Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just a Thought "39"

Our only boast is in Jesus Christ, none of us can boast in ourselves, there will be no body in heaven wearing a merit badge based on fleshly achievement, no one there will be introduced as super saint.

Our reconciliation is of God, he designed it, he provided the means by which it could be accomplished, but people continue to operate today in their thinking, nothings really changed, under the assumption that their sin is separating them from God.

If an ounce of new reconciliation in this Age of Grace could be restored for anyone, when it comes to the issue of their sins, then the degree of forgiveness that must be obtained in order to restore the reconciliation is the very degree to which that individual refuses to believe what Christ accomplished, he accomplished it all.

The truth is, a person could not obtain an ounce of forgiveness if they tried, because God has already forgiven us all, that is why Christ’s ambassadors have the responsibility and privilege of making the reality of the reconciliation Christ has already accomplished, known to those who know nothing of it.

We can look at others through new perspective, because we serve others today, motivated by appreciation in the fact that God loves them, Christ died for them, we are intricately joined to them, just as we are joined to Christ, the very instance they believe the good news that Paul proclaimed.

Love has much more to do with attitude in action, than it has to do with emotions, direction that does what is in the best interest of another individual, this is a work of righteousness. The law had apprehension as a motivation factor, our labor of love under the Age of Grace has had the apprehension aspect removed entirely.

Israel’s labour of love under the law contract was a system of performance according to demand, they had to deal with their neighbors according to a strict system of rules and regulations, the law told them how to deal with one another.

We are to serve others today, based on how God expressed his love to others through Christ, and what he accomplished for them, who he made them and us to be in our savior, by joining us to our savior.

We should be extremely relieved to know that God’s not using our works of faith, he is not even using out labour of love to determine our worthiness for heaven, we know sins have been taken off the table.

God uses Christ’s labour of love, as expressed through what Christ accomplished on our behalf, and our trust in what Christ accomplished where our sins are concerned, as his criteria for our heaven worthiness, we can rejoice that it’s Christ’s faithfulness, not our faithfulness.

When the circumstance of the moment is a happy circumstance, when everything is well on the home front, that is when we can say a person might very well be happy, but circumstances can go south, if joy were dependent upon the situation at hand, it would be uncertain as a match lit on a windy day.

Joy is a trust issue, joy for a believer is a state of mind, independent of surrounding circumstances, rejoicing is the exhibit of that inter-state of mind, the joy Paul is talking about has no relationship to the transient nature of life, so the believers attitude need not to be come victim to uncertainty or adversity.

If a person is holding on to the law today, in order to keep their salvation, they do not understand Paul’s good news at all! It is a dangerous thing to attribute righteousness to law keeping today, because keeping the law prior to salvation would not get a person saved, and keeping the law after salvation will not keep a person saved.

It does no good for ministers of righteousness to replace the word salvation with fellowship, because that is just as damning an idea! If fellowship is not based on performance, but based on position as Paul tells us it is, to suppose a person can lose their fellowship with God based on their performance, is not to understand what Christ accomplished where their sins are concerned.

This is the hiding of the truth, and the stealing of the truth away from people that ministers of righteousness involve themselves every week, they steal the truth, they hide salvation by grace alone through faith alone in their cross work ideal of Christ alone, in their effort to stick with tradition, rather than slick with truth, so they follow the tradition of men, because people are resting in the law today.

What does it mean to walk in the spirit, should not the word spirit, be new nature? Galatians 5:16-18 - This I say then, walk in the new nature, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh, for the flesh lusts against the new nature, and the new new nature against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would, but if you be led of the new nature, you are not under the law.

Paul talks about a battle going on in the mind of every believer, a struggle taking place between the new nature and the flesh, a struggle taking place between the ears of the believer. The flesh, Paul’s talking about all that we once were in Adam, prior to salvation, but once saved, we are no longer in Adam, at the very point of our believe, we are that instant in Christ, having been forever joined to our savior, the new nature.

Our pride is such, that we will always have that tendency to think more highly of ourselves then we ought, everything we say and everything we do is filtered through that sieve of self, it is just our sin nature.

Paul’s great desire was to know Jesus Christ in his resurrection power, because that same power that raised Christ from among the dead was energizing in Paul, and it is energizing in us.

There are believers out there who know Christ in his resurrection power, because they are acquainted to one degree or another with the fellowship of his sufferings, one does not come apart from the other.

Religion is fill with lots of people who would rather beg God to fix their suffering circumstances, rather than to thank God for his enabling grace that is sufficient for every suffering saint, that energizing power, most of Paul’s pain and suffering came from making the right decisions.

Paul was striving to know Christ, and know him intimately in the power of his resurrection, and in the fellowship of his suffering, Paul wanted Christ’s life to be manifest in his own life.

We would rather be the blamer than the one being blamed, excepting blame means we have got a crack in that perfect persona of ours, the blame game is the battle that no one wants to lose.

Rather than recognizing the unworthiness of the flesh, and the imputed worthiness of the new nature, we spend our lives trying to convince ourselves and others of our value, one of the ways we do it is by elevating self through the denigration of someone else.

The unseen put down, that is a major tool in our ego preservation tool box, being critical of others is an intricate part of maintaining that fantasy that we are perfect and others are somewhere a bit beneath us, that is why we are immediate in our defense of self, a wiliness to aggressively find fault with others, a way to be superior, to feel safe.

Thank God that our destiny, our blessings are not dependent on our serving, because Christ did the serving for us, he did it faithfully, as well as it could be done, he is our righteousness, but every believer is promised reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, a judgment all believers must under go, and the issue there will be rewards or lost of rewards for how we served the Body of Christ.

Paul wants us to recognize that Justification and Sanctification are not based upon feelings at all, they have nothing to do with feelings or emotions, they are not based on sensation in any sense. In fact, they are not based upon the capacity or the production of the flesh in any sense at all, because all now have equal access to God today.

According to Paul, God had given up on dealing with the Gentiles, and he called out one man, Abram, through who would come that special nation, that special people Israel. God belongs to Israel and Israel belongs to God, they are called the children of God, God’s espoused wife no less, but the blessing of reconciliation changed all that.

Reconciliation simply means a change in status, a change in status for true entire world, does that mean the entire world is saved? No! We have to have an individual change of status, and that takes place when we accept what the son accomplished for us, our sin debt being forever settled.

Now all have access to God, sin is no longer the issue with God, the issue with God today is his son, will we accept what Jesus Christ accomplished, our sin debt pain in full, or will we reject it?

All the different churches of our day is best described as the Corinthians epistle, equally the Galatians epistle, the same mind set that led to the judgment Isaiah warned Israel about, continues to operate within society today.

It never went away, the same inner mind set, that same sin nature at work in people throughout history, the more things change, the more they stay the same. They are marked by divisions, they have divided into little factions, into little groups and little cliques, separating one from another over who is more important than the other person, minds bent on serving only self.

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

As Paul’s 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, that believer’s mind is being transformed in the process.

As we understand what God accomplished through his son for us, and build upon that foundation the truths of who he has made us to be by placing us into his son, we begin to view ourselves as God views us, and that is great security to be found in doing so. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Just a Thought "38"

We are justified through our sanctified position in Christ, we find the amazing and comforting truth that God’s love for those who are joined to his son, is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son, that is how closely connected we are to Christ.

It is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted, God’s loving attitude towards those who are united to him by way of being in his son, nothing past, present, or future shall separate us from the love of God.

It is important we know the difference, because the old man and the sin nature are not one and the same, the old man speaks of our former identity with Adam, that identity is no longer true of believers. So, the old man is a thing of the past, having been crucified with Christ, and the new man is the new identity belonging to every believer, the sad news is that the new man continues to reside in our earthly bodies where the sin nature is ever present.

The old man has to do with identity, even though every believer has a new identity in Jesus Christ, every believer suffers the same propensity, the battle against the sin nature that the apostle Paul struggled with himself on a day-by-day basis. God’s strength is perfected, God strength is brought to a point of fullness in the life of a suffering saint during this age of grace.

God allows saints to suffer today, because God’s strength is made perfect in the life of the suffering saint, if God’s strength was made perfect in fixing the saint, Paul would be telling us to pray for the fix, but Paul is filling us in on a secret that Jesus Christ revealed to him. God expects us to make the right use of our minds in light of the doctrine he’s given us through the ministry of the apostle Paul.

We should no longer be in need of someone to turn our heads, and tell us what to do, and which direction we are to take, will we always make the right decisions, NO, but we can certainly learn from the decisions we make, so that we can make better decisions the next time around.

Choices always bring along with those choices consequences, the choices have been given us to make, as well as the consequences to reap for the choices we make.

All believers, during this age of grace, are adopted sons, but we are the children of God, as Paul will go on to say, but in what sense are we the children of God? The Galatian saints had begun following the Judaizers, but under what gospel had they been saved in the first place, Paul’s gospel!

Paul had begotten them by his gospel, they had their new creation, because of believing the good news Paul presented them. Paul is the one who had led these saints to a saving knowledge of the justice resolving accomplishment of Jesus Christ on their behalf, Paul gave birth to these saints in the sense of bringing them to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Unfortunately, we continue to sin, even though our sins have been paid for, and we will continue to sin, as long as we remain in our earthly bodies with the indwelling sin nature we inherited from Adam, God’s justice has been satisfied, but sin will remain a part of our earthly existence.

Yet, Satan’s ministers of righteousness are busy at work within the righteous structure called religion, in order to keep the meaning of Paul’s good news hidden, to keep people’s eyes blinded to the truth of what Christ really accomplished.

The sin issue, became a son issue, and we need to see ourselves properly, apart from faith in the One who is faithful on our behalf, in seeing ourselves properly, when it comes to how we view other people, because they have the same brokenness that we have.

But, God knew what it would take to save us, he knew what it would take to have us dwell with him through eternity future, and that dwelling with him would require that we would measure up to his degree of rightness, and measuring up to his degree of rightness would only come one way.

We need a justifier who would justify the ungodly by faith, what a marvelous thing God has done, and who would have thought of a salvation in that sense, that God’s plan would call for him to join us to his son, therefore, what belongs to the son, now belongs to us, who have been joined to God’s son.

The law was never given as a standard by which a person could live their life and achieve righteousness, it was given to be a mirror, so that those who were placed under that law might gain a better glimpse of themselves. Paul did not say the law was written in our hearts, he said the works of the law are written in the hearts of the Gentiles.

God knows whether or not a person has placed their faith in what his son’s faith accomplished for them, or whether that person is still holding onto the notion that their good works will somehow merit them a position of righteousness in the eyes of God, God knows the motivation that resides in the human heart that underlies all the works that we call good.

Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in our mind, that are done for the purpose of attaining salvation or for the purpose of maintaining salvation, even for the purpose of proving one’s salvation is a slap in the face of God, who had to provide the gift of salvation, because people’s righteousness would be totally incapable of meriting it.

Our good works must be done solely out of appreciation for what God has already accomplished, we place our faith in Christ’s faithfulness, and that alone.

God never intended subjective feelings to be a replacement for objective truth, that is why he has given us his Word, only when inner peace lines up with the written Word of God, are we headed in the proper direction.

We not only have peace with God, we can enjoy the peace of God, who shall keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ in every circumstance that we face, we should not take any course of action that we do not have peace about, but is an inner sense of peace about something a sure fire fail safe system when it comes to choosing a direction to take in our lives?

There are multitudes who are putting faith in their feelings, but we often connect our emotions to our prayer life, and thus we further validate in our minds the course of action we were bent toward taking in the first place, if things go right in our eyes, all is well and good, we have not only affirmed ourselves, we have affirmed our Savior.

If things go topsy-turvy, perhaps the devil got involved in the details, but can feelings, even a sense of inner peace, always be trusted as a fail safe method to always point us in the proper direction, when it comes to the contentment or peace department, God through his power from on high, does not lead independently of his Word.

Do we not know that God has held back the wrath we so justly deserve, but do we not know that he has been good to us in holding back that wrath, he has not held back his wrath, because he is happy with who we think we are, or because he is satisfied with who we are trying to become. 

God has been long-suffering in holding back his wrath, because he hopes that we will consider his goodness through is son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and flee to his grace, God wants us to change our mind about who we are from fleshly perspective, apart from Christ.

It is the goodness of God, that leads a person to a change of thinking, that draws that person to adopt what God has said is true in his Word. God is not patiently waiting for us to change our mind about what we do, many have done that thinking it gains salvation, the self-righteous moralizer looks in their self-righteous mirror, and they think God must be satisfied, a prize package.

All people should change their minds about the way that God has provided, and what his son accomplished where their sins are concerned, because not all people believe that those sins were done away with Christ’s payment.

When peace of mind is based solely on circumstances, depression is the ultimate end for all, because we live in a sin cursed world, physical death is on it’s way for each of us, timing of that being the only uncertainty of that reality.

Sin brings death, insecurity is the ultimate mind set for all who’s mind are focused on earthly things, which is precisely why Paul is directing believers to a refocus of thinking, God provides a way for believers to have joy, even in the midst of unhappy circumstances.

Understanding peace with God, appreciating peace with God is that which allows the peace of God to rule our minds, govern our emotions, grace is the fountain head of joy.

God has manifested his grace to us through the accomplishments of his son, each and every blessings is to provide for us a place of security and a place of specialness that we know that is there for us in the mind of God, we are secure and we are special, the result of that grace, peace.

Most of Paul’s pain and suffering came from making the right decisions, Paul desired to be found in Christ, not with a righteous record that could be gauged as having come from Paul as the source, but a mind set of glorious joy can only begin with a proper understanding of God’s glorious grace.

Is it not interesting that the Gentiles had been considered dogs, but Paul speaking to the saints in Philippi, and it is the unbelieving Israelites who are considered dogs.

Paul is simply drawing a contrast between those who were relying upon ritual for righteousness, and those who place no confidence whatsoever in their flesh for a right standing before God, and those false teachers who thought that ritual could do something, and the ritual was circumcision.

Paul’s point in this age of grace, is circumcision apart from faith is nothing more than concision, it is nothing more than mutilation, Paul had more reason to boast if that is the way God values righteousness, if he values it through our performance.

Paul was not a Gentile converted, then circumcised as a proselyte to the Race of Israel, he was not a Gentile taking hold of Israel’s covenant and being circumcised, he was born into a Israelite family, Abraham’s blood flowed in his veins.

Paul was answering a group of people in his day (Philippians 3:9), in fact they were bragging, they were boasting about their achievements as though God could do nothing other than to declare them righteous, because they deserved just such a declaration.

Paul warned us to guard against those who would promote a righteousness through performance idea, “Beware of Dogs, Beware of Evil Workers, Beware of the Concision.”

There is no scale in God’s mind other than Christ’s righteousness, righteousness that has been credited freely without any cause in us, to our account, there can be no further payment for sin, as that payment was made by Jesus Christ.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Just a Thought "37"

The goal of the apostle Paul is to establish us and every believer in the knowledge of our sanctified standing before God, our being placed into his son. Justification and Sanctification are “much more” assurance that Paul is giving us, as to the security that we as believers have, being placed into Christ.

We see Paul using this term “much more” over and over again, these are “much more” security passages that we find in Romans. The “much more” idea that Paul had in his mind when he was writing Romans, Paul wants to establish our minds in the “much more” assurance that we have, so we can have that stability of mind and stability of emotions, if the will is the governor of the emotions.

When it comes to the establishment of the mind of the believer, and the truth of their secure position in Christ, this is security, this is who we are in Christ, we can not lose it. This is why our faith in Christ’s faithfulness is essential!

How many people not understanding Justification or Sanctification will say, “See there, if you do not live right, if you just let that flesh run wild, you are going to be a castaway, you are going to lose your salvation.”

1 Corinthians 9:27, people not understanding this passage,  a passage out of its context is a pretext, and so their pretext is you can lose your salvation, which is foolishness.

Paul did not want to lose rewards at the Beam Seat of Christ, he wanted to do what was befitting a person who  believes the good news, not for his righteous standing before God, but for his testimony before others. Paul did not want those to whom he was preaching to look at his life, the manner in which he lived his life, and then reject the message he was preaching.

Paul is telling us not how he set himself apart in order to gain a greater righteousness before God through his performance, but how he made his life-style, to the best he could conform to who God had already made him to be in his sanctified position being joined to the Savior, that he might more affectively reach others, that was Paul’s key motivation.

Paul is letting us know here in the book of Romans, that God did not make Heaven for good people, God made Heaven for sinners who are justified freely by his grace. How many of us share Paul’s concern today, when it comes to the life we live out of appreciation, not out of apprehension, or out of an attempt to earn a more righteous stranding before God.

We have a self-sanctification in the positive sense of separating ourselves from those things we know that are not good for us or not good for others, not in order to merit any more righteousness before God through that performance, but in light of all that God has already made us to be in Christ.

Motivation is the key component when it comes to self-sanctification, for what reason do we set ourselves apart, is it to be more holy, so God can see us as more holy, that is self-sanctification negatively.

A lot of people suppose that becoming more righteous in practice will make them more righteous in God’s sight, faulty thinking, Paul called it foolish, it will not gain them Heaven, there are a lot of misconceived notions out there concerning the book of Romans. 

This is what being in Christ is all about, what is his is ours, we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, this is how intricate, how intimate is our union with our Savior, this is our new identity and has been our new identity from the very instant we believed Paul’s good news.

If God is no longer imputing people’s sins unto them, because God imputed those sins to his son, would that mean that the entire world would then instantaneously become dead to sin, NO, because Reconciliation and Sanctification are not one and the same, they are two different truths.

No one is dead to sin apart from being baptized into Jesus Christ, even though God is not imputing people’s sins to their account, no person is placed into God’s son, apart from belief.

We are identified with every aspect of the One to who we were joined at the point of our belief, when Christ died, it is just as though we died from the judicial viewpoint of God, when Chris was buried, it is just as though we were buried right alongside Christ from God’s viewpoint, that is how intricate is our union.

When God raised Jesus Christ from among the dead, from God’s perspective, we are raised and seating in Heaven right now.

What God wanted Israel to see was her shortcoming, her sin, the law was given to manifest, or to bring to light the indisputable reality of sin, the undeniable truth of the existence of sin, even in a person who thought they were performing sufficiently, righteously to merit a justified standing before God.

Now if a religious Israelite was sinful, what does that say about the rest of the world, the law was given to Israel and that condemned the entire world, everyone has done exactly like Israel, it condemned the entire human-race according to Paul, for all have sinned.

But now, it’s a gift decree of perfect righteousness put on our account immediately at the point of our belief, it’s a judicial transaction that is all of God’s doing, none of our doing, it’s not something we become through practice, it’s a gift decree of righteousness given us by God.

How is it that Jesus Christ is the one who is performing that which is good through us, rather than our flesh performing that which is good for Christ?

The realization that God’s love accomplished some fantastic things on our behalf, apart from an understanding of the love of God, the love he has for us, the love of Christ, and what that love accomplished for us, while we were yet sinners, our only motivation to serve others would be self-interest related.

The sin nature always points us to do that which satisfies the sin nature, and brings credit to self, this is true of all of us, we did not derive our position in Christ by way of our performance, so we need to stop trying to enhance our position in Christ by way of our performance, the source of the position that we have in Christ and the Word of God can do the work of God in our life.

Paul could never get away from himself, if any good was to come from our apostle, it would have to be the indwelling power from on high producing that good, the fruit of God’s power from on high, it’s God’s fruit, it’s not our fruit.

It was the new identity Christ accomplished for Paul that made such a great impact upon Paul, it is not striving to become a better someone, it is recognizing the someone God has already made us to be. It is understanding our new position in Christ, when we come to fully understand and appreciate that new position, the striving can end.

The law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ, if that is not a liberating truth! Paul told us there was a fixed rule in his life, a rule that he could count on no matter the circumstance, no matter the presence of indwelling sin, no matter his conduct, a rule that applies to all believers, and Paul calls that rule, the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ.

It was not Paul’s practical walk that made him free from the law of sin and death, it was the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ that liberated the apostle Paul, the law of the new nature of life in Jesus Christ is the true liberator.

Those who are in Jesus Christ are those who place no confidence in their flesh, but understood, as Paul understood, that in people’s flesh dwells no good thing.

While no believer will be sin less, hopefully, we will all sin less, as our behavior is impacted by our transformed thinking, and that transformed thinking comes through taking in the Word of God, and having the Word do its work in our lives.

The sin nature disease called iniquity runs within the deepest recesses of the human mind, recesses beyond our conscious reasoning, God can see what people cannot see, and the disease that manifests itself in our coming short of the right thing to do all of the time, every thought, every word, and every deed, and the coming short of the measure of God’s rightness, actions in our lives are called sins.

Grace is a much greater motivator than law, conduct becoming a believer does not come through a fear of losing one’s salvation, conduct becoming a believer comes from a proper understanding of the magnitude of God’s grace, and what that grace accomplished for us.

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

Those who believe God’s message to us through the apostle Paul, the apostle that God appointed to relay that message to us, are now ambassadors of this wonderful news which our apostle calls the glorious gospel of the grace of God.

The fact that God is no longer imputing the sins of the world, to the world of sinners has nothing to do with the self-righteous efforts through performance of individuals, it has nothing to do with a proper approach to God, in order to get him to stop doing that which he has not been doing since his son became sin on all people’s behalf.

The issue is not that of sinners making God’s son become their Savior through the avenue of a present day forgiveness of sins, but in believing that the son of God became their Savior the day he took their sins, the entirety of that sin debt upon himself, and that is what makes a person Heaven worthy.

It is not the non-imputation of sins that makes a person Heaven ready, it is the imputation of the very righteousness that belongs to the Savior that makes us Heaven worthy.