Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thoughts To Think About "8"

There are people in fundamental religiondom that teach their believers needn’t go through the pain and suffering the remainder of creation must go through. If a person has sufficient faith, these people believe that God will remove those untoward circumstances in response to the prayer of faith. But, as these people insist, in order to have God take them away, one must first have the faith that he can and will take them away. We can see the expression “name it and claim it” and the expression “the power of a positive confession” comes from. These are the people that talk about casting out evil spirits and binding Satan. Of course, insufficient faith means no healing, thus the answer to prayer for those of insufficient faith would be NO, end of story. Show your faith - God will show you his miracle. Faith that God can and will heal is an absolutely essential component if that healing, that resolution is to take place in their life. And of course, these people often seek out “faith healers” in that God obviously works through these people of such great faith. You’ll also hear about the benefit of being able to pray in a special prayer language that they don’t even understand from these people, which is another beneficial avenue to having their problems resolved. This is how they believe God is working today. This group and it’s a large group and it’s expanding is actually the fastest growing movement on Planet Earth. You may have thought Islam was. No, this one is surpassing Islam. This is the one that will be in operation, the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy Chapter 3 in the last days of this Age of Grace. 

Another group in fundamental religiondom, they teach their believers there’s a power resident in the prayer itself “the power of prayer” such that in certain situations God will deliver certain people from certain suffering situations that for reasons known only to God. He allows other believers, as well as non-believers, to endure. But, if you go back to Israel’s program, you will see the prayer of faith. James 5:15, there James leaves no doubt about the power of prayer in Israel’s program. They walked by sight. God allowed their prayer life to work in connection with sight as that earthly kingdom was on their doorstep. The word SHALL didn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room in this promise when it came to the power resident in what James called the prayer of faith. When we come to the apostle of the Gentiles during this age of grace, we see a shift in the manner in which God worked in time past and the manner in which he is working in the lives of believers today. From Paul we never hear the prayer of faith shall save the sick. Paul never states “whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do - ask anything...and I will do it.” Rather, according to Paul, God made this statement in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Rather than outward, God took an inward direction. And that’s where he is working today. Philippians 4:6-7

1 Corinthians 6:9-10, if Paul had ceased writing after going through this list of deplorable practices then we could safely assume that continuing to do these things after believing the good news message would result in a reversal of the offenders salvation or as some teach perhaps even a lost with a connect with God that must somehow be restored. But that isn’t what Paul is saying here at all. Paul is telling these carnal saints at Corinth that the reason these detestable deeds 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 identity with his son. And 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. Little wonder that right after listing all these deplorable sins the apostle Paul follows up immediately in verse 12 with these words “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. So while none of the things on Paul’s list either 1 Corinthians chapter 6 or we might even say Galatians chapter 5 where Paul presents a similar list...none of these things can send a believer to the second death. They are definitely things all believers should avoid.

Romans 12:2, separation from the world means growth requires something where the believer and the world is concerned. Stop serving the idols to whom the world pays homage to. Lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. Identity in the last Adam will get you into heaven, practical sanctification is that which will get you rewarded at the judgement seat of the Savior. Practical sanctification is the hallmark of maturity. Knowing your complete in the Savior, how would agape (love) operate, knowing I have perfect righteousness in the son, how should I then operate positively on behalf of others. You must serve the earthly manifestation of the Savior’s body. Knowledge finds expression through our behavior. Agape will never show up empty handed where where the judgement seat of the Savior rewards are concerned. Agape always edifies and unifies. Relationships is both sides of the growth process. One without the other is entirely useless. Knowledge and agape application of that knowledge is the idea behind growth. Sin is not the issue at the judgement seat of the Savior, service is the issue.

Romans 6:16 - Now if you’ve completed a logical conclusion and you’ve said, “Sin leads to death.” What would obedience lead to? Life. Is that what Paul said? He didn’t use life in opposition to death. We might have expected Paul to say “Life” because we think of death as being the opposite of life. If sin leads to death, obedience would lead to life is what we would conclude. But that’s not what Paul said. Paul is being very careful here so that we don’t get the idea that we are saved by our works. That’s not the point Paul’s making here. Notice the word “sin.” Don’t we think that has to do with our activities, our actions? But, notice the contrast. First of all, why does Paul say “Whether of sin unto death?” Is it possible for a believer to sin and have those sins lead to death? Yes! And death can come in many different ways. But we need to be very careful here. We know that an unbeliever's sin leads to death, both physical and remaining having their identity in the first Adam. So, that universal principle that sin leads to death is true. How then can a believer die? They can die physically. If I decide every morning before my cereal that I’m going to coat my cereal not with milk, but with a fifth of whiskey, what am I going to do to my body? A believer can die functionally in that they can serve no further useful purpose here on earth, no heavenly purpose on earth to those to whom they become an ambassador. Galatians 6:8

The natural tendency of the flesh is to set our affection on the things of the earth and the things of the flesh and allow those things to rule our mind. The cause of depression is almost always related to fleshly circumstance, people, things and worry over those three. We’re told a chemical imbalance is the chief cause of a serve case of depression. Not trying to take away from that aspect of a depressive state of mind. But when it comes to joy which is the opposite of depression, Paul doesn’t take us to the medicine chest. You see, if we base everything on chemical imbalance we remove personal responsibility for the refocus Paul is directing us to here in Philippians. When it comes to a mind set of joy, the opposite of depression, Paul takes us to a re-direction of thought and its up to each of us individually. Its our responsibility to focus our own minds appropriately and according to Paul its a redirection of thought based upon the accomplishments of Jesus. Were not to hold the things on the earth so near and dear so as to rule our minds. Paul telling us that depression is a rush of negative attitude that results from a vacuum of joy. Joy is the opposite of negative attitude. Depression is negative attitude based on fleshly happenstance in the absence of hope.

The Gentiles had a law of their own design. The Gentiles had an inner sense of right and wrong and through that inner sense called “the conscience,” they developed for themselves their own code of ethics, when it came to dealing with one another. Unbelievers and believers alike struggle with that innate sense of right and wrong and they’re drawn toward that desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 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. A believer can relate in some sense to the struggle Paul is talking about in Romans 7:14-19. We must always use rightly divided doctrine to prove the validity of our experience. 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. Everyone with a conscience struggles with an inner sense of right and wrong. 

Did God not already know about Abraham’s faith? Would God have to test Abraham’s faith so that God would have to know about Abraham’s faith? No! God surely knew all about Abraham’s faith. But, God putting Abraham’s faith to the test afforded God the opportunity to demonstrate to all who would be later reading his Word that justification unto eternal life comes by way of faith. Abraham believed God and Abraham’s belief, his faith was counted unto him for righteousness. (Romans 4:3) Abraham’s testing was for the purpose of proving Abraham’s faith, that we might understand the criteria that God has always used to count a person righteous. God was proving Abraham, not enticing Abraham. God would never entice anyone.

Some people point to Paul’s own writings to make their case that salvation depends upon a continuance of the do’s and abstinence from the don’ts or, at least an honest commitment and attempt at the same. All due to a failure to understand a passage in the context it was written and what Paul was teaching. If they hold over the heads of their congregations a little law mixed with the possibility of losing their salvation, they can keep people in line. They’ll get them saved and then they’ll feed them a little fear of missing heaven. Frighten them a bit with the possibility of hell fire and brimstone and they’ll keep on doing the do’s and avoiding the don’ts. That’ll keep them straight. They’ll live properly in order to merit heaven and miss hell. When you break this down to its lowest common denominator, do you know what you end up with? Salvation by works. That’s really what it boils down to. Salvation by works rather than be grace.

The sin question was settled. We’ve got to have this established upfront or we’ll confuse the judgement seat of the Savior and we’ll confuse being praise worthy of God with that which the judgement of the Savior is not. You see, the only issue remaining on the table of God’s justice today is the issue of belief. The Pastors roll is to prepare their people for the judgement seat of the Savior that’s what teaching and pastoring is all about. What is the laboring then of 2 Corinthians 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 3:13 all about? Well, it all has to do with being reward worthy. The context of laboring Romans 14:10 is the judgement seat of the Savior as the context of 2 Corinthians 3:13 is the judgement seat of the Savior as well as Philippians 2:12.

2 Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. Personalize blessings that’s called worshipping at the altar of the miraculous. Worshipping at the altar of the miraculous is to worship at the altar of the flesh. To worship at the altar of the flesh is to allow experience to trump truth and to allow experience to trump truth is to allow emotion to trump truth. And when experience becomes king in a person’s life, experience is determining that person’s doctrine rather than that person’s doctrine determining the validity of their experience. Emotion not only becomes the fuel but the pilot of that person’s life. When you see this occurring and Paul tells us it indeed will be occurring whether spoken or not, the worshippers will be paying homage to that man. (Ephesians 5:16; 2 Timothy 3:4) A person can be spiritual. They can claim to be spiritual. They can claim to be religious. But according to 1 Timothy 4:1, being spiritual is absolutely no guarantee of the direction of ones spirituality. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15.

The earthly union of husbands and wives today are to be a reflection of the new oneness identification that all believers have with the Savior. God allows for no space to come between believers and his son. And, that’s how closely husbands and wives should safeguard their union with one another. Two minds working together being in unison. The fact is that most marriage partners don’t begin on the same page to start with. There are many areas of life, from a counselor’s perspective where marriages come apart at the seams...areas that those anticipating marriage should discuss before a marriage relationship is entered. Unfortunately, the love-bug holds the mind’s of a couple captive, in a sense that they fail to reason through some of life’s more serious issues where it’s vital a couple be like-minded if the train cars are to remain coupled on the marriage track. The issue is more about discussing these areas up front, and coming to terms with where each person stands, where compromises can be made that are satisfactory to both partners, and how conflicts are to be resolved when they do arise, in order to avoid a separateness of mind of such magnitude that it might lead to marriage termination. Resolution is always better than dissolution. Children witness some form of domestic violence annually and how does that picture remain in their minds and impact their actions later on in life? 

Let this mind be in you, which is in Jesus our Savior. Jesus wasn’t thinking, “I’m superior!” “I’m superior!” “I think I’ll start throwing my weight around and bossing those for whom I’m dying!” What about it ladies? What if your believing husband made himself of no reputation, humbled himself, and loved you as Jesus loved? Would that not be a grand thing? Would that not motivate her to serve you as you’re serving her? What if that believing wife made herself of reputation, humbled herself, and loved her husband in the way that all believers are to love the Savior? How about it, husbands? Would that not also be grand? What we’re doing is waiting upon the other to begin the process...each side making their service to the other side contingent upon the service of the other to them. It’s an amazing thing that for believers and that’s the only people to whom Paul is writing, there is a judgment seat of the Savior that husbands will not be judged by how well their wives responded. It will be how well they led. Wives will not be judged as to whether their husbands were leading correctly, but in their role in serving the husband. Someone might say that Paul doesn’t tell the wife to love her husband, in the first place, and that this is a directive he gives to the husband. Paul tells the wife to reverence her husband. (Titus 2:3-4) When it comes to doctrine concerning the age of grace, Paul was in a leadership position. Did Paul consider himself to be above the saints of this dispensation? Did he consider himself to be superior to those who he was leading? Ephesians 3:8 answers that, quite well. Ephesians chapter 5 has to do with two marriage partners, both being desirous of aligning themselves with God and his Word rightly divided, serving one another in the manner in which God intended they are to serve one another. 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. The same is true when it comes to the wife and her role in the marriage relationship.

Sowing one thing and praying for another is foreign to the mind of the apostle Paul. That’s not how it works. That’s not what Paul’s talking about in trusting in God. There are people who sow nastiness then they expect kindness to just sprout up all around them. A lot of people trust in God to alter the circumstances of the moment. They think he’ll somehow magically rekindle the fire of a lost love after they’ve chose a life incorrectly. Or he’ll bring them the right job after they’ve sown an attitude at their previous place of employment that caused everyone around them to want to avoid them. There are those who sow to bad health only to pray that God will guide and lead the hands...provide the wisdom to the doctors they hope will heal them. That’s not what this passage in Philippians 4:4-7 is all about. When the circumstance of the moment is a happy circumstance, lets say things are going well health wise...things are going well for the children, grandchildren...the monthly bills are paid, the job is secure. We know the details of life. When everything is well on the home front that’s when we can say a person might very well be happy. Of course, happiness is fleeting. 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. The joy Paul is talking about has no relationship to the transient nature of life. So the believers attitude needn’t to become victim to uncertainty or adversity. 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.

Those who were familiar with law would have immediately understood what Paul was getting at here in Romans chapter 7 as he brought the issue of marriage into the picture. His point was simply this: just as a death must occur according to Roman law in order for a woman to be married to a different husband, a death also had to occur in order for sinners today to be married, or we might say, legally joined to the Savior, the death had to come first. You see, the Law of Moses had a relationship claim on every member of the human race. God absolutely refuses to share those who are joined to his son and the law, with the law husband. If you’ve been maintaining your relationship with the law in connection with your righteousness before God, in your mind, he’d have you come out of that realm of thinking. You are either under the jurisdiction of the law which requires performance for righteousness or you are under the jurisdiction of the Savior and your identity in him is your righteousness, but you can’t have it both ways. Grace and Law are polar opposites and God will share no one joined to his son with the law. If the law has a rightful claim on you, God cannot have a rightful claim on you. If the Savior has a rightful claim on you, the law has no rightful claim on you whatsoever. To be joined to the Savior and joined to the law at the same time would not only be bigamy, it would be adultery according to Paul.

Is Paul telling us in Romans 6:14 that as believers, we’ll never again have the propensity to sin, or sin shall not have dominion over you because now you are capable of beating it? Is Paul telling you that you are now capable of never committing another sin as long as you live because sin shall not have dominion over you? Is Paul saying it is possible for a believer to live a sinless life? All believers, we’re all alike in this respect, we all continue to struggle with that issue of sins in our lives. Not only do we continue to have the propensity to sin, we do in fact do those things that come short of the glory of God far more often than any of us would like. Sin shall not have dominion over us because we’re not living under the law program, we’re living under grace. The victory has already been won and who won it? Jesus won it. Sin shall not have dominion over us because believers are not under the law, but under grace.

Mercy simply withholds that which we deserve. Grace on the other hand bestows freely that which we could never earn and could never deserve. Mercy shows leniency. Grace shows magnanimity. Mercy says, I’ll show you compassion. Grace says, I’ll make you complete. Mercy says, I’ll let you off the hook this time. Grace says, I’ll let you live in heaven. Mercy says, I’ll acquit you. Grace says, I’ll glorify you. We are identified at the point of our belief with Jesus’ death just as if we were hanging there on the tree of crucifixion right along side Jesus. Did we pay for our sins? No. Jesus alone satisfied the sin issue. We are as fully identified with Jesus’ burial as if we were placed right along side him in the tomb. We are also fully identified with Jesus’ in his resurrection from among the dead that God sees those who have trusted the saviorhood of Jesus as already ascended with Jesus to the Father. Colossians 3:3, all the Father has in store for the son, he has in store for us. 

The Israelites were boasting in their ability to discern the things that differ. We must always give thanks to God for the light that we’ve been given in rightly dividing the Word and that light comes as we study his Word. On the other hand, we must never place so much confidence in our enlighten understanding that we become sufficiently comfortable to believe we already know all there is to be learned and there’s nothing else we have to gain from the Word. You’ve probably met someone like this. If you fail to dot your i’s and cross your t’s precisely as they do, these people get angry and some want nothing more to do with you. The first thing on the mind of such a one is separation. If you are absolutely convince of a truth, how will you most likely be able to effectively communicate the truth? Would your answer be through agape love and patient forbearance in teaching? Or would you say, through dogmatism that demands others adopt the position on which you stand less you write them off as ignorant nincompoops? Would you demand they know what you know or would you demand that they respond to you letting you know that you were right all along? Grace believers would do well to get some of what we’ve learned in the left hemisphere of our brains over into the right hemisphere. We need to apply some of what we’ve learned and allow it to affect the way we deal with those around us.

The Gentiles were never promised a Messiah. “But Now” marks a great change. The very blood that was to initiate Israel’s New Covenant, we have a fellowship in that. We have a communion with the second Adam’s blood. It’s the blood that redeemed us as well. God wants believers to all think the same way, to all think along the same lines, to be on the same page when it comes to what’s happening in this Age of Grace. What God is doing today and how’s he doing it. Truth compromised for the sake of getting along. All under the name of love. The only problem with that option is love never compromises truth. The ones who love us enough to be honest with us, we can learn from those people. Sometimes it hurts. We can grow if we’re willing to accept truth and learn by it. What happens, the pride nature swells up and division comes into play. Another option is abandoning doctrine for the sake of getting along. We need to be working together for agreement. We need to be working together to see where those disagreements come in and driven back to study our Bibles. So we can understand what God’s doing today and why a change has taken place. That is the only option that moves us in a proper direction.

A person who has been sanctified is a person who has simply been set apart or separated, plain and simple. Exodus 40:10-11, here we can see that objects are to be sanctified. Did the objects themselves have anything to do with their sanctification? You see, sanctification depends upon the one who is doing the setting apart. Exodus 19:22, the priests here were told to sanctify themselves. Did this mean that the priests were to become progressively more holy or progressively less sinful, or to become instantaneously sinless? Sanctification depends upon the one who is doing the setting apart. Exodus 19:10, if you think that Moses made the people progressively more holy when he was given this command, or progressively less sinful, or that God told Moses to instantaneously remove their inherent sin nature, consider the fact that those very same sanctified people before Moses ever came down from the mountainside, what were they doing? They were worshipping the golden calf and taking part in abhorrent immorality. We are called saints today, set apart ones. Saint is God’s word for a believer. God sets us apart. Paul even called the carnal believers at Corinth saints or set apart ones because even though they were carnal, they had believed Paul’s good news message.

The Bible is really the story of two men and the people who are related to these two men. The issue for life everlasting is not what church you attend or to which denomination you belong or how religious you are or even whether or not you are a good person in the worldly sense of the word good. The issue in eternity will not be how many sins you’ve committed or how many sins you have promised God you will abstain from committing. It will not be whether you’ve walked an aisle, recited a particular prayer, or asked Jesus into your heart. The issue in eternity will be to which man are you related? Do you have your identity in the first Adam, or do you have your identity in the second Adam, Jesus our Savior. You have to believe that the second Adam died, and not just died for your sins, but what was accomplished when he died for your sins; what was accomplished where those sins were concerned. You cannot be related or identified in both.

What if Paul were found in the Savior having his own righteousness? What if that was the only way Paul could stand before God was to stand before God in his own righteousness? How did Paul end up Romans chapter 7? Oh wonderful Christian that I am? Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am. Paul wanted to be found before God not bearing his own righteousness for his purpose in being there, but having the Savior’s righteousness attributed freely to Paul’s account. That’s what he wanted. Understanding the truth of Romans 7:23 is not something to overcome but it’s a reality to be understood. We’ll never escape. You see, this is not something we could overcome, this is something Jesus had to overcome on our behalf and he did so on the tree of crucifixion. The battle within Paul proved to him that absolute impossibility of performance based righteousness. Paul always found himself a do short and a don’t late.

One way God’s chosen to exercise his power on behalf of believers in this Age of Grace, stabilizing power. Romans 16:25, “Power to stablish you” you can’t be stabilized by any other gospel. You say there’s another gospel in the Word of God? The 12 apostles preached the reality of the resurrection of Jesus ‘the messiah’. The 12 apostles had preached the necessity of Jesus ‘the messiah’ being raised from among the dead, in order to sit on the throne of David in the promised kingdom. Acts 1:4 - That promise had to do with being baptized with God’s energizing power from on high. This is not John the Baptizer’s baptism, this is a special identification of God’s power for the purpose of empowering those kingdom saints for the tribulation period at their doorstep and the millennial reign to come. God was in a very real sense giving Israel a taste of their promised earthly kingdom. Seven years stood between Israel and them gaining their earthly Kingdom. You’re not going to be stabilized by that message today. Paul taught what that resurrection meant to the Gentiles.

The reality of reconciliation is the good news that Satan would gladly give up his pitchfork to keep people from believing today. And he’s been very successful through what Paul calls ministers of righteousness in doing that very thing. If he 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 where that sin has already been put away by Jesus according to 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, the other components of Paul’s good news message will have no bearing whatsoever for individuals. To keep those sins on the table of God’s justice. That turns Paul’s glorious good news message into a not so glorious good news message after all. It turns salvation into probation. And many people are living in their minds today with probation rather than salvation. Has Satan not been busy usurping the glory that belongs to God? And there is no shortage of ministers of righteousness who are doing his bidding, deceiving as they are being deceived Paul tells us.

One way God’s chosen to exercise his power on behalf of believers is this Age of Grace is in Romans 5:5. We reckon ourselves to be dead unto sin and alive unto God through Jesus our Savior. God’s deposited power works within us, empowers us to yield ourselves to the one who yielded himself up for us that being Jesus. Our service to others, not coming from any power you or I have in the flesh. The power of our service to others comes not from our human flesh. It comes from where Paul tells us it comes. This is an empowerment in an inward sense that comes from God’s power working inside those it indwells. Maturity is about the degree you participate in the increase of the body unto the edifying of it’s self in love. The degree in which you participate in that which brings unity to the body and edifies other believers to that degree you can concern yourself to be mature. Living out what we believe...the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Savior. But pride and performance are linked, they’re joined, not only at the hip but at the heart. Pride insists upon attributing success to self. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thoughts To Think About "7"

The law gave Paul an inside look at the complexity of sin in that through the law Paul was given insight into the sin that was actually working inside him. (Romans 7:7) The law wasn’t sinful, the law revealed the sin in Paul. It was the law that gave Paul a picture of the depravity of his own heart. No one could censure Paul when it came to the outward observances of the Law. No one could find a fault with Paul in that area. As far as the outward requirements of the law program were concerned, Paul could compare himself with anyone in the nation Israel and Paul was top-drawer, as the expression goes today when it came to the outward expressions of his law-keeping. He was as respectable in that regard as anyone could possibly be. It’s interesting that Paul chooses this commandment in that the first nine basically have to do with external practices. They’re all things that have to do with an action you might commit outwardly. But when you get down to the last one, you see a clear distinction. That last commandment turns inward. It’s more of an attitude than it is an action. You just can’t see dust particles until the light rays of the sun bring those dust particles into focus. And surprisingly enough, the light seems to stir them up and make them even more active. Well, now we have a picture of the law. 

It’s important we know the difference, because the old man and the sin nature are not one and the same. The old man speaks of your 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 Jesus, and the new man is the new identity belonging to every believer. The sad news is that the new man continues to reside in the old tent where the sin nature is ever present. The old man has to do with identity. Even though every believer has a new identity in the last Adam, 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. Nothing and no one can take your identity in the last Adam away from you. God accomplished that for you. Therefore, in light of that, bring your practical state into harmony with your new identity, this is Paul’s admonition for every believer in this dispensation of grace. Since God’s power from on high is deposited in every believer, that power can indeed be grieved when the conduct of believers is contrary to their new identity in the Savior. Keep in mind, we did not gain our new identity in the Savior by being good, but rather by believing on him that justifieth the ungodly, according to Paul.

Today, for the most part, we are also an unbelieving people. Instead of trusting in God’s Word and resting in the glories of his grace that we’re shown through the Word, we are even now continually looking for signs, continually looking for visual evidences of God’s presence and his approval in the day-to-day circumstance of our lives. The direction is in God’s Word and we’re still waiting for direction while our apostle has given us a clear and straight forward proclamation from God himself that we walk by faith and not walking by sight. He’s not giving us those visual manifestations. Would God not have us know and understand that the proof is right before our eyes, in a very real sense today concerning his position, his power, his presence, his purpose, and his predisposition in this dispensation? It’s in his written Word. You see, we are not the sign nation. And we have not become the assumers and fulfiller of God’s program with that sign-nation. Many think we have. That program has been placed on hold while God completes his plan and purpose for the saints of this dispensation. While Israel walked by sight, we walk not by sight, but by faith. The focus today is no longer on the outward, but on the inward.

God predetermined to conform everyone who believes to  the imagine of his son. If you are a believer, God has predetermined (another wards, his mind is made up, he’s pre-decided) something where you are concerned once you believe Paul’s good news message and his mind is not going to be changed on this. God in his infinite wisdom pre-decreed that every believer would be joined to his son; fully identified with his son. God also pre-decided that you the believer would be blessed with all the blessings and privileges of an adopted adult son. God decided in advance that you the believer are to be the praise of the glory of his grace. (Ephesians 1:4-6) What does that mean to you that God pre-decided something, set it in stone we could say? It means you’re predestined to these outcomes, there is not changing any of them. God has pre-determined them simple as that. God's mind is set. God wants us to rejoice and praise him and he certainly wants us to thank him because he’s pre-determined these outcomes for you. He wants us to rest in these things.

So, suffering circumstances are working something in your life, believe it or not. You say, “I can’t feel it now. It’s painful, it’s a heartache.” Wait a minute. While you’re undergoing what you’re undergoing and thinking it’s the worse thing that can happen to you in your life, and you don’t know the answer, and you don’t know which way to turn, Paul says that it’s working for you. You can’t see it, you don’t know it, but God knows it. And it’s working for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Paul didn’t just say, “A weight of glory.” He added all these adjectives to tell you a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory. Paul was eagerly awaiting God’s purpose for Paul, the glory that Paul knew would be revealed in him at the manifestation of the Sons of God when the Sons of God receive their glorified bodies. Keep in mind, a glorified body is God’s purpose for his suffering saints-a glorified body like unto the Savior’s glorified body; that’s his purpose for you down the road.

You can imagine the elation of the shepherds as they were receiving this good news from the angel Gabriel. The baby that was the object of Isaiah’s prophecy was now lying in manger in Bethlehem! Wouldn’t it be amazing, in connection with our program and being caught up off of this planet to be in heaven with the Savior if we were able to say, “Look how many centuries have gone by and everyone has expected it, everybody hoped for it, everybody hoped it would come to pass in their lifetime and they wouldn’t have to see physical death before they were translated.” How glorious would it be for you to hear the good news today, “It’s coming before you die physically? You’re going to be caught up off this planet.” Now you can imagine the elation of these shepherds who has said, “Wow, this had been promised for centuries. Here it is. He’s now lying in a manger, the baby is here.”

We see in 1 Corinthians 3:8-9 that this labor has to do with building the body of the Savior. Paul was laboring to build or we could say build up, might even say edified the body of the Savior. You see when it comes to this structure called the body of the Savior, you if you are a believer are a member of the work crew whether you know it or not. You are participating with God according to Paul in the building up of the body of the Savior. The work project is this body of the Savior. In fact, you’ve been part of the work crew ever since you were first saved. The question is, “How have you been building?” Our evaluation at the Judgement Seat of the Savior will be directly related to how we’ve utilized two building materials, the word of the truth rightly divided and agape love on behalf of the brethren. 1 Corinthians 3:13, fire here is not talking about a Bunsen Burner or blow torch or any such thing here. It tries the work of that person to see if that work is reward worthy or non-reward worthy. Sin is not the issue at the Judgement Seat of the Savior.

Paul wasn’t concerned about a ‘state’ which exists between death and resurrection but for a relationship that exists between the believer and the Savior through death. This relationship of being with the Savior is not interrupted by death because the believer who sleeps in the Savior has no awareness of the passing of time. Paul didn’t think the question of the statue of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. The reason is that for Paul, those who die in the Savior, their relationship with the Savior is one of immediacy because they have no awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection. Paul explains that both the sleeping and living believers will be united with the Savior, not at death but at his coming for his body of believers in this age of grace. Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection, that is a notion totally foreign to Paul and to Scripture as a whole.

You say, “How did that happen?” I made a wrong choice somewhere along the line. Could of made a better decision, but I didn’t. Now I’ve planted the wrong crop. Now the wrong crop is coming up and I’m going to pray to God to take the crop away. But instead, I can learn and start planting new seed right away. Better decisions right away. But God wants me to know that it’s not my praying that has the power to impact his hand on my behalf. Paul didn’t pray for the outer, he prayed for the strengthening of the inner. (Ephesians 3:16) From where does God intend the suffering saint gain that mental emotional emotional stabilization in such times? The answer is, it should come from the stabilizing doctrines that are found written in the written word of God. Paul give us ample ammunition when it comes to those distressing situations that boggle our minds, shatter our peace, knock us off our feet. The truth is every believer should be armed, should be scripturally equip with the fortifying doctrines provided by the apostle Paul for the suffering saints of the age of grace. Don’t look at those suffering situations, look at the things that are not seen. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) It’s God’s power deposited inside you praying each and every moment of each and every day according to the will of God. If there’s ever a power to bolster me, it’s God’s power praying on my behalf. (Romans 8:26-27)

What is the manner of our deliverance according to our apostle in this age of grace? Are we delivered from our suffering circumstances based upon the number of people praying for that deliverance? Are we delivered from those suffering circumstances by the persistence and protracted manner in which those prayers are being offered? Are we being delivered from the suffering circumstances to which we’ve been subjected such that God will allow us to “see our deliverance” and tell those around us that we’ve just witnessed a “God-thing?” Is our deliverance the repair and the escape of the problems of the old or is it the hope of the new? When we get our new bodies, we'll be delivered from the suffering circumstances that adversely affect this old tent in which we must dwell until we die or our meeting the Savior in the air occurs whichever is first. It isn’t the deliverance of the’s the hope of the new today. The body God has in store for each of us, the body that will be fashioned like unto the Savior’s glorious body. (Romans 8:23-25)

Let’s suppose that God had not separated out a brand new apostle with a brand new message for a brand new creation called the Body of the Savior. Imagine with me for a moment that God had allowed that kingdom program to continue on as some believe today. What message would we as Gentiles, have heard under those circumstances, had that program continued on? You see, according to Israel’s program, when the messiah was cut off according to the 483 years of Daniel’s prophesy fulfilled, the time for that nation to come to their last days prior to the entrance of their kingdom had come close to hand. Only 7 years remained at that period of time on Israel’s prophecy clock before the earthly kingdom would be set up and the messiah would be ruling and reigning on the throne. The tribulation was on its way when Pentecost took place. These are the last day Joel was talking about. If God had not put Israel’s program on the shelf, he would be gathering Gentiles, and bringing them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat. (Joel 3:9-16) At the culmination of the tribulation period, Gentiles are going to be coming against the nation Israel. The Gentiles will be the bullies when this day arrives. Jesus is coming to stand up for that remnant and who will the messiah be coming to fight? The Gentiles.

Nowhere in the Bible are we told that the dearly departed saved ones are given wings. The saints in heaven do not become angels, they will rule over the angelic host according to the apostle Paul. But, it’s certainly a fascinating and emotional story for those uneducated in the Word of Truth; those who are looking toward experience and the tweaking of their emotions rather than studying for themselves rightly-divided doctrine. In each instance, somebody went and somebody saw in direct contradiction to the Paul’s very clear statement that “we walk by faith not by sight.” Why do books based on so called experiences of going to heaven become best sellers? Could it be because the time will come as Paul states so clearly in 2 Timothy 4:3. We might call them “emotional cravings, abandon sound doctrine preferring instead to have their ears tickled. The reason they sell so well is because in the minds of the vast majority of so-called Christendom today emotion trumps doctrine. Take note of which churches grow the fastest and where the multitudes want to congregate in your city and you’ll see meetings designed with emotion in mind. We walk by faith not by sight. We can rely upon nothing we see because the enemy is able to provide miraculous manifestations and we can rely only upon what we hear from others to the extent that what others say aligns itself with the Word of God rightly divided.

We see in 2 Corinthians 4:3 the word hid. Satan’s not a mandy pandy at hiding what Jesus accomplished. It’s one thing to have your sin slate wiped clean. It’s something else entirely different to be in the Savior. Righteousness and sin two different things. If people are asking for forgiveness for their sins today, than what do those people understand about what happen to their sins Jesus accomplished for the human race. We shouldn’t be surprised today that Satan, the master counterfeiter, is so successful at confusing what Jesus accomplished. Don’t let anyone confuse you. God is reconciled where the sin debt of the human race is concerned. There’s not a sin you did commit, are committing or could ever commit that God hasn’t reconciled himself through what Jesus accomplished on your behalf. Satan’s ministers of righteousness are keeping the issue of sin on the table of God’s justice. Sin stood between God and the human race but Jesus stepped up according to God’s plan and became sin for the human race. (2 Corinthians 5:21) So becoming sin for the human race and dying for the sins of the human race was the ultimate act of righteousness  where our Savior was concerned. So in the eyes of a perfectly righteous God, Jesus is the only one who has ever earned merited righteousness through his performance. No one else has done so. God was perfectly satisfied with all the sins Jesus did die for. God’s justice was satisfied.

The heart beat of Paul’s new message can be summed up this way. Jesus took care of the sin wall. (Acts 13:38-39) Sins are no longer merely covered, they are now completely paid for, completely forgiven, completely taken out of the way. Jesus removed the alienation sin wall, all inclusive, all upfront; that’s why Jesus could say, “It’s finished.” So difficult for people to accept and appropriate. Far easier for ministers of righteousness to give people a way to come and get right with God and to do it on a daily or weekly bases. If they can give you a way to come and get right with God, they got you and your wallet. People are doing it every week, coming back to try to find a way to get right and stay right with God when it was Jesus who made us right with God. The only way the wall could ever be removed forever was for Jesus to give his life to bring that wall down once and for all. That’s the most tremendous message the world could ever hear. It’s this message Satan hates the most because that wall means alienation and separation and removal of that wall means reconciliation. God can now totally accept people even though people are sinful because all sin has been paid for once and for all! God is glorified in the fact that there is no more wall. Satan doesn’t want God to be glorified.

In contrast to the land, Yahweh’s sanctuary can be purified for moral impurity by means of a special sacrifice. The blood of the animal, the blood of the sacrifice is the key to the whole ritual. Blood, the blood that courses through one’s veins, represents the life force; the Noahide covenant, you may not spill human blood. And you may not eat animal flesh that has the lifeblood in it, because the blood is the life and that belongs to Yahweh, that’s holy. So the life force is holy, and the life force is in the blood; Leviticus 17:11, repeats the blood prohibition, and  then it offers a rationale. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have assigned it to you for making expiation for your lives upon the altar.” Yahweh assigned it to them to use in sacrificial practices.

It is the blood as life that effects expiation, purging and atonement. The blood of sacrificial animals is assigned by Yahweh as a detergent, if you will, to cleanse the sanctuary of the impurities that are caused by the sinful deeds of the Israelites. Purification of the sanctuary was believed to be critical to the health and the well-being of the community. If the sanctuary is not purged of impurity, it can become polluted to the point when Yahweh is driven out entirely. The purification offering acts on the sanctuary, not on the offerer. It purges the sanctuary of the defilement that is symbolically; it has symbolically suffered from the offerer’s state of ritual impurity or sinfulness. Once the sanctuary is purged, the offerer has settled his debt, he’s repaired the damage he caused. He’s fully atoned, and Yahweh is no longer repelled by the impurity that marred his sanctuary.

Matt. 27:51, the earthquake that fractured the rock opened a fissure that ran down through 20 foot of solid rock into a cave and cracked the stone lid on top of a black stone volt where the Ark of the Covenant lie hidden inside, pushing the lid aside. John 19:34, the blood of Jesus ran down through that crevice and dripped onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant that was hidden by God and the prophet Jeremiah, right under where they crucified Jesus, 620 years earlier when the Babylonians destroyed Salomon’s temple. The Greek word used for “the cross” on which Jesus was put to death is “stauros,” which denotes an upright pale or stake. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. There is nothing in the Greek of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber. The blood of Jesus would do no good for the Israelites dripping on “stauros!”

Isaiah 53:7-8 - By going back to the prophet Isaiah...Jesus is revealing for the very first his apostles...that the blood of Jesus was the basis by which...Israel’s kingdom program and Israel’s New Covenant...could continue on. Remission of sins...the complete clearing away of Israel’s sin debt...could now be accomplished just as Jeremiah, Israel’s New Covenant Prophet had proclaimed. The blood that poured from the side of Jesus as he hung on the tree of crucifixion was the basis by which God would now have...just remit (or to clear the accounts) of those with faith in time past...those who had trusted God’s Word to them...and who obeyed what God told them to do.  Only the people of Israel are referred to as God’s sheep in scripture. Never the Gentiles. Psalms 79:13

Superstitious mind set can make something out of nothing in order to validate a belief. Superstition is all that is required for many people to come to believe that supernatural events are actually taking place. Satan has as much a field day with superstition as he does with counterfeit miracles. And last days religion will have signed on to the superstition band wagon and will be riding it when God calls an end to the age of grace. Colossians 2:8 Previous held beliefs especially superstitious beliefs are a most difficult thing to discard. There is a tendency of people’s preconceptions to bias, their interpretations of what they see. People will tend to engage in a search for evidence that is bias towards confirmation of their beliefs. They engage in evidence that tends to confirm their previously held belief. Not fully utilizes all the information that’s out there. Only searching out that which agrees with their cause. Avoiding information that might dis-confirm their cause. The tendency of the human mind is to seek out information that supports their belief and attribute a great deal of weight to that when they find it while they discount or ignore evidence that goes contrary to the belief they hold. Seeing what they except to see...if they expect to see Mary making an appearance in the window, the concrete or the grill cheese sandwich...they’ll see the outline of Mary. Setting their criteria so broadly that their preexisting beliefs is validated no matter what the outcome.

One of the main purposes of worship, as some people define it is to get a touch from God; to get the emotions at a peak. You see, they feel close to God when they are in a situation that stimulates their emotions. During a Sunday worship service praise and worship service, they feel connected to God, everything’s fine. The connection is solid because the emotional high has been established. They find themselves on an endless quest for emotional satisfaction because they relate their closeness to God upon feeling. They’re either on fire or the fire’s gone out. The apostle Paul is telling us in 2 Timothy 4:3 that as time progresses forward, people will become more and more about satisfying the emotional desires. That’s what the emergent church is all about. That’s why miracles for money has been selling so well over the past several decades. Feeling related. Emotion related. “Why, we don’t want to go to a church unless we can have some emotion involved with our assembly.” To put it in simple terms, Paul is telling us that people will be seeking after and devoting themselves to a God they can feel. As faith gives way to feeling, people begin to base their faith on feeling. They want a God they can move to, they want a God that gets them moving, and they want teachers who can make them feel good in the process.

Paul was striving to know the Savior and know him intimately not as the lowly Nazarene...not as Israel’s Messiah...not as the man from Galilee...not as simply another great teacher...not as simply a prophet, but to know him in the power of his resurrection and in the fellowship of his suffering. Paul wanted the Savior’s life to be manifest in his own life. Take in God’s Word that you might be transformed by that Word. You must take part in the ingestion and absorption of his word rightly divided. Transformation God’s responsibility. The ingestion and absorption of divine viewpoint the believer’s responsibility. 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. Paul’s great desire was to know the Savior in his resurrection power because that same power that raised Jesus from among the dead was operating or energizing in Paul and it’s energizing in you. Ephesians 1:17-20

Now our life style choices can have a bearing on our health. Is the purpose of our prayers to call God’s attention to our problem?  Do you need the pastor to pray? Do you need people all praying the same thing at the same time? Do you need a 24 hour persistence line so God gets so tired of all the begging that he’s just going to give in and give you your desire to get you off his back? NO! Do we really think he’s off doing something else with someone else concerned about some other things till we pray to let him know we’ve got a problem. And then he turns around and “Oh, indeed that believer does have a problem.” There’s a difference in the Age of Grace. What is that difference? It’s strength made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 It’s not strength made perfect in the elimination of the suffering situation. Now if you’re weak, you’re suffering, you’re going through a trial, a tribulation in your life and you’re praying for God to take it away. But God is telling you that his will is that his strength may be perfect in your weakness, what are you praying?...I don’t want your will to be done in my life. I don’t what your strength to be made perfected in my weakness. I want you to take my weakness away. I want your strength to be perfected in my strength? Philippians 4:6 When you pray in the Age of Grace, we are to pray, we’re to pray with thanksgiving, but are we to pray with thanksgiving that he promised he would do it? Are we to pray with thanksgiving that we’re going to get what we’re praying for? Not at all. Romans 8:26-27

We see in Galatians 3:1-3 that Jesus had become sin for them. Jesus had been cursed for them. The curse of the law was placed on Jesus instead upon these people and Paul had taught that very truth to them, and now, they were denying that truth through their practice. They were going back in their thinking and tying their performance to their righteousness before God. We also see in Galatians 4:21 the lunacy of desiring to be under the law was in the fact that these people actually thought they could perform the law in a manner that would make them more righteous before God. They were trying to perfect their righteousness, to add to their righteousness, to complete, to cap off the righteousness they had in God’s sight. Why was it such an idiotic notion? The answer is this: if they hadn’t obtained their righteous standing with God through their law-keeping in the first place, how could they fall for the ploy that they could now become more righteous in the sight of God by way of more law-keeping? Is God requiring that we add our righteous works to the Savior’s righteousness that we might become righteous indeed or is the Savior’s righteousness the only righteousness from God’s perspective his saints will ever need?

We see in Romans 12:1-2 that the church is stuck on the word reformation rather than transformation. They don’t understand the difference. We present ourselves to God as we allow him to do the transforming through the intake of his word rightly divided. Satan’s ministers of righteousness use the word reform instead of the word transform. They would appeal to people to reform. God doesn’t make that appeal. Transformation is entirely a work of God in the believer. Reformation would be a work of the believer for God. God’s Word tells us his thoughts. As we take in his thoughts and begin to understand him and know his thinking, his thinking can become our thinking. It’s only when we come to properly understand God from his perspective concerning ourselves both before we came to understand Paul’s good news message and then what we are and who we are after we’ve believed Paul’s good news message and have been joined to his son...then we can be capable if viewing others and relating to others accordingly who are also members of the Savior’s body. So transformed thinking relates to transform relating as the Savior’s thinking becomes our thinking. That’s where we see the love of God...Romans 5:5

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Thoughts To Think About "6"

The shield of faith doesn’t create reality; the shield of faith responds to reality. The enemy can put thoughts into our mind and they will know whether we buy their lie by how we behave. If we are going to resist the enemy, we must do so outwardly so they can understand us and be put to flight. The enemy will invite us to fulfill our physical needs in ways that are outside the boundary of God’s will for us. Whenever we feel enticed to meet a legitimate physical need by acting independently of God, we are being tempted through the lust of the flesh. The lust of the eyes subtly draws us away from God and eats away at our confidence in God. We see what the world has to offer and we begin to place more credence in our own perspective of life. The temptation of the pride of life is intended to destroy our obedience to our ministry of reconciliation by urging us to take charge of our own lives.

It’s surprising how many people think Jesus died for the sins they have committed up to a point, but then from that point on they have got to keep those sins taken out of the way. Jesus paid the price to deliver the human race from God’s justice. Yet, with Jesus paying the price necessary to satisfy God’s justice for all the sins of the world, there are those who would accuse Paul of lying. A Savior established reconciliation is the core ingredient in Paul’s good news message. God has reconciled the world to him and Paul makes that abundantly clear. God isn’t imputing people’s sins unto them because Jesus paid the penalty for those sins. Judicial satisfaction for sins is what reconciliation is all about. The doctrinal transaction called Justification has to do with God recognizing someone to be righteous. God will recognize those who take him at his Word concerning the price Jesus became on their behalf to resolve God’s justice for their sins. Justification is a recognition of righteousness that comes from God to those who believe God, it doesn't go away, it doesn't abate over time, it’s ours forever.

The moment we are tempted to get our need met in the world, we are at the threshold of a decision. If we don’t immediately choose to take that thought captive, we will begin to consider it as an option and if we begin to mull it over in our mind, immediately our emotions will be affected and the likelihood of yielding to that temptation is increased. We must capture the tempting thought in the first frame or it will probably capture us. Once our consideration of a temptation has triggered an emotional response, we will act upon that choice and own that behavior. We may resent our actions or claim that we are not responsible for what we do, but we are responsible for our actions at this stage, because we failed to take a tempting thought captive when it first appeared at the threshold of our mind. If we continue to repeat an act for more than six weeks, we will form a habit and if we exercise that habit long enough a stronghold will be established. Once a stronghold of thought and response is entrenched in our mind, our ability to choose and to act contrary to that pattern is virtually nonexistent and negative thoughts and actions we cannot control spring from a stronghold. Somewhere in the past we consciously or unconsciously formed a pattern of thinking and behaving which now controls us. Simply putting on the armor of God at this stage will not solve our dilemma, these strongholds are already entrenched and fortified.

We are going to become enslaved to that which we choose to put ourselves in servitude. Choose to serve sin and we can soon become addicted to the manner in which we have chosen to serve sin is the principle. Paul isn’t talking about a believer losing salvation, he is talking about what those who pursue the satisfaction of the sinful lusts. We reap what we sow, not from God, but through that to which we are reaping. There is something attractive about sin to the human race. Something that’s pleasin’ for a season when it comes to that issue of sin, something that appeals to the flesh. The truth is, the law brought forth sin, it incites the pride-nature to rebellion. Performance of the flesh must be removed from the picture when it comes to the righteousness necessary for a relationship with God. It’s a person’s knowledge of their sinful condition that makes death such a fearful event for the non-believer.

The difference between the two Adam’s in our history is the need to be sure we are identifying with the right one. Understanding and acting upon who we are in Jesus is the basis for successful growth and maturity. Our daily performance is often marked by personal failure and disobedience which disappoints us and disrupts the harmony of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation. In our attempts to understand the disobedience which so often disturbs our ambassadorship, are we unwitting victims of our old identity? Our old identity which we have inherited from the disobedience of the first Adam is like a big black dog, but through the redemptive work of the second Adam, God deposited his power from on high in us when we got born anew and that power is like a big white dog. Whenever we involve ourselves in worldly thoughts or behavior, we are feeding the black dog. Whenever we focus our mind and activities on matters of our ambassadorship, we are feeding the white dog. The dog we feed the most will eventually grow stronger and overpower the other.

Next to temptation, perhaps the most frequent and insistent attack from the enemy to which we are vulnerable is accusation. Accusation is a deep-seated sense of self-deprecation; I’m not important, I’m not qualified, I’m no good. We become paralyzed in our witness and productivity in our ministry of reconciliation by thoughts and feelings of inferiority and worthlessness. The enemy often use temptation and accusation as a brutal one-two punch. They come along and say, “Why don’t you try it? Everybody does it.” Then as soon as we fall for their temping line, they change their tune to accusation: “What kind of believer are you to do such a thing? You are a pitiful excuse for a child of God.” Many believers are perpetually discouraged and defeated because they believe their persistent lies about them. When we leave a door open for the enemy by not resisting temptation and accusation, they will enter it. If we continue to allow them access to that area, they will eventually control it. Many believers today who cannot control their lives in some area wallow in self-blame instead of acting responsibly to solve the problem. They berate themselves and punish themselves for not have the willpower to break a bad habit.

God’s integrity is at stake in doing what he promised he would do. We can have security of mind that we have Jesus’ test score written on our paper in Heaven. Sanctification can also be a source of great comfort and assurance because sanctification like justification is proof positive that once a person takes God at his word concerning the accomplishment of his son, that person remains in a sanctified identity before God forever, performance notwithstanding We cannot lose by way of our poor performance what we never gained by way of our good performance. God has dealt with that problem of sin and the issue with sanctification is not about sin, but about perfection. Paul told us that sanctification is how God perfected us, made us as equally righteous as God himself. Based upon the fact that we are already sanctified, there is now no condemnation for us.

The MESSAGE of the good news message is in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. It’s there that Paul explains to us what happened to the sins that were placed upon our Savior, and the wonderful news that God is no longer imputing those sins unto the sinners. The MECHANICS of the good news message is in Romans 3:20-31. How is it that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection can accomplish justification for a wrath-worthy individual, a declared righteous of that individual. We find that the model that produces a declared righteous is divided into three different sections all working together. Having dispelled all of people’s self-defense pleas, Paul makes this startling statement in verse 20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” Verse 21”BUT NOW” has to be the biggest two letter word statement found in all of scripture. Whenever we see the “BUT NOW” in Paul’s epistles, sit up and take special notice because “BUT NOW” let’s us know that a change has taken place.

The words “BUT NOW” moves us from one situation to a different situation. In other words, at one point in time something was true. “BUT NOW” something else is true which leads us to ask the question, what is it that Paul wants us to know, is different now from what used to to be.  Paul is simply saying that God’s righteousness is now being manifested apart from the principle of rule-keeping. What Jesus did for us doesn't make you measure up to God’s rightness. You have to be declared righteous and that comes by grace through the blood of Jesus and through Jesus’ faithfulness, and you are going to find out your faith has to be in those three components.

We see in Romans 3:10-17 that no one has a self defense plea that will successfully excuse them from being counted worthy of God’s wrath. The natural person is the person who can only perceive things that fit in with their own human reasoning. If something is not logical to the natural person’s way of thinking they refuses to believe it, whether God said it or not, they want to remain in their comfort zone. The human race has become quite adept at mixing poison with their speech. The words come out designed to appear innocuous, but lo and behold, there is something hidden under the lips of sinful people. While their words may appear harmless and unoffending, oftentimes these words are not benign words at all. They are insidiously designed by the speaker to be laced with character venom so as to contaminate the object of the speech. Swearing isn’t the meaning of the word, this word cursing has more to do with wishing harm on another; wishing ill will toward another person; bringing another under the condemnation of ill will due to the bitterness or animosity in our hearts. Every where a person goes, you can see the results of their having been there. Destruction and misery line the pathway of the human race. We could say that the footprint of sin is easily traced to the sinner. Sin renders lasting peace impossible.

God has already made you fit, being made complete to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints. It’s not something we must wait for. Not something we must strive for. Not something that will have our fingerprints on it in anyway whatsoever. Our fitness for our heavenly inheritance is an inheritance that waits every believer. It has already been accomplished for us according to the Apostle Paul, it’s a done deal. The fitness was accomplished by someone else not by you. It was accomplished by Jesus, there is nothing further you need do to become fit for your inheritance. It’s a past tense transaction. God has already delivered us from the power of darkness. God has already translated us at the point of our belief, he already sees us seated right along himself as he sees down through the portals of time into time future. God isn’t watching to see if we’re good enough to get there. God isn’t waiting to tally a score of some sort to see if we’ve earned sufficient points to merit this fitness. God has already made us sufficient. Abandoned human view point, adopt divine view point.

Titus 2:14 is not talking about God making unbelievers zealous of good works, religion attempts to do that through the concept of Christianizing the flesh. There are a lot of religious people out there who are zealous of good works because they suppose those good works will keep them in good standing with God. Worthless! It’s only when we render the capacity of the flesh to the dung heap of righteousness producing futility that God is able to do his work through the Word in and through the believer’s life. It’s not about what a believer does or can do for God; it’s what God can and will accomplish in and through the believer who renders the flesh worthless when it comes to producing righteousness and trusts the Word of God to do the work of God in their life. But, that transformation is a MIGHT, it’s not a certainty. God can only transform the minds of believers to the extent those believers are willing to take in, contemplate, and digest the Word of God so that the Word of God can accomplish the work of God. The Word of God can accomplish its effectual work in and through that believer.

Who was it that purchased you, the sinner, out of the market place of sin through Jesus’ shed blood? Did you pay the price to purchase you out of this issue called sins, or did Jesus pay the price? We know that Jesus paid the price when we look at the receipt shown us in scripture; that receipt for Jesus’ payment is sitting in 1 Timothy 2:6. If Jesus is the one who paid the price to purchase you out of the market place of that sin issue where the Father’s justice is concerned...who would have to be the one on the receiving end of any permissible refund? It surely wouldn’t be you, would It? It wasn’t you who paid the ransom price in the first place. It was Jesus who paid it! His shed blood being the cost! Does it not stand to reason then, that Jesus would be the only one eligible to receive a refund of the purchase price that he paid? He’s the one who paid it! If a refund was possible...the refund would have to be the price Jesus paid...which was nothing less than the blood that he shed! Jesus is the one who made the payment, therefore Jesus would be the only one eligible to receive a refund of the purchase price.  According to scripture, when it comes to the redemption of the sinner...God has a no return policy in place! The market place of that sin issue where the justice of God is concerned. Jesus has purchased the entire human race out from the marketplace of sin’s ability to condemn the sinner ever again. Do you see why sin is no longer the issue on the table of God’s justice in the age of grace?

Truth designed to give us stability is truth designed to give us security. I would say that insecurity lies at the root of much that’s taking place in our society today. If we understand the foundational concept as we see it presented by Paul in the book of Romans, that’ll go a long way in our understanding ourselves and others appropriately. It will go a long way in understanding our marriages, our relationships with others. It will go a long way in helping us to understand what happens with our children. In Philippians, Paul prayed that the love of the Philippian believers would abound in knowledge so that they would be able to make appropriate decisions based on that knowledge which in turn would be glorifying and praising to God. 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 the Savior, can we become in our behavior what he wants us to be in that aspect of our lives.  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. When we think that our relationship with God is based on that measuring up, and so, our young people’s security sometimes is based on that as will. And whether we realize it or not, there’s a huge block of insecurity lying right there in their lives that begins to show the factorization that is the result of that insecurity later on in their lives. This is the purpose for the edification process for the believer that God presents in Romans.

When law became the applicator that Paul used to apply to the problem of his covetousness, he found his coveting sin-sore erupting like Mt. Vesuvius. So you know what the ever presence of the sin problem was like to our apostle who could not escape it? He called it “the body of this death.” One of the most horrible, most cruel forms of punishment in Paul’s day was a method employed by the Romans. It was worse than crucifixion. One of the ways of putting people to death was to take a corpse, someone who had already been executed and to strap that corpse onto the body of a live person. You can imagine what it must have been like as that corpse began to rot. Well, Paul paints that very picture when he illustrates the ever present problem that his sin problem presented to him. Paul couldn’t escape his sin problem no matter how fervently he tried. The law of sin is nothing more than the ever present sin problem that resides in the earthly tabernacle of all God’s earthly human creation given Adam’s rebellion and will continue to remain a part of your earthly tent until you receive your new tent. These fleshly tents will never be worthy of heaven in that they will never be able to perform to the measure of the righteousness that is true of God. Otherwise we’d go to heaven in our old tent, would we not? God doesn’t relate to us on the basis of our performance in the flesh but on the basis of our new identification in his son (The Last Adam).

Servant-hood is the mind-set to be adopted by all grace saved saints. We are going to judged according to our labour of love. Knowledge is a wonderful thing, but knowledge not put to use is like a new car sitting in the garage. You might be as proud as you might possibly be of that new car. You want to show it off, but even though that car belongs to you, if that car never leaves the garage the purpose for which that car was designed is left unfulfilled. We need to understand, God had much more in mind when he designed the body of the Savior than a library full of learning or a theater of theologians. God wants us to put our knowledge to use not just to make others more knowledgeable. Unfortunately, the knowledge of the mystery...the knowledge of rightly dividing the word of truth...has become nothing more than a show piece where a lot of grace age believers are concerned. We want everyone to acknowledge our knowledge of scripture. We like to show it that we know how to rightly divided the word. Sometimes to the point of striving in the negative sense of that word which Paul warns against in 1 Timothy 2:24. If you thought that the knowledge of the mystery or even helping others gain a knowledge of the mystery is all that God had in mind when it comes to his plan and purpose for members of the body of the Savior then I suggest we need a little more knowledge. Because as wonderful as both of these things are, Paul’s taking us a step beyond knowing the mystery and speaking the mystery. He’s taking us to what can appropriately be called “The measure of the stature of the fulness of the Savior.” Colossians 3:14

What did Paul mean in Romans 7:4? By whose body did you become dead to the law according to Paul? The body of Jesus! Was it your body or was it Jesus’ body that freed human race from the law’s jurisdiction? It was Jesus’ body!It wasn’t through the performance of your body that you became dead to the law’s jurisdiction. It was through the performance of Jesus’ body that you have been removed from that jurisdiction forevermore as Jesus came to fulfill the law and to become sin on the human race’s behalf that those who would believe might have his righteousness freely attributed to their account being married to Jesus. So, not only did the law die to us from a dispensational standpoint, we also died to the law by Jesus satisfying the law’s demands becoming sin for the human race, satisfying the law’s justice for that sin as he became a ransom for all to be testified in due time where Paul became that due time testifier. The law will never work to accomplish our sanctification. That’s the thrust of this entire seventh chapter of Romans. The human race is dead to law-keeping for righteousness. They’re dead to a law-keeping for righteousness relationship and that relationship is gone forever. Jesus took it out of the way. God’s blessing and God’s favor are there for in no way based upon how well any person conforms to a standard today; that’s being married to two partners. A person’s righteousness today comes not by way of performance but by way of our identity. And, by way of our identity is how we get our blessings.

What does Paul mean by the phrase “in the flesh” in Romans 7:5? What first comes to your mind when you think of someone being in the flesh? Now our minds are tied to that concept of rule-keeping for righteousness, we grew up with it. Most think of a person who is living in sin. I would venture to guess that most people would picture a Christian here who has slipped back into a worldly lifestyle thus, that backslidden church-goer would be considered to be “in the flesh.” Is that the picture that came across your mind? That’s the view most people have in their minds of the expression “in the flesh.” It’s sinning! But, that isn’t the case at all here. That’s not what Paul has in mind. You are not in the flesh if you are a saved person. You need to understand that as you read through Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 of Romans, “to be in the flesh” means to be in a law-husband relationship; to be in a conditional performance relationship. You’re in a new creation relationship with God. You’re alive because of your identity, not at all because of your practice. You’re in an alive-identity with the Savior because God has deposited his power from on high inside you and because you’ve trusted solely in what Jesus accomplished for you, not on what you could accomplish for the Savior, but you cannot be in a relationship with both at the same time. God no longer views you in a fleshly capacity. He no longer views you in your human flesh. He views you in your glorified identity. He sees you as being joined to his son which is why Paul could say, “Therefore, if any person is in the Savior, they are a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) It’s new identity.

When Adam sinned, it effected the entire creation. Disease and decay affects both the animate and the inanimate. Rather than moving upward from the pond to paradise as evolutionists would have us believe, the creation is on a downward spiral. No believer is immune from the suffering circumstances that come our way as a result of the sin-cursed world in which we live. All believers suffer. We just suffer in different ways and to different degrees and at different times in our lives, but we all suffer! We see in Romans 8:19 “for the earnest expectation of the creation,” the entire creation living under the constraints of the curse standing on tiptoes craning it’s neck, in a manner of speaking, as it eagerly awaits the manifestation of the Sons of God. Paul wants us to picture it as if all of creation is anxiously anticipating the parade to come by. But, who are the participants in this parade? This is the parade made up of the manifested Sons of God. We are the Sons of God and this parade will be made up of believers. It’ll be comprised of those formerly suffering saints that Paul has in mind here in Romans who will have received their new bodies. No longer will we be in these bodies of humiliation and shame. No more aging. No more pain. No more problems. No more trials and tribulations. No more suffering circumstances to wring our hearts out. If we could pray these circumstances away, what hope would we need? Our hope would reside right here in praying them away. The deliverance would come now instead of later and Paul is saying no, you’re deliverance is going to come later. When the Savior returns in the air to catch us up to be with him, then our suffering situations will forever be a thing of the past.

Some believers think that support should come from the pastor. After all, he’s the one who is supposed to be the specialist in all matters. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of religious people reason it. No matter the situation, the pastor is the one who is supposed to have the Biblical information necessary to bring stability to whatever destabilizing condition in which the believer has found themselves. Well, when you think about it, the overseer of the assembly should indeed be one with a proper understanding of doctrine and he should certainly be capable of giving appropriate advise and council and whatever emotional support he can provide to the members of his congregation seeking it. But the idea wrapped up in Colossians 3:12 is that of supporting one another. The members of the Body of the Savior are to be the supporting cast of the Body of the Savior. Paul said in Romans “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” he was addressing those words not just to pastors in the pulpits but to the people in the pews because these letters are addressed to the SAINTS, not to pastors. Ephesians 4:16 is not just to pastors, but ALL. This isn’t a role reserved for the pastor, this role belongs equally to those who sit in the pews. There are times when the physical presence of another believer is helpful to a suffering saint. There are times when it isn’t. There are times when holding the hand of a suffering saint is welcomed. There are times when it’s 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.

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 is concerned? Or did Jesus satisfy that claim once and for all. Of course he did! And you are joined to him; being joined to him meaning: 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 the Savior’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 identity. The law can make no demand on the world of the lawlessness because Jesus 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.

Paul had all the motivation that Paul needed to bring his body into subjection to whatever degree possible for Paul, not allowing it to reign supreme when it came to his actions. But, had Paul arrived when it came to the sacrifice of himself for the sake of those to whom he had been sent? Paul prayed that he might be made conformable unto Jesus’ death (Philippians 3:10). Jesus sacrificed himself for the sake of the Father’s enemies, for the sake of his enemies. Paul wanted to be made conformable to Jesus’ selflessness. But, Paul hadn’t arrived at Jesus’ selflessness as he states him in Philippines 3:12. You see, even with the proper motivation (and Paul had it, as do we), the flesh is incapable of removing self from our service. So, Paul wasn’t able to divorce self from his service when it came to what he did on behalf of others. Paul was certainly motivated to serve the Savior who died for him. But, 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 declare ungodly people righteous, 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.

When Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles was getting underway before God’s Word was complete...was send a handkerchief in order for God through his power from on high to jump into action and perform a miraculous sign for the sick. (Acts 19:11-12) Do you believe that someone could send you a handkerchief and with that handkerchief you're just automatically going to be healed of all manner of sickness and disease? God certainly worked that way in that day. But, Paul himself, revealed a change that was to take place as the ascended Savior let Paul know that change would be coming. 1 Corinthians 13:8, these were  signed gifts; the ability to proclaim God’s message prior to the completion of God’s Word through the supernatural empowerment of God’s power from on high.

1 Corinthians 13:9, it would have been impossible for the prophets of that day, those proclaiming the truth of God before the completed Word of God to reveal all the knowledge of God that would be contained in that completed Word of God. Paul’s epistles were to be passed from assembly to assembly, but keep in mind, he’d only completed 3 letters up to the point of what he’s telling us right here. All the written word the saints had up to that time, pertaining to the dispensation of grace was Galatians and the two letters to the saints at Thessalonica. Paul kept getting more revelations from the ascended Savior on what to tell us and the way God’s working with us today. 

1 Corinthians 13:10, when that which was to be finished comes to completion, there would be no need for the sign gifts to remain in operation. What was unfinished at that time? Paul’s writings to the Body of the Savior of this age!2 Corinthians 12:7-10, notice the change in operation that was beginning to take place in this new, previously undisclosed dispensation. What revelations? The revealing of the secret that God had been keeping where we Gentiles are concerned in light of Israel’s program being placed on the shelf for a time; the revelations concerning the change in program relative to the new dispensation God was ushering in. 

2 Timothy 4:19-20, Trophimus have I left at Miletum SICK. No handkerchief, no anointing with oil, no laying on of hands, no naming it and claiming it, no power of a positive confession, no seed faith sowing, no prayer of faith prayer meeting mentioned whatsoever, just the truth resident in Ephesians 3:20 in light of God’s change of operation in connection with his new program and the dispensation of the grace of God. We can now trust the truth of Romans 8:28.