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 saved, 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.