Sunday, March 8, 2015

Just a Thought "38"

We are justified through our sanctified position in 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, that is how closely connected we are to Christ. It is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted, 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. It is important we know the difference, because 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. So, 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, the sad news is that the new man continues to reside in our earthly bodies where the sin nature is ever present. The old man has to do with identity, even though every believer has a new identity in Jesus Christ, every believer suffers the same propensity, the battle against the sin nature that the apostle Paul struggled with himself on a day-by-day basis.

God’s strength is perfected, God strength is brought to a point of fullness in the life of a suffering saint during this age of grace. God allows saints to suffer today, because God’s strength is made perfect in the life of the suffering saint, if God’s strength was made perfect in fixing the saint, Paul would be telling us to pray for the fix, but Paul is filling us in on a secret that Jesus Christ revealed to him. God expects us to make the right use of our minds in light of the doctrine he’s given us through the ministry of the apostle Paul. We should no longer be in need of someone to turn our heads, and tell us what to do, and which direction we are to take, will we always make the right decisions, NO, but we can certainly learn from the decisions we make, so that we can make better decisions the next time around. Choices always bring along with those choices consequences, the choices have been given us to make, as well as the consequences to reap for the choices we make.

All believers, during this age of grace, are adopted sons, but we are the children of God, as Paul will go on to say, but in what sense are we the children of God? The Galatian saints had begun following the Judaizers, but under what gospel had they been saved in the first place, Paul’s gospel! Paul had begotten them by his gospel, they had their new creation, because of believing the good news Paul presented them. Paul is the one who had led these saints to a saving knowledge of the justice resolving accomplishment of Jesus Christ on their behalf, Paul gave birth to these saints in the sense of bringing them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Unfortunately, we continue to sin, even though our sins have been paid for, and we will continue to sin, as long as we remain in our earthly bodies with the indwelling sin nature we inherited from Adam, God’s justice has been satisfied, but sin will remain a part of our earthly existence. Yet, Satan’s ministers of righteousness are busy at work within the righteous structure called religion, in order to keep the meaning of Paul’s good news hidden, to keep people’s eyes blinded to the truth of what Christ really accomplished.

The sin issue, became a son issue, and we need to see ourselves properly, apart from faith in the One who is faithful on our behalf, in seeing ourselves properly, when it comes to how we view other people, because they have the same brokenness that we have. But, God knew what it would take to save us, he knew what it would take to have us dwell with him through eternity future, and that dwelling with him would require that we would measure up to his degree of rightness, and measuring up to his degree of rightness would only come one way. We need a justifier who would justify the ungodly by faith, what a marvelous thing God has done, and who would have thought of a salvation in that sense, that God’s plan would call for him to join us to his son, therefore, what belongs to the son, now belongs to us, who have been joined to God’s son. The law was never given as a standard by which a person could live their life and achieve righteousness, it was given to be a mirror, so that those who were placed under that law might gain a better glimpse of themselves.

Paul did not say the law was written in our hearts, he said the works of the law are written in the hearts of the Gentiles. God knows whether or not a person has placed their faith in what his son’s faith accomplished for them, or whether that person is still holding onto the notion that their good works will somehow merit them a position of righteousness in the eyes of God, God knows the motivation that resides in the human heart that underlies all the works that we call good. Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in our mind, that are done for the purpose of 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, we place our faith in Christ’s faithfulness, and that alone.

God never intended subjective feelings to be a replacement for objective truth, that is why he has given us his Word, only when inner peace lines up with the written Word of God, are we headed in the proper direction. We not only have peace with God, we can enjoy the peace of God, who shall keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ in every circumstance that we face, we should not take any course of action that we do not have peace about, but is an inner sense of peace about something a sure fire fail safe system when it comes to choosing a direction to take in our lives? There are multitudes who are putting faith in their feelings, but we often connect our emotions to our prayer life, and thus we further validate in our minds the course of action we were bent toward taking in the first place, if things go right in our eyes, all is well and good, we have not only affirmed ourselves, we have affirmed our Savior, if things go topsy-turvy, perhaps the devil got involved in the details, but can feelings, even a sense of inner peace, always be trusted as a fail safe method to always point us in the proper direction, when it comes to the contentment or peace department, God through his power from on high, does not lead independently of his Word.

Do we not know that God has held back the wrath we so justly deserve, but do we not know that he has been good to us in holding back that wrath, he has not held back his wrath, because he is happy with who we think we are, or because he is satisfied with who we are trying to become. God has been long-suffering in holding back his wrath, because he hopes that we will consider his goodness through is son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and flee to his grace, God wants us to change our mind about who we are from fleshly perspective, apart from Christ. It is the goodness of God, that leads a person to a change of thinking, that draws that person to adopt what God has said is true in his Word. God is not patiently waiting for us to change our mind about what we do, many have done that thinking it gains salvation, the self-righteous moralizer looks in their self-righteous mirror, and they think God must be satisfied, a prize package. All people should change their minds about the way that God has provided, and what his son accomplished where their sins are concerned, because not all people believe that those sins were done away with Christ’s payment.

When peace of mind is based solely on circumstances, depression is the ultimate end for all, because we live in a sin cursed world, physical death is on it’s way for each of us, timing of that being the only uncertainty of that reality. Sin brings death, insecurity is the ultimate mind set for all who’s mind are focused on earthly things, which is precisely why Paul is directing believers to a refocus of thinking, God provides a way for believers to have joy, even in the midst of unhappy circumstances. Understanding peace with God, appreciating peace with God is that which allows the peace of God to rule our minds, govern our emotions, grace is the fountain head of joy. God has manifested his grace to us through the accomplishments of his son, each and every blessings is to provide for us a place of security and a place of specialness that we know that is there for us in the mind of God, we are secure and we are special, the result of that grace, peace. Most of Paul’s pain and suffering came from making the right decisions, Paul desired to be found in Christ, not with a righteous record that could be gauged as having come from Paul as the source, but a mind set of glorious joy can only begin with a proper understanding of God’s glorious grace.

Is it not interesting that the Gentiles had been considered dogs, but Paul speaking to the saints in Philippi, and it is the unbelieving Israelites who are considered dogs. Paul is simply drawing a contrast between those who were relying upon ritual for righteousness, and those who place no confidence whatsoever in their flesh for a right standing before God, and those false teachers who thought that ritual could do something, and the ritual was circumcision. Paul’s point in this age of grace, is circumcision apart from faith is nothing more than concision, it is nothing more than mutilation, Paul had more reason to boast if that is the way God values righteousness, if he values it through our performance. Paul was not a Gentile converted, then circumcised as a proselyte to the Race of Israel, he was not a Gentile taking hold of Israel’s covenant and being circumcised, he was born into a Israelite family, Abraham’s blood flowed in his veins. Paul was answering a group of people in his day (Philippians 3:9), in fact they were bragging, they were 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 us to guard against those who would promote a righteousness through performance idea, “Beware of Dogs, Beware of Evil Workers, Beware of the Concision.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Just a Thought "37"

The goal of the apostle Paul is to establish us and every believer in the knowledge of our sanctified standing before God, our being placed into his son. Justification and Sanctification are “much more” assurance that Paul is giving us, as to the security that we as believers have, being placed into Christ. We see Paul using this term “much more” over and over again, these are “much more” security passages that we find in Romans. The “much more” idea that Paul had in his mind when he was writing Romans, Paul wants to establish our minds in the “much more” assurance that we have, so we can have that stability of mind and stability of emotions, if the will is the governor of the emotions. When it comes to the establishment of the mind of the believer, and the truth of their secure position in Christ, this is security, this is who we are in Christ, we can not lose it. This is why our faith in Christ’s faithfulness is essential!

How many people not understanding Justification or Sanctification will say, “See there, if you do not live right, if you just let that flesh run wild, you are going to be a castaway, you are going to lose your salvation.” 1 Corinthians 9:27, people not understanding this passage,  a passage out of its context is a pretext, and so their pretext is you can lose your salvation, which is foolishness. Paul did not want to lose rewards at the Beam Seat of Christ, he wanted to do what was befitting a person who believes the good news, not for his righteous standing before God, but for his testimony before others. Paul did not want those to whom he was preaching to look at his life, the manner in which he lived his life, and then reject the message he was preaching. Paul is telling us not how he set himself apart in order to gain a greater righteousness before God through his performance, but how he made his life-style, to the best he could conform to who God had already made him to be in his sanctified position being joined to the Savior, that he might more affectively reach others, that was Paul’s key motivation.

Paul is letting us know here in the book of Romans, that God did not make Heaven for good people, God made Heaven for sinners who are justified freely by his grace. How many of us share Paul’s concern today, when it comes to the life we live out of appreciation, not out of apprehension, or out of an attempt to earn a more righteous stranding before God. We have a self-sanctification in the positive sense of separating ourselves from those things we know that are not good for us or not good for others, not in order to merit any more righteousness before God through that performance, but in light of all that God has already made us to be in Christ. Motivation is the key component when it comes to self-sanctification, for what reason do we set ourselves apart, is it to be more holy, so God can see us as more holy, that is self-sanctification negatively. A lot of people suppose that becoming more righteous in practice will make them more righteous in God’s sight, faulty thinking, Paul called it foolish, it will not gain them Heaven, there are a lot of misconceived notions out there concerning the book of Romans. 

This is what being in Christ is all about, what is his is ours, we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, this is how intricate, how intimate is our union with our Savior, this is our new identity and has been our new identity from the very instant we believed Paul’s good news. If God is no longer imputing people’s sins unto them, because God imputed those sins to his son, would that mean that the entire world would then instantaneously become dead to sin, NO, because Reconciliation and Sanctification are not one and the same, they are two different truths. No one is dead to sin apart from being baptized into Jesus Christ, even though God is not imputing people’s sins to their account, no person is placed into God’s son, apart from belief. We are identified with every aspect of the One to who we were  joined at the point of our belief, when Christ died, it is just as though we died from the judicial viewpoint of God, when Chris was buried, it is just as though we were buried right alongside Christ from God’s viewpoint, that is how intricate is our union. When God raised Jesus Christ from among the dead, from God’s perspective, we are raised and seating in Heaven right now.

What God wanted Israel to see was her shortcoming, her sin, the law was given to manifest, or to bring to light the indisputable reality of sin, the undeniable truth of the existence of sin, even in a person who thought they were performing sufficiently, righteously to merit a justified standing before God. Now if a religious Israelite was sinful, what does that say about the rest of the world, the law was given to Israel and that condemned the entire world, everyone has done exactly like Israel, it condemned the entire human-race according to Paul, for all have sinned. But now, it’s a gift decree of perfect righteousness put on our account immediately at the point of our belief, it’s a judicial transaction that is all of God’s doing, none of our doing, it’s not something we become through practice, it’s a gift decree of righteousness given us by God.

How is it that Jesus Christ is the one who is performing that which is good through us, rather than our flesh performing that which is good for Christ? The realization that God’s love accomplished some fantastic things on our behalf, apart from an understanding of the love of God, the love he has for us, the love of Christ, and what that love accomplished for us, while we were yet sinners, our only motivation to serve others would be self-interest related. The sin nature always points us to do that which satisfies the sin nature, and brings credit to self, this is true of all of us, we did not derive our position in Christ by way of our performance, so we need to stop trying to enhance our position in Christ by way of our performance, the source of the position that we have in Christ and the Word of God can do the work of God in our life. Paul could never get away from himself, if any good was to come from our apostle, it would have to be the indwelling power from on high producing that good, the fruit of God’s power from on high, it’s God’s fruit, it’s not our fruit.

It was the new identity Christ accomplished for Paul that made such a great impact upon Paul, it is not striving to become a better someone, it is recognizing the someone God has already made us to be. It is understanding our new position in Christ, when we come to fully understand and appreciate that new position, the striving can end. The law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ, if that is not a liberating truth! Paul told us there was a fixed rule in his life, a rule that he could count on no matter the circumstance, no matter the presence of indwelling sin, no matter his conduct, a rule that applies to all believers, and Paul calls that rule, the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ. It was not Paul’s practical walk that made him free from the law of sin and death, it was the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ that liberated the apostle Paul, the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ is the true liberator. Those who are in Jesus Christ are those who place no confidence in their flesh, but understood, as Paul understood, that in people’s flesh dwells no good thing.

While no believer will be sin less, hopefully, we will all sin less, as our behavior is impacted by our transformed thinking, and that transformed thinking comes through taking in the Word of God, and having the Word do its work in our lives. The sin nature disease called iniquity runs within the deepest recesses of the human mind, recesses beyond our conscious reasoning, God can see what people cannot see, and the disease that manifests itself in our coming short of the right thing to do all of the time, every thought, every word, and every deed, and the coming short of the measure of God’s rightness, actions in our lives are called sins. Grace is a much greater motivator than law, conduct becoming a believer does not come through a fear of losing one’s salvation, conduct becoming a believer comes from a proper understanding of the magnitude of God’s grace, and what that grace accomplished for us.

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. Those who believe God’s message to us through the apostle Paul, the apostle that God appointed to relay that message to us, are now ambassadors of this wonderful news which our apostle calls the glorious gospel of the grace of God. The fact that God is no longer imputing the sins of the world, to the world of sinners has nothing to do with the self-righteous efforts through performance of individuals, it has nothing to do with a proper approach to God, in order to get him to stop doing that which he has not been doing since his son became sin on all people’s behalf. The issue is not that of sinners making God’s son become their Savior through the avenue of a present day forgiveness of sins, but in believing that the son of God became their Savior the day he took their sins, the entirety of that sin debt upon himself, and that is what makes a person Heaven worthy. 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 Savior that makes us Heaven worthy. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just a Thought "36"

The direction within the Word of God enlightens us as we take it in, it is not for people in order to get them save, or for keeping them saved, or to keep fellowship, it is for people who are already saved and sealed saints, the direction is in the written Word of God, it’s the Word of God that gives us or sheds that light on us. Light in the sense of understanding, so that people might gain that understanding of who God is, and his plan for us, and who we are, and the relationships we should have between one another. Direction within the Word of God was addressing those words not just to pastors in the pulpits, but to the people in the pews, because God’s direction was addressed to the saints, not to the pastors.

What is religion all about, it is called, walking after the flesh. When Paul talks about walking after the flesh, he’s not talking about continuing a sinful lifestyle, as most suppose that he has in mind, to walk after the flesh, is to attribute to the flesh the ability through performance to earn a righteous, or more righteous standing before God. All who think that their performance can gain them heaven are proving their lack of understanding, when it comes to Paul’s use of the term “flesh”, rather they sit in an assembly where sin is being continually hammered in some manner, to keep people on the right track. To walk after the flesh is to suppose that righteousness comes from or sourced from what we do, or what we refuse not to do, what we commit or promise not to do again. 

Faith, we learn the necessity of a total abandonment of any notion, that any person 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. 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 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.

One serving of self, leads to another serving of self, words spoken in haste, lead to other words spoken in haste, harmful words to further harmful words, we serve the sin nature rather than our Savior, as we serve self, rather than the Body of saints to whom we are as equally and intimately joined, as we are joined to our Savior. Apart from trusting Jesus Christ as Savior, 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. Paul is just bringing this to our attention, and he is not taking us to judgment and chastisement, he is taking us to position and obligation, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” My service to God, is no greater than my service to you.

Jesus Christ’s faith in the Father’s will, and Christ was faithful to do the Father’s will, so it was ultimately Christ’s faith that allowed God’s justice to remain intact, as God declares an unrighteous believer to be righteous, apart from Christ’s faith and his faithfulness to carry out the Father’s will based on that faith, there would not be anyone perfectly righteous, to whom God could join a believing sinner. Just as Christ never doubted the will of the Father, the Father never doubted the faith and faithfulness of his son, it was God’s plan to use the faith and its resultant faithfulness of the son of God, in the ultimate glorification of human-kind, the union of believers to Christ, is that which allows God to remain just, when he credits those with righteousness with that which belongs to the one who is absolutely, perfectly righteous.

When Paul talks about a new creature, old things being past away, all things become new, he is not talking about sin in an individuals life, he is talking about all that we were prior to salvation, in Adam. Once saved, we are no longer in Adam, we are at the initial point of our belief, in Jesus Christ. In God’s eyes we are no longer who we once were, we are now the new creation, being forever joined to our savior. Paul is not talking about a believer gaining sinful perfection at the point of their belief, or at any other time for that manner, a person who believes that sin in others proves a lack of salvation, is a person who is over looking the sin in themselves, that individual is thinking more highly of themselves, than they ought. Paul did not say eliminate our sin nature all together, instead, Paul said mortify it, render it functionally inoperative, do not allow it to reach it’s final culmination, which is separation and division, while it will always be present with us, we do not have to allow it to rule and reign in our life, or to fracture others who happen across our path.

Why we need to believe, why it is we believe, what happens when we believe, it’s faith presented in the Book of Romans, it’s not how we become more righteous practically, that is something different, it’s how God declares us to be righteous judicially as a gift and how God’s able to do that. All our sins were future, when Jesus Christ died for them, so God had to know about them, and they all went on his son, never to be judged again. When we place our trust in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, we are joined to the Savior himself, the baptism by God’s power from on high into Christ, immersed not into water, but immersed into Jesus Christ, and it’s in that sense and it’s through that method that God can declare unrighteous believers to be as righteous as God himself, what belongs to the son, belongs to us, we are joint-heirs with Christ. When we look back to Israel’s program, we will see the prayer of faith. James in his Epistle, he leaves no doubt about the power of prayer in Israel’s program, they walked by sight, and God allowed their prayer life to work in connection with sight, when that earthly kingdom is on their doorstep again. 

We do not need to be too discouraged, as we watch the times unfold and the worries come, they just bring us ever closer to what we would call, our blessed hope. The one-world government architects of our day are steering us ever closer, and at an ever more rapid pace toward that time, when the entire world will need an answer man. Rest assured, an answer man will arrive on the scene, once God has called his ambassadors of the age of grace home, yet, as the world will learn when that answer man comes along, he will not really have the answers at all, he will be the false fixer. Satan’s goal is to counterfeit Christ’s reign on earth with his own reign, but when Christ is reigning on the throne, there will be a one world government system in place, and Christ will be the supreme archon of that governmental system. Satan, in his attempt to be like the most high God, also, wants a world-wide governmental system, but without Christ.

The Gospel of the Kingdom was about the nearness, the proximity of the kingdom of God on earth. The Gospel of God was about the identity of the earthly king, the Gospel of God had application to both programs of God, the program of God with Israel, the earthly program, and the program with us in an age of grace for the heavenly realm. The 12 apostles were teaching the identity of Jesus as the messiah after God raised him from among the dead, Paul also teaches the identity of Jesus Christ (Christ means messiah), he did teach the Gospel of God, but the issue in eternity in Heaven will be to which man are we related, do we have our identity in the first Adam, or do we have our identity in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. We have to believe that Christ died, and not just died for our sins, but what was accomplished when he died for our sins, what was accomplished where those sins were concerned. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Just a Thought "35"

Is Paul telling us to turn from our wicked ways, and get back to the law, or to promise God that we will do our very best to turn from our wicked ways, or that we must be willing at least, in our minds to turn from our wicked ways in order to get God to make the decision to save, we have not hear that from our apostle. If a person hears Paul’s good news, and that person refuses to believe Paul’s message, 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 saved, that person does indeed need to change their thinking, they need to repent. All who are believing the messages presented by the ministers of righteousness today, they need to change their thinking and accept Paul’s message as being the truth in order to receive justification unto eternal life by being placed into Jesus Christ, so repentance, or a change of thinking is necessary in that sense, even in this age of grace.

Many of the people preaching Paul’s words and proclaiming them to be true, are doing so without fully understanding what Paul has just said, they say the words much like they would say the words of the gospel - for Christ died for our sins - without really fully understanding or ever coming to comprehend what happened to the sins Christ died for. Paul’s message is unique and distinct from the message of Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles, there is difference in God’s earthly program and God’s heavenly program, what traditions of people must be left behind if we take the doctrine of Paul seriously? The mindset of the religious of Paul’s day and the religious of ours, the pride nature is the root cause of that rejection, pride insists upon attributing success to self, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, it is a fearful thing to think they may have been wrong all along. Paul was continually fighting against a mixed message (Galatianism), same false religious systems are operation and being promoted in our day. 

The fact that every believer is set apart by God as being holy at that point of 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. Paul even tells the carnal saints at Corinth that the reason these detestable deeds (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) had not and could not result in a lost of their salvation or their fellowship with God for that matter, is because as carnal as these Corinthians happen to be, they had a holy standing with God through their union with his son. Paul is not bringing this list to their attention in order to frighten them, he wants to remind them that God no longer sees them in that light, he’s bringing to their attention the fact that God is now, no longer viewing them apart from righteousness that belongs to his son. The gift decree of righteousness belonging to the son had been totally and permanently credited to the account of these carnal believers, to their account in heaven at the point of their belief.

The law pointed to sin, and then required death for the sinner, can the law now stake a further claim against the one who has already satisfied that claim, will the law ever again have a future claim where Jesus Christ is concerned, he satisfied that claim once and for all. We are joined to Jesus Christ, fully identified with his satisfying the law’s claim, it only stands to reason that once a person is joined to the one who has satisfied the law’s requirement for sins, and is now standing only in Christ’s perfect righteousness, that believer’s sinfulness can never be used as proof of that believer’s lack of righteousness. Paul moves us away from the realm of condition, and he takes us straight into the realm of position, the law can make no demand on the world of the lawlessness, because Christ met the law’s demands for the world of sinners for which he died. Today, the law can only serve the purpose of proving people’s need for a righteousness that no person is capable of gaining through performance.

No one needs to be told how to live the Christian life, it’s not about trying to change something, it’s trying to understand something, and then work with that understanding. Paul calls it a labor of love, the members of the Body of Christ are to be the supporting cast of the Body of Christ. There are times when the physical presence of another believer is helpful to a suffering saint, there are times when it is not. There are times when holding the hand of a suffering saint is welcomed, there are times when it is not. Just being there in times of distress can be comforting to a suffering saint who is seeking that type of support, some saints would rather have solitude. Sin shall not have dominion over us, because we are not living under the law program, we are living under grace, the victory has already been won, because Christ won it, sin shall not have dominion over us, because believers are not under the law, but under grace. 

The Body of Christ is not about program, but about judicial position. The hope for both programs is the same, and that hope is a new body and resurrection from the among the dead unto eternal life, that hope is true for both programs. 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 earth was the only realm of which God’s earthly nation Israel had been given inheritance, Heaven was not the issue for the nation Israel, they were never promised Heaven. Since there was resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead, the entire human race can be assured they will be resurrected as well, both believers and non-believers of both programs will be resurrected from the dead, but the unbelievers of all ages will be raised at the end of the Millennium time to be be judged by the one who has been given all authority to judge. 

We are discharged from the law all together according to the apostle Paul, we have been set free, Christ issued the discharge papers and Paul delivered those papers. Why did God put that performance-based merit system in place in the first place, because God was proving to weak and sinful flesh, the inability of the flesh to fulfill its righteous demands, we can look back at the law now, and we can say, you can not touch me anymore, your condemnation will have no effect on me whatsoever! I know the parameters, I no longer fear the repercussions of your ruler-ship, I know the condemnation you bring because of the emotions you stir up in the weakness of my flesh. Our blessing are not based on our performance in any way, shape, or form, our blessings are based on Christ’s performance, because we are members of his flesh. How many blessings was God free to shower upon those who are joined to the flesh of his son according to Paul, all blessings in Heaven, the place of our citizenship, in Christ!

We are waiting for our new bodies, the body God has in store for each of us, a body that will be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body with that eternal life as its source of life, and all the while, we are seeking deliverance from the suffering circumstances we face and we are seeking it all the time. We want a deliverance that we can see, if God is miraculously delivering here and there from the problems that come along believer’s way in these old earthly tents, those people will be more absorbed in the deliverance of the old man, than they are focused on the hope of the new man. When we get our new bodies, we will be delivered from the suffering circumstances that adversely affect the old tent in which we must dwell until we die or the gathering together occurs, whichever is first, it is not the deliverance of the old, it’s the hope of the new, today.

Emotion can lead us down the path, and will oftentimes, most likely lead us down the wrong path, when emotion becomes the governor of our intellect, rather than the doctrinally governed intellect becoming the ruler of our emotions, emotion should never be the fuel, we should never be emotionally driven, but doctrinally driven. Each of us struggles with an inner sense of right and wrong, and the difficulty we face in doing the right thing, in light of the inclination that all of us had to do that which we deemed to be wrong. We cannot say that only believers struggle with sin, because disobeying our conscience is coming short, in our mind, as to what we know to be the right thing to do, that’s the sin nature working in opposition to the conscience to have a person go in a direction contrary to that inner sense of right and wrong, that’s common to all humankind. Unbelievers and believers alike struggle with the innate sense of right and wrong, and the are drawn toward that desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Just a Thought "34"

The Book of Revelation, though the language is Greek, the thoughts and idioms are Hebrew, and this links it on, not to the Pauline Epistles, but to the Old Testament, and shows that its great subject is God’s final dealings with the Israelites and the Gentile, and not the Body of Christ. The Book of Revelation is not only Hebrew in character as to its linguistic peculiarities, but especially in its use of the Old Testament, only those who have most intimate acquaintance with the Old Testament can properly understand this book, but all who know anything of Old Testament history cannot fail to detect the almost constant reference to this book. All the imagery, the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the Altar, all this belongs peculiarly to Israel, the same may be said of the judgments, which follow on the lines of the plagues of Egypt, and therefore are to be just as real, indeed they are to exceed in dread reality those which were executed in the exodus from Egypt. The Book of Revelation is undoubtedly written about the people of the Old Testament, who are the subjects of its history, these will understand this book as Gentiles can never hope to do.

When the Body of Christ has been removed, and Israel is again dealt with, there will be, as there was then, plenty of religion, the religious condition of the nation will exactly correspond with its condition at Christ’s first coming, the state of things, they were then and will be again in the future. The seven Epistles in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, they are written to a people supposed to be well-versed in the history of the Old Testament, and well-acquainted with all that had happened to their fathers, and had been written for their admonition. Instructed in the past history of their nation, they will readily understand the relation between the testings and judgments in the past with which they are familiar, and those similar circumstances in which they will find themselves in a yet future day. While the historical events connected with the rebukes in these seven Epistles are carried down from Exodus to the period of the Minor Prophets, the promises cover a different period, commencing with the period of Eden, and ending with the period of Solomon. The subjects of the rebukes follow the order of the departure of the People from Yahweh, their decline and apostasy is traced out in the historical references contained in these Epistles, but when we turn to the promises, then all is different, they proceed in the opposite direction, instead of descending, from Israel’s highest ground of privilege (Exodus) to the lowest stage of destitution (Minor Prophets) - ascends, in the counsels of Yahweh, from tending a garden to sharing his throne.

To him that overcomes, this is language wholly foreign to the Epistles written to believers by Paul, the members of the Body of Christ have already overcome all, in Christ. The overcomers who are addressed at the close of each of these seven Epistles in the Book of Revelation will be living in the days of the Beast, in the midst of the great Tribulation, they will be special overcomers of a specific form of evil. No one can put this Epistle to Ephesus by the side of that of Paul to the Ephesians, and think for a moment that it can be the same Assembly that is addressed, note the standing of grace in the one, and the standing of works in the other. In Paul’s Epistle to the Body of Christ in Ephesus, God speaks to those who are all of them on the highest ground of privilege and of grace, but in John’s Epistle, there is no blessing at all, except to the overcomers. To him that overcomes, will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God, this Paradise of the New Earth, which will characterize the Kingdom, was referred to by Jesus in his answer to the dying thief, (today) on this day of shame and death, beyond which you see by the eye of faith, that promise will be fulfilled to him as an overcomer. His faith overcame all his circumstances, and he marvelously believed in spite of all the awful scenes of that day, that Jesus was the Messiah, and that he would yet come in his Kingdom. To him, therefore, as an overcomer, was the promise of that future Paradise given, as here it is given to all who shall overcome by the same faith.

The only component of Paul’s good news Satan needs to focus on today to keep people in a lost condition, is the reality of reconciliation, he does not need to go any further than that. If Satan and his clan can keep that glorious truth hidden by blinding people’s eyes to it through a message that keeps sin on the table of God’s justice, the other components of Paul’s good news will have no bearing whatsoever for that individual. If Christ paid the penalty for our sins, to keep those sins on the table of God’s justice is to do great injustice to what Jesus Christ accomplished, it turns salvation into probation! The pride-nature screams, God not imputing sins to those sinners would mean those rotten people have gotten away with committing things than I can not even imagine committing, the pride-nature recoils at that very idea. Some simply have a difficult time thinking that God is not counting the sins of those they perceive to be much more sinful than themselves against those people, these people have cubby-holed sin in their minds, they see themselves in a relatively more righteous position than those whose sins are off the richter scale of evilness, the pride-nature of people actually wants God to impute the sins of some people, to those people.

When most think of submitting, it sends a chill down the spine of more than a few, because those words conjure up the notion of someone barking out orders, as the one on the submitting end, becomes the doormat to be stepped on. This is not at all what Paul had in mind, submission has nothing to do with controlling someone or being controlled by someone, when it comes to the husband being the head of the wife, it has to do with the husband aligning himself to serve his wife in the manner that God intended him to serve her, and the same is true when it comes to the wife, and her role in the marriage relationship. It is an amazing thing that for believers and that is the only people to whom Paul is writing, there is a Bema Seat of Christ Judgment that husbands will not be judged by how well their wives responded, it will be how well they led, and wives will not be judged as to whether their husbands were leading correctly, but in their role in serving the husband.

Paul’s not saying, walk worthy in order to gain our calling, or walk worthy in order to keep our calling, but walk worthy of the calling that belongs to us, because God has freely given it to us. How can we who have been justified freely, sanctified in Christ, how should we be conducting ourselves, we should conduct ourselves in a manner conducive to the job that God’s given us. We should conduct ourselves in a manner that goes sides by side or that goes in hand with what God’s already called us to do, that job is our ambassadorship. It is our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation, how our we to conduct ourself given our ambassadorship, we are called to peace, this is how believer’s are to relate to other believers.

A ransom for all - was not testified until Paul proclaimed it, the revelation of the secret, which was kept secret since the world began. If a person believes Jesus 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, Christ’s death was pictured in the scapegoat sacrifice of the Israelites program. Leviticus 16:21-22, Christ was made to be sin for us, the issue is not that of sinners making God’s son become their Savior through the avenue of a present-day forgiveness of sins, but in believing that the son of God became their Savior the day he took their sins, the entirely of that sin debt upon himself. Those who believe God’s message to us through Paul, are now ambassadors of this wonderful news which our apostle calls the glorious gospel of the grace of God.

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. If we are trying to satisfy God’s justice on a daily basis or however by conforming to a standard of rules and regulations, we are going to find that just the opposite becomes true in our flesh, we are going to find ourselves constantly focusing on the flesh, the milk of self-righteousness will sour under the divine heat of God’s justice. Living after the flesh, from a functional point of view is taking the credit yourself, 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, he is looking at our identification with his son, and what God’s power from on high is producing in us, because that is where our life is as far as God is concerned. 

The general principle works across the board, one drink leads to another drink, one drug leads to another drug, one pleasurable indulgence leads to another pleasurable indulgence, one serving of self leads to another serving of self. We serve the sin nature rather than our Savior, as we serve self rather than the body of saints, to whom we are as equally and intimately joined, as we are joined to our Savior. The unbelieving world is not under the reign of righteousness, unbelievers are under no obligation to serve righteousness. It should not surprise us to see what we see now, and what we will be seeing in an increasing manner as time goes on in the world today, the unsaved world is simply serving the master they are under. Paul brings this to our attention, and he is not taking us to judgment and chastisement, he is taking us to position and obligation, we serve him to no greater degree than we serve those to whom he’s joined, and they are joined to him equally.

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.