JESUS – THE GIFT OF GOD’S LOVE
Power in the blood
The Lord gave Moses and Aaron specific instructions:
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.”(Exodus 12.3)
God proceeded to describe in detail how they were to go about determining the amount of lamb, the age of the lamb and that it must be a lamb without defects. God was so concerned about the Israelites He went to great lengths to detail how they were to eat it.
The power in the shedding of the blood is seen as God continues:
(V 7) “Take the common plant hyssop, and apply the blood to the doorposts and lintel of your homes.”
(V 12 – 13) “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every first born – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
However, the fact that the lamb was chosen was not enough. The fact that the father of that family contained the blood in a basin; or they were inside the safety of the house was not enough. It was only when the branch of hyssop was dipped into the blood and applied to the doorposts and lintels of the home that when the angel of death came the Lord said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”37.
We can believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He loves us and then go to church and worship him yet it is not until we apply the work that done on Calvary’s cross to our families and homes our faith becomes an active and vital part of our Christian lives – that is enough.38.
This does not mean this is a requirement for salvation – rather it is an encouragement to have a zeal to know the Word so well that our families will come to know and love the Lord and to know the joy of praying and sharing together, have minds changed from worldly thinking to the ways of God, know that the Word of God is totally sufficient to provide answers for every aspect of our lives and to reach out to the unbeliever in prayer and with a sound knowledge of the Word that he will be stayed to hear that he too may be saved – that is enough.
(Romans 10: 10) “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your hearts; that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
This passage emphasises the importance of faith righteousness. Moses explained the nearness of God’s righteousness – no one has to go up to heaven to appropriate it nor into the abyss to fetch it. The statement Moses made to the nation of Israel is now applied to Jesus. (Deuteronomy 30:12-14).
What is the Word of our faith?
It is by the grace of God through faith. To have faith in the content of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Faith in that gospel to be true and faith to believe in the written Word to be the truth that Jesus the Christ died in obedience to His Heavenly Father to make a once and for all exchange (atonement) for our sins. Faith in the gospel to be true is the only requirement to ensure our salvation. What are we saved from – eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. We must trust in the Word of God that says Jesus Christ saved us from God’s just anger for the penalty due for our sin and we are sealed with a guarantee that we are saved eternally. To know by faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
There are various ministries who direct new Christians to seek out someone to immediately confess they have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They will say this is a necessary to ensure our salvation. This is false teaching. We are saved solely by God’s grace through our faith. The encouragement directed to the believer here is to see that there is a sense that confession and faith are not mutually exclusive. The word chiastic comes to mind and to extrapolate on the sense of its meaning I think of arithmetical fractions where in division one has the figure of one above the other with a line between. One goes into another and vice versa.
From the moment that we call upon Jesus Christ, whether that “call” be silent or spoken, at the moment when our heart engages with our mind, in that moment we know and accept the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed our Lord and Saviour we are sealed with His Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul to the Corinthians said:-
“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures …”
The substance of our faith is that Jesus Christ is our Saviour and the only way of attaining salvation is through faith by God’s grace plus nothing.
The Lord will pour out an abundance of His grace upon all who call on the name of Jesus. It is free and undeserved for Jew and Gentile alike. All are sinners and need salvation.
There are groups of well-meaning Christians who claim a work of repentance is necessary to ensure salvation. There is nothing we can add to Christ’s work that He did for us by His death on the cross – not even our lousy repentance saves.
The meaning of the word “repentance” means to “change one’s mind” it does not mean that a person has to be sorry for one’s sin. It is intended to mean that a person has changed his mind about who Jesus is, changed his/her mind from being an atheist to believing in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) this is the change of mind which saves a person from hell initially then to be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. See (Acts 8:22, 11:18, 20:21, 26:20, Hebrews 6:1 and Revelation 9:20).
Further references to repentance are to be found in Acts 2:38; 3:19 and 5:31 relating specifically to Israel. In these verses we discover God longs to have Israel, with whom He has a covenant relationship, His precious chosen people, change their minds about being law-keepers and instead believe Yeshua Ha Mashiach has come. In Acts 13:24 and 19:4 Paul provided clear persuasive argument to his Jewish listeners to see that John the Baptist’s message of “repentance from sin” that is to “change their minds” about living sin-riddled lives, was not the whole story. They needed to believe simply on the total sufficiency of the work Jesus did as an exchange for their sin.
Do I just love to see the devil skeedaddle out of my life, off my territory, and out of the temporary wilderness of someone’s life when the living truth of the Word of God is applied.
When you put your faith into action the work that Jesus did on Calvary’s cross for you provides God’s strength through Jesus to help you to turn from sin. There will be times you will fall. God says no man is without sin, Jesus will always be there to forgive you . When we bring all our difficulties, weaknesses, anger, loss of expectation and grief to Jesus we will discover the mercy, love and compassion of our Abba Father (Daddy God). His comfort, joy and refreshment surpasses anything worldly counsellors provide. The Living Word becomes the active word God intended it to be and our sufficiency in every situation for the whole of our lives.
When you are under spiritual attack speak out Ephesians. It is incredible in its power to free a person from demonic attack, strengthening and uplifting – it is wonderful medicine – spiritual warfare. The evil one hates it being used effectively in the life of a Christian. This is God’s Word in action.
(Revelation 12: 11) is for us to apply to our lives – today.
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”.
The “ruler of the kingdom of the air” is Satan. He rules the demons and all those who are against Christ. The resurrection demonstrates Christ’s victory over Satan and his evil forces. We can walk now in all the fullness of Christ’s redemptive provision and appropriate His victory and authority over the works of the evil one for our lives.
(11 Corinthians 10:3-5) “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world., On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Satan is trying his best in these last days to recruit an enemy force that will be powerful for the final battle. The devil will use every evil strategy to keep the unbeliever in bondage to the god of this world. Those of us who belong to Jesus must take up our stand against the forces of evil and reach out to those who do not know the love of Jesus with the truth of God’s Word.
God assures us of our victory but we need to take up the mighty weapons of His Word to fight against the strongholds of Satan. The Lord Jesus Christ has provided all the tools we need and we must pray earnestly for opportunities to carry His Word to the lost. It remains our responsibility to take up the truth of what these tools represent. We must be active and not passive Christians in “putting on” God’s weapons.
What is the meaning of – the weapons of God’s warfare?
It is the effectiveness of God’s Word for every situation in our lives
(Ephesians 6: 13-16) “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.”
- Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
- with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and
- with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this,
- take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
- Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
- And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests
- With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints”.
Paul exhorts us to use every piece of armour to resist the attacks of Satan. Some people say that you don’t have to keep putting your armour on every day. Well, if you are in a battle you lay down your weapons to rest and take them up again. Warfare is fierce, ugly and most certainly active. You don’t stroll around off your guard. You keep your wits about you and keep – battle ready.
We need to be battle ready and know the Word of God to come against the cunning and evil strategies of Satan and his minions. We need to know what our “positional truth” – in Christ Jesus. Our identification with Him as a result of our salvation. The Apostle Paul consistently uses the expressions of “in Christ” “in Jesus” “in Jesus Christ” and “in Him” and we entered into our position by the work of the Holy Spirit for in 1 Corinthians 12:13 we are told “for in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free and were all made to drink of one Spirit” and because of our new position we have been placed into the Church which is the Body of Christ.
The major theme of Ephesians is the mystical body of Christ. Our salvation came by God’s grace and we have been placed into a position of being in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). We have been included into the family of God and now have the capacity of understanding the deeper things of God. He have been entrusted as with other members of His household into the deep family secrets of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14) states “but a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to Him and he cannot understand them for they are spiritually appraised”.
Understanding your positional truth is just so vital to overcoming the work of the evil one in the life of a Christian. Make a study of the following Scriptures:-
( Colossians 2:14-15) (Hebrews 2:14-15) (Ephesians 6: 10-18) Galatians 2:20) (Colossians 2:20) (Romans 6:4) Ephesians 2:5) (Colossians 3:1) (Romans 8:17)
You will discover in these Scriptures that you have been “co-crucified” “died” “buried” “made alive” “resurrected” “suffer” “glorified” and have become “joint heirs” with Him.
We need to speak out that we are over-comers in Him, dearly loved by God, chosen in Him and known by Him even before the world began.
The evil one fights with lies which may sound like truth. He will tell us how hopeless we are, that we are hypocrites and God really does not love us at all. He will use other Christians to gossip about us or make charges against our character that may or may not be true. He is the Accuser of the brethren and therefore has an infinite variety of accusations he can bring into our minds. We must speak out the truth of who we are in Christ, know God loves us and we are saved for eternal places.
The righteousness of God is the breastplate that covers our hearts. Satan will attack our hearts because it is the seat of our emotions. He will attack our trust in Jesus to be with us in each and every situation. Satan may tell us that God does not love us and we are not really saved. We can take hold of the truth that we are made righteous by the death of Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. We are washed and are cleansed by the Spirit of our God.
It is so important to really have a sound understanding of what God has to say about your “Eternal Life” and to ensure that we have a good understanding of sound doctrine. In these days where so much error abounds in churches I have found that the most satisfactory way of understanding God’s Word is through the teachings of Doctor Arnold G Fruchtenbaum. His excellent manuscripts “Thirty-three things: a study of positional truth” (Manuscript number 110) The Conditions of Salvation” (Manuscript 111) and on “Eternal Security” (See Ariel.org) or they can be obtained through Manna International telephone 02 9624 8947). There are many people today who have become disillusioned with poor teaching or none at all and the emptiness of extra-biblical phenomena. In fact a veritable army has risen up with telephone contacts and support right across Australia. If you want to become a part of Ministries who are providing some sound teaching through “Moriel.org” and obtain the Newsletters of Reverend Jacob Prasch get plugged in. Jacob, together with Bill Randles and Phillip Powell are all now reaching out to most of the cities and other areas in Australia.
Satan wants to stop us from speaking to others about the Good News of our salvation. Our circumstances can most times make us look inward to ourselves and it can be a struggle sometimes to determine to rise up and look beyond our situation to Jesus. Having lived through many years of traumatic events I know that in Him and through His Word victory is certain. God has made every provision for our past, present and future needs for we have been quickened, raised, seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenlies and anointed with the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 5: 6-11: 28 & 29) (Philippians 1: 6; 4: 6-7, 13-19. 1:3; 5-6)
Knowing the truth of the word of God will provide you with a God-confidence that will enable you to handle every situation in Him. His Word is safety and security from the deceptive and persuasive philosophies of the New Age Gospel and the Cults.
The answer for those who hurt
is the counsel of God through His Word and through prayer by His Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus.
Only our Creator can know our deepest sorrows, lusts and resentments, fear, bitterness and anger, rejection and loss of expectation. He wants to open up those hidden rooms within our hearts and set us free so that His supernatural Love and His supernatural thoughts invade us, take us over, control us and enable us to make our choices based on His Word and His direction in the name of Jesus.
Chuck and Nancy Missler in their wonderful book “The Way of Agape” provide their understanding of 1 Peter 4:2 which says we should
“no longer live the rest of (our) time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
“Loving God with all our heart not only means asking Him into our life (thus receiving His eternal, supernatural Life) and becoming one heart with Him, but loving God with all our heart also means allowing His Life (His Love, Wisdom and Power) in our heart to be the motivation for all we choose to do.”
“Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me (I am one heart with Him now); and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith (faithfulness) of the Son of God (to perform His Life through me).”
The right time came for me to discover just how loving God really is. My God is a God of mercy not judgment. In fact that was the emphasis the Lord seemed to be impressing upon me – mercy not judgment and mercy not sacrifice.
All I had ever known during my childhood was extreme cruelty and that from a dad I absolutely worshipped.
All I had ever known within so-called Christian churches was most assuredly condemnation and judgment. Little wonder when the works of Satan were found to be acceptable, the desire for truth rejected, and the test of true faith as expressed in Col.1:22-23; 11 John 2) for doctrinal consistency was denied.
It takes a long time for survivors of child abuse to be able to trust a God that seemed not to be there to stop such heinous acts of degradation of soul, mind and body. Now I had arrived at a time when I knew absolutely God wanted me to believe and to trust that His Word was sufficient to provide me with answers for every difficult and traumatic situation; to know Him as my real Daddy, my Abba Father; to bring before His throne everything in my life I did not want to own and to pour into me His healing love. Oh that I would come to know His peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
Studies on the effects of “Traumatic Stress – the effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body and society” by Bessel A. van der Kolk, Alexander C. McFarlane and Lars Weisaeth all Professors of Psychiatry have produced a volume of work which summarises the current state of knowledge about the way in which people deal with extreme stress. It details ways in which effective methods of treatment can be applied to deal with issues of memory and dissociation.
I made exciting discoveries within the pages of this work and I found that post-traumatic complaints in studies of World War 11 survivors were absent or in remission for extended periods of time in individual survivors. Particular studies were directed to making discoveries of why and how there was this so-called “latency period”. Case presentations offered many examples of late-onset of nearly half a century. The effects of childhood abuse may not appear until the victims are well into their fifties. And so, within this work I found answers to all that was occurring in my life.
If anyone should think it easy to forgive such treachery then you are sadly mistaken. When someone, always those who are not adult survivors of child abuse, simply state – “forgive” it really discloses to the wounded heart how little that person has any comprehension of the wide-ranging effects of abuse.
Unless a person has been abused it is impossible for them to understand the complexity of the excruciating turmoil of body, soul and spirit. The cruel dismissal to the abused saint by others who say “when you were saved the effects of child abuse were dealt with at the cross and your mind instantly renewed so how can you be saved?”
A well-constructed definition of our Eternal Security as taught by Doctor Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum Manuscript 102 is:
“Eternal Security is that continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart is continued and brought to completion”.
And in his Manuscript number 111 “The condition of Salvation” p 3 The third main Greek word is peitho which means to “cause belief in a thing”. This word is used 50 times in the Greek New Testament, and it is translated in nine different ways. It is translated as persuade twenty-two times; as trust ten times; as confidence nine times; as obey seven times; as believed three times as assure one time; as yield once; as made free once; and as access once. But in spite of these nine different translations, the root-meaning of the word remains the same: “to cause belief in a thing.” By combining these three Greek words, one can clearly determine what the condition of salvation is in reference to faith. First it means “to believe.” Secondly, it means “to be persuaded of.” Thirdly, it means “to place confidence in.” And fourthly, it means “to trust in the sense of relying upon.” These are the four facets of faith when one places his faith in Jesus the Messiah.”
So from these theological definitions we know that we whom God has accepted “in the Beloved” effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit will persevere until the end and be eternally saved. We can believe with confidence in the truth that through the continuous operations of the Holy Spirit the divine work that has begun within us will be continued until we are glorified. However, to tell a suffering saint that we cannot have this awful baggage is of no earthly use whatsoever. We are made new in Christ Jesus yet the flesh remains and the heinous damage of abuse may remain until we go to be with our Heavenly Father.
Terror filled memories had been pushed down for years into a sort of personal bottle and the stopper tightly screwed in. Terrible memories of being thrown against walls, beatings so violent, so excruciating, that no screams were left to come. For most of us who have experienced such horror destructive dependencies such as alcoholism, gambling or drug addiction or even sexual addiction may be symptoms of abuse or post-traumatic stress. For me it was an addiction to work. Addictions are all symptoms of many deep and complex problems that have never been dealt with and which may cover an inability to cope with facing reality.
All my excessive efforts succeeded in covering over so many terrors, so many ugly memories and pain. Also there were present so many big problems in my life each one being very complicated. All this combined with the onset of post traumatic stress was totally overwhelming. The Lord had finally removed me from my much loved occupation which had assisted in making such a significant contribution to my life, my kids now flown from the nest, and all the various interests I had pursued were in the past.
However I know there is hope for those who have suffered in this way. It has been a long and stony road for me. I have discovered that I do have a real Daddy who loves me and my Daddy is my beautiful Heavenly Father. We have come to know one another intimately, experientially and harmoniously. Indeed this has not always been so for me. The Lord has been most merciful and patient with this sinful saint. I am so grateful that He has persevered with me to show me His divine truths through a study of His Word.
God had brought me to point where those terrifying memories of my childhood came back with such intensity it was as though I was reliving the events. The effects of my sufferings did not manifest until I was 54 years old.
I could not bear the click of doors shutting and remembered the terror of hearing his footsteps on the landing and the knob on my bedroom door turning very slowly and quietly as I waited and wondered what he would do to me that night I was terrified to close my eyes for when I opened them my dad’s wide, thick leather belt appeared before me. I suffered the most frightening panic attacks and longed to hide myself away but I knew that to do so would only delay my healing. The anxiety attacks, agoraphobia and claustrophobia would descend upon me with sudden and devastating force. It was rather like living in the events all over again.
Every time I suffered from any of these attacks I talked to Jesus and asked Him to intervene. If I was in a shopping centre or perhaps attending at the dentist my friend came with me and I prayed silently every moment I was in the chair asking God to help me cope. I said the name of Jesus in my head over and over again and focused on my silent prayers rather than on the desire for flight. I found it particularly hard to attend the dentist as I experienced a sense of entrapment in the chair.
I knew God was teaching me to become totally dependent upon Him for every circumstance. I spoke out Ephesians aloud – the whole book and immersed myself in the Word continually. When I was aware there was another spiritual attack by the evil one I commanded unclean spirits to leave in the name of Jesus.
Studying the Word has helped me so much in my recovery from all this stuff. I wanted so much to prove to myself that His Word is powerful in its ability to renew the mind and I believed fervently in His Word. I knew God’s love and the outworking of His power in my life and so I also believed that in bringing everything to Jesus in God’s timing I would be free. The Lord was attending to His business within me and I knew He required me to submit to His Lordship over my life. (Romans 12: 1-2)
For a good few years door locks were removed from my interior doors. The sudden harsh click as a door closed was terrifying to me. Today some nice new locks are on all my interior doors and I can now shut my bedroom door with a sense of peace. Praise Jesus!
One of the most difficult problems of bringing in new believers to the church environment is no one understands how to minister biblically to victims of abuse, drug addiction and family breakdown. I clearly remember the first time I went to church after I was saved (aged 44.) – I shook from head to foot.
Most times drug addicts and alcoholics do not suddenly stop. My best and dearest friend took four and a half years to stop drinking after he was saved. For all of that time there was a lot of support provided by way of understanding, caring and sharing, constant prayer and ministry to see him through.
God had a wonderful plan for my life and He knew that when He allowed me to suffer the ordeal of child abuse and all else in my life it would make me useable to outreach His little lost lambs. I praise Him for those experiences because – I know. I know how others suffer.
Psychology: This brings me now to state emphatically that modern psychology is anti-Christian. In short it rejects God, ignores sin, “deifies” man and frequently castigates Christianity, Christ and the Bible as irrelevant or dangerous. Doctors John Ankerberg and John Weldon deal extremely well with this whole issue:-
“In fact, what psychiatrist Thomas Szasz says about medical psychiatry is true for secular psychology in general: “….medical psychiatry is not merely indifferent to religion, it is implacably hostile to it. Herein lies one of the supreme ironies of modern psychotherapy: it is not merely a religion that pretends to be a science, it is actually a fake religion that seeks to destroy true religion.” Any philosophical movement that seeks to destroy faith in God and His Word is not something that will ever be helpful to people with problems or to society at large…….New York University psychology professor Paul Vitz makes some dramatic statements about humanistic psychology, including the fact that “psychology as a religion is deeply anti-Christian. Indeed it is hostile to most religions……….Psychology as a religion has for years been destroying individuals, families and communities…..Donald Campbell’s presidential address to the American Psychological Association….”psychology and psychiatry, on the other hand, not only describe man as selfishly motivated, but implicitly teach that he ought to be so.”
I would refer the reader to the Enclyclopedia of New Age beliefs by John Ankerberg and John Weldon and to become thoroughly acquainted with the background to Jungian psychology which is deeply rooted in Shamanism, hypnosis, secular dream work, inner work/inner guides and other New Age practices.
These practices are all used, especially hypnosis, in the rather dangerous area of recovered memories. Because all these areas are in the province of the occult it leaves one wide open to “false memories” provided by demonic entities.
However well presented, the literature of behavioural sciences and psychology usually provides little benefit. There are current articles on psychology and its related fields which have cast increasing doubts upon its effectiveness. Indeed, several clinician friends have told me “often the best counsellors are close friends” and another said “I am here to evaluate unusual behaviour patterns and to determine which medication should be used such as in the treatment of Schizophrenia. If you find that prayer to God and confession of sin is the answer for you then that is the way you should go.”
There is hope for the Christian when we are brought to the point where we can recognise the hopelessness of our condition without Jesus and rely on divine intervention rather than any of man’s good ideas. Any personal change, achieved through solely human sources will never satisfy our heart longings.
There are some people who demand we become forgivers. They are really good at quoting Scripture, which we know anyway, letting us know, with such “love” that we risk hellfire and damnation unless we attend to forgiving our wayward spouses and/or abusers. They work on feelings of guilt and worthlessness by demanding that we “let go” and accuse us of having “hardened hearts”. What an outrage.
God did not demand that Jesus forgive us. It was something He freely chose to do. He was not placed under any obligation to do so. He chose to make the way for us to have a place in Heaven. He provided forgiveness for our sin by choosing to obey His Heavenly Father and poured out His divine love for mankind on Calvary’s cross.
It is very difficult for abused and traumatised people to accept that God loves them. If God loves me then why did he allow me to suffer so much all those years of my young life until I left the battlefield at age 16? It is often a stony road we walk to the wonderful awareness that our Abba Father really does love us. We who have been so unlovable, hated, unwanted and despised desperately need the love of Christians who care enough to reach out and accept us into the Body of Christ just as we are and wait for God to do the work within us in His time.
There are some people who, with all good intentions, attempt to comfort someone by covering over their pain and encourage the abused person to set their abuser free before the perpetrator sincerely repents. “Just forgive them they say”.
However, before an abuser can receive mercy, they must fully understand just how evil their behaviour has been. It is most unsatisfactory to allow the perpetrator of such evil to be free from accepting responsibility to fully feel the pain of his/her terrible offence. Of primary concern to the Christian should be for the perpetrator’s salvation.
Forgiveness is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit of God.
If you feel obligated to forgive it is not forgiveness and it most certainly will not bring about restoration where warmth and love can flourish.
To reduce forgiveness to an obligation is to reduce the agony of the battering Christ received on the Cross and his cry of abandonment – My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” to a mere whimper of divine love. His was not a mere obligatory decision to obey. It was far more than that. His agony was provided so we could identify with Him and in doing so know His forgiveness for our sin.. (An affair of the mind by Laurie Hall p221
Memories of the horrors of the bloody battles of our experiences have cost us a lifetime of entrapment in an overwhelming struggle to continually identify with others and affirm ourselves in every area of our life.
To extend forgiveness involves a heartbreaking choice to love the sinner more than you hate the monstrosity of their sin. However, for some who have known nothing but hate, excruciating pain and sustained abuse over a long period of time the longing to have the ability to forgive needs to be worked through in prayer and this takes time .
I must say that anyone who is a born again Christian and knows the Scriptures should be equipped to minister. It is not just the province of someone who has a title. It is important to have someone who genuinely cares about you, someone you can trust. Your Christian friend should be quick to minister the forgiveness of God on the basis of the work that was done on the cross.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9).
Prayer and comfort from someone who is committed to being “Jesus with skin on” is just the very best assistance to troubled souls who have never known the blessed relief of having someone to tell all to.
It can sometimes be unhelpful to advise a wounded saint that Paul said, “Just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” Colossians 3:13 – we know that. forgiving is easier said than done.
Only Jesus can enable us to forgive as He did. Daily we must bring our inability to forgive to Jesus and ask Him to help us until we are able to overcome. It is certainly not a passive choice.
Luke 17:3-4 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times come back to you and says, I repent, forgive him.”
I struggled with this problem with someone who really did treat me very badly and I went back to this man three times before I was really able to forgive him from my heart. I really longed to be able to forgive him and to be free from holding any grudge towards him.
I really struggled with grief over his abuse of me. Satan had used him quite viciously to attack me. I had not provoked him and his attitudes towards me were borne out of a kindness I had extended towards a relative of his.
My heart desperately needed for him to see the extent of his sin and not to treat it with a cheap cavalier attitude and eventually I knew the sincerity of his response.
I just love that man now for the way he dealt with me over that time in my struggles to truly forgive him. God really intervened and brought healing to the relationship in such a way relating was comfortably established.
We need to have a genuine desire to seek the Lord to help us to forgive, a dependency on Him and a willingness to rely on Jesus to help us overcome (Philippians 4:13).
Faith – like the little mustard seed is alive and growing even before you see the evidence. Perseverance in prayer, bringing everything before our Daddy God in the precious name of Jesus, will bring about a blessed sense of freedom from that which has caused us so much grief. We must be able to trust God to fix what He wants fixed in His timing and in His way and it is so, in a deepening relationship with our Heavenly Father that we will come to know His incredible love for us, His comfort and peace.
Sometimes, within us we may resolve to resort to our old ways – the good old “pay-back system”. Forgotten, is the fact we have been on our knees asking God to forgive us for some foul sin. Never mind that we knew He did. It seems to be a far more effective proposition to plan a “mode of attack” to deal with some cruel comment or perceived persecution – usually received from some Christian. I am so grateful to God that He has intervened for me on so many occasions and stopped me before I have put my intentions into actions. There have been times when I have telephoned someone to “fix something” I have perceived to be totally wrong and amazingly, I have not been able to get through. Have you experienced God’s intervention in this way? Instead of allowing me to follow through the Lord has persuaded me to pray about the situation and of course my peace is restored. It has just been the evil one endeavouring to bring about divisions in my dealings with others.
We may have monumental struggles with the old strategies that we used to cope with those who are difficult to us.
The truth is I know very well God says in (Matthew 18: 21)
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked; “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered; “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
What does this say to us?
It means that we must forgive those who ask us to forgive them no matter how many times they hurt us. My answer to that has often been: “Well I’ve had to forgive more than seventy-seven times.”
Because God made a provision for our sins to be forgiven through the love offering of his Son Jesus there is nothing that we will suffer that Jesus has not experienced. We can identify with him in every difficult and painful situation.
The work that was done on the Cross provides us with the ability to forgive others. We should prayerfully wonder at God’s mercy to us when all we deserved was judgment.
Faith and deeds
There are some people who are very religious. They attend church diligently every week and attend to religious traditions but are spiritually blind. Sometimes those who do not go to church are more sensitive to God’s message of salvation and the things of the Spirit.
Our attendance at church should be an act of thanksgiving, praise and worship to Jesus. It should be that the Word is taught so well it should nurture us and bring joy to the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Sharing with our brothers and sisters in Christ encourage and uplift us. We should be able to seek healing and comfort from prayers we know are in Christ Jesus. It does not seem to work as it should within churches. Most times our brothers and sisters in Christ do not even want to talk about Jesus and the wonders of His Word and its application to our lives or theirs. We really do need fellow Christians with whom we can share the Word and pray.
I am grateful for the way the Lord has directed my life toward sound teachings and amazed at the way God has given, in response to prayer other Christians who have also received the teaching of Doctor Fruchtenbaum (Ariel.org) and Reverend Jacob Prasch of Moriel (Moriel.org). We have the supreme delight of sharing with such wonderful joy the discoveries we have made in the Word – sometimes for hours together on occasions. It has been of such necessity to me to discover the way God has divided His Word and it has been so that my studies in the Word, as well as the time spent in prayer that has grown me in my relationship with Him.
(Matthew 5 V 14-16) “Jesus said to them: “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.
Does the sympathetic influence of your light shine out to others?
What do you still hold in your life that prevents you from being an example to others of Jesus living in you for God has provided each one of us with gifts and talents and we must seek to know what we have to give to others. Sometimes it seems that we have little to offer. However, everyone has something to give.
My dear friend said to me – “Christians should pat one another”. By pat she says she means that we need to affirm one another, encourage one another, listen to one another. You may be amazed at this but she and I have talked into the early hours for a whole five hours (telephone chat) all about Jesus, His miracles in our lives, His wonders and His Word and the discoveries we have made in our studies.
How important is it for the warmth of our arms to wrap around someone who is hurting. Do you know I have found it so difficult sometimes to put my arms around certain people because I dislike the way they are at that very moment – especially when they have turned up at my home with a “six-pack” and as well “they are off their face”. Just at the very moment when I know I should be putting my arms around them I quietly ask God to help me love them and do you know such a rush of love invades me that it can only be supernatural. It has been just for that moment but it was enough. God knew my lack and provided His love. What an amazing God!
Sometimes their may be a God-ordained time to provide a bed for the night to the lost and lonely or an inexpensive meal may be a real blessing to some hungry soul.
We must make an effort to study the Word so we can carry the gospel of peace to bring the healing of salvation to the one God has referred to us. It is amazing how God will provide us with opportunities when we ask him to provide us with people He has prepared to hear the Word. I can promise you that God will allow you to trip over them.
Seek to be God’s heartbeat to the world around us and to be a genuine friend to others and this does not mean invading their privacy and their lives but being sensitive to their needs and their greatest need is Jesus as Saviour and Friend. It is important to provide for “felt needs” but the most vital need is to bring people to saving faith.
I have made the discovery that God is not a hard task master for he does not seem to require me to do anything at all as a worldly boss would expect of me that is every day, all day. No – rather the Lord just seems to make it an occasion and on these occasions, as they have arisen, He has supplied my need and equips me to carry out His business supernaturally. If I were presented with the same circumstances without God being in them my decisions would not work and the tasks would be too difficult and ugly for me to cope with. The fact that it has been a God appointment for that moment or a period of time has ensured that everything works just as the Lord has determined it should.. Sometimes behaviour and language have been pretty colourful and I remind myself that they cannot help themselves – only God’s work in a person brings healing from sinful behaviour. I remember how I was and how I still require more of God’s handiwork in my life. God-given care for lost souls, gossiping the gospel with biblical answers for life’s problems, will light the fire of faith and by God’s grace enable them to choose to believe (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) and be saved
We should not press in upon them with a pious, sanctimonious attitudes, only the love of God is going to bring them to repentance.
I praise and thank God that economic circumstances dictated that for thirty four years my day times were lived in legal offices; and I made sure, by way of diligent application, I grew in my knowledge of practical law and enjoyed it all immensely.
Finally, God intervened. Now eleven years ago my working life became part of the past. Someone said to me “God said, ‘Gotcha!’” Indeed He had.
I know of many excellent Bible teachers and theologians who will say that because we are a “new creation in Christ Jesus” a lifetime of abuse has been dealt with instantly the moment we believed. Jesus died as a substitute for all our sin and from the moment we were born again that means we were healed from the effects of our sin and that perpetrated against us.
I believe that the natural man is now changed and we are now spiritual men. We now possess His strength through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:13). All the sins from my past, present and future have been exchanged for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Our old filthy garments have been removed and He cloaks us in His robes of righteousness.
I know the damage occasioned by my child abuse has resulted in ongoing claustrophobia as an example. The effects of 43 years of living in the flesh and its devastating effects have not disappeared at the very moment I was saved.
For those of us who have been effected by traumatic events this baggage needs to be dealt with through prayer and perhaps talking things through with a trusted compassionate, biblically literate Christian friend and prayer. The horrible influences of worldly living do need to be dealt with through prayer, forgiveness, repentance and renunciation in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The overwhelming experiences of my life had brought me to my knees and I knew that this was God’s timing for me. He wanted me to trust Jesus with every aspect of my life and this I did with the steadfast encouragement and prayer of two close friends who were there for me at any time of the night or day. They were the Lord’s hands and feet for me – heartbeats for Jesus and I am so grateful to God for His intimate awareness of my need.
There were many factors which contributed to the process of healing. Everything was worked out with God in the name of Jesus. Prayerful persistence, endurance and trust and knowing for an absolute certainty that God was pouring out His divine love, grace and power to see me through. I longed for my situation to be over. There were many times I ran to my Doctor who encouraged me not to take any medication. He would oft times bend under my insistence. Home I would go armed with some mild anti-psychotic drug only to get on my knees in prayer to be convicted not to take them and down the toilet they would go.
The love power of the Living God has been so present over me for all this time in my life. I know Jesus is the answer for all our woes. When we really trust Him we will find Him to be our grace and sufficiency for every area of our lives.
God will make us ready to give out to others. We are His hands and feet, His heartbeat to the lonely, desperate alcoholic or the heroin addict who cannot face the ugliness and reality of his life.
If we cannot wrap our arms around the scrap of a girl who is looking for love in the arms of any man who uses her body for sex and show her we care how can we say we know Jesus.
Have we been so perfect and are we so right, so cleaned up and so sin free that we can judge another?
It is love that leads us to repentance not condemnation by well-meaning Christians or Pastors who simply cannot patiently wait for God to attend to our lack.
When we choose to love the unlovely we will discover that any good ideas of our own are mostly superficial band-aid solutions. Sometimes we must minister to “felt needs” before we gossip the gospel.
It is vital to ask God to provide the right time and right words so that we can say with gentleness: “You know, Jesus is the answer.”
How wonderful to see the love power of His Holy Spirit soften and slowly quicken blind eyes to the salvation message.
The shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is effective in its entirety when we apply it to every area of our lives. The word of God nourishes us, provides us with peace, uplifts and protects both ourselves and our families against the attacks of Satan. If we are to be active effective Christians we must never take for granted the work Jesus did for us two thousand years ago Those who are forgiven much love much.
An outreaching life
It is the most wonderful and exciting thing in this world to take someone who thinks poorly of himself, who believes they have no purpose or value in life and show to them the love of God. To lift their eyes towards Jesus as their answer and make them aware of their value to God. How wonderful it is to see such a one released into God’s plan for their life.
God’s healing from sin is for everyone the moment they make a choice to step from the world where Satan was their god and to choose to believe that the Lord Jesus died for all their sin, was buried, and rose again. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and at this moment they are saved. Then to make the discovery that Jesus can indeed become Lord over their life at some time following salvation. The believer will make a prayerful decision to dedicate his body to Him for permanent use (Romans 12:1-2).
The notion that you must surrender to the Lordship of Jesus to be saved is a false teaching. I say again – we are saved by faith through God’s grace plus nothing.
God’s life is an outreaching life to others. God’s love is a love that lifts others up and encourages their esteem in him.
Oh, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us when Jesus died on that dreadful cross. We see the eternal life of God manifested in Christ’s body and through his blood.
(Romans 3: 21) “So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News that says I can come to God in faith and say the following prayer:
I believe that Jesus your perfect sinless Son died as my substitute and in obedience to his Heavenly Father placed all my sins beneath his outspread arms and put them away so that I can be free.
Please forgive me God. I know that I am guilty of rebelling against you and ignoring you but I want to know you. I do believe that you died in exchange for all my sin and that you were buried and rose again from the dead.
Please Jesus come into my heart right now and be my Lord and Saviour. Amen
(Colossians 1: 12-13) “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Through the Apostle Paul God tells us that all true believers have been delivered from the slavery of Satan’s rule in the kingdom of darkness to freedom in the Kingdom of Light, under the power of Almighty God; freedom to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
We can have release from bondage through the cross if we see –
There can be no secret closet in our lives that catches sin
If each room is filled with his presence
Just open up your hearts and let his love come in
Receive Christ as Saviour, lose the penalty of sin
Be filled with his knowledge and surrender all to him
Jesus Christ our Saviour and our King
The moment we respond to God and by faith choose to believe the Gospel by which we are saved then Gods will convict us of sin and provide us with a desire to submit to Jesus and make Him Lord over our lives.
The greatest revelation that God has ever given to mankind is the revelation that God is love:
(1 John 4: 9& 10) “This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
God took all of our sin and put it on Christ’s account. Then He took all of the righteousness that was the character of Jesus and put it on our account. What an incredible exchange! All we have to do is to believe in the gospel and when we believe we receive – eternal life.
When Jesus, died for us He was innocent and we were guilty. When He died in exchange for our sin, that was love in action.
At the moment we see the truth that Christ died for us, was buried and rose from the dead we are reborn. Our natural spirit is recreated, renewed by God’s Holy Spirit. We become new creatures in Christ Jesus and we receive spiritual re-birth. Now we have the presence of the Living God indwelling us and are now his Beloved. For those of us who are unable to see the magnitude of our sin against a Holy God He will lead His lambs to repentance. We will experience the joy of His refreshing. He will attend to the continual washing of us by continual conviction unto repentance and renewal of our minds by His Word.
What a truly wonderful blessing God has given to us – the blessedness of being a Christian. We are made righteous because of Christ now indwelling us. (Matthew 5: 6 and Luke 6: 21)
We know that Jesus by his Holy Spirit lives within us for –
We’ve received Him in our hearts and we’re set apart for God
We’re transformed and transfigured by His grace
We are washed and are sanctified by the Spirit of our God
And look towards His dear and precious face.
The Gospel has been grounded in the heart of God even before time began. It provides us with an understanding of the glory of God, draws us into an intimate relationship with His Son Jesus through the work of the Holy Spirit and an understanding of man’s desperate need.
Let us go back to the cross and meditate awhile on the exchange that was made at that moment in history:
When Jesus, that perfect sinless Lamb of God poured out his blood in hours of excruciating agony and felt the chill of death creeping through his tortured tissues, He exposed our sin in the way we needed to see it.
There were many then who were appalled at the disfigurement of Him as He hung there on that dreadful cross. The weight of the sin of all mankind fell upon Him. The magnitude of that kind of suffering escapes our understanding.
When we struggle with our own unconfessed sin we can only have a minute understanding of the separation that Jesus knew from his Heavenly Father when he chose to take our sin upon himself. Sin is deadly, it brings sickness and misery, it kills the body and separates us from the joy of relationship with our Heavenly Father.
The cries from the cross have called down the passages of time to offer His love and His peace in exchange for our burdens of sin, weariness, oppression and persecution.
For our pride and worldly values, Jesus offers us the Kingdom of Heaven.
For our tears and torment, He provides his comfort.
For all those who would seek power and position, authority and control, He offers them His meekness (harnessed strength).
For our driving desires to pursue personal ambition, He says, “He will satisfy us with his righteousness” . We are cloaked in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and the work God does in His work of salvation He promises to bring to completion.
When we know we have God’s approval we will not need to seek the approval of others. He desires for us to become Christ-centred.
For our cruelty and merciless attitudes He will provide us with the ability to be merciful and loving.
For all who seek their plot of peace He will discipline us so that we can share in His Holiness.
Jesus is our all in all. His way of living and His purposes must be ours. The way of the Cross is the only way.
This is the story of the gospel.
The religious externals of service to God can be unreal and deceptive. We may have the perception that God is haughty and just, sitting in the heavens meting out wrath and retribution. Religion creates an impression within our minds that the only way we can come to God is with trembling and fear, offerings and sacrifices, good works and penances, self-torture and recitation of pious utterances.40.
This is not the gospel!
All this has gone since Jesus died on the Cross. We now have a way to appeal directly to the throne of grace and that is through his body, broken for us that we might be brought back to God to live with him forever.
In our struggle with sin we should hold close to our hearts God’s word of encouragement from (Hebrews 12:5-6)
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”
Most of the time it seems we learn from a combination of our agility to be involved in some kind of sin or the “ University of Hard Knocks.” Suffering can be a rich training towards our maturity as a Christian once we are saved and choose to make Jesus Lord over our lives. In taking up the baton for Him we must run our race with patient endurance. The final victory, as we claim our crown of life is our heavenly reward.
God can lift us up from the pain of failure to success when we appropriate the truth about ourselves in Him. He says that we are a new creation and fashioned in His image. (11 Corinthians 5: 17) and (Genesis 1: 27) God will change us from being a nobody to a somebody, from fear and timidity to having confidence in Him, as our minds are changed by his Word.
Jesus is the reflection of God’s love and he looked upon sinful man with compassion. We must seek His ability to build up those who are weak, lonely and vulnerable in their faith. The Lord asks us as Christians to feed His lambs. We need to know the Word well to attend to this task. I often think as I walk around shopping centres that there must be many lambs out there who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life they just need a sheep herd to go out and find them.
God now indwells us by His Holy Spirit and therefore His love must reside in us. We must ask him to enable us to genuinely love one another through caring, sharing and communicating. We know we need to be a lighthouse for Jesus and have fears perhaps that we could never cope with all we know the Lord wants for us to do. Well from the moment you start being an active Christian Satan is going to be on the attack making every wicked endeavour to cripple your work for the Lord. Until you deal with demonic attack using Scriptures against the Adversary you will be unable to operate as a fully functioning Christian.
The unpalatable truth is that there are too many Christians who are “starving for want of knowledge”. Too many frightened Christians “sit on the fence” and suffer from biblical and theological illiteracy.
I am not prepared to bend to teachers and theologians however scholarly they may be who claim God does not heal today and the charismatic gifts have died. How can I bend to this when I know what God has done in my life in the name of Jesus Christ.
There are pastors who themselves are desperate for popularity and place church growth by any means who ditch theological integrity and choose to teach covenant theology (replacement theology) which replaces the church with Israel. Then there are those have introduced the “feel good gospel” into the church – emotional experience rather than sound biblical teaching.
For many a long year there has been a scathing contempt by Pentecostals towards other religious organisations which practice infant baptism and confirmation.. They do not see they are just as sinful for establishing rituals which label them as Pentecostal.
It would seem since the birth of Pentecostalism that there has been a striving after “experience.” Its adherents shelf the screaming need for sound doctrine to be preached and exchange biblical truth and evangelism for a spiritual experience they say could be a mixture of witchcraft and God. The clear implication to those who turn away from extra-biblical phenomena is that they have not reached the same level of spirituality. The sad thing is that these people are generally biblically illiterate and do nothing to attend to this state of affairs.
Why should anyone enter into anything as corrupt and compromising? Why would anyone in their right mind expose themselves to evil spirits? There must be so many who have not dealt with various and or serious sin in their lives. Surely they are vulnerable to “taking-on” unclean spirits?
The poor sheep in these kinds of establishments live in a kind of mist or fog. . I believe those who have chosen to ignore the clear precepts of Scripture are now enshrouded in a spiritual veil which prevents them from being able to see the truth as it is written. They drift along and believe that to hold views which go against leadership is rebellious behaviour for they have been taught that to rise up and be distinctive about anything at all will invite the charge of “rebellion against authority.” It has been evident to me that if a woman challenges suspected error, these earnest Christians who have been opposed to debating spiritual issues are so intimidated, they resort to insults and reveal they have come to rely on the most incredible gossip. I couldn’t help but chuckle when one such man scathingly questioned me “God had healed me from schizophrenia?” I advised him that I had never consulted a psychiatrist in my life.
Leadership in the Pentecostal churches I have attended have been composed of men who will agree with anything just to ensure security of position in that particular establishment and even imitate the Pastor in both clothing and mannerisms which I found sad but also amusing to observe.
We may say we want to be like Jesus yet fail to observe His opposition against the Pharisees and even his own disciples (Matthew 16:21, 23 and 12: 24). Jesus made it plain to all who would follow him that we should expect our Christian walk to be full of controversy, difficulties, rejections, insults and opposition.
Jude’s letter is a warning to us all.
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” V3
From the time these words were first penned by revelation from the Holy Spirit the church has been under threat from false teaching. Jude adjures us to “contend for the faith.” 41.
To add further emphasis, Jude is saying that we must jostle, skirmish, argue and fight for our faith. There are some people who insist that to learn correct doctrine is unnecessary. They will pluck this verse or that out of the Bible, declare it to be God’s truth then apply it to fit the situation they are in. There are others who apply God’s word like a whipping stick. (Proverbs 29: 1) is a favourite:
“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.”
I confessed to a Christian brother a serious, yet unproven diagnosis by Nuclear Medicine. He lightened my load with this verse in what he described was his love for me.
I know that it is vital to address the sin factor in our lives. We cannot reject the commands of God for our lives without knowing his discipline upon us. We most certainly cannot live our Christian lives in the way we did when we were lost in worldly values. We are provided with the power to live our lives through the Holy Spirit in accordance with Biblical truth (Romans 8:6- 11)
“The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin but the spirit is life because of righteousness.”
What a long hard road it has been for me to really overcome fleshly temptations in Jesus name. I never seemed to have a sense of peace. Today I know I was fed terrible error, such a mish-mash of doctrine which was really no doctrine at all. To make a study of theology was frowned upon. Just believe simply they said “just like little children”. The real truth was that they were ignorant, ill-read people. Really the concepts were so confusing it left one empty and unsatisfied. The terrible threat of losing my salvation every time I sinned in one way or another was always with me. I can honestly say that it was not until I read Doctor Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s manuscript on “Eternal Security” that I felt free from this terror. The exhortations to godly living within Scripture do not mean the believer can ever hope to reach a state of perfection. This will only be achieved when we reach glory. The Apostle Paul declares in Phil 3:12-14
“I am not yet perfect”.
Doctor Arnold demonstrates clearly in his manuscript the difference between a believer’s position and practice – he says:-
“The ninth principle of eternal security is that there is a difference between position and practice. Something may be true positionally, though practice may not always show it. Perhaps the best example of this is the Corinthian church. Paul referred to the Corinthian church positionally as being a sanctified church (1 Corinthians 1:2). But according to their practice, they are one of the worst churches in the New Testament. There is a difference between position and practice; however, bad practice does not mean that the position has been lost.”
The following Scripture is such a comfort to the Christian who grieves over his iniquity and sinful thoughts and I can provide you with the assurance that if you are grieving and prayerful over your sin and lack the Lord will ensure your battles are won. What does Paul say –
- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
Many of the teachers during the first century encouraged Christians to do whatever they liked and feed their five senses. Jude encourages us to build our faith and to stay close to Jesus through prayer.
Why would anyone choose to enter into a religious experience that cannot be found in the Bible? The wonderful discoveries I have made which have brought to me such joy and peace could never be exchanged for the shallow extravagances of any spiritual phenomena. I ponder with great sadness on those who were enticed away from seeking the truth. I pray for two Pastors I still hold dear to me the day will come when God will open their eyes, change their minds to walk in the opposite direction and teach the Bible as it should be understood.
Would our spiritual maturity not be better improved if we sought after doctrinal consistency? This is of itself most necessary as to a test of genuine faith. See (Colossians 1:22-23; 11John 2).
The truth of who we are in Jesus is our Positional truth and there are THIRTY THREE THINGS OF POSITIONAL TRUTH that you should know. The Manuscript under this name is found at Ariel.org and can be downloaded.
BUT consider – look at just a few of the wonderful blessings we inherit when we identify ourselves with Christ Jesus –
I am a minister of reconciliation. (11 Corinthians 5: 18)
I am Christ’s ambassador. (11 Corinthians 5: 20)
I have been given authority and power to tread on serpents and scorpions (refers to a believers authority over demons) and over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:18-19)
It does not mean that we are to literally go around testing our faith by handling snakes and scorpions as some wacky cults do
I was chosen before the foundation of the world to be God’s own son. (Ephesians 1: 4 – 5)
I am more than a conqueror.(Romans 8: 37)
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3: 16; 1 Corinthians 6: 19)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4: 13)
I am born of God to overcome the world. (1 John 5: 4)
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (11 Timothy 1: 17)
I am regarded as very good by God and am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139: 14) (Genesis 1: 31)
I am a partaker of his divine nature. (11 Peter 1: 4)
I am a child of God. (John 1: 12)
I am a joint heir with Jesus. (Romans 8: 17)
I am complete in him. (Colossians 2: 10)
I am completely cleansed and perfected. (Hebrews 10: 14)
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.
(Ephesians 1: 3) and (1 Peter 2: 9)
I am a chosen race, a Holy Nation, a peculiar people is more true of Jewish believers than Gentile Christians (1 Peter 2:9) Peter wrote specifically to Jewish believers. It is not written to the church because the church is comprised of people of all generations and nations.
However Gentile believers have become part of a holy and royal priesthood – the priesthood of all believers which is true especially as indicated above of Jewish believers but is also true of Gentile believers (Revelation 1:5-6) and
The day we believe the gospel and understand God’s love it truly is a miracle. In that moment you are lifted up to Him. You are in His Kingdom right now – experientially. God takes all of the old life and forgets it. In exchange He will continue to wash, cleanse and see us now only through of the work of the cross. When He looks at us He sees only Jesus.
How wonderful the mystery once hidden in the heart of our Creator God before the creation of the world. Today, let us enter into the promise of our daily rest with Jesus. He has a wonderful plan for your life. The Word of God is life changing and dynamic as it works within us to will and to do. If we seek to explore its depths it is forever fresh and new and will penetrate to the depths of our being. We can have no secrets from Him and His Word clamours for decision. We must let it shape us and make us. Indeed, He will change us within whether we submit willingly or not and because He cares about us He will discipline us. We should seek with all our hearts to be changed and sanctified by Him and when the going becomes tough and we deviate from His pathway He is there, waiting for us to come within the shelter of His arms and seek forgiveness.
Do you think that you are not good enough for God? Well, God says that all have sinned and fallen short of his glory. This does not mean that we should carry on deliberately sinning or continue to live as carnal men. The Apostle Paul provides teaching as to how we can overcome sin. Paul makes it very clear he struggled as just the same as we do.
Jesus promises us He will be right beside us helping us to overcome our struggles with sin. We have only to call on His name. When we fail He will be there for each one of His precious children comforting, loving, forgiving and providing His strength to continue along the way. (Romans 7)
Christ’s sacrifice provided the way to God. The curtain of the law was rent asunder. We are no longer in bondage to the 613 plus laws the Jews strive to keep. He waits patiently to hear from you. If Christ gave his life for you He will not hold back anything you need to live for Him. The shed blood of Jesus Christ is the most precious thing in the world.
(Leviticus 17: 11) “For the life of the creature is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for yourselves on the altar: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for one’s life.”
We see this reflected in the new covenant between God and man.
“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1: 7)
The Tree of Life
When we look at that cross on the Hill of Calvary we can see three crosses. The events that took place all those centuries ago are as significant to us today as they were then. They present us with hope and a promise of life eternal.
The centrality of our faith is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and every person who believes on Christ’s death and resurrection by God’s wonderful grace enters into relationship with Jesus.
There was the thief who mocked Jesus and said:
“ Are you not the Christ? Save yourself as well as us!”
The other criminal rebuked him saying:
“Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The faith of this thief saw beyond his circumstances to the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The two thieves in the Garden of Eden were associated with a tree of life. The two thieves on that dreadful hill that day were associated with a tree that became eternal life for millions down through the centuries.
When we look at the agony on that dreadful cross with all its foul horror and soul-destroying power we have some understanding of the extent of the battle being waged between the forces of good and evil for our souls.
The evidences of the cross have been carried down through time in the documents of history and in the Scriptures for it stands compelling us to view the worst human nature can do to God.
Oh what manner of love Jesus has that He would suffer so for all mankind. This love that cries out to those in prison, the murderer, the bank robber, the child molester. No sin is too big for God to handle. Jesus can take it and set us free from its burden of shame and raise us from the agony of our lost condition.
The cross stood as a testament amongst the smelly, grabbing, swearing, fighting, poverty- stricken hoards, the rich and intelligent, philosophers and lawyers and whoever else. It was a meeting place where God saw mankind at its very worst, and yet in the death of his Son, He did the very best he could do for us.
Today, it is a meeting place for each one of his wayward struggling children. Jesus is alive in the long watches of the night and sees us by day. With eyes full His divine love and compassion He longs for us all to know Him more. He is waiting for all those who would seek solace and rest from their lost condition and burden of sin to know they will be forgiven. He extends to all who would ask, His comfort and healing.
To all of us who would believe we have assurance by the power of his resurrection, Jesus said:
“Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14: 19)