In his eulogy for Senator John McCain former vice president Joe Biden brought out a statement that senator McCain had made when he converted to the Baptist denomination. Senator McCain stated that he did not need to be water baptized because it would not add to his spiritual advancement. Of course there are many who would disagree with the senator’s statement. Not that they were or are judging him. But the question is raised, “Baptism. Is it necessary for salvation?”
It is a fair and necessary question which one must answer. But the answer should be based on scripture.
What exactly is baptism according to the scripture
If one goes by Hollywood films and the Catholic church one might get a totally incorrect concept of scriptural baptism. If one goes by evangelical denominations and some “full gospel” groups one might still get an incorrect concept. So, what is this baptism that the Bible talks about.
There are two descriptions of baptism in the Old Testament. The first is when the children of Israel were leaving the bondage of Egypt and they came against the Red Sea. The picture drawn here is the total separation from, or death to, the old way of life. The Israelites had been the servants of the Egyptians. But after passing through the Red Sea they were freed from that bondage because the Egyptian army was destroyed. The Israelites became dead to the Egyptians. Never again were they in bondage to them. This image of baptism presents the freedom from sin as one dies to his old way of life.
The second is presented when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the promised land. The contrast of the Jordan River baptism to the Red Sea baptism is this: The Red Sea parted and then came back together and brought death to the flesh therein; The Jordan River did not part but ceased to flow from above while the Israelites crossed over. The Jordan River presents an image of the Holy Spirit coming from above and baptizing those who are crossing into the Promised Land. The baptism of the Holy Spirit gives life, instead of taking life.
So we see that baptism was necessary if the Israelites were going to receive the Promised land. The old life had to die and the new life had to be empowered from above.
So, baptism in its presentation must first of all picture a position of dying to one life and then moving forward to beginning a new life of promise.
New Testament baptism
Now we come to the New Testament. What does it say about baptism? The New Testament begins with the preaching of John the Baptist who baptized for repentance of sin. It is made clear throughout the New Testament that there is a difference between the two baptisms. It was not enough to just have John’s baptism after the coming of the Holy Spirit. There must be the baptism in the Name of Jesus.
Jesus was baptized by John, but not for repentance. Jesus never sinned. He always did what His Father did. But He said that He was being baptized to “fulfill all righteousness”. He was setting the example of one who earnestly desires to be pleasing to The Father by being baptized according to the scriptures. He was to become “sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God” in Him.
Is physical baptism necessary for salvation and right relationship with God? Let us look at the example of the thief on the cross next to Jesus. Jesus told him that he would be with Him in Paradise that very day. That man never got baptized in this world, but he went to heaven. He repented and then he committed himself to Jesus. Would he have been baptized if it were a possibility? I think so. But he was not. If it were a necessary act to be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then Jesus lied to him. Jesus never lied.
So, the true picture of baptism must present a picture of someone dying to an old way of life and then a new way of life beginning. To be clear and to the point, sprinkling or just pouring water over someone does not paint a picture of dying to anything. So, scripturally speaking, many, so called, Christian denominations do not carry on baptism as spoken of in the Bible. Of course, this has been promoted in popular Biblically based films of Hollywood. Most of these films were not interested in Biblical truths but in making money with movies. So adherence to scripture was not a top priority. Still the word got out.
The Greek word translated to “baptize” in the New Testament was a word which meant to be totally immersed into something. It also meant that one was under the total influence of something or someone. We have a phrase which we say that someone who is drunk is “under the influence” of alcohol. That is what the word means when we are baptized into Christ Jesus. We become totally under the influence of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
A real picture of Biblical baptism
If we were literal in our baptism ritual and did it according to the Bible, we would take people into a pool of water and would lay or push them under the water and never let them come up. Of course we can not do that because that is against God’s Word. But I use that as an example. Just as baptism is a type, or symbol, of what has taken place within our spirit, it lets the world know that we are no longer the same person but are a new creation.
So, to the question of “Is baptism necessary for salvation?”, the scripture shows that physically speaking it is not. But spiritually speaking it is. If the “old man” has not died, then there is no “new creation” so it does not matter how many times one gets baptized, it will profit them nothing.
In Galatians 6:15 Paul the Apostle put it this way: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision(physical baptism) nor uncircumcision(not being physically baptized) avails anything, but a new creation. So, the physical act of baptism has nothing to do with your right relationship with your Lord. But, because you have a right relationship with your Lord you earnestly desire to please Him in every way. And just as He desired to please His Father in fulfilling all righteousness, so shall we delight to please Him by following Him in physical baptism.
I do not know what you may think, but I believe in angels. Many times I hear people say, “Well, if there are angels, ‘What is the job of angels?'”. That is a fair question. Along with that question comes another which asks, “How many are assigned to you, personally?”. We shall address these two questions and maybe more in this blog.
What are angels?
In answering these and other questions about angels we shall use the book that is the authority on angels, The Holy Bible. After all, it is the source of our knowledge of these beings.
To begin, angels are created beings. They are not like God in that they are infinite or omniscient or omnipresent, they are none of these. Though they are non of those one should not sell them short on their abilities. As we continue on this blog you will find them to be quite formidable.
They are created, so they are subject to The Creator. Though they are created beings, they are not God’s highest creation. That position is reserved for human beings only.
As we learn more about angels we shall see why some fell from their high position.
What is their purpose?
There are basically two jobs that angels were created for. The first we find in Psalm 148:2. “Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts.” That was the original job of angels. There was an Archangel who was in charge of directing that praise whose name was Lucifer. Most people who have an elementary knowledge of the Bible know what happen to Lucifer. He was probably the most beautiful of the angels and became a little too enamored with himself and mounted a revolt in Heaven with a third of the created angels.
Too bad for the rebels, they were no match for the Triune God and were cast out of Heaven. Hence, there was a place prepared for them to be their final place of residence where they will be in everlasting torture and pain. It is a place which bears the name of Hell! That will be their final destination where they will abide forever.
As a side question, you may wonder why God did not provide a way of restoration for the angels? The reason will become apparent as we continue, but for the main reason, they were not His penultimate creation nor were they created in the image of their Creator.
The purpose of the angels on earth?
In Psalm 91:11 we find out the other reason for the creation of angels. The scripture says of God’s reason for creating angels, “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” One of the jobs of angels is to watch over God’s children and to protect them. In Hebrews 13:2 we see that we are to entertain strangers because they may be angels.
Psalm 104:4 says that they are spirits and servants of the Lord for His children.
The top priority job of angels is found in Psalm 103:20. It says, “Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.” It is worth noting that people often misunderstand this verse of scripture. It does not say, in this verse, that they obey the voice of God, but rather, it says, they obey the voice that speaks the word of God. Yes, they obey the Word of God, but only when they hear it voiced by a human being. If you wish to tie the hands of the angels who are assigned to you, just never speak the Word of God out loud. Angels only act on the spoken out loud Word of God. To be sure, they do not move on behalf of any word spoken, but only to what God has spoken in His Word.
The bad angels
Did I mention that there are some bad angels? I think I did. These guys are still roaming around and just would love to wreak havoc wherever they can. But, since Jesus died on the cross paying the price for our sins and restoring the covenant that God had established with the original Adam, these fallen angels wait around listening for the voice of the deceiver, Lucifer.
Now Lucifer, himself, does not speak his word, but he encourages people to speak his words. “What kind of words does he speak?” you may ask. In John 10:9 Jesus said that the “thief” comes to steal, kill and destroy. Any words dealing with stealing or killing or destroying are words of the devil. When these words are spoken they empower fallen angels to act upon them. They are still angels, though fallen angels, and they still do what angels do, but in the negative sense.
How many angels do I have
Quite often people refer to their “guardian angel”. And that is probably true. But what does the scripture say.
Let me first state what the scripture says about the Child of God. In Romans 8:17 it says that we are “children” and “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”. The term, “joint heir” means “equal in every respect”. So, whatever applies to Jesus applies to me and to you and to everyone who is a “born again child of God”.
Now, look at Jesus’ statement when the soldiers came to take Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He said, “do you think that I cannot now pray the Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Do you know how many were in a legion? I’ll tell you. There are 6000 in a legion. Twelve legions equal 72,000. Now, if I am a joint heir(equal in every respect) with Jesus and He had more than 72,000 angels available to Him, then how many angels are there available to me? You are correct, 72,000.
To give you an idea of what is available to you, if you look in 2 Kings 19:35 and following you will see that one angel went out and attacked an Assyrian army of 180,000 men and destroyed them all in one night. One angel defeated an army of trained soldiers and did it in one night. Can you imagine what over 72,000 can do when you release them with the word of God. Remember, they have to “hearken”(that means to hear and to do) to the voice(vocalization) of the Word of God. They have no choice in the matter. That is what they are created to do.
The choice is up to you
Now, you, being a human created in the image of your Creator, have a choice. You can choose to believe the Word of God about angels, or you can choose not to believe the Word of God. If you choose to believe God and exercise your belief by speaking out loud what His word says about your circumstances in life, then you will get legions of angels working on your behalf to perform God’s Word on your behalf. Your assigned angels will always do what God’s Word says when you say it out loud. Unlike you, they have no choice, or they must be cast into the lake of fire reserved for the devil and his angels.
Isn’t it nice to know that this is one of the benefits of the covenant which Jesus secured when He went to the cross and paid the price for our sins.
Have you availed yourself for this salvation? Yes, it will cost you your life. But the life you will receive will so exceed anything that you could ever imagine. It is life that only your Creator can give you.
May God bless you!
Our church has begun a new promotion in which the members take a preprinted business type card with the church information on it and give it to a friend or anybody you wish. On the card is the “promo” which says “Meet me at the Spot”. The “Spot” is a particular location on the campus of the church location. From there you will go with your invitee to the worship service where you hope that he or she will hear the Gospel.
Is it scriptural
Let me set forth two scriptures.
Matthew 28: 19-20.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I
am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
It is the Lord Who brings someone into the church. It is those who are the saved that He brings in. He does not bring them into the church to save them. He adds them because they are new creations in Christ Jesus.
You may ask, “How do they become a new creation in Christ Jesus if they don’t come to church?”
The answer is found in Matthew 28. “You go and teach them and make disciples of them.”
Herein lies the problem. For years, we have been taught that people need to come to church to hear the gospel. Bring them to church and they can hear the preacher preach the gospel and lead them to Christ. There are no scriptures to back up this type of approach to spreading the gospel.
Jesus gave us an example when He sent his disciples out two by two to preach the gospel of the kingdom. He did not set up a headquarters or build a great complex to produce fancy programs to attract people to come to and follow Him. No! He sent His disciples out. Jesus had told them that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the world. When the disciples decided to set up in Jerusalem and let the people come to them, there came persecution which brought about dispersion. They had to “Go” then.
The job of the church
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son
of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ:
we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
We see here the gifts given to the body of Christ(the church) and what their whole purpose is. The church’s job is not to get people into the church. The church’s job is to grow born-again-children-of-God into mature men and women of God. They are to be grown up to be just like Jesus. That is the job of the church. It is not the job of just the pastor or the paid staff, it is the job of every member of the body to some degree or another depending on each’s level of maturity.
If you have been a member of a “church” for many years and you are not doing the same things that Jesus did when He walked on the earth, you should consider if you are truly part of a New Testament church. The scripture is clear. “The Church of Jesus” will produce people who do the same things that Jesus did.
You may ask, “How do you know that is true?” In Acts 11:26 we find that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. What does the word Christian mean? It comes from the root word “Christ” which means “anointed one”. The “Anointed One” was Jesus. When these disciples began doing the same things that the Anointed One did the people began to refer to them as “anointed ones”. They were not “THE ANOINTED ONE” but they were doing the same things that THE ANOINTED ONE did, therefore they were rightfully called “anointed ones”, or as we say “Christians”.
How to know the church
You may wonder just how you can know the true church of Jesus Christ. The only way you will know the true church is to find out what the Word of God says about it. The New Testament is full of descriptions of the Body of Christ. The best picture of what the church does is the example of Jesus, Himself. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Christ in you is not going to be any different in the 21st century than He was in the New Testament. What He did then, He still does now. We know He is consistent because He continued to do the same works in His disciples and through Paul and elders and deacons in the church of the New Testament.
Jesus discipled people. The very term comes from the root which means “to discipline”. The New Covenant” in the blood of Jesus speaks of a new creation which is conformed to the image of Christ. The true church cannot build huge congregations because they are to busy going and sharing the good news. They are ever reaching out to those who have never heard and always preparing those who are growing to be going out and making disciples. If you ever see a comfortable church, you are probably not seeing the Church of Jesus. Too many people are going down the road to hell and we have the only means by which they might be delivered from that loss.
We have the Good News of what God has done in Jesus, The Christ, and we cannot rest until everyone has had the opportunity respond to that good news.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Share your thoughts on this subject by leaving a comment below.
God bless you as you grow in Him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
Most of my life I was taught that a “sinner” was someone who “sinned”, that is committed acts which were against God’s law or were evil. But through the scripture I came to God’s understanding of what a “sinner” is and what is the opposite of sinner.
In this article I shall share with you what the scripture says and what it clearly defines as a “sinner” and how you can be freed from such a designation.
Where did sin come from?
The original “sinner” was not a man. He was an angel. At one time he was the top angel in charge of praise and worship. His name was Lucifer. There came a time when Lucifer thought of himself more than he should and thought to dethrone the God of all creation. He handily defeated and cast down from his lofty position. Now, you understand that angels do not have the same privileges as God’s highest creation, mankind, because they were created as servants.
Psalm 103:20 (KJV)
Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto
the voice of his word.
Angels were created to serve God’s purpose. They were not given the choice of obeying or not. When Lucifer rebelled there could be no forgiveness. He never had the choice, whereas, man was given a choice. He could obey God and not eat of a certain tree and live, or he could disobey and choose death. God desired that the man love Him as much as He loved the man. Because God gave man the ability and right to choose He also loved him so much that when man chose to rebel and therefore brought the curse, God still loved him and provided a way that His highest creation could return to fellowship with Him. But just as man had chosen to not love God and rebel, he would have to love God and choose God’s way of restoration. God’s way of restoration was that He, through His only-begotten Son, would pay the price for Adam’s rebellion.
So, Lucifer became Satan and he seduced the woman and the man to sin. So what was their sin. The act was the eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Now they had eaten of many fruits from many trees, so why was this called sin? If we were to follow the logic of most “theologians”, then eating fruit from a tree would be sinning. After all that is what Adam and Eve did. I think you understand what I am getting at. It is not necessarily the “act” that determines sin but the motive.
Did you know that God made a covenant with man in the beginning? Here it is in Genesis 1.
Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them.
28 AndGod blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and
replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea,
and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the
God had the right to lease the Earth to man. 1 Corinthians 10 says so.
1 Corinthians 10:26 (KJV)
For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.
So God made a covenant with Adam and his descendants that they would rule over the earth and have dominion over it and the only stipulation was that they could not eat of only one tree in the Garden of Eden. When they took of the fruit and ate of the forbidden tree they broke the covenant. They no longer had “right standing” with God in the covenant which He had established.
Now, the stipulation of the covenant that they should not eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was not so that God could show His right to tell them what to do, but was a way of Adam and Eve to show how much they trusted and loved their Creator. When they chose to eat of that forbidden tree they were saying that they did not trust and revere God but rather trusted in their own intellect and senses and thereby exalting themselves above God’s revelation to them. When confronted with their rebellion they knew that they had broken the covenant and made excuse after excuse. God in His great mercy provided a covering for their nakedness. Death entered the creation. It first came as God made skins for the covering of their nakedness. Innocent animals died so that their skins might be used as a covering of Adam and Eve’s nakedness. This was a foreshadowing that an innocent One would one day die to pay the price for the sins of all who would receive Him.
I have asked many people what the term “righteous” means. The answers vary from “holy” to “being good” to “religious” and on and on. This is the definition of Biblical “righteousness”: it is “right standing in a covenant relationship.” That “right standing” means that all the conditions of the covenant are met from that party’s stand point. It is similar to, but much stronger than, a contract. A simple example would be: I agree to pay you $100 to mow my lawn five times this summer. I give you the $100 dollars. As long as you show up on a basis by which you will mow my lawn five times this summer, you remain in good standing in our contract, or covenant.
It was very evident that Adam broke the covenant with God when he did the thing which he was not supposed to do according to the covenant. He no longer had right standing in that covenant. Therefore all that was in the covenant was now null and void. He no longer had dominion over the earth. Now, the one who was supposed to have rulership and direction over the Earth had lost his right to exercise that authority and had yielded it to “the god of this world”, satan. For that reason a curse was pronounced on the Earth.
What determines a “sinner”? One of the favorite verses of all Christians is found in Romans 3:23. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That verse is true, but is often misused. It is inserted as a clarifying point to establish that not only those who have the law but that all men whether under the law or apart from the law are concluded as having sinned. So what is sin?
Romans 3:20-26 (KJV)
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be
justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God
without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his
grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the
remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his
righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth
Here we see that sin is not necessarily an action but is the “state” of one who is not in “right standing in a covenant relationship” (righteous).
Let me share a few more scriptures which back this.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1 John 3:4-10 (KJV)
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is
the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that
doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the
devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for
his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is
not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Notice again that sin is contrasted to righteousness, not necessarily actions.
1 Peter 1:22-23 (KJV)
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through
the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one
another with a pure heart fervently:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
The old adage that “We are all sinners”, “I am just a sinner saved by grace,” and “We sin every day”, are lies which do not line up with the scriptures. If I say I sin everyday then I contradict the word of God which says “that if I abide in Him I do not sin.” If I say I am a sinner I admit that I do not have right standing with God which 2 Corinthians 5:21 says I do have. There is no such thing as a “sinner saved by grace”. You are either a “sinner”(covenant breaker) or you are “saved by grace”. The fact that we are all born “sinners” does not mean that we “all stay sinners(not right standing)”.
If we are sinners how can we honor the scripture in Hebrews 4.
Hebrews 4:16 (KJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and
find grace to help in time of need.
This scripture paints a picture of a young innocent child who comes running happily into his father’s lap. You cannot do that if you do not have right standing.
But, you may ask, “Don’t we mess up sometimes and sin?”
Let me ask you. Do you have children? I had two sons. If one of them had an accident, does that mean he is no longer my son? When they were young neither one of them could talk as well as I or walk or run as well as I. Did that mean that they were not my sons? I never once declared them “not my sons” because they could not do the things that I could. But as I loved them and nurtured them they came to the point that they did all the normal things that I did and many of the better. They did not arrive there by constantly deriding themselves for not measuring up. But they got there because they had parents who loved them.
We have a loving Heavenly Father Who loves us far more than any earthly parent. He has declared us “Righteous” if we are in Christ Jesus.
Acts 10:15 (KJV)
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What
God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
God has declared that in Chist Jesus you are “Righteous”. Do not let any person call you a “sinner” anymore.