Sunday, December 28, 2014

Just a Thought "30"

Grace within a dispensation was one thing, a dispensation characterized solely by grace is something else altogether. Paul dispensed a message that the 12 apostles had not dispensed, and that message was different, and that message was geared to the Gentiles.

It is going to make a difference if we lump these messages altogether, we are going to be taking from one program, and trying to make it apply to another, when Paul clearly tells us that God’s power from high is working differently today.

The hope for both programs is the same, and that hope is a new body and resurrection from the dead unto eternal life. The saints of both programs are promised that hope, but the residential destinations promised the believers of the two programs are entirely different.

The earthly calling and the heavenly calling refer to the program to which believers have been called in their destinations. The Body of Christ is an expression denoting the point when God began to judicially join believers to his son, the Body of Christ is not about program, but about judicial position.

People’s natural inclination is to suppose that they must relate to God on the basis of a rule-keeping, but Paul wants to clear-up that type of thinking, he wants to eliminate it altogether, so he pictures the law as being the husband, in order to make his point.

What Paul is telling us is that the law has yet to find a faithful and obedient wife, the law was designed to be a condition-based relationship. It is impossible for anyone with a sin-nature to be a faithful wife to the law, everyone should be receiving the cursings right now, according to the law system, if the law-husband was still alive.

The law could have been a positive and prolific provider from the standpoint of a husband providing, of course, that the law could find a faithful and obedient wife, because the provision of the law was conditional; it was conditioned upon the faithfulness of the wife.

We got our good times, our happy times, our joyous times, but we have our sad times, and our bad times. We got times when we are very low emotionally, when we seem like we are on the bottom and we do not know where to turn or what’s happening next.

The whole creation is suffering while we are under the curse. The reality is that we will continue to suffer, health, wealth, and prosperity in this life as the popular money-mongering ministers of righteousness would have us believe today, it is just the opposite.

So, why do people have such a difficult time believing the apostle Paul when our apostle tells us that Satan’s ministers of righteousness, during this age of grace will in fact, be working within a religious framework.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 3 that there’s a form of godliness, a structure of godliness, and who will be working in that structure of righteousness in the last days of the age of grace, Satan’s ministers of righteousness offering people the song: Health, Wealth, and Prosperity.

Throwing out a fleece worked for Gideon, because God led people differently in time-past than the way he is leading today. God has not ceased leading those who are his, Paul tells us that, he is just leading in a different manner today.

God worked through signs and wonders in time-past to validate the authority of his message and his messengers. Today we walk by faith, not by sight, God’s word is complete today, but how may of us want to throw out that fleece in some form or fashion.

Gideon wanted to see the clear direction, are we any different today, we still want to see conditional direction, when it comes to areas of our lives, where we want God to show us that direction. Far too often the fleece we want to throw is the fleece called feeling. 

Saved in the sense of all the suffering circumstances that have been the thrust of (Romans 8) section all along; we are delivered from the suffering circumstances of this life by hope, we are going to get new bodies.

When we get our new bodies, we will be delivered from the suffering circumstances that adversely affect this sin-cursed world, in which we must dwell until we die or our meeting Jesus in the air occurs, whichever is first.

How many believers must endure the hardships that go along with this sin-cursed world, in which we must take part today, we all suffer together. The redemption of our body, a new body that no longer will be subject to the suffering circumstances of life as we know it, on this sin-cursed planet.

God sees us in Christ, and he sees us as being complete in our union with Christ, totally identified with Jesus Christ in every aspect of Christ’s life and relationship with the Father.

The Israelites are sinners and the Gentiles are sinners, whether we are a moral person or a very immoral person from human perspective, all have sinned and all are continually coming short of the perfection that belongs to God himself.

What a security we can gain, knowing what Justification has to do with God recognizing to be righteous. Throughout the ages, God has chosen to recognize as being righteous, those who would simply take him at his word.

To be justified is to be recognized as being right, to be recognized judicially as being right, or righteous. In the age we live in, God recognizes those who take him at his word concerning the price Christ became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins.

The moment we believe, God’s power from on high joins us to Christ and from that point on we have a brand new identification, again, from God’s perspective.

This identification is what Sanctification is all about, for us not by way of improved performance or sinful conduit elimination, but by way of new identification that belongs to all who God’s power from on high has joined to God’s son.

We are dead to sin, we have been dead to sin since the point of our belief, because Jesus Christ took our sins off of us, God is reconciled where our sins are concerned. To die in your sins, means to die with your identity in Adam, Adam in rebellion; to die with that identification intact.

We no longer have that identification once we believe Paul’s good news, because now we have a brand new identity. We are not to tell the lost that God can take away their sins, we are to tell the lost God has already taken them away, so that they might believe that good news message and be joined to the Savior.

It is not the non-imputation of sins that makes a person Heaven-ready, it is the imputation of the very righteousness that belongs to the Savor that makes us Heaven-worthy. We do not like to admit the fact that our human nature being what they are, we automatically rise up and rebel against that truth.

But Paul goes to great length to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt, that everyone of us are continually coming short of the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. When Paul mentions sin, he does so for the purpose of having every individual realize and admit that through out the course of our daily lives, we all miss the mark of God’s perfect rightness.

We all are satisfying the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, and we do it with everything we do. That is where we stand today, because we are all under sin, as Paul defines it. A person’s problem today, is not getting forgiveness for their sins, but that they need to learn about what God’s justification is all about.

God had to do for us, what we could never do for ourselves! God counts the faith of the one who agrees with him as to the reality of that person’s own unworthiness, and the fact that that person must be justified by God’s gift decree, God counts that person’s faith as being that person’s righteousness.

The old man and the sin nature are not one and the same. The old man speaks of our former identity with Adam, that identity is no longer true of believers sealed in Christ. The old man is a thing of the past, having been crucified with Christ, and the new man is the new identity belonging to every believer.

Yet, the old man continues to reside in our bodies where the sin nature is ever present, the battle against the sin-nature that Paul struggled with himself, on a day-by-day basis. Bring your practical state into harmony with your positional standing, this is Paul’s admonition for every believer in this age of grace.

Prayer was never given to change God’s perspective of our greater preference, prayer was given to change our perspective of God’s greater purpose. God’s greater purpose was not to strengthen our faith by altering our circumstances, God’s greater purpose is to allow us to demonstrate our faith as we remain strong, in spite of our circumstances.

The grace and strength God gives a person to endure that suffering is the strength of God he wants others to see in that person’s life, that is when God’s strength is perfected in your life.

That earthly kingdom program is no longer in progress, but on hold, we come to realize that God through his power from on high wants to stabilize every believer today, in a completely different way. Our patient endurance through suffering is a way of demonstrating our hope, and when our hope is put on display in the midst of our suffering, that brings glory to God. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Just a Thought "29"

God calls all today, and does his call come by way of circumstance or does he call today to believe the message given thru the apostle Paul, the proclaimer of that message of which we are to be ambassadors.

God predetermined the outcome for all those he foreknew would come to belief. God predetermined that he knew about all along who would be conformed to the imagine of his son.

God’s call in time past came through creation itself, and after that through a man name Noah. God’s call went through the prophets that made known to the nations what God wanted those people to know about his name.

No matter the dispensation in mind or the dispensation at hand, God’s call went out, it’s just that not all were willing to accept God’s call.

The body of doctrine Paul taught renews our thinking, but regeneration takes place when we believe the gospel and we become part of the new creation. The word of our salvation washes away any notion of self-cleansing for righteousness as an approach to God.

Paul’s gospel rinses any notion of man’s production as the basis of a right standing before God and leaves the believer standing only in the purified state of Christ’s righteousness. It’s not how we perform in a different way, or make commitments to perform differently, it all has to do with our being placed into Christ, that’s the new creation.

When a person believes in the reality of reconciliation, that person becomes an instantaneous member of the new creation called the Body of Christ. We should be very grateful that we are saved by the faith of Jesus Christ, his faith accomplished our salvation.

So, being freed up from all these suffering circumstances is not just liberty, it is a glorious liberty. The sufferings of this present lifetime are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us, that is HOPE. God is not causing bad things to happen to bad people and good things to happen to good people.

God is not raining down suffering circumstances to bring bad people in line and he is not raining down similar adverse circumstances on good people that have gone bad to keep those people in line.

If we could pray these circumstances away, what hope would we need, our hope would reside right here in praying them away. When Christ returns in the air to catch us up to be with him, our suffering situations will forever be a thing of the past.

Why would God want the offense to increase, the offense was already there and God gave an opportunity through that law program for it to really come out, and show itself for what it was and for what it is in us. So, the sin nature used the law to bring forth fruit unto death.

From God’s judicial point of view, we are no longer in that position, we have a new position. Would more righteousness be needed than the Savior’s righteousness, or is God requiring that we add our righteous works to Christ’s righteousness that we might become righteous indeed, or is Christ’s righteousness the only righteousness from God’s perspective, his saints will ever need?

If works were part of the salvation equation before we were saved  by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, his sacrifice would never have been necessary.

If works were necessary in order to keep a person saved and thus keep that person from facing condemnation from God, then Christ would have only had to die for part of our sins, the part before we began our maintenance for salvation program.

The responsibility for keeping the slate clean after salvation would be up to us. If we could do it after salvation, we could have done it before our salvation! If we are not acting saved, we did not get saved, is the idea that is being promoted, Paul did not like that is his day, we should not fall for it in ours. 

It is amazing that religious teachers would tell people that they have got that sin, and they preach a message to make people fell guilty about the indwelling sin, and then they would give those people rules to straighten up from the sin. 

The predicament of sin is that no person can escape it, and no person can beat it, there is not any fixing the sin-nature, the flesh cannot be repaired. People want to be saved by grace, and then they want their fellowship with God maintained by rule-keeping. 

In spite of Paul’s highest ambitions, and in spite of his most lofty expectations, he could never merit righteousness before God through the perfection of his flesh, that is called “religion.”

It is recited in churches across the country in our day, it is recited as though it is a prayer for today, it is recited like vain repetition as people stand up and uttering together what is commonly called: The Lord’s Prayer.

At the time this prayer was given to the disciples of the earthly kingdom program, Gentiles did not have a father-child relationship with God the Father. Are we looking forward to the next event on Israel’s prophetic calendar - Christ coming to establish Israel’s promised earthly kingdom on the earth?

Or, are we looking forward to the next mystery event - Christ’s coming in the air to catch his body, of which we are up off of this planet? What an identification God has given us, every believer’s sanctification comes by way of our union-identification with Jesus Christ.

We find the amazing and comforting truth that God’s love for those who are joined to his son, is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son.

No sin, no circumstance, no member of creation, no amount of time, no measure of distance will ever be able to diminish God’s loving attitude towards those who are united to him by way of being in his son.

Nothing past, present or future, shall separate us from the love of God. Sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted, we cannot lose the perfectly righteous standing we have, because it came by way of our sanctified position in God’s son.

We should never forget that God, in is omniscience, is able to determine people’s response to the creation manifestation of God that has stood since he spoke the creation into existence.

God is just, and he knows all about the inner workings of people, and he knows their minds, their thoughts, and if God was able to make a determination as to whether people were responding positively or whether they were responding negatively to whatever they knew about creation itself, regardless of the mode of the message God gave to people in time past.

God is able to make the same determination today, God knows all things real and potential, so we have to leave those things up to God, and trust God. God is fully capable of judging between belief and unbelief no matter the mode of the communication he has give to people from creation all the way through to Paul.

Here was a visual sign Israel could not refute, a visual manifestation opportunity of God’s power from on high was giving Israel’s religious leaders to solicit from that religious leadership, a change of thinking.

People were getting healed, and people were coming to belief, and many people were added to that earthly kingdom promise to Israel in that day, but God was looking for the leadership, the representatives of that nation to make their confession. It was a national promise and it is a national rejection as far as God is concerned.

Time is running out, Israel is very close at this point to being set aside, as God is on the threshold of ushering in a new and unprophecied program and a new dispensation with new truths associated with it for us, for the Gentiles. God through his power from on high, is in fact leading every believer today.

What believers need to understand today is that while God used his power, it has led believers in various ways throughout the course of human history. God has not always led the same way, he used his power in different ways through different dispensations.

God’s power was with people selectively and conditionally, it was abiding with them, but that abiding was not guaranteed to be permanent, because God’s power could cease abiding with a person because of that person’s disobedience.

The fact that God’s power from on high would indwell Gentiles as well, and totally apart from God’s program with the nation Israel, that was part of the mystery, not revealed until it was revealed to the apostle Paul.

Those who have trusted in the justice-resolving accomplishment of Jesus Christ where our sins are concerned, not only do we have God’s power from on high resident within us, but it is indeed leading us and it is leading us in more than one way. 

Is the lose of reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the same thing as Christ condemning the believer who is standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ, it is the value of the work itself that will be judged, not the believer.

Christ will be able to judge, not only what is seen by the eye, but also the motivations of the heart, not only what was done, but why it was done in connection with each believer’s work of faith, labor of love and patience of hope.

Many believers will indeed suffer the loss of rewards for those works that are not reward worthy, but again, is this the judgment Paul is speaking of in Romans 8:1? NO! The sanctification that comes by way of being placed into Christ is positional truth. A sanctified position in Christ comes not as a result of behavior, it comes as a result of belief. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Just a Thought "28"

Our fleshly production did not gain us our position in Christ and it certainly can not gain us heaven, Christ accomplished that for us. If the works of our flesh did not contribute to getting us saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping us saved.

We do not owe anything to this flesh, why spend our time wallowing in the mire that caused our Savior to sacrifice himself in the first place, it will never please God. God is not looking at our production, he is not looking at our behavior in order to view us as being in favor with him.

If we are trying to satisfy God’s justice on a daily basis by conforming to a standard of rules and regulations, the milk of self-righteousness will sour under the divine heat of God’s justice. We need to stop focusing on our fleshly performance and focus on our position in Jesus Christ. 

Salvation, justification unto eternal life is a gift of God, it is not something we attain by our works in the first place. We have also been sanctified or set apart in that we were identified with Christ by God’s power from on high baptism into Christ at the point of our belief.

It is entirely a work of God for the believer, not a work of the believer for God. No effort of the flesh could accomplish it, no effort of the saint can add to it.

This in itself is the motivation for a believer to bring the body into subjection to what God had done freely for the ungodly as we place our faith in what Christ accomplished for our sins. Paul’s desire was about beating the flesh back, not about making the flesh better, it is about holding it down, bringing it into submission.

One has to do with elevation, the other has to do with submission, Paul was talking about making the flesh subject to him.

Everywhere Paul went, the people who had known the law did not just reject Paul, they wanted to do away with Paul for preaching that people were not under the law. What does that tell us about those in our day who continue to hang on to the notion that God is continuing to deal with people on the basis of their performance?

We can see the connection between the religious crowd of Paul’s day and the religious crowd of today. The pride nature is the root cause of that rejection, pride insists upon attributing success to self.

Human righteousness comes from self-interest-motivation, it is self-glorifying and while it may be of earthly benefit, that will not cut it when it comes to meeting the demands of God’s perfect justice.

When ungodly people are willing to simply take God at his word, abandoning any notion that they can merit a righteous standing with God through their performance, and trust solely in what Jesus Christ accomplished for them, having resolved that issue of their sins, God’s power from on high performs a miracle in those people’s lives by uniting those believers with Christ himself.

That is what sanctification, our set-apartness is all about. As we travel through Paul’s handbook on faith, we learn the necessity of a total abandonment of any notion that no one can merit righteousness before God through the performance of the flesh, and that we must place our trust solely in the fact that God accomplished our salvation for us through his son’s death when he judged his son for our sins.

Paul was not talking about Christianizing the flesh, making it better flesh, capable of doing more things, he was talking about holding the flesh back, keeping it down.

Paul was motivated to keep his desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to keep it at bay and not let that reign supreme when it came to his activities and his actions.

Paul was being honest with himself and with us, when it came to the capacity of his flesh to merit righteousness before God through performance, if God was going to righteousify ungodly people, it would have to be freely by his grace, it could come no other way.

People’s performance could not be allowed to enter the picture God would have to use belief rather than behavior as the criterion whereby to join believers to his son. Could there have been a sin or two, or maybe a few left over when Christ died for the sins of the world for which God’s justice was not satisfied, a sin in the future.

God’s justice was satisfied where the sins of the world are concerned, God reconciled the world unto himself, as Paul tells us.

God was satisfying his own justice where the sins of the world are concerned through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but God recognizes those who take him at his word concerning the price Christ became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins.

Taking God at his word is called faith, God’s intent was to join believers to his son, from God’s perspective the two become one flesh. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe God and the moment we believe, God’s power from on high joins us to Christ and from that point on we have a brand new identification. 

Does God’s call go out selectively or does he call all today, and does his call come by way of circumstance or does he call today to believe the message given through the apostle Paul.

Jesus Christ was made a curse for our sins by taking our place and suffering the judgment of God for the sins he died for, was his death not pictured in the scapegoat sacrifice of the Israelite program?

If a person believes Christ died for their sins, but does not believe that God’s justice was satisfied when Christ died for those sins, that person has not believed Christ died for their sins according to the scriptures.

To continue to insist that God’s justice has not been resolved where all the sins Christ died for are concerned, is to deny the truth sitting in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

Whatever it is, whether we are suffering or whether we are well, we can thank God for it, not with thanksgiving for receiving, but with thanksgiving that God is in control and that he is using the suffering circumstances in our life to perfect what he has begun in us.

Prayer was never given to change God’s perspective of our greater preference, prayer was given to change our perspective of God’s greater purpose.

God’s greater purpose was not to strengthen our faith by altering our circumstances, God’s greater purpose is to allow us to demonstrate our faith as we remain strong in spite of our circumstances.

Prayer was never given to bring God into alignment with our wants, prayer was given to bring us into alignment with God’s will.

We are not to tell the lost that God can take away their sins, we are to tell the lost he is already taken them away, so that they might believe that good news message and be joined to the Savior.

Does our righteous standing before God come by way of our fleshly performance or does God simply count or decree a person to be righteous because of that person’s faith in and union with his perfectly righteous son?

That is the question, the source of our righteousness, is it personal performance or position in Christ? Our fleshly production did not gain us our position in Christ, it certainly can not gain us heaven, Christ accomplished that for us.

The works of our flesh did not contribute to getting us saved, how can the works of the flesh play a part in keeping us saved. We are not to cleanse ourselves in order to gain something from God when it comes to our holy standing before him or to maintain something before God, because we have been freely given something, namely, a justified and sanctified position in his son.

Paul’s not saying to walk worthy in order to gain our calling or to walk worthy in order to keep our calling, but to walk worthy of the vocation that belongs to us, because God has freely given it to us.

Our calling has not changed, it can not change, so we conduct ourselves in accordance with our calling. We should conduct ourselves in a manner conducive to the job that God’s given us, it is our ambassadorship of the message of reconciliation, the best news the world could ever hear. 

The beginning of Israel’s last days of her program, they were being equipped for the upcoming time of tribulation right on their horizon. They were more abundant than ever, God used the physical senses in every respect in connection with his sign nation at Israel’s high holy feast day called Pentecost.

This was not a mystery, this was not a secret, it was exactly what the bible had foretold would take place when it came to the sign nation.

God gave his sign nation things to see and to hear and to speak, the physical senses were used through God’s power from on high, that Israel might witness their deliverance; “before our eyes” and “in our sight” tell us how God’s power from on high worked as Israel was approaching the last days of her program, which was to culminate in an entrance to her promised earthly kingdom.

The visual manifestations of God’s power from on high was directly involved in as the nation Israel was given every visual opportunity to change their thinking about the identity of their Messiah and their ability to perform up to the standard of God’s righteousness, when it came to the law contract.

When God would set his program with Israel in abeyance for the ushering in an unprophecied age with us Gentiles. From the time that God sent Moses to deliver them from their Egyptian captivity, Israel was give things to see, to witness for themselves in order to visually verify God’s presence and his purpose with them, yet, for all the visual evidences that God gave to Israel, Israel would not believe God.

When we come to understand that we are living in a brand new age called “the dispensation of grace” and that that earthly kingdom program is no longer in progress, but on hold, we come to realize the God’s power from on high wants to stabilize every believer today in a completely different way.

Israel walked by sight, that was part of the contract, the contract God established with the nation Israel called the law. In that contract itself, God said he would deal with them according to things they could look at.

So, God dealt with the sign nation according to signs. For we walk by faith, not by sight is a clear statement from Paul how we walk today. We stop looking for things.

For those who allow emotion to trump doctrine, Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 3 that this would be the character of “the religiously minded” as this age of grace winds to a close.

A previously held position and emotion are the two things that trump doctrine, and emotion becomes a part of those who have held on to previously adopted position. Emotion trumps doctrine in most people’s minds and religion is about working on the emotional minds of people. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Just a Thought "27"

When Paul says putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, he is talking about the whole body, the whole sin debt, all of our sins, are sins cut off from us!

All our sins from the front of our life, to the back of our life, they have been completely cut away from us through the cutting off, the circumcision, actually the death of Jesus Christ, never to be joined to us again, another wards, God can no longer see them.

God no longer sees us in our identification with sin, since the initial point of our belief, he sees us in our identification with his son, all the sins Christ died for are sins which are forever dead in their ability to stand between the sinner and the Savior.

No matter how the world comes down on us or how the world views us, how our friends view us or cease viewing us, God views us in a way which is incomprehensible to the world.

We are not in the process of becoming something new and different, we are not even in an instantaneously cleaned up version of the former creation, we are not a sinless version of who we once were, we are at the very instance of our belief, a brand new creation, God sees us in a brand new way.

In the fact, that it is called a new creation, it tells us this new creation, as God sees it, is not an extension of some former creation. In other wards, we are not an extension of believing Israel time past carried on over in some spiritual form to the age of grace, can not be.

We are not now, nor will we ever be spiritual Israel, God has designed believers to be a brand new unique  organism operating as a living breathing manifestation of Christ’s Body right here on planet earth.

We are not called to be saints, we are called saints, sainthood is not earned at all. It is not something to be sought after as though it could be attained to or something that only comes for a select few. According to the apostle Paul, we have how much forgiveness, total forgiveness.

God knows what his son accomplished on our behalf where all of our sin debt is concerned and he is satisfied that all of that sin has already been judge on his son, leaving no judgment for us where our sin is concerned.

Justification is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive.

In Romans, we learn God could not declare us to be right on the bases of who and what we are from the practical standpoint of our lives; we are everything but perfectly right. God could only declare us to be right on the bases of who and what he is, not on the bases of who and what we would be apart from him.

The only way God could declare us right in his sight is to join us, to actually immerse us into the only one who ever was perfectly just through performance, and that was Jesus Christ himself.

God had to devise a way to see us that way, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness.

Freedom from God’s condemnation is a reality for every single believer, not because of any new found performance capabilities, but because we are made the righteousness of God in our union with his perfectly righteous son.

On top of that, everything necessary to prove to us beyond any shadow of doubt, and to prove to Satan and his rebellious forces that we are totally secure in our union with God’s son, we need nothing more, God supplied every need already.

There were a lot of people in Paul’s day and in our day trying to earn their righteousness before God by way of their performance. They thought God would measure their do’s and don’ts and thought they were actually measuring up. God would considered them righteous worthy of his attendance, worthy of being in heaven.

In fact, they were bragging, boasting about their achievements as though God could do nothing other than to declare them righteous because they deserved just such a declaration. Paul warned to guard against those who would promote a righteousness through performance idea.

It is up to those of the world to either accept or reject their redeemer, but that does no less make him their redeemer. When we accept our redeemer and the price he paid, the ransom he paid, then we are joined to Christ and we have his righteousness attributed to our account.

Those who reject the gift are thumbing their noses at the one who died to paid that price for their redemption. The price was paid for all, and through that payment Christ redeemed the entire human race from the sin barrier that separated the world from God. It is now a son issue, not a sin issue.

Will those of the world accept or reject the payment Christ made for their redemption? Those who reject their redeemer will face the ultimate consequences of that rejection. God did for us what we could never do for ourselves, he took all of our performance off of us and put it onto Jesus Christ and judged him for our faulty performance.

The only thing God is asking us to believe to be placed into his son, is to take him at his word concerning what his son did where our sins are concerned. The instance we take our stand with God, we are not only saved, but sealed until the day of redemption of these earthly tents in which we dwell.

Flesh wants to say if I broke it, I can fix it. God is not asking us to turn from anything to be saved, he is asking us to believe Christ accomplished salvation for us and we are simply to believe it. Christ did it all, there is nothing left for us to do, God did all the giving, we do only all the receiving, faith is taking God at his word concerning what his son did on our behalf. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Just a Thought "26"

Sin entering into the human race through Adam’s transgression brought about more than one type of death, or one type of separation. We can suffer functional death; an inability, separated from the capacity to serve or to please God, this is a functional death.

Then, there’s a relational death, sin brings relational death. Sin, or coming short of the measure of who God is, is that which stood in the way or stood between God and the human race. Sin, coming short of who God is, is something that is true of our lives every second of every day we live.

So, it is not a question of getting new forgiveness for new sin, we had to have someone take care of that sin issue for us, and thank God that he had his son take care of that issue for us. God’s attitude towards a believer, does not fluctuate in response to action, it is not condition on our behavior.

Paul tells us that being justified, judicially in the mind of God through our union with his son, we are made right with God at the point of that union through the avenue of our faith in Christ’s faithful performance on our behalf, rather than peace based upon our performance toward God, results in an unchanging attitude of peace with God for every believer.

God’s attitude of favor toward the believer is based on the conduct of his son on the believer’s behalf. We now have available for the enjoyment of our everyday experience an everlasting peaceful relationship with God. When God looks at the believing sinner, God sees his very own son; Christ’s death was sufficient to satisfy God’s righteous demand for justice.

The issue for life everlasting is not what church we attend or to which denomination we belong or how religious we are or even whether or not we are a good person in the worldly sense of the word good. The issue in eternity will not be how many sins we have committed or how many sins we have promised God we will abstain from committing.

It will not be whether we have walked an aisle, recited a particular prayer, or asked Jesus into our heart. The issue in eternity will be to which man one is related, does one have their identity in the first Adam, or does one have their identity in the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

It is difficult for the human mind, apart from letting divine viewpoint, replace human viewpoint to lay hold of the magnitude of what the grace of God is all about, and what that grace has accomplished on behalf of every signal person who has trust what Jesus Christ accomplished.

Grace is that which God does for the human race through his son, which the human race can not earn, does not deserve and will never merit. Grace is God’s work for people, and encompasses everything we receive from God; he is free to do now for ungodly people who take him at his word.

When a believer’s behavior is consistently inconsistent with what that believer professes to believe, the answer lies in a failure to fully appreciate one or more aspects of the foundational truths.

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 Christ, can we become in our behavior what he wants us to be in the aspect of our lives.

As we understand what God accomplished for us through his son, 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.

As sound doctrine is taken in and fully appreciated, the believer who takes that doctrine in and appreciates it and applies it, begins to grow and mature in what they believe, and as the believer begins to grow and to mature in what they believe, that believer’s mind is being transformed in the process.

Truth designed to give us stability, is truth designed to give us security. God did not intend that believers be insecure, so the security doctrines come first in God’s building process for his grace-age saints.

God stabilizes us in the book of Romans, we need to be less interested in trying to become something, or trying to do something, and we need to become a whole lot more interested in learning about who we already are, that is the key.

The church of our day is best described as the Corinthians epistle equally the Galatians epistle, they are marked by divisions and have reverted to preaching the law. If one has believed Paul’s good news, we must understand that God has predetermined to glorify us.

In fact, he has predestined us to that glorification. We are objects of God’s purpose, because God had a purpose in mind where grace age believers are concerned, and he predetermined through his own decree that his purpose would stand, it will come to pass no matter what.

Put simply, before the founding of the world, God predetermined our destiny, and that destiny is glorification through union with the glorified Christ. God has the resolve and ability, the capacity to accomplish his purpose, by joining us to his son, the glory of God will be praised, because God will glorify the saints of this age.

Realizing the entrapment of the flesh, and therefore the wretchedness of the flesh this side of the redemption of our bodies, helps us realize the direction which truth righteousness comes. We need to change our mind and agree with God and with Paul, that it is totally impossible for us to do enough good.

Paul wanted to be found before God not bearing his own righteousness for his purpose in being there, but having Christ righteousness attributed freely to Paul’s account; the battle within him, proved to him the absolute impossibility of performance based righteousness.

God’s word has the power to change our thinking if we take it in, if we dwell on it, it will change our thinking. Paul knew the word of God has the power of God to do the work of God.

God had to devise a way to predetermine our destiny, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness.

Freedom from God’s condemnation is a reality for every single believer not because of any now found performance capabilities, but because we are made the righteousness of God in our union with his perfectly righteous son. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just a Thought "25"

There is an element of pride today on the part of many who think God must be looking on them with special favor, because they happen to belong to a particular denominational persuasion.

In fact, there are people who take great pride today and elevate themselves above others, because they rightly divide the word of truth, when rightly dividing the word of truth is merely a tool to use so that a person can come out with a proper understanding of scripture.

So-called Christendom today fails to rightly divide the word of truth, because they have mixed God’s program with Israel and his program with the Body of Christ and mixed dispensations together; dispensations that do not mix together, and as a result, they think they have taken on Israel’s role from the point where Israel left off.

The programs have simply been intertwined in the minds of the religious world. Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in a our minds, that are done for the purpose attaining salvation, or for the purpose of maintaining salvation, and even for the purpose of proving our salvation is a slap in the face of God, who had to provide the gift of salvation, because our righteousness would be totally incapable of meriting it.

Our good works must be done solely out of appreciation for what God has already accomplished. God knows whether there’s 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.

Paul is not telling us to eliminate doing good things once were save, he is telling us to totally and completely once and for all, remove any and all works forever from the criteria in our minds by which God saves us, or the basis by which God keeps us saved.

God completely took works out of the equation when it came to gaining or maintaining salvation! Paul has fenced us all in and it is a closed-in pen, in a manner of speaking, of wrath worthiness, therefore, the human race is in need of a Savior, simple as that!

Working to maintain a standard, any standard whatsoever while trying that standard in our mind to the acquisition of or the maintenance of our right standing before God is an exercise in futility, it will not work. Works are absolutely excluded as a basis by which God gives the righteous standing Paul has in mind for the human race.

What the heart of sinful people do is to humanize God, there is no fear of God when we humanize God. God is our great big buddy in the sky, even Jesus has simply become our best friend. Many think that salvation comes to those who can maintain a sufficient camaraderie with Jesus, their friend.

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. That is what the law program did, it allowed a person to stand back when looking at the law and see themselves in a proper light.

The law was given in order to reflect a perfectly clear picture of how sinful a person really is, we need to see ourselves properly apart from faith in the one who is faithful on our behalf.

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 should require that we would measure up to his degree of rightness, and measuring up to his degree of rightness would only come one way.

Our salvation must come from a justification found totally apart from us, totally apart from who we are, totally apart from the things that we do and promise to do, and commit to never do again. The law was a picture and it was a mirror to show us that we needed justification that is given to us, that is credited to us freely, we need a justifier who would justify the ungodly by faith.

Justification by grace through faith, what a marvelous thing God has done, and who would have thought of a salvation in the sense that God’s plan would call for him to join a person to his son, therefore, what belongs to the son would now belong to believing people who have been joined to the son.

Our human nature being what it is, we automatically rise up and rebel against the truth, but Paul goes to great length to prove beyond any showdown of a doubt, that everyone of us are continually coming short of the standard of God’s perfect righteousness.

So when Paul mentions sin, he does so for the purpose of having every individual realize and admit that through out the course of our daily lives, we all miss the mark of God’s perfect rightness. We never measure up anytime in our human live, we never measure up to who God is and with God’s righteous character, he can not dwell with anyone who does not.

We could look at the righteousness of God in the sense of righteousness being an attribute of God, his righteous character is part of his glory. God is perfectly righteous in himself, he never deviates from his own perfectly right standard.

We know that nothing has ever changed about God’s righteous character, so Paul does not have God’s attribute of righteousness in mind when he says, “But now, the righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested,” God has provided for the human race, what the human race desperately lacks, God’s very own perfect righteousness.

What Jesus Christ accomplished for the human race, does not make the human race measure up to God’s rightness, we have to be righteous-ified. God declares unrighteous believers to be righteous, it is a gift, a declaration of rightness with God and this comes totally apart from that unrighteous person’s production, no inherent merit on the part of the one being declared righteous.

God’s power from on high joins every believer to Jesus Christ himself. Those who have trusted in what Christ has accomplished where their sins are concerned are made heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. It is Christ’s faith that righteous-ifies those who take their stand with God when it comes to what God has stated his son accomplished for them.

It is Christ faith that is freely credited to the account of the one who believes the good news given to the apostle Paul to proclaim to us in this age of grace. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Just a Thought "24"

When a person uses themselves for the foundation of their righteousness, their efforts, their contributions, what they can merit through performance, whether it be the Israelites under the Law of Moses or whether it be Gentiles who had never been given the Law Contract for righteousness in the first place, they are not only on shaky ground, the ground that a person is standing on is going to give out on them, even all of the self justification people can mustard today, will not afford them an inch of space in the presence of a perfectly righteous God.

Just as religion did not save the Israelite during the time of the law contract, religion could not save the Gentiles during that time either; just as it cannot save Israelite or Gentile today.

The only Israel God recognized as being true Israel were the Israelites who did indeed perform according to the rules and the rituals of the law program, but in addition to that, they had to recognize their failure if they were considered to be “of faith.”

They had to be people of faith in light of the fact that they would never be able to merit a righteous standing in the eyes of God. They had to recognize their failure under that law program to perform perfectly and consistently and they had to confess that failure, then they would be considered true Israel.

Today, the instance we take our stand with God, we are not only saved, but sealed until the day of redemption. If God thinks what Jesus Christ accomplished on our behalf where all of our sin debt is concerned, and God is satisfied that all of that sin has already been judged on his son, leaving no judgement for us where our sin is concerned, then we can take God at his word.

If God believes it, why can’t we stand with God on what he believes. THAT’S FAITH. Our very best efforts come shockingly short of God’s glory, the law was not given to make the Israelites righteous or anyone else righteous.

God was trying to show the Israelites, to prove to them something through that law program, what God wanted the Israelites to see was their shortcoming, their sin. 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.

The law was given to manifest or to bring to light the indisputable reality of sin; the undeniable truth of the existence of sin. God cannot accept anything that comes short of his flawless standard of perfection, his justice would not permit it.

Within the law program was a sacrificial system whereby, when exercised properly, Israel’s sins would be covered over, hidden from view. Forgiveness simply means that a person’s sins are no longer being held against that person. Forgiveness, by no means makes a person perfect, so a person having forgiveness in time past was still lacking.

The blood that Jesus Christ shed would now give God just cause to put that debt away, to settle that debt, to put those sins away forever, thus putting an end to a person’s legal obligation to serve that law contract, but the Gentile living during the time of the law, the sacrificial system was of no benefit to them at all.

In time past, there was an issue of sins not being cleared totally out of the way, not being taken completely off the table of God’s justice, the sinner was forgiven, but their sin was still a matter of record in the mind of God. Now all people’s sin debt was cancelled with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. 

When we think of pouring a foundation for a building, we might think of something like concrete being use as the foundation material. We can relate that to Paul’s job, when it came to dispensing the doctrinal truth pertaining to the age of grace in the minds of grace age saints.

It was committed to the apostle Paul to dispense the doctrinal concrete which would become that firm foundation upon which a believer’s growth might take place. Since growth is an important issue, it was essential that the doctrinal concrete Paul would begin to pour would contain the appropriate ingredients and that those ingredients would be in the correct proportions.

What happens if concrete’s too thin or too thick, doesn’t have sufficient water or moist with it. So we see these concrete doctrines would have to be prepared properly. They’d have to be spread adequately and smoothly to the point that our minds become set with the truths Paul was commissioned to establish.

We can not pour a foundation properly even if we have the proper ingredients for the foundation material apart from preparing the soil properly on which those ingredients are to be poured. If we were preparing to build a structure in which we could dwell, not only would it be the place of our residence, but a structure we could operate in and out of through out our lifetime.

We would want the foundation of the structure to be poured in an appropriate manner. If the soil of a person’s mind is not prepared by that which God has revealed about himself, then Grace Age foundational truths such as Justification, Sanctification, Dispensation and Glorification holds no meaning.

A person must see themselves for who they truly are apart from God. The truth is, apart from the accomplishments of Jesus Christ and who God makes us to be by joining us to Christ, we are all zeros. Thank God that we were sealed to the praise of his Glory.

Salvation does not have to take, it does not have to develop properly in order to become true salvation. Salvation where sins are concerned was fully accomplished by Jesus Christ, and when accepted by the believer, at that very instant that person is sealed until the day of the redemption of this earthly tent in which we dwell. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Just a Thought "23"

Paul set out to prove to the human race that nothing we do and nothing we promise to do will have anything whatsoever to do with our righteous standing before a perfectly righteous God.

When Paul mentions sin, he does so for the purpose of having every individual realize and admit that through out the course of our daily lives, we all miss the mark of God’s perfect rightness.

So it is not a thing we do here or a thing we do there, we never measure up anytime in our human live, we never measure up to who God is, and with God’s righteous character.

We should not think just because God is not judging sin on the world today, that he detests it, he is outraged at it, but the judgment for it has been pasted. Yet, because God is not holding the sins against the human race, that does not make us as righteous as God.

Just because God is not counting our coming short against us, that does not make us as right as he is. God did not take away the sin, he took away the debt of the sinner.

Sin is still here and sin still reaps it’s consequences. Death comes in a myriad of forms, death of a relationship, conscience, there are a lot of ways that sin can bring death.

The circumstances that are occurring in our world today come as a natural result of the sin-cursed world in which we live, not from special judgments from God, they come from choices people make.

God is not trying to get even with people today because of their sins and he is not calling down some special bad thing; some adverse situation in order to teach certain individuals a lesson.

God does not teach through special judgments during the dispensation of grace, he teaches us through his written word today.

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 accomplished for us, or whether that person is still holding onto the notion that his 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. It is the changed thinking that comes, as God transforms us by his word. In a day yet future, God is going to cause Israel to walk in his ways, because God is going to write his law into their hearts according to Jeremiah.

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. We need to place our faith in Christ’s faithfulness and that alone. We can thank God for justification, because every one of us from a practical stand point do indeed merit being judged worthy of being on the receiving end of God’s wrath.

When judgment is according to truth, there had better be a way for God to consider us righteous apart from our own production, merit and performance, because none of us can continually and consistently measure up to the perfect standard of a perfectly righteous God.

Paul knew the pride of the human heart would quickly jump to defend it’s self when accused of being unjust and therefore worthy of God’s wrath, he wants us to own up to the fact that in a practical sense we are indeed unrighteous.

How does it make us feel personally when someone points a finger at us and says guilty? Not a very comfortable feeling is it for another person to finger the finger at us and call us guilty. None of us like to admit our short comings much less have them pointed out to us by others, we do not like to be told that we are wrong, we rebel against being confronted in our very core.

Paul went to great length to convince us into a realization of our desperate need to be justified in the first place. Whether it be confidence in religion, confidence in the flesh, nothing Israel could do could afford Israel an escape route from the wrath worthy status Paul is proving to be true of all the human race, Israelite and Gentile alike.

Paul’s preparing the soil of the human mind in the beginning chapters of Romans prior to getting into the reality and the necessity of a justification that would come totally apart from anything people could do. God would have to accomplish our justification for us, true of the Israelite and true of the Gentile. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just a Thought "22"

It was God’s plan before the creation of the world that humankind’s fingerprints would not be found on humankind’s salvation. God’s plan called for that salvation to be a gift offered to humankind, he has always used faith or what a person believes as the criteria necessary to effect salvation for humankind in every dispensation.

When a person takes God at his word, no matter what age, whatever the word was when it was revealed, God considered that person to have faith and salvation has always come through faith. It’s God’s sovereign right to chose the criteria, and he chose to use the criteria of belief.

Paul was not an earthly kingdom program apostle, God had no need for an additional apostle to fulfill the program of Israel’s promised earthly kingdom. Everything related to Israel’s program comes with the number twelve, God did not add a thirteenth to that program.

The 12 apostles had been promised that they would each reign on one of twelve thrones that would be set up over the 12 tribes of Israel, when that earthly kingdom was established on planet earth. Israel as a nation rejected their king, they rejected their promised messiah and thus, rejected their kingdom.

Israel’s promised kingdom was right at their doorstep, right within their grasp, but that promised program was put on hold. The very blood that was to initiate Israel’s New Covenant, we have a fellowship in that, we have a communion with that blood, it’s the blood that redeemed us as well.

God wants believers to all think the same way when it comes to what’s happening in this Age of Grace, what God is doing today and how’s he doing it. Every sin we have or ever will commit was put on Jesus Christ, but how many people in the world miss it, because they think God is still looking at them and judging them and evaluating them on the bases of their performance.

If a person is asking God to forgive them for their sins, what are they saying they believe about what Christ accomplished where those sins are concerned.

There are pastors who understand God’s grace who are reluctant to preach grace, because grace will lead to a license to sin. Many of these same pastors in an effort to reduce sinning, they revert to preaching law, thinking that’s going to solve the problem.

They want to scare the sin out of people, put their salvation on the line, dangle that up in front of them and scare them with a conditional salvation and that will straighten them up. So they stop preaching grace, as if not preaching grace is going stop people from sinning.

The problem with law as the answer to people’s dilemma is that law is totally incapable of changing the human heart and that’s where the problem lies. What we do, or what we do not do, is not a test of anyone’s salvation today. What we believe is the only test for salvation today!

Most people think salvation is the end result, salvation is the starting point. The issue of salvation is understanding the reconciliation where our sin is concerned, do we understand that God is reconciled where all sin is concerned for all time.

The price was paid for all and through that payment, Jesus Christ redeemed the entire human race from the sin barrier that separated the world from God. The sin issue needs to be resolved in our minds, not in Gods.

God gave to Paul an entirely new revelation, it was the message of reconciliation. The heart beat of Paul’s new message can be summed up this way, Christ took care of the sin wall. Sins are no longer merely covered, they are now completely paid for, completely forgiven, completely taken out of the way.

God can now totally accept people even though people are sinful, because all sin has been paid for once and for all. God is not looking at us in the practical since of our sinfulness, but in the position of being in his son, that’s how we can be holy and without blame before him in love.

Satan wants to blind people’s eyes to the truth of Paul’s good news. Satan is offering people a way to become righteous; to achieve a righteous standing before God, and he always attaches people’s performance; people’s fingerprints are found on Satan’s method of becoming righteous.

Satan’s way is directly opposite of God’s way, how can a Holy God declare a person to be righteous when in practical experience they are obviously not righteous. Being declared righteous is God’s gift to the believing sinner, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the sinner himself doing anything to desire or merit that righteous standing.

God justifies those who take him at his word concerning what his son accomplished for them, something for nothing. That is difficult for people imbued with the pride of life to imagine; it is difficult to accept, because it does not seem fair to the human mind, especially to the religiously minded.

It does not seem quite right that God could consider someone righteous, especially if that person is not expending the same amount of effort or attention that they are to become righteous by way of their practice.

Some have called God’s justification, cheap justification; it it is that easy, if a person can obtain righteousness without doing something, or even trying to do something in order to gain it, that would be too easy, and that would make it cheap.

God’s justification is absolutely free, but it was certainly not cheap, it came at tremendous cost. Apart from God’s grace, the justification Paul’s been telling us about would be totally impossible, but then, apart from the price the son of God paid to make it possible, God’s grace could not offer it.

The fact is Christ became the redeemer of the entire world when he satisfied the justice of God for the sins of the entire world. The sin issue was resolved for everyone, but understand, that having a redeemer and accepting the redeemer that we have, and what that redeemer accomplished, are two different things. Some are not willing to believe Paul’s good news, and therefore, not all will be joined to the redeemer, and they will be standing in their own righteousness.