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. 

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