes to us taking God at his word concerning what Jesus Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned. Satan and his clan are working through ministers of righteousness to keep this news hidden from people, they do it by keeping that issue of sins on the table of God’s justice, clearly that issue of sins was resolved. Justification, not through our behavior and our performance, but this gift decree from God comes by faith, not by our works, not by our efforts, God can look at the sinning person who believes and call that sinning person a saint is the message.

There is now no violation of the law, no sin, that can alter God’s attitude toward an acceptance of those who accept the finished work of his son, sins are no longer merely covered, they are now completely paid for, completely forgiven, completely taken out of the way, that attitude can not fluctuate. Jesus Christ removed the alienation sin wall, it could never be raised again, it is this message Satan and his clan hates the most, because that wall means alienation and separation, and removal of that wall means reconciliation. Do we ponder this on a daily bases in our lives, so it becomes a state of mind, rejoicing in our savior until it becomes a state of mind, awaking every morning of our life with the security we have in Christ. Everybody believes or supposed to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that is not the message that saves, it is understanding the meaning of that message that saves today. We have to believe that message of what happened to our sins, and there is where ministers of righteousness are having a hay-day, because they are keeping the issue of sins on the table of God’s justice, when they are no longer on the table of God’s justice. The issue is, in order to dwell with God in eternity future, we have to be as righteous as God, his justice will not allow nothing other.

There are people out there who believe they can lose their salvation, because they are totally confused with their position in Christ and with their state. Standing is what God’s made us to be and what we can never cease to be in his eyes, state has to do with how we are taking advantage or not taking advantage of that God given position that is everlastingly ours by God’s decree. Give up serving self, and that will be the best service to self we could ever give ourself, because we will find true freedom and joy to be the ultimate result, give up serving self and serve others. We can learn one thing for sure, overcoming addiction does not come through the commitment to stop serving the addiction, the more effort we expend in that area, the more over-whelming will become the desire for that to which we are addicted, overcoming addition comes only through the commitment to be addicted to something different. God has given us a perfect standing in our union with his perfectly righteous son, he’s also made provision for us now to have an ever improving state or experience, it is called maturing, it is what our growth is all about.

There will be a people for God on the earth during those eventful years, there will be the remnant of believing Israelites, the 144,000 sealed ones, the great multitude, another bodies of faithful ones who are referred to all through the Book of Revelation. Will these not need special instruction, God has provided for their instruction, and warning, and encouragement, in the second and third chapters of this book, right at the beginning they are the first subjects of God’s remembrance, provision, and care. The Pauline Epistles will of course be of use as an historical record of what will then be past, just as we have the record of Israel’s history in the Old Testament now. Even now, the nucleus of the Remnant is being prepared, hundreds of Israelites are believing in Christ as the Messiah, who know nothing of him as the Savior. At the very outset we are thus warned that we are no longer on, but quite off, the ground of the Pauline Epistles, which are addressed to sons, and not to servants, without denying that the members of the Body of Christ are in a certain sense servants of Christ, yet it is also perfectly clear that servant is not our title as to our new position in Christ before God.

As the members of the Body of Christ have need of patience, and endurance, but we are looking, not for the kingdom, but for the King himself, not as King, for he is not so proclaimed till his enemies are subdued, and though we, too, exercise this patient endurance in tribulation, it is not in the tribulation, but we are waiting to be taken away before that tribulation comes upon the earth. The subject of this whole Book of Revelation is the visible appearing of Jesus Christ in power, and glory, and for judgment in the earth, it is not a series of revelations about Jesus Christ, but the book which gives us the particulars about the events which are connected with his appearing. The end for which the Body of Christ is waiting is not judgment or tribulation, but to be received up in glory, to be changed and have glorious bodies like our Savior’s own body of glory, that coming is into the air, and not unto the earth. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Just a Thought "32"

We are to be subject to the higher powers, only when those higher powers are not asking us to go against the highest power there is, and that is God himself, the supreme authority in all matters of life. Grace that results in peace with God, understanding the grace of God which has brought peace with God, is the foundation of every believer’s joy in this age. In the midst of Paul’s troubling circumstances, he was thanking God, he was thinking what God accomplished for him through Jesus Christ. Who we are and what we have in our savior is incredible, joy began with grace unto us from God, the Father and from our savior Jesus Christ. God is anxiously awaiting his own inheritance, which happens to be us, God considers believers to be his own inheritance, he purchased us with the blood of his son, we are God’s valuable inheritance.

We cannot do destruction to one truth from Paul in an effort to validate our belief about another truth from Paul, because if we base our theology on one truth given by Paul, while at the same time destroying another truth given us by Paul, we had better rethink our theological position. Rethinking a theological position is much better than committing doctoral destruction to a passage that is put there so very clearly by our apostle Paul. Dead to sin, we now have a brand new identity, those who would die in their sins, were those who would continue to have their identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion, to die with that identification intact. We no longer have that identification once we believe the good news, now we have a brand new identity.

The pride nature in people has a difficult time understanding how righteousness from God’s viewpoint can be granted apart from their conduct, and it was true through the ages, God judicially declared to be righteous all who would take him at his word down through time. Paul introduces us in Romans, how it is that God can delate sinners to be heaven-worthy, God decided to give a judicial decree of rightness apart from our behavior, apart from our practice based solely on our belief, that belief would be concerning all who would take him at his word relative to what his son accomplished for us. So, performing that which is good and ceasing from that which is bad is directly related in most people’s minds, especially the religious mindset today to the way that God views a person. We realize that we are saved for the purpose of good works, but we are not saved by our good works, or kept saved by our good works.

God knows whether there is a hidden motivation even to ourselves, hidden by our pride nature to look good before others, to appear knowledgeable before others, to somehow elevate self in relation to others to gain the praise of others, God knows the motivations of the human heart. Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in our mind, that are done for the purpose attaining salvation or for the purpose of maintaining salvation, even for the purpose of proving one’s salvation is a slap in the face of God who had to provide the gift of salvation, because people’s righteousness would be totally incapable of meriting it, our good works must be done solely out of appreciation for what God has already accomplished. 

Were establishing the law, we establish it by acknowledging the fact that the law was a picture of God’s perfect righteousness where human performance is concerned, and that when it comes to attaining to that righteous standard, the law can not make a right relationship with God. Was God only partially satisfied with the payment Christ made, or was God fully satisfied where the payment made by his son for the sins of the world are concerned, Christ purchased mankind out of the market place of sins. It is not probation, it is salvation, forgiving us is not something God must decide to do, what his son did for us was sufficient to absolve us of our sin debt, past, present, future, it is gone. If God believes that, let us all take our stand where God takes his, faith is simply taking our stand where God takes his stand.

Righteous fruit was a requirement under the law contract, and Israel, the fig tree had not produced any, Israel was incapable of producing any, because the law was weak through the flesh, there was no crop to harvest when it came to righteousness. The law was given to Israel, not to deter sin, but to show them their sin, how very opposite from the thinking of the religious pride nature of human reasoning, people who have no clue as to why the law was given in the first place, or really to whom it was given, actually think that the ten commandments will make us all better. The truth is those with a sin nature have never needed a license to sin, we do it naturally, have we today, learned any thing at all from God’s program with the nation Israel, even though we are not part of that program. People who want to think they are obeying the law contract today, they think they are fulfilling that law contract at least to a degree that God will say that they are doing the very best they can, the law required much more than that.

It certainly can get much worse than it is today for believers, it is just an age of grace tribulation, and the time of Jacob’s tribulation are entirely two different things. Persecution and suffering troubling circumstances in a wide variety of ways will very likely increase as this age of grace winds onward towards it’s culmination toward the time of our being caught up to meet Jesus, our Savior in the air. We will be delivered from the time of Israel’s tribulation by way of the Body of Christ being caught up in the air to meet Jesus, we need not come with the idea that since we have deliverance from that tribulation, we believers of the age of grace have an automatic pass when it comes to tribulation, we certainly will not. Every person who has believed Paul’s good news, from the point of Paul’s conversion onward has been made a member of the Body of Christ by being joined to Christ through the baptizing work of God’s power from on high, which takes place at the point of a person’s belief, no one prior to the apostle Paul ever became a member of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is a reality only for the saints who came to Christ through Paul’s good news, and have nothing whosoever to do with the saints of the earthly kingdom calling.

We do not need to start pointing at particular sins, but if we are a slave to sin, whatever sin we are serving, the sin that has us in bondage will exact it’s toll on our flesh. Choices have consequences, the choices we make with serving self have an effect on others which will affect us. Death can take place in so many ways, it could be emotional, it can be relational, we know that an unbeliever’s sin leads to physical death, so the universal principle that sin leads to death is true. A believer can die functionally in that we can serve no further useful purpose here on earth, no heavenly purpose on earth to those to whom we become an ambassador. Death, in a physical sense, can come from making improper choices in our lives, if we continue in a sinful lifestyle, and we continue not bringing the flesh into subjection as Paul talks about, we can count on that lifestyle to take a toll on us.

Our decree of judicial perfection in the eyes of God comes not through Christ’s death for our sins, but through our union with Christ’s resurrection life. Reconciliation and righteousness are two different things, the sinner becomes a new creation when that sinner trusts what Christ accomplished where their sins are concerned, and that is when God’s power from on high joins that sinner to the Savior. The instance we take God at his word concerning what his son did on our behalf, God ask us to simply believe Christ gave his life for us, Christ did it all, there is nothing left for us to do. God did all the giving, we do only all the receiving, he is asking us to believe Christ accomplished salvation for us and we are simply to believe it.

All around us today, religion is marked by divisions, they have divided into little factions, into little groups, and little cliques separating one from another over who is more important than the other person, in the person’s mind of course. What took place during Isaiah’s day was true of Paul’s day and it continues on in our day, the same inner mind-set, that same sin nature at work in people throughout history, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Corinthian believers were acting like children, Paul called them babes, and not babes in a good context, they were adult children, but they were in charge of the church, the church of our day is best described as the Corinthians epistle, equally the Galatians epistle. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Just a Thought "31"

Will Christ be magnified in my choice? Here is one basic principle we can apply to every situation in our life, God has given us the freedom of personal preference. Not feelings directed, nor is it sight oriented, it comes only through the instruction given in God’s word, as we apply the principles of that word to circumstances of our lives. The Apostle Paul tells us that God’s word to us is complete, God can work through any choice we make, but the choice is ours, because God is not micro-managing believer’s lives today. When it comes to directing our lives, God need not say anything further, in that word that God has completed for us, is all that we need to know to make the choices we have to make in this age of grace, and God has dispensed that information liberally!

Every believer is set apart by God as being holy at that person’s belief, God is the one who is performing the setting apart. God accomplishes this sanctification by joining all who believe to his son, a judicial union takes place. Justification is our gift declaration of righteousness, sanctification is how that judicial degree of righteousness is achieved. We are washed, because now we are something else. We are justified, set apart in a judicial sense as being perfectly holy in our union with Jesus Christ, recipients of God’s gift decree of righteousness. Paul brings our attention to the fact that God is now no longer viewing us apart from the righteousness that belongs to his son.

One purpose of worship as some people define it, is to get a touch from God, to get the emotions at a peak, they feel close to God when they are in a situation that stimulates their emotions. The connection is solid, because the emotional high has been established as they find themselves on an endless quest for emotional satisfaction, because they relate their closeness to God upon feeling, they are either on fire or the fire’s gone out. Paul told us that as time progresses forward in this age of grace, people will become more and more about satisfying their emotional desires, they will be seeking after and devoting themselves to a God they can feel. Justification and Sanctification are not based upon feelings at all, they have nothing to do with feelings or emotions, they are not based on sensation in any sense. When we trusted Christ as our Savior, something happened that took place outside the realm of our sensation, outside the realm of our feeling.

This is commonly taught in the hallways of religion, that a person must make a decision to serve, in order to get God to make the decision to save. Some would say to repent, means to have Godly sorrow, others would say that to repent, means to turn around and go the other direction, sin no more. Repent simply means, a change of mind, a change of thinking, Israel was continually being called upon to repent, to change their thinking, they were trusting in themselves. God did not give Israel a law they could keep, he gave them a law impossible for those with a sin-nature to obey perfectly, in order to teach them their need of a Savior. We certainly can make some choices in our lives, due to who God’s made us to be, by joining us to his son.

Those of us who are bent on satisfying the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life fall into a snare, in that we become addicted to the manner in which we satisfy those lusts. Paul does not talk about God pushing a bad button and having something bad happen to us or God taking our life. Paul does talk about when we pursue the satisfaction of the sinful lusts of the flesh, it is not ruination God is bringing on sinful believers, but ruination sinning believers are bringing upon themselves. Unbelievers and believers alike can make choices, Paul is calling on the saved saints, saved and sealed saints to make a decision, to make righteousness the choice of their service.

Since God’s power from on high indwells every believer, his power can indeed be grieved when the conduct of believers is contrary to their new position in the Savior. We did not gain our new position in Christ by being good, but rather by believing on what God accomplished, he justifies the ungodly. God counts the faith of the one who agrees with him as to the reality of their own unworthiness, and the fact that they must be justified by God’s gift decree, God counts that person’s faith as being that person’s righteousness. God had to do for us, what we could never do for ourselves, our former identity with Adam, that identity is no longer true of believers, but the sin nature is ever present. While God’s power from on high cannot depart, it can certainly be grieved, God placed it within every believer for the express purpose of guaranteeing those believers an inheritance in heaven, it is God’s guarantee that God will keep his promise.

We can thank God that we do not have to pray, deliver us from that anti-Christ, this is the manner in which the Israelites are to be praying during the period of the tribulation. We are going to be delivered from this evil one before the tribulation even begins, because we are going to be caught up off of this planet to be with Jesus in the air, we are not appointed to the wrath associated with Israel’s tribulation. These saints of the earthly kingdom program will be praying in that day, give us this day our daily bread, they will be worrying about that day, not the next day. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Savior Jesus Christ, according to what Paul tells us. Israel was God’s people at the time this prayer was being taught to the disciples of Israel and God was Israel’s God, the Gentiles were apart from God.  

People oftentimes base their salvation and their relationship to God on their emotions, from Paul’s perspective these people are walking after the flesh, they are walking in relation to the flesh, thinking that their relationship with God is based upon either the feelings of their flesh (emotions) or the capacity of their flesh to produce righteousness through their performance. As faith gives way to feeling, people begin to base their faith on feeling, they want a God they can move to, they want a God that gets them moving, and they want teachers who can make them feel good in the process. Doctrine giving way to emotion will be the order of the day, as time goes on. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. Itching has to do with feeling with physical sensation, to make somebody pleased, or appeal to somebody’s sense of humor.

Best news the world could ever hear, we are not to cleanse ourselves in order to gain something from God, when it comes to our holy standing before him or to maintain something before God, because we have been freely given something, namely, a justified and sanctified position in his son, Jesus Christ. Walk worthy of the vocation that belongs to us, because God has freely given it to us, we have been justified freely, sanctified in Jesus Christ, how should we be conducting ourselves. We should conduct ourselves in a manner conducive to the job that God’s given us, it is our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation. The carnal Corinthians are guilty of the things Paul listed for them, but that did not reduce, reverse or remove from them their sanctified position that already belonged to them in their union with the risen, glorified son of God. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Just a Thought "30"

Grace within a dispensation was one thing, a dispensation characterized solely by grace is something else altogether. Paul dispensed a message that the 12 apostles had not dispensed, and that message was different, and that message was geared to the Gentiles. It is going to make a difference if we lump these messages altogether, we are going to be taking from one program, and trying to make it apply to another, when Paul clearly tells us that God’s power from high is working differently today. The hope for both programs is the same, and that hope is a new body and resurrection from the dead unto eternal life. The saints of both programs are promised that hope, but the residential destinations promised the believers of the two programs are entirely different. The earthly calling and the heavenly calling refer to the program to which believers have been called in their destinations. The Body of Christ is an expression denoting the point when God began to judicially join believers to his son, the Body of Christ is not about program, but about judicial position.

People’s natural inclination is to suppose that they must relate to God on the basis of a rule-keeping, but Paul wants to clear-up that type of thinking, he wants to eliminate it altogether, so he pictures the law as being the husband, in order to make his point. What Paul is telling us is that the law has yet to find a faithful and obedient wife, the law was designed to be a condition-based relationship. It is impossible for anyone with a sin-nature to be a faithful wife to the law, everyone should be receiving the cursings right now, according to the law system, if the law-husband was still alive. The law could have been a positive and prolific provider from the standpoint of a husband providing, of course, that the law could find a faithful and obedient wife, because the provision of the law was conditional; it was conditioned upon the faithfulness of the wife.

We got our good times, our happy times, our joyous times, but we have our sad times, and our bad times. We got times when we are very low emotionally, when we seem like we are on the bottom and we do not know where to turn or what’s happening next. The whole creation is suffering while we are under the curse. The reality is that we will continue to suffer, health, wealth, and prosperity in this life as the popular money-mongering ministers of righteousness would have us believe today, it is just the opposite. So, why do people have such a difficult time believing the apostle Paul when our apostle tells us that Satan’s ministers of righteousness, during this age of grace will in fact, be working within a religious framework. Paul says in 2 Timothy 3 that there’s a form of godliness, a structure of godliness, and who will be working in that structure of righteousness in the last days of the age of grace, Satan’s ministers of righteousness offering people the song: Health, Wealth, and Prosperity.

Throwing out a fleece worked for Gideon, because God led people differently in time-past than the way he is leading today. God has not ceased leading those who are his, Paul tells us that, he is just leading in a different manner today. God worked through signs and wonders in time-past to validate the authority of his message and his messengers. Today we walk by faith, not by sight, God’s word is complete today, but how may of us want to throw out that fleece in some form or fashion. Gideon wanted to see the clear direction, are we any different today, we still want to see conditional direction, when it comes to areas of our lives, where we want God to show us that direction. Far too often the fleece we want to throw is the fleece called feeling. 

Saved in the sense of all the suffering circumstances that have been the thrust of (Romans 8) section all along; we are delivered from the suffering circumstances of this life by hope, we are going to get new bodies. When we get our new bodies, we will be delivered from the suffering circumstances that adversely affect this sin-cursed world, in which we must dwell until we die or our meeting Jesus in the air occurs, whichever is first. How many believers must endure the hardships that go along with this sin-cursed world, in which we must take part today, we all suffer together. The redemption of our body, a new body that no longer will be subject to the suffering circumstances of life as we know it, on this sin-cursed planet. God sees us in Christ, and he sees us as being complete in our union with Christ, totally identified with Jesus Christ in every aspect of Christ’s life and relationship with the Father. The Israelites are sinners and the Gentiles are sinners, whether we are a moral person or a very immoral person from human perspective, all have sinned and all are continually coming short of the perfection that belongs to God himself. 

What a security we can gain, knowing what Justification has to do with God recognizing to be righteous. Throughout the ages, God has chosen to recognize as being righteous, those who would simply take him at his word. To be justified is to be recognized as being right, to be recognized judicially as being right, or righteous. In the age we live in, God recognizes those who take him at his word concerning the price Christ became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins. The moment we believe, God’s power from on high joins us to Christ and from that point on we have a brand new identification, again, from God’s perspective. This identification is what Sanctification is all about, for us not by way of improved performance or sinful conduit elimination, but by way of new identification that belongs to all who God’s power from on high has joined to God’s son.

We are dead to sin, we have been dead to sin since the point of our belief, because Jesus Christ took our sins off of us, God is reconciled where our sins are concerned. To die in your sins, means to die with your identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion; to die with that identification intact. We no longer have that identification once we believe Paul’s good news, because now we have a brand new identity. We are not to tell the lost that God can take away their sins, we are to tell the lost God has already taken them away, so that they might believe that good news message and be joined to the Savior. It is not the non-imputation of sins that makes a person Heaven-ready, it is the imputation of the very righteousness that belongs to the Savor that makes us Heaven-worthy.

We do not like to admit the fact that our human nature being what they are, we automatically rise up and rebel against that truth. But Paul goes to great length to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, that everyone of us are continually coming short of the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. When Paul mentions sin, he does so for the purpose of having every individual realize and admit that through out the course of our daily lives, we all miss the mark of God’s perfect rightness. We all are satisfying the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, and we do it with everything we do. That is where we stand today, because we are all under sin, as Paul defines it. A person’s problem today, is not getting forgiveness for their sins, but that they need to learn about what God’s justification is all about.

God had to do for us, what we could never do for ourselves! God counts the faith of the one who agrees with him as to the reality of that person’s own unworthiness, and the fact that that person must be justified by God’s gift decree, God counts that person’s faith as being that person’s righteousness. The old man and the sin nature are not one and the same. The old man speaks of our former identity with Adam, that identity is no longer true of believers sealed in Christ. The old man is a thing of the past, having been crucified with Christ, and the new man is the new identity belonging to every believer. Yet, the old man continues to reside in our bodies where the sin nature is ever present, the battle against the sin-nature that Paul struggled with himself, on a day-by-day basis. Bring your practical state into harmony with your positional standing, this is Paul’s admonition for every believer in this age of grace.

Prayer was never given to change God’s perspective of our greater preference, prayer was given to change our perspective of God’s greater purpose. God’s greater purpose was not to strengthen our faith by altering our circumstances, God’s greater purpose is to allow us to demonstrate our faith as we remain strong, in spite of our circumstances. The grace and strength God gives a person to endure that suffering is the strength of God he wants others to see in that person’s life, that is when God’s strength is perfected in your life. That earthly kingdom program is no longer in progress, but on hold, we come to realize that God through his power from on high wants to stabilize every believer today, in a completely different way. Our patient endurance through suffering is a way of demonstrating our hope, and when our hope is put on display in the midst of our suffering, that brings glory to God. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Just a Thought "29"

The flesh is capable of behavioral change, but the flesh is never capable of performance to the standard of the perfection belonging to God himself, no matter how set apart we try to become. When we profess to believe Christ as having resolved the justice of God for our sins and in that alone for our salvation, we should not be so anxious to discount our salvation because of performance observation on our part. We need to look at sanctification from the standpoint of who is doing the setting apart, God has already set every believer apart as holy. To be perfectly righteous is to be perfectly holy, every believer stands justified according to God’s gift declaration of righteousness. Our being setting apart is not contingent upon the degree to which we set ourselves apart.

The pathway of rules and regulations for righteousness, otherwise called religion in the word of God, seems right to a lot of people today, yet when we look at the Scripture, we find it used in negative sense. Where do most people’s minds immediately take them, the believer’s behavior, to the conduct of the Christian. People think Paul has left his context here in Romans 8:1, and he is moving into the area of practice. The law did not work within the religious system God gave to Israel to prove to them the law would not make them righteous. We find that rather than something that worked to produce what the natural mind thought could be produced through the law; the law worked to produce the opposite.

Some would say an unsaved person would never chose Christ in the first place, a person would be to dead to make a decision as to whether to believe gospel. So this  person would have to be made alive, before that person can even make a decision, a person has to be saved in order to be saved. The idea some people have is that God has to do a work in a person before belief by the person is even a possibility. God gives faith only to those he’s so chosen to be believers, saving faith, in order for a person to believe. When Paul refers to us as the called, he is referring not just to the fact that God is extending a call to us, an invitation or summons. Paul’s also referring to the fact that God’s calling us to participate in that to which we have been called, the Body of Christ, participation in that which we have been called to. God influences unbelievers through the life giving message of the gospel, the call today comes through the words relayed by Paul to us in his written letters. Romans 10:17

God did not establish a new law for the age of grace and place believers under that law, so that he would have a new way to measure people’s righteous performance for the purpose of permitting a heavenly entrance. Paul  knew that his position in Christ was not based upon his performance, he also knew that his position in Christ was not based upon his success at loving others. Paul exercised himself according to what Paul called the law Christ, preferring others above self. We can thank God that our position with him is based solely upon our union with his son, and not upon our success at loving others. While Paul was not under the law of Christ, he willingly placed himself under the law to Christ, when it came to his love for others, there is a difference in the two.

Even though we are not under the law in this dispensation of grace, the law can still serve as valid function today for those who have yet to believe the gospel, and are dealing with God according to law principle. Understand, being delivered or set free from the law as the program whereby God is dealing with people today, does not mean that the law no longer stands as a perfect picture of what it would take to earn a perfectly righteous standing with God, if our performance was part of that equation, and if that were a possibility, which it is not. Paul shows how sin actually makes great use of that law against an individual, with a proper understanding of the two, we find that there is nothing at all wrong with the law. The problem lies  with sin and with the nature that is in us given the first Adam’s decision.

God calls all today, and does his call come by way of circumstance or does he call today to believe the message given thru the apostle Paul, the proclaimer of that message of which we are to be ambassadors. God predetermined the outcome for all those he foreknew would come to belief. God predetermined that he knew about all along who would be conformed to the imagine of his son. God’s call in time past came through creation itself, and after that through a man name Noah. God’s call went through the prophets that made known to the nations what God wanted those people to know about his name. No matter the dispensation in mind or the dispensation at hand, God’s call went out, it’s just that not all were willing to accept God’s call.

The body of doctrine Paul taught renews our thinking, but regeneration takes place when we believe the gospel and we become part of the new creation. The word of our salvation washes away any notion of self-cleansing for righteousness as an approach to God. Paul’s gospel rinses any notion of man’s production as the basis of a right standing before God and leaves the believer standing only in the purified state of Christ’s righteousness. It’s not how we perform in a different way, or make commitments to perform differently, it all has to do with our being placed into Christ, that’s the new creation. When a person believes in the reality of reconciliation, that person becomes an instantaneous member of the new creation called the Body of Christ.

We should be very grateful that we are saved by the faith of Jesus Christ, his faith accomplished our salvation. So, being freed up from all these suffering circumstances is not just liberty, it is a glorious liberty. The sufferings of this present lifetime are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, that is HOPE. God is not causing bad things to happen to bad people and good things to happen to good people. God is not raining down suffering circumstances to bring bad people in line and he is not raining down similar adverse circumstances on good people that have gone bad to keep those people in line. If we could pray these circumstances away, what hope would we need, our hope would reside right here in praying them away. When Christ returns in the air to catch us up to be with him, our suffering situations will forever be a thing of the past.

Why would God want the offense to increase, the offense was already there and God gave an opportunity through that law program for it to really come out, and show itself for what it was and for what it is in us. So, the sin nature used the law to bring forth fruit unto death. From God’s judicial point of view, we are no longer in that position, we have a new position. Would more righteousness be needed than the Savior’s righteousness, or is God requiring that we add our righteous works to Christ’s righteousness that we might become righteous indeed, or is Christ’s righteousness the only righteousness from God’s perspective, his saints will ever need?

If works were part of the salvation equation before we were saved  by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, his sacrifice would never have been necessary. If works were necessary in order to keep a person saved and thus keep that person from facing condemnation from God, then Christ would have only had to die for part of our sins, the part before we began our maintenance for salvation program. The responsibility for keeping the slate clean after salvation would be up to us. If we could do it after salvation, we could have done it before our salvation! If we are not acting saved, we did not get saved, is the idea that is being promoted, Paul did not like that is his day, we should not fall for it in ours. 

It is amazing that religious teachers would tell people that they have got that sin, and they preach a message to make people fell guilty about the indwelling sin, and then they would give those people rules to straighten up from the sin. The predicament of sin is that no person can escape it, and no person can beat it, there is not any fixing the sin-nature, the flesh cannot be repaired. People want to be saved by grace, and then they want their fellowship with God maintained by rule-keeping. In spite of Paul’s highest ambitions, and in spite of his most lofty expectations, he could never merit righteousness before God through the perfection of his flesh, that is called “religion.”

It is recited in churches across the country in our day, it is recited as though it is a prayer for today, it is recited like vain repetition as people stand up and uttering together what is commonly called: The Lord’s Prayer. At the time this prayer was given to the disciples of the earthly kingdom program, Gentiles did not have a father-child relationship with God the Father. Are we looking forward to the next event on Israel’s prophetic calendar - Christ coming to establish Israel’s promised earthly kingdom on the earth? Or, are we looking forward to the next mystery event - Christ’s coming in the air to catch his body, of which we are, up off of this planet?

What an identification God has given us, every believer’s sanctification comes by way of our union-identification with Jesus Christ. We find the amazing and comforting truth that God’s love for those who are joined to his son, is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son. No sin, no circumstance, no member of creation, no amount of time, no measure of distance will ever be able to diminish God’s loving attitude towards those who are united to him by way of being in his son. Nothing past, present or future, shall separate us from the love of God. Sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted, we cannot lose the perfectly righteous standing we have, because it came by way of our sanctified position in God’s son.

We should never forget that God, in is omniscience, is able to determine people’s response to the creation manifestation of God that has stood since he spoke the creation into existence. God is just, and he knows all about the inner workings of people, and he knows their minds, their thoughts, and if God was able to make a determination as to whether people were responding positively or whether they were responding negatively to whatever they knew about creation itself, regardless of the mode of the message God gave to people in time past. God is able to make the same determination today, God knows all things real and potential, so we have to leave those things up to God, and trust God. God is fully capable of judging between belief and unbelief no matter the mode of the communication he has give to people from creation all the way through to Paul.
Here was a visual sign Israel could not refute, a visual manifestation opportunity of God’s power from on high was giving Israel’s religious leaders to solicit from that religious leadership, a change of thinking. People were getting healed, and people were coming to belief, and many people were added to that earthly kingdom promise to Israel in that day, but God was looking for the leadership, the representatives of that nation to make their confession. It was a national promise and it is a national rejection as far as God is concerned. Time is running out, Israel is very close at this point to being set aside, as God is on the threshold of ushering in a new and unprophecied program and a new dispensation with new truths associated with it for us, for the Gentiles.

God through his power from on high, is in fact leading every believer today. What believers need to understand today is that while God used his power, it has led believers in various ways throughout the course of human history. God has not always led the same way, he used his power in different ways through different dispensations. God’s power was with people selectively and conditionally, it was abiding with them, but that abiding was not guaranteed to be permanent, because God’s power could cease abiding with a person because of that person’s disobedience. The fact that God’s power from on high would indwell Gentiles as well, and totally apart from God’s program with the nation Israel, that was part of the mystery, not revealed until it was revealed to the apostle Paul. Those who have trusted in the justice-resolving accomplishment of Jesus Christ where our sins are concerned, not only do we have God’s power from on high resident within us, but it is indeed leading us and it is leading us in more than one way. 

Is the lose of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the same thing as Christ condemning the believer who is standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it is the value of the work itself that will be judged, not the believer. Christ will be able to judge, not only what is seen by the eye, but also the motivations of the heart, not only what was done, but why it was done in connection with each believer’s work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope. Many believers will indeed suffer the loss of rewards for those works that are not reward worthy, but again, is this the judgment Paul is speaking of in Romans 8:1? NO! The sanctification that comes by way of being placed into Christ is positional truth. A sanctified position in Christ comes not as a result of behavior, it comes as a result of belief. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just a Thought "28"

Our fleshly production did not gain us our position in Christ and it certainly can not gain us heaven, Christ accomplished that for us. If the works of our flesh did not contribute to getting us saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping us saved. We do not owe anything to this flesh, why spend our time wallowing in the mire that caused our Savior to sacrifice himself in the first place, it will never please God. God is not looking at our production, he is not looking at our behavior in order to view us as being in favor with him. If we are trying to satisfy God’s justice on a daily basis by conforming to a standard of rules and regulations, the milk of self-righteousness will sour under the divine heat of God’s justice. We need to stop focusing on our fleshly performance and focus on our position in Jesus Christ. 

Salvation, justification unto eternal life is a gift of God, it is not something we attain by our works in the first place. We have also been sanctified or set apart in that we were identified with Christ by God’s power from on high baptism into Christ at the point of our belief, it is entirely a work of God for the believer, not a work of the believer for God. No effort of the flesh could accomplish it, no effort of the saint can add to it. This in itself is the motivation for a believer to bring the body into subjection to what God had done freely for the ungodly as we place our faith in what Christ accomplished for our sins. Paul’s desire was about beating the flesh back, not about making the flesh better, it is about holding it down, bringing it into submission. One has to do with elevation, the other has to do with submission, Paul was talking about making the flesh subject to him.

Everywhere Paul went, the people who had known the law did not just reject Paul, they wanted to do away with Paul for preaching that people were not under the law. What does that tell us about those in our day who continue to hang on to the notion that God is continuing to deal with people on the basis of their performance? We can see the connection between the religious crowd of Paul’s day and the religious crowd of today. The pride nature is the root cause of that rejection, pride insists upon attributing success to self. Human righteousness comes from self-interest-motivation, it is self-glorifying and while it may be of earthly benefit, that will not cut it when it comes to meeting the demands of God’s perfect justice.

When ungodly people are willing to simply take God at his word, abandoning any notion that they can merit a righteous standing with God through their performance, and trust solely in what Jesus Christ accomplished for them, having resolved that issue of their sins, God’s power from on high performs a miracle in those people’s lives by uniting those believers with Christ himself. That is what sanctification, our set-apartness is all about. As we travel through Paul’s handbook on faith, we learn the necessity of a total abandonment of any notion that no one can merit righteousness before God through the performance of the flesh, and that we must place our trust solely in the fact that God accomplished our salvation for us through his son’s death when he judged his son for our sins.

Paul was not talking about Christianizing the flesh, making it better flesh, capable of doing more things, he was talking about holding the flesh back, keeping it down. Paul was motivated to keep his desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to keep it at bay and not let that reign supreme when it came to his activities and his actions. Paul was being honest with himself and with us, when it came to the capacity of his flesh to merit righteousness before God through performance, if God was going to righteousify ungodly people, it would have to be freely by his grace, it could come no other way. People’s performance could not be allowed to enter the picture God would have to use belief rather than behavior as the criterion whereby to join believers to his son.

Could there have been a sin or two, or maybe a few left over when Christ died for the sins of the world for which God’s justice was not satisfied, a sin in the future. God’s justice was satisfied where the sins of the world are concerned, God reconciled the world unto himself, as Paul tells us. God was satisfying his own justice where the sins of the world are concerned through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but God recognizes those who take him at his word concerning the price Christ became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins. Taking God at his word is called faith, God’s intent was to join believers to his son, from God’s perspective the two become one flesh. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe God and the moment we believe, God’s power from on high joins us to Christ and from that point on we have a brand new identification.

Does God’s call go out selectively or does he call all today, and does his call come by way of circumstance or does he call today to believe the message given through the apostle Paul. Jesus Christ was made a curse for our sins by taking our place and suffering the judgment of God for the sins he died for, was his death not pictured in the scapegoat sacrifice of the Israelite program? If a person believes Christ died for their sins, but does not believe that God’s justice was satisfied when Christ died for those sins, that person has not believed Christ died for their sins according to the scriptures. To continue to insist that God’s justice has not been resolved where all the sins Christ died for are concerned, is to deny the truth sitting in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

Whatever it is, whether we are suffering or whether we are well, we can thank God for it, not with thanksgiving for receiving, but with thanksgiving that God is in control and that he is using the suffering circumstances in our life to perfect what he has begun in us. Prayer was never given to change God’s perspective of our greater preference, prayer was given to change our perspective of God’s greater purpose. God’s greater purpose was not to strengthen our faith by altering our circumstances, God’s greater purpose is to allow us to demonstrate our faith as we remain strong in spite of our circumstances. Prayer was never given to bring God into alignment with our wants, prayer was given to bring us into alignment with God’s will.

We are not to tell the lost that God can take away their sins, we are to tell the lost he is already taken them away, so that they might believe that good news message and be joined to the Savior. Does our righteous standing before God come by way of our fleshly performance or does God simply count or decree a person to be righteous because of that person’s faith in and union with his perfectly righteous son? That is the question, the source of our righteousness, is it personal performance or position in Christ? Our fleshly production did not gain us our position in Christ, it certainly can not gain us heaven, Christ accomplished that for us. The works of our flesh did not contribute to getting us saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping us saved.

We are not to cleanse ourselves in order to gain something from God when it comes to our holy standing before him or to maintain something before God, because we have been freely given something, namely, a justified and sanctified position in his son. Paul’s not saying to walk worthy in order to gain our calling or to walk worthy in order to keep our calling, but to walk worthy of the vocation that belongs to us, because God has freely given it to us. Our calling has not changed, it can not change, so we conduct ourselves in accordance with our calling. We should conduct ourselves in a manner conducive to the job that God’s given us, it is our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation, the best news the world could ever hear.

The beginning of Israel’s last days of her program, they were being equipped for the upcoming time of tribulation right on their horizon. They were more abundant than ever, God used the physical senses in every respect in connection with his sign nation at Israel’s high holy feast day called Pentecost. This was not a mystery, this was not a secret, it was exactly what the bible had foretold would take place when it came to the sign nation. God gave his sign nation things to see and to hear and to speak, the physical senses were used through God’s power from on high, that Israel might witness their deliverance; “before our eyes” and “in our sight” tell us how God’s power from on high worked as Israel was approaching the last days of her program, which was to culminate in an entrance to her promised earthly kingdom.

The visual manifestations of God’s power from on high was directly involved in as the nation Israel was given every visual opportunity to change their thinking about the identity of their Messiah and their ability to perform up to the standard of God’s righteousness, when it came to the law contract. When God would set his program with Israel in abeyance for the ushering in an unprophecied age with us Gentiles. From the time that God sent Moses to deliver them from their Egyptian captivity, Israel was give things to see, to witness for themselves in order to visually verify God’s presence and his purpose with them, yet, for all the visual evidences that God gave to Israel, Israel would not believe God. When we come to understand that we are living in a brand new age called “the dispensation of grace” and that that earthly kingdom program is no longer in progress, but on hold, we come to realize the God’s power from on high wants to stabilize every believer today in a completely different way.

Israel walked by sight, that was part of the contract, the contract God established with the nation Israel called the law. In that contract itself, God said he would deal with them according to things they could look at. So, God dealt with the sign nation according to signs. For we walk by faith, not by sight is a clear statement from Paul how we walk today. We stop looking for things. For those who allow emotion to trump doctrine, Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 3 that this would be the character of “the religiously minded” as this age of grace winds to a close. A previously held position and emotion are the two things that trump doctrine, and emotion becomes a part of those who have held on to previously adopted position. Emotion trumps doctrine in most people’s minds and religion is about working on the emotional minds of people. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just a Thought "27"

When Paul says putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, he is talking about the entry, the whole body, the whole sin debt, all of our sins are sins cut off from us. All our sins from the front of our life, to the back of our life, they have been completely cut away from us through the cutting off, the circumcision, actually the death of Jesus Christ, never to be joined to us again, another wards, God can no longer see them. God no longer sees us in our identification with sin, since the initial point of our belief, he sees us in our identification with his son, all the sins Christ died for are sins which are forever dead in their ability to stand between the sinner and the savior. No matter how the world comes down on us or how the world views us, how our friends view us or cease viewing us, God views us in a way which is incomprehensible to the world.

We are not in the process of becoming something new and different, we are not even in an instantaneously cleaned up version of the former creation, we are not a sinless version of who we once were, we are at the very instance of our belief, a brand new creation, God sees us in a brand new way. In the fact, that it is called a new creation, it tells us this new creation, as God sees it, is not an extension of some former creation. In other wards, we are not an extension of believing Israel time past carried on over in some spiritual form to the age of grace, can not be. We are not now, nor will we ever be spiritual Israel, God has designed believers to be a brand new unique spiritual organism operating as a living breathing manifestation of Christ’s Body right here on planet earth.

We are not called to be saints, we are called saints, sainthood is not earned at all. It is not something to be sought after as though it could be attained to or something that only comes for a select few. According to the apostle Paul, we have how much forgiveness, total forgiveness. God knows what his son accomplished on our behalf where all of our sin debt is concerned and he is satisfied that all of that sin has already been judge on his son, leaving no judgment for us where our sin is concerned. Justification is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. 

In Romans, we learn God could not declare us to be right on the bases of who and what we are from the practical standpoint of our lives; we are everything but perfectly right. God could only declare us to be right on the bases of who and what he is, not on the bases of who and what we would be apart from him. The only way God could declare us right in his sight is to join us, to actually immerse us into the only one who ever was perfectly just through performance, and that was Jesus Christ himself. God had to devise a way to see us that way, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness.

Freedom from God’s condemnation is a reality for every single believer, not because of any new found performance capabilities, but because we are made the righteousness of God in our union with his perfectly righteous son. On top of that, everything necessary to prove to us beyond any shadow of doubt, and to prove to Satan and his rebellious forces that we are totally secure in our union with God’s son, we need nothing more, God supplied every need already. There were a lot of people in Paul’s day and in our day trying to earn their righteousness before God by way of their performance. They thought God would measure their do’s and don’ts and thought they were actually measuring up. God would considered them righteous worthy of his attendance, worthy of being in heaven. In fact, they were bragging, boasting about their achievements as though God could do nothing other than to declare them righteous because they deserved just such a declaration. Paul warned to guard against those who would promote a righteousness through performance idea.

It is up to those of the world to either accept or reject their redeemer, but that does no less make him their redeemer. When we accept our redeemer and the price he paid, the ransom he paid, then we are joined to Christ and we have his righteousness attributed to our account. Those who reject the gift are thumbing their noses at the one who died to paid that price for their redemption. The price was paid for all, and through that payment Christ redeemed the entire human race from the sin barrier that separated the world from God. It is now a son issue, not a sin issue. Will those of the world accept or reject the payment Christ made for their redemption? Those who reject their redeemer will face the ultimate consequences of that rejection.

God did for us what we could never do for ourselves, he took all of our performance off of us and put it onto Jesus Christ and judged him for our faulty performance. The only thing God is asking us to believe to be placed into his son, is to take him at his word concerning what his son did where our sins are concerned. The instance we take our stand with God, we are not only saved, but sealed until the day of redemption of these earthly tents in which we dwell. Flesh wants to say if I broke it, I can fix it. God is not asking us to turn from anything to be saved, he is asking us to believe Christ accomplished salvation for us and we are simply to believe it. Christ did it all, there is nothing left for us to do, God did all the giving, we do only all the receiving, faith is taking God at his word concerning what his son did on our behalf.