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.