Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Thoughts To Think About "4"

God knows whether there is a hidden motivation even to ourselves, hidden by our pride nature to look good before others, to appear knowledgeable before others, to somehow elevate self in relation to others to gain the praise of others, God knows the motivations of the human heart. Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in our mind that are done for the purpose 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. Were establishing the law. We establish it by acknowledging the fact that the law was a picture of God’s perfect righteousness where human performance is concerned, and that when it comes to attaining to the righteous standard, the law can't make a right relationship with God. Jesus purchased the human race out of the market place of sins.

God is making us conformable to the death of Jesus so that in living this experience we might become conformed to his resurrection. This doesn’t mean that when we die to self we become inactive or insensible, nor do we feel ourselves to be dead. Rather, dying to self means that the thing of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. The entire concept seems a bit strange to our natural eyes. Dying to self is something you can take very literal; you will die in every way possible in order to be someone you are not. Dying to self is not fun or easy, but what is particularly difficult about fighting this tendency is that it’s not exactly a behavior or action. It can certainly manifest itself in those forms, but underneath them is an attitude, a real change of mind and attitude towards sin itself and the cause of it, a change in our principle action from what is by nature the exact opposite.

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 moral choice of good and bad 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 the Savior can we become in our behavior what he wants us to in that aspect of our lives.

In reality, we have very little control over our emotions, but we do have control over our thoughts and our thoughts determine our feelings and our responses. If what we believe doesn't reflect truth, then what we feel doesn’t reflect reality. When we believe what we feel instead of the truth, how will our ministry of reconciliation be? As inconsistent as our feelings. The important process of renewing our mind includes managing our emotions by managing our thoughts and perceptions. Satan and his forces are always hurling their fiery darts of fear, doubt and worry in our direction, but the only time they can hit us is when we let our shield of faith down. A shield deflects; it keeps the darts of the enemy away from our mind, the shield moves with the attack. When we allow doubt to creep in, an actively raised shield of faith prevents this otherwise inhibiting fatigue, so the shield is the first line of defense, the enemy has to get past the shield first.

Our only boast is in Jesus, 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. Since Satan and his forces primary weapon is the lie, our defense against them is the truth. Dealing with them isn’t a power encounter; it’s a truth encounter. They know just what buttons to push to tempt us. They have observed our behavior over the years and they know where we are vulnerable and that is where they will attack. Our temptations will be unique to our area of vulnerability. The moment we are tempted, we are at the threshold of a decision and if we don’t immediately choose to take that thought captive, we will begin to consider it as an option. Our emotions play a major role in the process of renewing our mind. Our emotions reveal our perceptions. Our emotions are a product of our thought life and if we are not thinking right, if our mind is not being renewed, if we are not perceiving God and his Word properly, it will show up in our emotional life.

Religion is Satan’s invention and many people involved in religion’s domain are dealing with God on the basis of probation rather than salvation. Then God must make a decision in their mind whether or not to save that individual. If they will simply dedicate themselves to no longer sin, that is the idea promoted by Satan’s ministers of righteousness, their suitability for heaven depends upon their turning away from all of their sins. God testing over and over again the validity of that dedication, then God will know if they are truly devoted to him, then God will be able to finally make a decision as to whether or not they are heaven worthy. Then there are people who believe that God’s grace as it relates to salvation is something that has to be tapped into, new sins requiring new grace and new forgiveness. Satan’s purpose in this age of grace is to confuse Paul’s gospel with a gospel so nearly to it.

Those who deny the enemy’s potential for destruction are the most vulnerable to it. Even though our eternal destiny is secure and the armor of God is readily available, we are still vulnerable to their accusations and temptations. If we give into these, we can be influenced by them and if we remain under their influence long enough we can lose control if we fail to stand against them. Ownership is never at sake, they cannot touch our new identity, but as long as we are living in this fleshly body, we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable targets to all their fiery darts. How do you think Satan carries on his worldwide ministry of evil and deception? He is a created being; he is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. He cannot be everywhere in the world tempting and deceiving millions of people at the same moment. He does so through an army of emissaries “fallen angels called evil spirits” who propagate his plan of rebellion around the world.

Well, according to the apostle Paul, the indwelling of God’s power from on high is both God’s seal and his deposited pledge that all believers are forever his and are destined to inherit eternal life. The security all believers have in that the indwelling of God’s power from on high guarantees that those who have believed Paul’s good news message can never be lost, they belong to God. The word “sealed” means sealed for preservation. The seal is the safeguarding device, the securing device used to preserve the contents. God’s power from on high is the seal that God used to secure all who believe in this dispensation of grace. The word “earnest” means a pledge in the sense that an advance deposit has been made as the security guaranteeing the fulfillment of that which has been promised to those who have been sealed. We were not sealed on the basis of our behavior, but upon the basis of (and at the point of) our belief, that is a seal we can fully depend upon.

Just because God isn’t counting our coming short against us, that doesn’t make us as right as he is. God didn’t take away the sin, he took away the debt of the sinner. Sin is still here and sin still reaps it’s consequences. Death comes in a myriad of forms, death of a relationship, conscience, there are a lot of ways that sin can bring death. The circumstances that are occurring in our world today come as a natural result of the sin-cursed world in which we live, not from special judgments from God, they come from choices people make. God is not trying to get even with people today because of their sins and he isn’t calling down some special bad thing; some adverse situation in order to teach certain individuals a lesson. God doesn’t teach through special judgments during the dispensation of grace, he teaches us through his written Word today.

We are more vulnerable to Satan and his forces deception than to any of their other schemes, because when they tempt us or accuse us we can recognize it, but when they deceive us we don’t always know it. That is their strategy, to keep us in the dark. We cannot expose their deception by human reasoning; we can only do it by the light of the truth. The belt of truth is the only valid piece of the armor against the darkness of deception. It’s critical that when we put on the armor of God, we start with the belt of truth because the only thing big about Satan and his forces are their mouth, they are habitual liars. When we put on the armor of God we are really putting on the Savior and when we put on Savior we take ourselves out of the realm of the flesh where we are vulnerable to attack, it’s not wise for us to live on their level. Since their primary weapon is the lie, our belt of truth is continually being attacked.

Chapter and versus is great to help find our way around the Bible, but I like using a Strong's Concordance. I can chose any word I like and look it up in it’s context. A Strong’s Concordance is a great tool to help look up words. These posts are written to help a person look up words in their context.

Appreciation based on the reality of salvation, not apprehension based on religions’s message of probation. If Satan can keep that glorious good news message of Paul hidden by blinding people’s eyes to the reality of reconciliation through a message that keeps sin on the table of God’s justice where that sin has already been put away. Many people are living in their minds today with probation rather than salvation. With Israel’s earthly program being set aside, during this age of grace, no nationality enjoys special favor in the eyes of God; all must come alike to God today. God didn’t lift up the Gentiles who had been without God and put them on an equal or higher plain than belonged to Israel. He concluded Israel in unbelief as he had previously concluded the Gentiles in unbelief, both of them down on the same level so that he might have mercy on all and that is where it is today according to Paul. It’s people who needs to be reconciled to God, not the other way around.

We have been set free! The Savior issued the discharge papers and Paul delivered those papers. We can look back at the law now and we can say, “You can’t touch me anymore! Your condemnation will have no effect on me whatsoever! I know the parameters. I no longer fear the repercussions of your rulership. I know the condemnation you bring because of the emotions you stir up in the weakness of my flesh.” The law was our Marine Sergeant, always working on a programmed conscience that we better be law-keepers and we have got the 10 commandments in our mind. Why, because it’s significantly tied to how God will relate to us in our minds. We are good for God because we want God to bless us and are we not taught that if we slide back into a life of sin, we have lost our fellowship with God. Certainly if you lose your fellowship, you lose your blessings. Well our blessings are not based on our performance in any way, shape, or form. Our blessings are based on Jesus’ performance because we are members of his flesh. How many blessings do we have according to the apostle Paul? All blessings in Heaven, the place of our citizenship.

1 Corinthians 9:27, is Paul talking about Christianizing the flesh and making it better flesh, capable of doing more things? Paul was motivated in that sense to bring the body into subjection, to keep those desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, to keep it at bay and not let that reign supreme when it came to his activities and his actions. Paul 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? That was Paul’s prayer, that was his great desire. Paul wasn’t able to divorce self from his service when it came to what he did on behalf of others.

Jesus took the judgment of the world upon himself, so you are dead to that issue of sin. In fact, the world is dead to that issue of sin, it’s an issue of perfection right now. The idea of walking after the flesh is a valid Biblical concept that speaks not to a person’s behavior, but to a person’s belief - not to a person’s manners, but to their mindset. Reckoning yourselves to be dead to sin doesn’t mean to reckon that you are never going to sin again. Reckon that you are dead where the sin issue is concerned, reckon yourselves to be alive unto God through Jesus our Savior. Reckoning is simply counting something to be true in your mind. Reckon it to be so, believe it. Salvation isn’t doing, it’s counting what God believes to be true for you and about you as true for you and about you.

“Look at where I was...look at where I am now,” that is famous among many groups that are meeting today and they have to have a testimony by a person showing the other people there where they were and how far they have progressed. The capacity of the human race to earn the measure of righteousness that belongs to God is “Zilch.” “O wretched man that I am” do you suppose Paul would want us to believe that we can produce through our fleshly efforts what Israel was totally incapable of producing through their fleshly efforts or for that matter what Paul knew that he could never produce through his fleshly efforts even after his conversion. Paul never used the word fruit in connection with any believer as being the product of that believer. You can set yourselves apart all you like behaviorally. You can start any number of things and cease doing any number of things in order to gain holiness before God, but you will do no better at reaching that goal then the foolish Galatians who were themselves flirting with the idea of progressive sanctification.

Why, if you are guilty of any of these things in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, you are flat out of luck as far as Heaven is concerned. You can't do those things and make Heaven, which leads more than some of the religiously minded to say, “I’m not guilty of any of those vile behaviors.” Listen, if you think you are above these particular sins because you don’t commit them regularly or because these types of behaviors are not a regular pattern in your life or because you are certain to gain new forgiveness when you do find yourself somewhere on that list to some degree, perhaps you had better give it a little more careful consideration.

1 Corinthians 6:11, and such were some of you. But, after you were saved, you became progressively more holy such that you never sinned again? Does that verse say that? But, after you were saved, you sinned less and less until sin finally disappeared altogether from your life. That verse doesn’t say that either. But, after you were saved your moral choice of good and bad was removed, root and branch and never have you had the propensity to sin again! Does that verse say that? No, it doesn’t say any of those things. At least you will not sin higher than the 6’s, 7’s, and 8’s on the sin richter scale that you hold for yourself. These Corinthians were called saints because their sanctification like their justification was God’s transaction, not their own. It was God who performed the sanctifying.

What Paul is telling us is that sin shall not conquer us because we can conquer sin? Not at all! Sin cannot prevail over us because we can prevail over that in our behavior? Not at all! Sin shall not have dominion over believers because we are not living under the law program, we are living under grace. The victory has already been won and who won it? Jesus won it. All believers, we are all alike, 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. We know that even though we have trusted in what Jesus accomplished on our behalf to have resolved that issue of our sin debt when it comes to the table of God’s justice and Jesus has resolved that issue for everyone; God’s justice is resolved. But, people want a formula to give them some guidelines and they can do A,B,C and they will be doing the Christian life successfully, but Christian living it’s not about doing. It’s about believing something and when we believe something and we continue to take in God’s Word and study God’s Word it should change who we are, not change what we are trying to do and trying to become.

When we choose to walk according to the old identity in which we were trained before becoming born anew, such behavior violates our ambassadorship. When this happens, we feel convicted because our behavior is not in keeping with who we really are. We commit sin when we willfully allow ourselves to act independent of our ambassadorship as our old identity did as a matter of course. So why do we still react as if our old identity is still in control of our behavior? Because, while we served under it, our old identity trained and conditioned our actions, reactions, emotional responses, thought patterns, memories and habits in our brain. Our worldly experiences thoroughly programmed our brain with thought patterns, memory traces, responses and habits. Our brain still generates humanistic thoughts and ideas and our old identity is that part of which was trained and determined to succeed and survive by our own abilities. When we became born anew, God didn’t press the clear button in our brain, our old identity persists in suggesting ways to live independent of our ambassadorship of God’s reconciliation.

Redemption and forgiveness, this is a major focal point of the secret God was keeping before the foundation of the world. When it’s come to what God is now revealed, sin no longer being the issue with God, we already have redemption and forgiveness. It’s not things we need to seek from God, but things God’s already accomplished for us. We need simply believe they are ours in order to appropriate in our own thinking what has already been accomplished on our behalf. Our redemption is complete, our forgiveness is all complete, all upfront, both are past tense accomplishments that Paul would have us acknowledge and proclaim. Who accomplished them for us, Jesus our Savior. The truth Paul has proclaimed in all of his epistles is we couldn’t get right with God in a million life times of trial and error. We could never make ourselves right with God, God had to do what we could not do for ourselves.

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. As we take in the rightly divided word of truth...take God at his word of course...he transforms our thinking by it. 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 of his flesh and of his bones. 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. According to our apostle, the battle is taking place between the ears...between fleshy thinking and divine thinking. God’s work in us not our work for God, major difference. 

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