Friday, October 21, 2016

Just a Thought "113"

When it came to the earthly program, God’s glory was magnified through seeing. And, the prayer of faith was the catalyst. Miraculous events, visual events, that was God’s earthly kingdom plan. Is God utilizing the prayer of faith during this present dispensation of grace? Did the apostle Paul know what to pray for as he ought when he was asking God to deliver him from the thorn in his flesh? You see, had Paul known that God’s strength during the dispensation of grace is perfected in the lives of those who are weak, Paul would probably not have asked for deliverance in the first place. However, when Paul did come to understand how God was working in this dispensation, he did an abrupt about face telling us that he now took pleasure in infirmities.

The believer’s patient endurance through suffering is a way of demonstrating their hope, and when their hope is put on display in the midst of their suffering that brings glory to God. 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’s when God’s strength is perfected in a believer’s life. While a believer seeks deliverance from suffering, God seeks devotion through suffering. Prayer was never given to change God’s perspective of a believer’s greater preference. Prayer was given to change a believer’s perspective of God’s greater purpose.

God’s greater purpose was not to strengthen a believer’s faith by altering their circumstances. God’s greater purpose is to allow the believer to demonstrate their faith as they remain strong in spite of their circumstances. Prayer was never given to bring God into alignment with a believer’s wants. Prayer was given to bring a believer into alignment with God’s will. A believer can thank God, not with thanksgiving for receiving, but with thanksgiving that God is in control and that God is using the suffering circumstances in a believer’s life to perfect what God has begun in them.

What will it be like when God says enough is enough on his program for heaven so he can pick up where he left off with his program for those who will inherit the earth? Often times, people fail to see the distinction in the secret coming of the Savior and the second coming of the Messiah. When the apostle Paul talks about the last days or the latter times, he’s not describing the end of the world. The apostle Paul is describing some of the things that will be characteristic of the last day of this age just prior to the body of the Savior being caught up off this planet. A continual downward slide concerning human behavior; evilulotion not evolution, some call it devolution; increasingly more religious and superstitious in our last days, interested more in pleasure than lover of God.

This is how God is operating with age of grace saints, he’s not giving you things to look at or giving you signs. If you see something and say that was God, isn’t God good; guess what, same things happen to non-believers today. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Personalize blessings that’s called worshipping at the altar of the miraculous. Worshipping at the altar of the miraculous is to worship at the altar of the flesh. To worship at the altar of the flesh is to allow experience to trump truth and to allow experience to trump truth is to allow emotion to trump truth. And when experience becomes king in a person’s life, experience is determining that person’s doctrine rather than the person’s doctrine determining the validity of their experience. Emotion not only becomes the fuel but the pilot of that person’s life.

A miracle is a supernatural act of power, but most often when people think of the term miraculous, they think of some special display of power that God performs just in special instances and for particular people or perhaps for a particular person and at a particular time. A criteria in a believer’s mind that they would use to decide whether that event they witnessed would be from God or from Satan, keeping in mind that Satan’s miracles would be the things a believer would expect God to do, not Satan to do. Divine miracles were always in scripture preformed to indicate or signify something. They were to indicate or signify or to be the signature of not only the massager but of the message.

Satan distracts from the truth through the miraculous. The meaning of deception is to be distracted from the truth, to believe a lie. When a believer lines up the miracle beside the message, it will immediately tell them whether or not God or Satan is involved. And Paul makes that so easy by telling us what the message is. (2 Corinthians 11:3) The simplicity of Paul’s message is total payment for sin, accomplished by Jesus’ total sacrifice. The believer has therefore how much forgiveness? Total forgiveness! If the message isn’t total forgiveness all upfront and all inclusive, the believer can bet it’s not a miracle being preformed of God. Satan’s miracles will never stand on this message, because they want to distract from this message. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Just a Thought "112"

But, what is our hope? Is it the fix of these old bodies? Or, is it the new body? What is the manner of our deliverance according to our apostle in this age of grace? Will we be delivered from the suffering situations in our lives by the preacher on TV? Is our hope the removal of the suffering circumstances we believers and unbelievers alike face from time to time? Are we delivered from our suffering circumstances based upon the number of people praying for that deliverance? Are we being delivered from the suffering circumstances to which we’ve been subjected such that God will allow us to see our deliverance and tell those around us that we’ve just witnessed a God-thing? Is our deliverance the repair and the escape of the problems of the old or is it the hope of the new? When we get our new bodies, we’ll be delivered from the suffering circumstances that adversely affect this old tent in which we must dwell until we die or we meet Jesus in the air occurs,whichever is first.

Paul tells us the body God has in store for each of us believers is a body that will be fashioned like unto the Savior's glorious body. It isn’t the deliverance of the old, it’s the hope of the new today. And all the while, we’re seeking deliverance from the suffering circumstances we face and we’re seeking it all the time. We want a deliverance that we can see. Our apostle, our pattern, prayed three times for a deliverance that God would allow him to see, to witness. There has been much speculation among theologians as to the manner of the affliction from which Paul suffered, but it really doesn’t make a difference. God’s answer to Paul is much more important for us to understand than the nature of Paul’s affliction. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Does God have a particular direction he wants every believer to somehow discover when it comers to every detail and every area of direction that believer might take? Or, does God want believers to apply Scripture where Scripture can be applied and where no Scriptural principle can be applied, to make the choices that they desire and then take responsibility for choices they made? God isn’t saying choose A, choose A, but you’ll first have to discover that choice A is the choice that I want you to make before you choose it. God isn’t saying pray and I’ll give you a feeling of peace, or watch closely and I’ll provide you a sign so that you can make my choice your choice. That’s how people are operating with God today. God can work through any choice a believer makes, the choice is theirs. God is not micro-managing believer’s lives today.

Place your faith in Jesus’ faithfulness and that alone. Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in your mind, that are done for the purpose attaining salvation or for the purpose of maintaining salvation or 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. Israel had a problem when it came to learning the lesson of their inability and the futility to gain righteousness through performance, and this needs to be perfectly clear in people’s minds lest they fall into the trap that many have fallen into today. God completely took works out of the equation when it came to gaining or maintaining salvation.

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’ve been standing on for who knows how long, and that’s frightening thing for lot of people. It is much easier for many people to avoid learning then change in mid-stream. Paul’s message is unique and distinct from the message of Jesus and the 12. What traditions of the human race must be left behind in order to take the doctrine of Paul seriously. Pride will not let people swallow their own pill. What does it mean to die in your sins? It means to die with your identity in Adam number one, the Adam in rebellion; to die with that identification intact. Reconciliation and Sanctification, two different judicial transactions. God reconciled the entire world; believers and non-believers alike to himself through the blood of the second Adam. Now, a person needs to be placed into God’s son, so that they can have his son’s righteousness attributed freely to their account.

Good or bad has to do with being useful or worthless for reward. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul’s not talking about good and bad in the sense of judgment of moral goodness or moral badness, he’s talking about usefulness or uselessness when it comes to reward at the judgment seat of the Savior. Paul’s ministry was distinct, because Paul was the head architect for the age of grace for the building called the body of the Savior. The judgment seat of the Savior has to do with the building project. You as member of the body of the Savior are co-labours with God in the building project. The blueprint for the proper construction of this building has been given to the apostle Paul for the work crew of which you are apart, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Whenever you see that word labour or work in Paul’s epistles, they are always in direct connection to the judgment seat of the Savior.

The maturity of the believer is what the evaluation at the judgment seat of the Savior is all about. Three evaluation issues at the judgment seat of the Savior when it comes to your reward worthiness or not being worthy of reward; work of faith, labour of love and patience of hope. The believers effort in those three areas will be scrutinized. Most people think salvation is the end result, but salvation is the starting point. Paul was given the blueprints for the building. Most are still trying to operate with the blueprints of another program. God committed unto Paul the responsibility to lay the blueprint on the table before the work crew, so we might build in a manner worthy of reward. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just a Thought "111"

If a person hears Paul’s good news message and that person refuses to believe, choosing instead to believe that their works can add something, that their works can do something to do with getting them save, or keeping them save, that person does indeed need to change their thinking, they need to repent. Repentance is necessary in this age of grace. All who are believing the messages presented by the ministers of righteousness today, they need to change their thinking and accept Paul’s good news message as being the truth in order to receive justification unto eternal life. Believers certainly can make some choices in their lives due to who God’s already made them to be by joining them to his son. God’s Grace is a vital aspect of the believers rejoicing.

Setting oneself apart for holiness is one thing; setting oneself apart because of the holy standing God has already given that individual in the last Adam is something altogether different. Does Paul want the believer to set their flesh apart in order that they might make their flesh become less sinful and therefore, more holy flesh in the sight of God through time through their efforts? Recovering from shame is often confusing, scary, and a painstaking ordeal. The believer can do great wonders when it comes to relative righteousness. But measuring up to God’s standard of righteousness, no believer will ever do so apart from God decreeing that to be so, freely, a gift the righteousness required to dwell with God or for him to dwell with the believer.

The believer can set themselves apart all they like behaviorally in order to gain holiness before God, but they will do no better at reaching that goal than the foolish Galatians who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification. To attribute to the flesh the ability through performance to earn a righteous, or more righteous standing before God, or that righteousness comes from or sourced from what the believer does, or what they refuse not to do, or what they commit, or promise not to do again. A lot of believers gradually through time, they begin to slide to the place where the Galatians were sliding and that was back to error. But there are far more people who never started right to begin with because they never heard the truth of what was accomplished by the second Adam where their sin debt is concerned.

Believers during this age of grace are going to be delivered from Jacob’s trouble before it begins. Believers are not appointed to the wrath associated with Israel’s tribulation according to Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Believers can thank God that they do not have to pray the Disciples Prayer. “Deliver us from the anti-Messiah!” During the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Israelites will be under tremendous persecution from the anti-Messiah. He will be putting them to death for their faith. The souls of the martyrs are seen as resting beneath the altar, not because they are in a disembodied state, but because they are awaiting the completion of redemption (“until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete” Revelations 6:11) and their resurrection at the Messiah’s coming. It is evident that if the martyrs are brought to life at the beginning of the millennium in conjunction with the Messiah’s coming, they can hardly be living in heaven in a disembodied state while resting in the grave.

Are believers during this age of grace looking forward to the next event on Israel’s prophetic calendar, the Messiah coming to establish Israel’s promised earthly kingdom on the earth? Or, are believers looking forward to the next mystery event, Jesus coming in the air to catch his body up off of this planet? The Disciples Prayer, it has special application to that tribulation period to those Israelites who were being taught to pray in this manner. But it’s recited in churches across the country in our day. It’s recited as though it’s a prayer for today. 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, Ephesians 2:12. At the time when Israel will be facing the wrath of Satan; the time that Israel was being prepared for when they were being taught how to pray, this prayer is appropriate for the people of that day. Are believers to be praying for Yahweh to provide their daily bread today? Or, are believers to work to produce it?

God worked in connection with the sign nation, the nation Israel, the healings that were performed and the power resident was in the prayer of faith. James epistle leaves no doubt about the power of prayer in Israel’s program. They walked by sight. God allowed their prayer life to work in connection with sight as that earthly kingdom was on their doorstep. James was clearing writing to the saints of the earthly kingdom promise and program. And what James was writing was in perfect agreement with the promise to Israel sitting in John 14:13-44. From the apostle of the Gentiles, believers never hear “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” Paul never states: “whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” Rather, to the apostle Paul who is to be our pattern according to Paul, God made this statement in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

Understand that repentance in the earthly kingdom program was not about turning away from one’s sins and not sinning anymore. Repentance was about changing one’s mind when it came to earning a righteous standing with God through their performance. God had to do for the believer today, what they could never do for themselves. God places the last Adam’s test score on the paper of all who take him at his Word concerning their own inadequacy and the adequacy of his perfectly faithful son, having resolved God’s justice forevermore where those sins are concerned. God’s power from on high cannot depart a believer today! God places his power within each and every believer for the express purpose of guaranteeing those believers an inheritance in heaven. God’s power from on high is his guarantee that he will keep his promise. While God’s power cannot depart, it can certainly be grieved. 

It’s a dangerous thing to attribute righteousness to law keeping today. It’s one thing to make correct choices in our lives. Choices we know that God and Paul would agree with through scripture, choices that go hand and hand with agape as Paul relates it. Every believer should strive for righteous living in that respect, but to attribute our righteousness standing before God to do the choices we make is something else all together. It’s a dangerous thing when one attributes any of their righteous standing before God to their adherence to law keeping, whether they include the whole law or whether they narrow it down to the ten commandments or even the final two. To attribute a righteous standing before God to law keeping either to become saved or to remain saved is to misunderstand the good news Paul preached. Because the good news Paul preached has to do with a righteousness totally apart from the law.

Paul made statements such as, “I have learned” and “I reckon.” Paul reasoned things through; he assessed the situation. Why would we need to reason out the source of the problem? Their are avoidable suffering circumstances and there are unavoidable suffering circumstances that come our way. Avoidable suffering has to do with the choices we make in our lives. When we sow an inappropriate choice, we can count on the fact that sooner or later, we are going to be faced with an unfortunate circumstance. Most of the problems we face continue to be problems only as long as we refuse to prefer others over self and we continue to insist upon our right to be positioned on the top shelf. Many problems come our way simply because of our insistence upon having our way. And that’s the case whether it be on the job, in the home, whether it be with a spouse, with family members, or with friends. In such cases each of us hold the power to the resolution of our problem. Rather than wondering how God is leading when it comes to many of our problems, why not just apply God’s provided solution to avoid those problems. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Just a Thought "110"

Conduct becoming a believer comes from a proper understanding of the magnitude of God’s grace and what that grace accomplished for them. Paul doesn’t talk about God’s power from on high giving resurrection life to the believer’s body after it dies. Paul does talk about God’s power from on high making alive the believer’s current physical body. In other words, God through his power from on high will make alive the believer’s current mortal body, so that their current sinful flesh can be used as a channel through which God can accomplish his righteous works through them, his fruit in them. And trust in the fact that that believer also has the capacity to present their members as instruments of righteousness unto God, so that his indwelling power from on high can produce his fruit in that believer’s life.

The image of God in humanity is never associated with a non-material, spiritual soul, but rather with moral and rational capacities. None of these qualities is possessed by animals. What distinguishes people from animals is the fact that human nature inherently has godlike possibilities. By virtue of being created in the image of God, human beings are capable of reflecting his character in their own life. Being created in the image of God means that we must view ourselves as intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning, potential, and responsibilities. It means that we have been created to reflect God in our thinking and actions. We are to be and to do on a finite scale what God is and does on an infinite scale.

There can be no doubt that for Paul “the flesh” and “the spirit (God’s power from on high)” stand, not for two separate and opposing parts of human nature, but for two different ethical orientations. This becomes clear when one compares his list of the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-20) with that of “the fruits of the spirit (God’s power from on high)” (Gal 5:22-23). The two lists show that “flesh” and “spirit (God’s power from on high)” represent, not two separate and opposing parts of human nature, but two different kinds of lifestyle. Paul tells us in Romans 5:20 that God really gave the law to Israel not to make them good but so that the offense might be made to increase, not to abate, but to abound. Why would God want the offense to increase? Well, the offense was already there. But God gave an opportunity through that law program to really come out and show itself for what it was and for what it is in us.

Shame is often confused with guilt, but they are not the same. When we do something wrong we experience a sense of guilt. Guilt is like a nerve response to sin, an emotion in response to wrong behavior. Those uncomfortable impulses that stab our conscience are meant to turn us away from the wrong we are doing. Guilt is a healthy thing, because guilt comes as a result of something we do and we can change our behavior and the guilty feeling will go away. But shame is not just a feeling, shame is the belief or mindset that something is wrong with you. It’s not that you feel bad about your behavior, it’s that you sense or believe you are defective or worthless as a human being. No matter how many times you get it right, whatever it is according to the standards of your environment, you will never be acceptable. Deep down, you believe something is wrong with you.

We all need an environment where we feel our needs are met because of who we are and not because of what we do. The problem with shame, whether it’s passed on in silence or with loud shouting is that it’s crippling. It’s like a living death and you send your life feeling as though you are not good enough, living according to performance, never measuring up, value and acceptance are earned on the basis of performance. Performance however, always seems to fall short of the standard, giving the message, “You are defective and inadequate.” Eventually, we become ingrained with a need to measure up. What follows is more impotent performance, which generates even more shame.

Far too many believers are feeling dirty, worthless and ashamed of themselves. Shame is a silent, but deadly disease that pollutes the lifeblood of many believers. As a result, we feel unclean and therefore unworthy to approach God and have the living and intimate relationship that he wants to have with us. God’s standard is nothing less than perfection and none of us measure up, if we did or we ever could measure up sufficiently righteous for heaven through our performance, we would not have needed a savior at all. For it is God’s grace, not our striving that makes us accepted and acceptable. It is God’s performance through Jesus, not our trying hard to perform, that eradicates our shame.

Shame is a master of disguise. People make choices for which they are ultimately responsible. In this world’s culture, behavior that violates established social and moral standards is called an infraction of the law. In social settings, actions that do not conform to what is generally expected are called breaches of etiquette or bad taste. People in various areas of society, as well as many families and churches, fail to separate people from their behaviors. In systems that are performance oriented, missing the mark always brings on shame. In a society or circle where any unacceptable behavior is shamed, the offender becomes an expert at heaping shame upon themselves.

For many people, attending church is an extremely shaming experience. Performance based religion shames people for struggling, asking, doubting, and for not complying, reading, giving, attending, or doing. Living as a child of God isn’t about doing, it’s about believing something. And when we believe something and we continue to take in God’s Word, it should change who we are, not change what we are trying to do and trying to become. Never before have there been so many how-to seminars and books in which Christians are told they will find the key to closeness with God. What is it that makes us acceptable, valuable people? We are often taught that acceptability comes from useful religious performance that lives up to the expectations of our particular religious community. And since human performance is an inadequate, false means to acquire value, it always falls short.

Joy for a believer is a state of mind independent of surrounding circumstances. Rejoicing is the exhibit of that inter state of mind. Happiness is related to happenings to the events of the moment. If joy were dependent upon the situation at hand, it would be uncertain as a match lit on a windy day. So the believers attitude needn’t to become victim to uncertainty of adversity. Joy in the Savior has nothing whatsoever to do with the presence or absence of trouble or happiness or event related, but about a mind set. A mind set that can be totally unconnected to circumstances of the moment or the day or even the year. Joy is that state of mind, a rested state of mind, that is developed when doctrine becomes the stabilizing force in your life. Joy has everything to do with trust. Joy is a trust issue. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Just a Thought "109"

Believers don’t owe anything to this flesh. It will never please God. That’s why it’s going on down to the dust and God is going to give the believer a new body. The believers production didn’t gain them their new identity in the last Adam in the first place. It certainly can’t gain them heaven. Jesus accomplished that for the believer. If the works of the believer didn’t contribute to getting them saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping them saved. Since the believer does not derive their new identity from the output of their flesh, they don’t owe the flesh a thing. If a believer is trying to satisfy God’s justice on a daily basis or however by conforming to a standard of rules and regulations, they are going to find that just the opposite becomes true in their flesh. They are going to find themselves constantly focusing on the flesh.

Listen to the attitude of law orientation; an attitude that comes from a person who is walking after the flesh: “I’m not going to do that because that is bad,” or “I’m, not going to do that because I cannot do that and remain a Christian,” or “I’m going to follow the rules because God will accept me if I follow the rules faithfully.” That’s walking after the flesh according to the Word of God. Now contrast a walking after the flesh attitude with the attitude of one who is walking after the new identity: “I’m not going to do that because that’s not who I am in the last Adam. And that’s not good for me and it’s not good for the other person. Why spend my time wallowing in the mire that caused my Savior to have to die in the first place? Paul was functionally not capable of producing any fruit that God could accept. He died functionally when he tried to apply law-keeping to perfect his flesh. It wouldn’t work.

Living after the flesh, from a functional point of view is taking the credit yourself. Walking after the new identity is recognizing the source of the fruit. God through his power from on high is the source of the only good that comes from you that God can accept. To walk in the new identity is to take the credit away from yourself. The believer realizes that God is not looking at how well they adhere to any standard. He isn’t looking at their production. He isn’t looking at their behavior in order to view them as being in favor with him. He’s looking at their identification with his son and at what his power is producing in them. Does the believers no-condemnation status with God depend on any degree whatsoever upon their performance? Absolutely not. There is absolutely no condemnation whatsoever to those who recognize that it’s not their own righteous conduct but what Jesus accomplished that sets them apart as Holy and acceptable unto God. 

From Adam onward, people have been doing what seems right to a person in regard to having a relationship with God. Not one member of the entire human race has ever lived up to any system of rule-keeping for righteousness. Yet, how many are attempting today, to do what humankind before them was totally unable to do? 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 that word in Scripture, we find it used in a negative sense. God gave a religious system to Israel called the Law of Moses. But, the religious system was not for the purpose of giving a person an avenue to righteousness. 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.

Justification and sanctification go hand in hand. Justification is the believers gift declaration of righteousness. Sanctification is how that judicial degree of righteousness is achieved. Every believer is set apart by God as being holy at the point of that believers belief. God is the one who is performing the setting apart. God accomplishes this sanctification by joining all who believe to his son. Saint is God’s word for a believer. God sets every believer apart, sanctification is about that issue. Paul even called the carnal believers at Corinth saints or set apart ones because even though they were carnal, they had believed Paul’s good news. Paul was not only first in line when it came to dispensing the Grace of God, Paul was also foremost in crime when it came to murdering the saints of the earthly kingdom program and the blasphemy associated with God’s ministry at Pentecost.

God has set the believer apart and he calls them righteous based not upon what they do or what they abstain from doing where God’s concerned, but on Jesus’ righteousness and their faith in Jesus’ faithfulness on their behalf, because it’s at that point of their belief that God set them apart. God alters the believers identity by removing them judicially in God’s mind from an identification with Adam number 1 and now they are judicially identified with Adam number 2. But, throughout human history, people have refused to accept the finality that death brings to life. Death brings an unacceptable, sudden interruption to one’s work, plans, and relationships. After all, the death rate is still one per person. The serpent’s lie, you will not die, has lived on throughout human history to our time.

Jesus’ victory over death affects the believer’s understanding of physical and eternal death. The believer can face physical death with the confidence that Jesus has swallowed up death in victory, because Paul was eagerly awaiting God’s purpose for Paul. The glory that Paul knew would be revealed in him at the manifestation of the sons of God when the sons of God receive their glorified bodies when the believers meet Jesus in the air (not on the earth). For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The day is coming when believers will no longer be capable of being corrupted. They will be incorruptible. There will be no way that they can be corrupted. When believers get their new bodies, they will be bodies that are not subject to corruptibility. It will be impossible for corruption to set in when they get these new bodies. The believer’s hope is based not on the immortality of the soul, but on the resurrection of the body. In Paul’s view, immortality is tied solely to the resurrection of Jesus as the ground and pledge of the believer’s hope. Those who insist in finding the philosophical idea of the immortality of the soul in the Bible, ignore God’s revelation and insert dualistic Greek ideas into God’s Word. It is the resurrection that bestows the gift of immortality on the body, that is, on the whole person of the believer.

Paul’s desire to depart this earthly life for a heavenly life with the Savior is a relational and not an anthropological statement. It is a statement of the relation that exists and continues between the believer and the Savior through death, not a statement of the state of the body and soul between death and the resurrection. Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. Their relation with Jesus is one of immediacy, because they have no awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection. Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection. clearly shows that such a notion was totally foreign to him and to Scripture as a whole.

The law of sin is nothing more than the ever present moral choice of good and bad that resides in the earthly tabernacle of all God’s earthly human creation given Adam’s rebellion and will continue to remain a part of the believers earthly tent until they receive their new tent. These fleshly tents will never be worthy of heaven in that they will never be able to perform to the measure of the righteousness that is true of God. One of the most horrible, most cruel forms of punishment in Paul’s day was a method employed by the Romans. One of the ways of putting people to death was to take a corpse, someone who had already been executed and to strap that corpse onto the body of a live person. Paul paints that very picture when he illustrates the ever present problem that his moral choice of good and bad presented to him. Paul couldn’t escape the rot of his moral choice of good and bad, no matter how fervently he tried. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Just a Thought "108"

The old man and the moral choice of good and bad are not one and the same. The old man speaks of the believer’s former identity with Adam (Adam in rebellion). That identity is no longer true of believers. So, the old man is a thing of the past, having been crucified with Jesus, and the new man is the new identity belonging to every believer (Jesus, the last Adam). The sad news is that the new man continues to reside in the old tent where the moral choice of good and bad is ever present. The old man has to do with identity. Even though every believer has a new identity in the last Adam (Jesus), every believer suffers the same propensity, the battle against the moral choice of good and bad that the Apostle Paul struggled with himself on a day-by-day basis.

The issue in eternity will be to which man are you related? Do you have your identity in the first Adam, or do you have your identity in the second Adam, Jesus. Nothing and no  one can take a believers identity in the last Adam away from them, God accomplished that for the believer. Therefore, in light of that, a believer should bring their practical state into harmony with their identity in the last Adam. This is Paul’s admonition for every believer in this dispensation of grace. As sound doctrine is taken in and fully appreciated, believers who takes that doctrine in and appreciates it, and applies it, begin to grow and mature in what they believe. And as believers begin to grow and to mature in what they believe, those believer’s mind is being transformed in the process.

Paul tells us that it was God’s plan that believers be built up or stabilized. Sound doctrine is the means by which God transforms the thinking of those engaged in studying his Word. As we understand what God accomplished for us, and build upon that foundation the truths of who he has made us to be by placing us into his son, we begin to view ourselves as God views us. And there is great security to be found in doing so. Truth designed to give believers stability is truth designed to give believers security. God didn’t intend that believers be insecure, so the security doctrines come first in God’s building process for his grace-age saints. Paul prayed that the love of the Philippian believers would abound in knowledge, so that they would be able to make appropriate decisions based on that knowledge, which in turn would be glorifying and praising God. Only when we come to see ourselves as God sees us and are able to fully appreciate and understand who God has already made us to be and who he’s made us to be in the last Adam, can we become in our behavior what he wants us to be in that aspect of our lives.

God through his power from on high works through the Word he authored and the people his power indwells. God’s power is God’s seal, for all believers today; therefore God’s power is the security for all believers today. There is no believer in this age of grace who is not indwelt by God’s power from on high. With what are believers consciences to be programmed? With the Word of Truth, that’s how they're to be programmed. Only when believers conscience is programmed with the Word of God can believers conscience bear witness with the author of that Word of God. In the area of conscience God does not lead today independently of the written Word of God he authored.

God’s attitude towards a believer does not fluctuate in response to action. It’s not condition on their behavior. Believers have been justified judicially in the mind of God through the avenue of their faith in Jesus’ faithful performance on their behalf rather than peace based upon their performance toward God results in an unchanging attitude of peace with God for every believer. What Adam brought to the human race was brought about by a single sin but the free gift that provides justification was brought about because of many sins. God provided the free gift of justification because that one sin provoked the many sins of the human race. Since Adam’s one sin affected the entire human race. And, because Adam’s sin resulted in the many sins of the human race, God provided a sufficient gift to solve the dilemma of the human race. Judgment came through one sin, Justification solves the problem where many sins are involved.

To be justified means to receive that gift that came to all the human race. Sealed and earnest speak to the security all believers have in that God’s indwelling power from on high guarantees that those who have believed Paul’s good news can never be lost. They belong to God. Sealed means sealed for preservation. The seal is the securing device used to preserve the contents. God’s power from on high is the seal that God uses to secure all who believe in this dispensation of grace. Earnest means a pledge in the sense that an advance deposit has been made as the security guaranteeing the fulfillment of that which has been promised to those who have been sealed. According to Paul, God’s indwelling power from on high is both God’s seal and his deposited pledge that all believers are forever his and are destined to inherit eternal life. 

God predetermined to conform everyone who believes to the image of his son. God in his infinite wisdom pre-decreed that every believer would be joined to his son, fully identified with the last Adam. God pre-decided that the believer would be blessed with all the blessings and privileges of an adopted adult son. God decided in advance that the believer are to be to the praise of the glory of his grace. God has pre-determined all these outcomes for the believer and his mind is not going to be changed on this.

Grace is a much greater motivator than law, but ministers of righteousness hold over the heads of their congregations a little law mixed with the possibility of losing their salvation. They frighten them a bit and they’ll live properly in order to merit heaven and miss the second death. When one breaks this down to it lowest common denominator it’s salvation by works rather than by grace. Conduct becoming a believer does not come through a fear of losing one’s salvation, it comes from a proper understanding of the magnitude of God’s grace and what that grace accomplished for us. Believers are not conditionally secure, they are unequivocally and irrevocably secure and all due to the indwelling of God’s power from on high as God is leading all believers during the dispensation of the grace of God.

Was the Word of God given so that believer could be partially furnished or throughly furnished? That word throughly in 2 timothy 3:16 means fully, through and through furnished unto all good works. Through the book God authored, he has given the believer everything, all inclusive, God knew the believer would need for life and ministry in this age of grace. Yet, believers are not to cleanse themselves in order to gain something from God when it comes to their holy standing before him or to maintain something before God, because believers have been freely given something namely a justified and sanctified identity in the last Adam.

Believers are not to keep themselves on God’s good side,  because God’s already cleansed them judicially by freely crediting them with the righteousness that belongs to his perfectly righteous son. Therefore, nothing can remove believers from God’s good side; what or who shall separate believers from the love of God? The believers calling hasn’t changed. It can not change, so believers should conduct themselves in accordance with their calling. Walk worthy in order to gain your calling. Walk worthy in order to keep your calling. That’s not the idea at all. But walk worthy of the vocation that belongs to the believer, because God has already given it to them. That’s the ideal. How can those who have been justified freely, sanctified or set apart in the last Adam, how should those believers conduct themselves? 

Their are a lot of people who believe that salvation can be lost. They believe their salvation depends upon whether or not they are right with God. This causes the people who believe it to have to play all sorts of little word games in their minds. Sin is not called sin except before salvation, but after salvation, their sins becomes something different. It becomes faults, mistakes, accidents, misunderstandings, a back-slide. One can never be quite sure where, or when, the line is crossed from one to the other. You can see how self-justification has a heavy role to play in the to be made sinless definition of sanctification. Unfortunately, the things that are allowed of self are seldom tolerated in others.

Should the believer not be grateful to know that their salvation depends not upon the amount of sin they lay on the altar of sacrifice, but upon the fact that Jesus took all of their sins and he became their sacrifice? That’s different. There is a tremendous difference in the two. The believer needs to understand that the moral choice of good and bad does not disappear, God does not take it away whether it be at the point of their belief, or, at a point subsequent to their belief. The moral choice of good and bad remains right where it has always been to battle against the new identity and that battle take place between the ears. Satan’s ministers of righteousness use the word reform, they are all about reformed doing and commitments, but they have gotten it wrong according to the apostle Paul. It’s all about transformed thinking. Reformation would be a work of the believer for God, but transformation is entirely a work of God in the believer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just a Thought "107"

What remains is for the human race on their own part to be reconciled to God. God has already forgiven them their trespasses and forgotten their sins through what the death of his son accomplished. The fact is Paul taught that God loves the human race so much that the magnitude of his love is almost incomprehensible to imagine. God used one major event in history to demonstrate the depth of his love; allowing his own son to die on the tree of crucifixion for the sinful human race. One must understand the reconciliation where the human races sin is concerned. Rather than judging the human race for their sins, God judged his son for the human races sins.

The Apostle Paul was commissioned to tell people that God is reconciled where the totality of the sin debt of all the human is concerned; sin is no longer the issue on the table of God’s justice today. How much forgiveness does everyone have according to the Apostle Paul? It has all been forgiven upfront; there is not an ounce of forgiveness to be obtained. The reconciliation that Jesus accomplished for the human race was total, complete, and unalterable, it will always stand. God is reconciled where the entirety the human races sin debt is concerned; there is no sin left on an individual to forgive. 

This is not to the saved, we know we are reconciled, but now all have access to God, a change in status for the entire world. Does this mean the entire world is save? save? No! Everyone has to have an individual change of status and that takes place when we accept what God’s son accomplished for us. The issue with God is what his son accomplished, not sin. Who in the world are people asking for forgiveness from? From God! Therefore, the assumption is that he is not reconciled when people sin. In peoples mind, they are separating themselves from God by their sin, and Paul is saying that God has already reconciled the human race where their sins are concerned.

Seems like Paul should have been able to make great progress with his message of grace. We are given our righteous standing as a free gift, it is a grace gift given by God and we receive it the instant we place our faith in Jesus’ faithfulness having resolved God’s justice for our sins when Jesus offered himself a sacrifice for those sins. This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise, any or all human performance or any or all human production. God will never consider peoples works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration. To say your works have anything at all to do with God’s gift declaration of righteousness is to slap the giver in the face.

Eve was deceived and she missed the ball unintentionally, but not Adam. Adam purposely took his eyes off the ball and when he dropped his bat; he lost the ball game for the human race. What made that such a catastrophic loss for the human race is heightened by the fact that people are unable to do anything to alter their moral choice of good and bad condition. Human wisdom, human reasoning would say, “Give us a law. Give us something that we can do. Give us some way to perform. Give us a few balls of our own to hit so that we might earn back what we lost through Adam.” God’s reasoning said, “Impossible!” Why? The Law that he gave to Israel was a measure of what the human race would have to perform to be accepted by God.

God would have to do for the human race what the human race was totally incapable of doing for themselves. God would of necessity have to credit the righteous faithfulness of someone else to account of hopeless and helpless human race. The word “Redemption” has to do with a ransom. So, Jesus paid the price necessary to satisfy the Father’s justice for all the sins of the human race. The human race was given a Redeemer and the price the Redeemer paid through the shedding of his blood dripping on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant, to ransom the human race was a satisfactory payment to take those sins off the table of God’s justice forever!

However, the fact that Jesus became a redeemer of all the human race does not mean that all the human race will accept the gift the redeemer purchased on their behalf. Jesus’ faithfulness was the only faithfulness sufficient to merit God’s favor. God used our faith in Jesus’ faithfulness as the means whereby he would credit Jesus’ righteousness to all them that believe. To believe is to receive! To be justified does not mean to be perfectly righteous in performance. It also does not mean to become perfectly righteous or even more righteous in performance through time, it means having Jesus’ perfect righteousness freely credited to the account of the ungodly who believe.

We didn’t receive our righteous standing before God by the things we’ve done in the past that we might consider to be righteous. We certainly don’t maintain it by the things we continue to do or what we promise God that we’ll do that we might consider to be righteous. Our justification was something accomplished for us by God’s grace. Understanding the Grace of God results in joy. The mind set of joy will not come apart from understanding the Grace we have in this age of Grace. Many lack joy from not understanding that justification is compete.

The New Creation, this is the thing that’s brand new, but the Old Things being passed away does not mean that believers are now sinless at all. New identity in God’s son comes only by way of being placed into God’s son, the miraculous, judicial transaction called Sanctification;  joined to Jesus. You were identified with every aspect of the one to whom you were joined at the point of your belief. When Jesus died, it’s just as though you died from the judicial viewpoint of God. When Jesus was buried, it’s just as though you were buried right alongside Jesus from God’s viewpoint. When God raised Jesus from among the dead, you rose from among the dead from God’s perspective.

Sanctification is a set-apartness that comes by way of baptism into Jesus, not immersion into water, but immersion into a person. God, through his power from on high is the Baptizer in this instance. Pastors do not perform this baptism. The 12 apostles did not perform this baptism. Jesus never performed this baptism. Paul himself never performed this baptism. Only God can perform this baptism and he performs it through his power from on high the instant you take God at his Word and there’s no water involved. Identification through union and every believer is set apart through union with the Savior himself.

If God is no longer imputing the human races sins unto them because he imputed those sins to his son, would that mean that the entire human race would then instantaneously become dead to sin? The answer is no, because Reconciliation and Sanctification are not one and the same doctrine. They are two different doctrinal truths. No one is dead to sin apart from being baptized into Jesus, even though God is not imputing the human races sins to their account, no person is placed into his son apart from belief. We are not called to be saints, we are called saints, Holy Ones. Sainthood is not earned at all. It’s not something to be sought after as though it could be attained to or something that only comes for a select few.

We’re not in the process of becoming something new and different. We’re not even in an instantaneously cleaned up version of the former creation. We’re 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’s 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 form to the Age of Grace. God has designed believers to be a brand new unique organism operating as a living breathing manifestation of the Savior’s Body right here on earth.