That’s Just Life-Are You Sure?

I am constantly amazed at what some Christians allow to come out of their mouths. I recently posted a blog about the power of words in your life (HERE) and presented scriptural backing to show how words have great power to affect your life. So, when I hear a person, who claims to be a Christian, say such things as “That’s just life”, when describing a sickness or calamity that has occurred in their life, I wonder if they have ever read the Bible or even experienced the life changing experience of “being born again”. Do they know what it is to become a “new creation in Christ”?

What does the Bible say about life?

In John 1:4 the Bible says, “In Him(Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend(overcome) it.” Here we see that life comes from God(Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Apart from God there is no life. (Did you know that in science there is the law of “abio genesis” which says that “life only comes from life”.) So life comes from God. Keep that thought in mind.

In John 10:9b Jesus had this to say about life. “I have come that they(His sheep) may have life and have it more abundantly.” He was contrasting this to what the thief(satan) does. “The thief does not come but to steal, kill and destroy.” So, here we see the two sides presented. One gives life(in abundance) and the other destroys life(steal, kill, destroy).

How to determine what is life and what is death

We know from John 1:4 life comes from God. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” So the scripture is clear that life’s source is the Creator, Yahweh. In James 1:17 it says this:”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” I think that it is clear to see that anything that comes from God is good and perfect. For it to be destructive would make God a liar, and that is impossible. (See Titus 1:2 where Paul in his introduction says of God, “in hope of eternal life which God, Who cannot lie,…”) So, everything that comes of God is good.

We know that life and good come from God. Where did death come from? Look in 1 Corinthians 15:21. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” How did man introduce death? In Genesis 2:16-17 we read this:”And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then we go on to Genesis 3:17ff; “Then to Adam He(God) said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

Death did not come from God, it came from man’s listening to the pride engendered by the father of all lies, satan. When God had finished creating He called everything in His creation “Very good!” It was Adam who introduced death by his rebellion against God. Because he hearkened to a lie and chose pride over obedience death came and every bad thing that comes with it.

So, what about it?

Our original theme, “That’s just life”, is quite often cited by Christians to describe all manner of circumstances. One of the pastors at our church in describing his physical maladies that he has experienced since turning 60 years of age use the phrase, “Well, that’s just life.” I almost wanted to jump up out of my seat and say, “NO! That’s not life, that is death!” I held my tongue, so as to be civil. But as I began to listen in the coming days I began to hear more and more leaders in the church beginning to echo the same sentiment. They began to liken family breakups, divorces, all manner of sicknesses, accidents and financial misfortunes as “That’s just life.”

So, what about it? If that is really what life is, then we have nothing to offer this lost and dying world. If that is all that Jesus came to give us, no wonder that we are losing ground everywhere. The gospel of Jesus Christ is “Good News”. It is good news for the whole world. It is such good news that I want to shout it from the house tops and tell everyone I meet about it. But apparently I am in the minority of Christians. I believe the bad things I mentioned above are things that come from the “thief” and they are of death and not of life. For someone to state that, “That’s just life”, is to be ignorant of the Word of God and have no relationship to the Lord of Life Who paid the price that we might have life in Him.

It is time

It is time that we who have experienced life in Jesus begin to stand and share the truth of the word of God which brings life. It is time to begin to realize that grace is not just a nice word but that it is truly the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. It is unimaginable power. It causes us to be more than conquerors not mealy mouth paupers overcome by every test thrown our way. Life in Jesus says that we do not have a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. It is the Spirit that says “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” It is the Spirit that says that “it is no long I, but Christ Who lives in me.”

It is time for us to quit ascribing to our Giver of life, attributes that are from a thief who steals, kills and destroys.

Let us exalt Him as Life. In Him is life, and that life is the light of men.

AMEN!

Set Free From the Law of Sin and Death

Free from the law
The Law of Sin and Death

One of the greatest verses in all the Bible is found in Romans 8:1. It says this:”There is, therefore, NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” As if that were not enough, verse 2 continues the theme: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Just imagine that, set free from the law of sin and death. That is the “gospel”(good news) of Christ Jesus. We have been set free. In John 8:36 Jesus put it this way: “If the Son makes you free, then you are free indeed.”

Let’s look at what this says.

Sin and death

In Genesis, chapter 3, we see where sin entered into the history of mankind. The serpent deceived Eve and then Adam rebelled against God’s covenant and ate of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because of that rebellion death entered into history. As I have stated in other articles, sin is not the individual acts that we define as “sin”, but Biblical “sin” is being in a state of rebellion against God. All actions that are defined as sins come from the root of this stance of a broken covenant. You can read about that here, and here.  Romans 5:12 states it clearly: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” It is plainly stated that we are all born in a state of “sin” because we are all descended from the one who rebelled. We do acts of “sin” because we are “born sinners”. We do not become “sinners” because of the “acts of sin” that we do. I hope you can grasp the gravity of those two statements.

We are all sinners. Are you sure?

Many so called religious leaders, like to sound humble by saying phrases like, “We are all sinners.” It sounds very pious and maybe even humble, but is it true? If we hearken to the passage from Romans 8 and set that statement under the light of that great truth, would it be as profound as those who use it say it is. Romans 8:1 begins with “There is NOW no condemnation.”. To call someone a sinner is to judge them as not measuring up to the demands of the Law, or covenant. To determine condemnation there must be a law or a standard to which one is compared or contrasted. Verse one clearly states that there is no means to declare condemnation, or that they have sinned. Verse 1 continues and tells you why. They are “in Christ Jesus”. They are no longer governed by their old life in the flesh but are directed by the Spirit. That Spirit has made them free from the Law that determines who is a sinner and put them in a place which is controlled by the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

Free from the law
He, Who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God in Him

In Christ Jesus

In a previous article we presented the Biblical understanding of baptism. We are baptized into Christ Jesus and the old man is never raised again. He is dead. The new person is the one who is set free from the “law of sin and death”. That law is the one that determined if a person was in “right standing in the covenant” or was not in “right standing in the covenant.” If that law can no longer be applied to that “new creation”, can it define him as a “sinner”. Logically, it can not. The “new creation” is dead to that law which defines a sinner.

In chapter 7 of Romans stated this very clearly as he compared this situation to the case of a woman being subject to her husband as long as he is alive, but is free from that law when her husband dies. So it is with the new creation in Christ. He or she is no longer subject to the definitions of the law of sin and death.

Free from the law of sin and death
God’s Word is Truth

Scriptural proofs

Let me ask you a question. Can the Spirit of the Living God, Who is perfect in all His ways, dwell in a sinful being? Of course the answer is, “No!”

Study these scriptures and know that you are “righteous” not a “sinner”.

Colossians 1:27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

1 Corinthians 6:19: What? Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?

Revelation 3:20: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Philippians 2:13: For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There are many more scriptures which proclaim this great truth of being free from sin. Let me share one more.

1 John 3:4 and following says: Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whoever abides in him sins not: whoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.

Free at last

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not religion. In contrast to organized religion today it brings freedom. The Law of Sin and Death seeks to shackle people with what they cannot do or what they can do. Jesus simplified it when He said that the Law could be fulfilled in two positive statements. “Love God. Love your neighbor.” Once you are freed from the mentality of “we are all sinners” ,to “the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”, then you can live the abundant life which Jesus said defines the Child of God. You will speak with boldness “that which you have seen and heard”. You will prefer the humble over the proud. You will lay hands on the sick and see them recover. You will cast out demons. You will raise the dead. You will walk in divine health. All your needs will be met, not according to your abilities, but according to God’s riches in glory by Christ Jesus. You will be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. God, Himself, declares you “Righteous”, because you are in Christ Jesus.

Stand bold against religious piety and declare;

I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

Hallelujah!

Share your thoughts on this subject by leaving a comment below.

God bless you as you grow in Him.

If Any Man Be in Christ

If any Man Be in Christ
Being in Christ

In Christ

It seems that the title of Christian is applied to anyone who is not a heathen. But, is that what the book that defines what a Christian really is says. One of the most striking definitions is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17. This is what it says. “If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new.” Of course I quoted the King James Version of the scripture, but the application is for all. “If any ‘person’ be in Christ Jesus”, would be a more contemporary translation.

Application

Stop for just a minute and consider what that verse says. When a person enters into Christ Jesus the result is a whole new creation that has never been before. It carries the meaning of a unique being that there are no others just like. With it comes an ever renewing process that continually makes that person “new”, day by day. For the “New Creation” his or her life is never the “same old, same old day in and day out” routine. It is as in Lamentations 3:23 as the writer speaks of the mercies of God, “They are new every morning”. So it is with the “New Creation”. He or she is “New every morning.”

Consider also, it says, “in Christ”. This is the same picture that baptism is supposedly a picture of. You may wonder why some people who say they are Christians continue to act as if they are not. It could be that they are not truly a Christian.

Baptism

That picture of baptism which I mentioned above is not exactly how the scripture defines the true baptism. The terminology of the scriptures paints a picture in which the person is lowered into the water and is never seen again. The statement “Buried with Christ in baptism” is usually spoken as the person is lowered into the water. This portrays 2 Corinthians 5:17,”If any man be IN Christ…” You are baptized into Christ and you do not come out. It is no longer you, but Christ Who is in you.(Galatians 2:20) Biblically speaking, a true Christian is a dead man. He no longer runs the life that inhabits the body he or she is in. The nature of the flesh is dead. He is a new creation, a baby in Christ Jesus. It will take time to learn to crawl and then to walk, but he is now a member of the family of the Creator. He is no longer a “sinner”. He is now in “right standing” with his Heavenly Father. And that will never change because it is by grace through faith and that is not of anything that he has done or brought about. It is all of God.

Crucifixion
Jesus Paid It All

Who accomplished it

If it is all of God, and He declares him righteous, is there any way that he can become unrighteous? No! Since it was nothing he did to become righteous, therefore there is nothing he can do to become unrighteous. You might think, “Well he can live like the devil and still be alright.” You do not know the Word of God then. It is clear in 1 John 3 that he cannot sin, it is totally against his nature. If he could sin, then he is not a child of God. Philippians 2:13 says it this way; “It is He who is in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”  Therefore, since he is a child of God he can not sin. If you are a child of God, do not let anybody call you a sinner. The only spirit that does that is the one that is the accuser of the brethren. If they call you a sinner they are contradicting the word of God Almighty Who has called you “righteous”(having right standing in a covenant relationship).

1 Corinthians 2:14 says this:” For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.” The “New creation in Christ Jesus” has the mind of Christ directing his life and making decisions for him. He is not his own. He has been bought with a price. Philippians 2:13 clearly states it, “For it is He(God) Who is in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” That takes all the weight off of you.

Justified by Grace
Righteous before God

Aren’t we all still sinners?

I read an article in which the writer placed every child of God as a terrible sinner even when we are saved. He pointed out several characters in the Bible which were men of God but they did terrible things. What he failed to note was that all but one of these men he cited were under the old covenant.

Do you know that the Holy Spirit can not indwell an unregenerate person? People under the Old Covenant were unregenerated. When they died they went to Paradise, but not to Heaven itself. Their sins were not permanently covered, or paid in full. That did not happen until Jesus paid the price of all sins when He died on the cross. Then, and only then, could regenerated(new creations in Christ) come into the presence of the Creator of the universe. So, people under the Old Covenant could not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. After Jesus ascended to the Holy of Hollies in Heaven and presented His blood as payment for all of man’s sins, then those who would come claiming that blood could come into the glorious presence of God, Himself. That is why Jesus descended into Sheol and preached the Good News to those who had by faith received the promises of the Old Covenant. God could then, through The Holy Spirit, legally “tabernacle” in human beings who were born again by the blood of the lamb. So the men that the writer had cited were not truly regenerated, but were saved by their faith in the coming Lamb of God. The one New Testament man he cited was Paul. He used the statement that Paul made out of context. Paul, in the passage cited, was referring to his preconversion man.

Many religious people have abused the understanding of man’s position under the Old Covenant and tried to translate the same standing to the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant God was external, a cloud, a pillar of fire or a burning bush. In the New Testament He is an indwelling Holy Spirit, Who lives in those who receive Him. Do you believe that the Infinitely holy and glorious Creator would reside in a corrupt and sinful vessel? Think again. God’s glory would consume that vessel. In Acts 10 The Holy Spirit admonished Peter when he refused to eat of the unclean animals presented to him in a vision, by saying, “What I have cleansed, do not call common(or unclean)”. God was signifying that those in whom He dwells are no longer sinners but are accounted as righteous, having right standing in covenant relationship with Him.

If any man be in Christ
Righteous before God

The New Covenant

The New Covenant Christian is no longer considered a “sinner”. He is not even “a sinner saved by grace”. What he or she is, is “a new creation in Christ Jesus who has been saved by grace”. If you are a New Creation in Christ Jesus, the next time someone tries the false humility slogan on you that “we are all sinners”, in loving confidence just speak the Word of God to them and let them know that you are a New Creation in Christ Jesus and because Jesus became sin for you, that you are now righteous before God in Christ Jesus. I encourage you to read Romans chapter 8. You will find a good beginning description of just what a born again new creation in Christ Jesus looks like. It is just a beginning, not a complete. If you want to know the complete description of a child of God, read His whole Word and then look at the Word Made Flesh, Jesus.

Conclusion

If someone calls you a sinner, they have to call Jesus a sinner. Shame on them. You are the Righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Hallelujah!

How to Receive Grace – Is It Free?

Background

In a previous blog “What Is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy” we found that the Biblical application is different from what most theological expositors give. We found that “mercy” was more often used under the Old Covenant and presented a compassionate Creator Who rather than meting out punishment immediately for breaking the covenant, chose to delay final judgment until an appointed time. He, instead, received a sacrifice in which was symbolized the final payment for the trespass. We then found that “grace”, which is a term which is more prevalent in the New Covenant, changed the situation from “delayed judgment” to it is “paid in full”. Then “God”s eager willingness to do good for you” became the attitude of the New Covenant. Grace becomes a free gift. We can not do anything to deserve it because we accept the payment which was completed by Someone Who fulfilled the covenant. How to receive grace, that is the question.

What does the Bible say?

If you wish to know how the covenant works, you need to check with the author of the covenant. For those of us who call ourselves Christian we are blessed because we have been given an in depth and detailed copy of the covenant that we rest in. It is called The Bible. It is divided into two “covenants”, the old and the new. As we studied the two in our blog “What Is the Opposite of Sinner”, we found that the picture that the Bible presents as a “sinner” is one who breaks the covenant. This was first shown in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree and thereby breaking covenant with their Creator.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV)

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Romans 5:12 (KJV)

12

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by

sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

God, Himself, instituted the sacrificial system by which final judgment would be delayed (mercy) until the total price could be paid by the promised Redeemer.
Once the New Covenant was established by the spotless Lamb of God, Jesus, then the whole situation was changed.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (KJV)

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him

Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Wow! What a great proclamation! Now God is saying “Yes” to every promise that He has ever made. It will take many blogs to cover that statement. But let us get back to how we receive this grace which fulfills all the promises.

For by grace are you saved through faith

This is what Ephesians 2:8 says:

 

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is

the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before

ordained that we should walk in them.

In these verses we see that grace is brought by faith. We know from Hebrews 11 that “faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” By this we know that faith is not some ethereal dream but is real substance and real evidence. OK. If faith is necessary to receive grace how do we get faith. In Ephesian 2:8 it says it is a gift. It implies that we have nothing to do with the getting or working at something to get it. It clearly states that we can not boast about how we got our faith. Well, you say, just how do we get faith by which we receive grace?

Faith comes by hearing

In Romans 10 Paul writes of the condition of the person who comes to salvation in Christ Jesus. He grounds it all in faith. This is how that faith comes:

Romans 10:17 (KJV)

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Most of us stop here and say that that means hearing preaching and going to church. But that is not what it says. Paul, ahead of this statement goes into confession and believing which are part of the growing process, but the driving force is faith. If you look at verse 17 closely you see that it says, “faith comes by hearing”. If you do not understand English grammar you might miss what is being said here. It does not say, “faith comes by hearing” the word of God. It says, “faith comes by hearing, and (that particular type of) hearing by the Word of God.” So the first hearing is referring to something other than just the written word of God. Do not misunderstand, the written Word of God is the beginning of the process. There is no faith apart from the written word of God.

The “hearing” which brings faith is that hearing which Jesus described in Matthew 16 when He asked His disciples who the people thought He was.

Matthew 16:16-18 (KJV)

16 And

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood

hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus made it clear that Peter did not get that revelation by his own intellect, but that it was given to him by the Father, Himself. Then Jesus goes on to say that it is upon “this rock”(revealed knowledge from the very throne of God) that He would build His church.” This is the “hearing” referred to in Romans 10:17.

It is the written and spoken Word of God which brings the revelation Word of God by which we receive faith. We have nothing to do with it. It is totally a gift from God. He has done it all. He and His Word do it all. We have no place to boast or take any credit whatsoever.

How to receive grace

I am convinced that once the grace of God is revealed to someone they cannot help but in awe and wonder be overflowed by it.

The problem is not in getting people to receive God’s grace, it is that we have people who say they are Christians but have never experienced the grace of God in their lives. Does that mean they are not Christians? More than likely, yes. I know that when I experienced the grace of God in my life I was changed completely. I thought I was a “Christian” when I experience it, but as I studied the Word I found out differently. I came to know Jesus, personally, 54 years ago. The peace and joy and confidence that He brought into me has never waned but has grown and is ever new overflowing. Grace cannot be fully described with human words. That is how wonderful it is.

When you experienced the grace of God and you become a new creation in Christ, you can not get enough of the Word of God. As you fill up on the Word you will find what is coming out of your mouth is the Word of God. As you plant that word in the lives of everyone you meet it will begin to bring the crop of “revelation” in the lives of those with whom you share it. Then will come faith by which they will receive the grace of God.

When you have experienced the grace of God you will become like Peter in

Acts 4:20 (KJV)

20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

For by grace are you saved through faith..

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

 

If you have any questions or any thoughts on this subject, please leave a comment below and I shall be glad to respond.  God bless you.